Tips for the Holidays, and After

Illustration by Emerich Huber, 1955, from an unidentified German magazine

Greetings of the Season to all of my readers! Although my lead image is not a photograph, you may notice that Santa has photographs (which are drawn) on his walls, as well as volumes of thank you notes. Those are all the photos of and notes from the dignitaries and famous folks who love him. I apologize that you cannot read the caption at the bottom of my photograph of the illustration: Santa is preparing to leave, and saying to his helpers (not elves, but little angels) “So children, it’s really getting late!” My family always called this illustration “Santa Archivist,” and it was tacked on my father’s office door until he retired, then it was posted on my office door, and now it is scotchtaped on my home office door each holiday season until January 6th.

Marion Post Wolcott, Roadside sign, Bible Belt, Greene County, Georgia; Gelatin silver print  1939, Photographed for FSA; J. Paul Getty Museum, object number 2007.8.16 

Now for those recent, useful tips online that have come across my virtual desk. Consider much of this as an update to your infomation on “Photographers Working in the South.”

Let’s start with Georgia.

I again tried the term “Georgia” in the Getty Search Gateway, searching only for Open Content images. This site often updates, but there were only 24 hits for my term (Georgia, as in the U. S. state), although there were others for the state of Georgia that came up in my search using a broader search (which also included hits for photos of Georgia O’Keeffe by Steiglitz, etc.). So try all types of search methods here, and see what you get on this useful site.

More good news from the Digital Library of Georgia! There are now  indexes online that chronicle all of Georgia’s 159 counties from the 1930s to 1990s. DLG partnered with the University of Georgia Map and Government Information Library (MAGIL) on this Georgia Aerial Photography Index Collection. Now there is access to digital versions of all Georgia county indexes in MAGIL’s physical collection to more than 1200 indexes to maps produced by U.S. government agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service (ASCS). There are also about 50,000 black and white photographs in this collection. One can search for farms, bridges, highways, intersections, and more. If you are interested in history, genealogy,ecology, geography, archeology, or urban planning, this is a valuable resource for you.

Now on to the state of Tennessee:

A recent gift to the Library of Congress was made by photographer J.D. Sloan of 92 gelatin silver prints. These photographs show a humorous, but insightful look at the culture and street life of 1970s Nashville. Photographs of Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Buck Owens, and others are included, as well perfomers as intimate venues like the Pickin’ Parlor. Another topic he covered is Nashville residents at work, such as cooks, locksmiths, farmers, and vendors. A recent post on the Prints & Photographs Picture This blog describes the collection and leads you to the photographs, to which Sloan has attached a Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND license.

The South:

Remember Drive-Ins? Another post appeared on the LC P&P blog Picure This, on this topic late last month, noting that in the 1950s and 60s drive-ins numbered over 4,000 across the U.S.A. The Prints and Photographs Division holds Jack K. Vogel’s drive-in theater drawing collection. His family still operates the Bengies Drive-In Theatre in Baltimore, Maryland. “This collection allows researchers to see the care that went into designing these spaces. Looking at these drawings, one gains a sense of how automobile and pedestrian traffic was directed, how cars were spaced, and how architects designed theaters with the particular landscape and locale in mind.”

John Margolies, North 53 Drive-In Theater sign, Route 53, Rome, Georgia, 1980, color transparency; Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-mrg-00332

For photographs of Drive-Ins across our country, try the John Margolies Roadside America photograph archive or  the Carol M. Highsmith archive. These are both at the Library of Congress and are wonderful resources of free-to-use images. For a search on “Georgia” for photographs of these Drive-Ins, across the LC photograpic collections, I only came up with four hits. We know there must have been more photos of them taken, but they are not in this collection. For a search on Tennessee, there is only one hit, only two for North Carolina, and five for South Carolina, there are ten for Florida, but several (57) hits for Texas!

Related miscellany: 

The Smithsonian Learning Lab has been adding many new materials the past several months. You can now personalize your research on the Lab, with items found in the Smithsonian, and elsewhere on the web. “The power to create and store personalized collections of discovery will not only help you scale your expertise on a particular topic, but also allow you to efficiently add to it without having to start your quest for knowledge from scratch. You can create an engaging learning experience that combines the authentic resources of the Smithsonian with your own materials that you’ve created or found elsewhere on the web.”

There is an excellent guide to Smithsonian Open Access” where you can download, share, and reuse millions of the Smithsonian’s images—right now, without asking.” There are over 3 million 2D and 3D digital items in their collections, including images from their 19 museums, nine research centers, libraries, archives, and even the National Zoo.

For fun, take a look at this wondeful website The 19th-Century Roots of Instagram developed by Adrienne Lundgren, Senior Photograph Conservator at the Library of Congress, regarding the Amateur Photographic Exchange Club. These items are part of the Charles F. Himes collection of stereographs by amateur photographers in the Marian S. Carson collection. The group exchanged photographs six times per year, and members could not be professional photographers, but could be employed in a related field. Oliver Wendell Holmes was an honorary member.

Edward L. Cottenet, Plantation billiard room South Carolina, albumen print stereograph, Oct. 1861; Charles F. Himes collection of stereographs by amateur photographers, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, control number 2005683842

There is only one image found here made in the South, titled “Plantation billiard room South Carolina,” and made by Edward L. Cottenet in October 1861. Continue to move your screen down to see the information on this site change and change again, as well as a map of the Photographic Club’s contributors – all very cleverly done!

The National Archives recently launched a new web-based finding aid featuring digitized historical photographs from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) records. You can explore digital copies of over 18,000 photographs with the help of the Bureau of Indian Affairs Photographs Finding Aid. We can search by Tribal Nation, Topic, or State, and in addition, one can explore tabs labeled Tribal Nations, and Photographs of Notable American Indians. I found that in the Southeast region no photographs are found other than the four for Florida related to the Seminole. There are some photos taken in the eastern U.S., in Pennsylvania, and New York, but most images found here are from the upper midwest and western states

In closing, let me point you to the November/December isssue of the Library of Congress Magazine (LCM). This is the  “Great Photographs” issue. The photos presented are often large, some on their own page, with captions that give information on the photographer and the subject matter.  There is so much to see here. The lead photograph is a well-known image by Atlanta, Georgia, photographer T. E. Askew, although it is incorrectly captioned. It is of the ca. 1898 “Summit Avenue Ensemble,” which included five of Askew’s six sons (he also had three daughters). His twins, born in about 1879 [they are one year olds on the 1880 census], are both seated: Clarence holds a mandolin (far left, d. 1903) and Walter (far right, d. 1907) holds a viola, between them is their brother Arthur (1876-1917) with a violin, and behind them, left to right are brother Norman (1883-1913), neighbor Jake Sansome, who perhaps holds the neck of a violin, and Askew’s oldest son Robert (1873-1899) with a mandolin. There was only one pair of twins among T. E. Askew’s sons.

Inside are articles and photos regarding the current Pandemic, an album of Civil War photographs by Andrew J. Russell, excellent examples of photographs by Hispanic, Native-American, Asian-American, and African-American photographers, as well as more recognized, iconic, photographs by Margaret Bourke White, Lewis W. Hine, Dorothea Lange, and Gordon Parks, an article on the LC photos used in the exhibit “Not an Ostrich, and Other Images from America’s Library,” a discussion of stereographs, and so much more. It is a wonderful and full issue, and it can be downloaded to your computer.

© E. Lee Eltzroth and Hunting & Gathering, 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs, without written permission from this blog’s author, is prohibited. With permission, excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to E. Lee Eltzroth and Hunting & Gathering, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


  1. Katrina Bérubé · · Reply

    Thank you for theses wonderful resources. I have a confederate soldier relative who I (and the Atlanta History Museum) have been trying to locate a photograph of. Do you have any tips?
    Thank you and happy holidays!

    1. Try the collections at LC, who have many photos of soldiers. with his name, and if you have his company, unit, etc. try the various Military collections around the country. It is always harder to find images of Confederate solders, of course!

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