While doing an inventory of the Photographic Archives storage area, we came across a surprising collection of glass stereo slides with a small box viewer depicting vivid scenes from World War I. I am well acquainted with paper card stereographs and often present them to student groups visiting the archive, asking if they ever imagined that 3-D technology was around over 150 years ago. But I had never before seen glass stereo photographs. The clarity in these three-dimensional images on glass is far beyond that of common paper-mounted card stereographs, so why do they seem so rare?
Stereography, early three-dimensional photography, was immensely popular in the latter half of the nineteenth century having been introduced in the 1850s and lasting into the 1930s. Stereograph photos, also known as stereoviews, stereograms, and stereopticons, were created with special cameras that had two lenses placed approximately two inches apart (the general distance between human eyes). These stereo cameras shot two nearly identical images on one negative that when printed and viewed through a stereoscope appear three dimensional.
Stereography was a common form of entertainment and news in the nineteenth century, with handheld viewers and stereograph sets found in most family parlors much like radios and televisions were in the twentieth century. Sets of stereographs showing far-away places in Europe, Asia and Africa were mass produced, as were sets depicting events like the Civil War and natural disasters such as the Louisville Tornado of 1890 and San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. Being so affordable and accessible, stereography made foreign views and newsworthy imagery accessible to people of all classes.
The collection of glass stereoviews that we found in the archives consists of the wood box stereo viewer, approximately 100 glass slides each hand-labeled in French, and came with no information other than the name of the donor, Jon Kugelman, who gifted the items to the Photographic Archives in 1964. With some quick web research I have already run across a number of the same images that are in our collection. The photographs were likely shot by French photographer and stereographic inventor Jules Richard, and probably mass-produced and sold in the States by Brentano’s, a Parisian bookstore. It seems that glass stereographs were more popular in Europe than in the United States, which is why they are a bit rarer than paper mounted stereoviews.
The images in this collection show the realities of the Great War, including soldiers amid trenches, battlefield corpses, and bombed-out buildings. With the added feature of spatial relation, as well as the enhanced detail and light of the images on glass, these photographs vividly translate the destruction and horrors of war like I have never seen before.
Though best viewed through a stereoscope viewer, some animated gifs of stereographs can be found online and help convey the three-dimensionality of the photographs, like this image from a collection very similar to the Kugelman Collection in our archive.
Through photographs by Robert Doherty and James N. Keen
March 5, 1964
On March 5, 1964, close to 10,000 people from in and around Kentucky gathered at the state capitol for a peaceful civil rights demonstration which has become known as The March on Frankfort, one in a series of civil rights marches lead by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The Allied Organization for Civil Rights (AOCR) coordinated this effort. Among its members were Officers Frank Stanley, Jr., editor of The Louisville Defender; Dr. Olof Anderson, Synod Executive of the Presbyterian Church; and a young Georgia Davis Powers. Powers, who later became the first African American and the first woman to be elected to the Kentucky State Senate in 1967, states this was the beginning of her civil rights activism.
Key speakers were Ralph Stanley, Jr.; the Rev. Dr. D. E. King, pastor of Zion Baptist Church in Louisville from 1946 until 1963; The Rev. Dr. Ralph David Abernathy, Martin Luther King, Jr’s close associate and friend; Jackie Robinson, major league baseball legend who broke the color barrier; and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Folk singers and civil rights activists Peter, Paul and Mary performed.
Robert Doherty founded the University of Louisville Photographic Archives while a professor in the Allen R. Hite Art Institute. Also an active photographer, Doherty documented Louisville scenes, political rallies and events, prominent Louisvillians, and important visitors to the city. His photographs of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Louisville and at the 1964 march on Frankfort have frequently appeared in print. In 2010 Doherty received a Doctor of Fine Arts honoris causa degree from the University of Louisville.
James N. Keen was a photographer for the Chattanooga News, Dayton Journal-Herald, Associated Press, Acme Newspictures, and for twenty-six years, with the Louisville Courier-Journal and Louisville Times. His work appeared in Life and U.S. Camera Annual, and he won numerous national awards for photojournalism. His subjects include celebrities such as Martha Graham and Orville Wright, as well as political figures including Winston Churchill and several presidents. Keen also photographed local landmarks events such as the Kentucky Derby.
Governor Breathitt fought hard for the public accommodations bill. And although it was unsuccessful in 1964, in 1966 the Kentucky General Assembly passed the Kentucky Civil Rights Act. Dr. King called it “the strongest and most comprehensive civil rights bill passed by a Southern state.” The law prohibits discrimination in employment and public accommodations and empowers cities to enact local laws against housing discrimination. [A Kentucky Civil Rights Timeline, http://www.ket.org/civilrights/timeline.htm]
See the exhibit in the Photographic Archives Gallery, Lower Level Ekstrom Library, University of Louisville. Open Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
As announced during African American History Month last year , the University of Louisville Libraries has made its run of the Louisville Leader newspaper freely available online, and seeks the community’s assistance in transcribing the articles for enhanced access.
Articles from fall 1935 have recently been selected for transcription. In addition to local news and announcements, topics currently available for transcription and recently transcribed include nationally and internationally significant events, filtered through a local lens, such as:
- Boxing’s “Brown Bomber,” Joe Louis, defeated Max Baer in New York in late September. Leader editors and readers were in attendance (calls for carpools were published in the weeks leading up to the fight), and New York-based former Louisville Municipal College instructor Earl Brown wrote an exclusive article on the event for the October 5 edition.
- The Mussolini-led Kingdom of Italy encroached on the Haile Selassie-led Ethiopian Empire in what became the Second Italo-Ethiopian War. Leader editors and readers noted parallels between the Fascist regime’s treatment of the African nation and their own treatment in Jim Crow America. They also noted the bias of the mainstream (white) media, singling out editorials by Hearst Newspapers’ Arthur Brisbane and Scripps-Howard columnist Westbrook Pegler.
- The death of Thomas Blue, head of what was then known as the Colored Department of the Louisville Free Public Library, resulted in a Leader obituary heralding his status as the first — and, at that point, only — person of color appointed to head a public library department in the United States.
- In another first, Republican Charles W. Anderson, Jr. was elected to represent the 58th Legislative District (Louisville 11th and 12th wards) in the Kentucky State House of Representatives. He was the first African American legislator elected in the South since Reconstruction.
Thank you to all who have contributed to our Leader project in the past year. More than 4,000 article segments have been transcribed! Please help us keep up the momentum, transcribing these stories and more like them so that future researchers can access them. Learn more about the project. Please note: at this time, the latest version of Firefox (v. 27) does not permit zooming and panning of the article images. We recommend using another browser.
I recently cataloged a series of photographs in the Caufield & Shook Collection for the University of Louisville Archives and Special Collections Library that were commissioned by the Louisville Gas & Electric Company. Although the original intent of the photographs was to document property prior to tree removal, they also document when this area was primarily farmland rather than developed residential and commercial real estate.
Here’s what the intersection of Brownsboro Lane and Chamberlain Lane looked like then:
Here’s what the intersection of Brownsboro Lane and Chamberlain Lane look like now:
Click through these images to see more views of Worthington from 1928.
If you are a UofL faculty, staff, or student, you have access to articles from Louisville’s local newspaper, The Courier-Journal. Access is provided through the Gannett Newstand database, available from either the “C” or “G” pages of the All Databases List. The Gannett database includes a number of other papers published by Gannett such as the Cincinnati Enquirer, so if you want to limit your search to just the Courier-Journal, you’ll need to use the Advanced Search, and search for the Courier-Journal in the Publication Title. See the picture below.
The database contains articles from 1999-the present. If you do not find an article you remember seeing in the online or print edition of the paper, it may be that the article was from a news service such as Reuters or reprinted from another paper such as the New York Times and you’ll need to look elsewhere for it. Contact a librarian if you need help!
Articles from before 1999 are likely not available online, or even on the computer! UofL has microfilm of the Courier-Journal dating back to 1868, and from the two proceeding newspapers Louisville Courier (1851) and the Louisville Journal (1833). Here is an example of the index (also on microfilm) to the CJ from 1918.
The earliest years of the Courier-Journal are being digitized, but currently, UofL does not have a subscription to that database; it is however, available from the Louisville Free Public Library.
There are many treasures to be found in the historical Courier-Journal. It would be an interesting assignment for students who want to trace the history of a local story, event, or famous person.
UofL also has several other newspapers of local historical interest on microfilm such as the Louisville Defender, the local African-American paper from 1951-2009; the Louisville Anzeiger, the local German language newspaper from 1849-1937; and the Louisville Leader, another African American newspaper currently being transcribed via crowdsourcing.
The office of Intramural & Recreational Sports donated 50 years’ worth of Intramurals champions boards to Archives & Special Collections beginning in 2012, along with funding to have the images stored in archival boxes, scanned, and cataloged. The images, arranged by year, are now available online within the UofL Images collection of University Libraries’ Digital Collections.
The enormous posters documenting fun aspects of student life had long been displayed along the walls of three Belknap Campus gyms, where alumni reportedly stopped by when on campus to point out their champions photos to children or grandchildren, but the renovations of two of those spaces, plus the sleek, glass-walled design of the new Student Recreation Center (opened in October 2013), meant these “memory lanes” would have to find a new home. One of the functions of Archives & Special Collections (ASC) is to serve as the memory of the university, so this partnership was the perfect solution. Intramural & Recreational Sports plans to provide access to the collection via a kiosk in the new Recreation Center.
The sports range from trends (Wallyball tournaments in the 1990s give way to Fantasy Football) to timeless classics (running and swimming); from individual achievements (bodybuilding) to team efforts (basketball, baseball, soccer); from indoor recreation (such as billiards) to outdoor fun (a springtime Putt Putt Golf excursion). Hairstyles and athletic wear also went through many changes during the five decades the posters were produced, but the individual and school pride and teambuilding instilled by the activities shows through across the board(s).
As Ekstrom Library continues to look at its spaces, we’re about to embark on an assessment of the east side of the first floor. Over the next four months, we’ll be using a variety of methods to look at how people use this space, including:
- Whiteboards,with a theme or question
- Quick polls (mini-surveys)
- Focus groups
To help us better shape this space, we want to learn more about what:
- Brings you to the library
- You do or what services you use while here
- Works well (and what we could be doing better)
You may notice some observations as early as next week; will start seeing the first round of polls and whiteboards around mid January; and, calls for focus group participation by the end of January. Keep an eye out for opportunities to join the conversation! It’s a chance for you to have your voice heard and influence how we use our spaces. We’re all (eyes and) ears and excited to learn from you!