3 Views of Milk Goat

I’ve been working my way through the 1940s invoices for the Caufield & Shook Collection. Caufield & Shook was a photography studio that did business in Louisville from 1903 to 1978. Their motto was “We photograph anything, day or night.”

As part of our ongoing digitization project, I’ve been writing descriptions of scanned photographs for this collection. Around 1100 of them from the 1920s and 1930s are already available online in Caufield & Shook Collection of the Digital Collections

Now I’m working on a new batch: images from the 1940s. Part of my process is tracking down the original invoices that the company recorded for each image. When the company went out of business they donated the collection and the invoices to the University of Louisville Libraries Photographic Archives. The negatives and photographs are organized by image number; unfortunately, the invoices are organized by client name. So I’m making an index that tells us which images are from which clients so that we can find the invoice info, like date, client name, and any notes on what the image is.

While this can be tedious sometimes, it’s taught me a lot about the nature of the work Caufield & Shook did and, in fact, a lot about the city of Louisville. Just to give you an idea, let me tell you about a client whose invoices I was working with this morning.

The invoice that caught my eye had this note on it, “3 views of milk goat on Keene Farm.” The client was Ewing Von Allmen Dairy Company located at 431 West Oak Street. I don’t know why that caught my eye – maybe because I just like goats – but on further examination I learned some more things about the company. For one thing, the company ordered 65 images from Caufield & Shook during the 1940s. Those images included displays at groceries and other stores like McCrory’s 5 and 10¢ Store,  Schmitt’s Grocery (at 2700 S. Fourth Street), and the Piggly-Wiggly (at 2208 Bardstown Road). There are pictures of safety meetings and a laboratory. The invoices record the company’s involvement with the community, including pictures of the Sealtest bowling and baseball teams, a children’s party at Kentucky Dairies, and an ice cream stand at the Kentucky State Fair.

If I can learn this much from a bunch of invoices, I can’t wait to see the photos!

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