Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Road Back In Time:





A few days back I was surfing around, looking for early photographs of African Americans in Kentucky, and happened on a collection of images made by Elmer Foote, mostly magic lantern slides, taken in my county sometime between 1900 and 1915. There were a few photos of later date, and to my amazement, this image of Dutton Hill, (on the left) made during the WPA projects (1935/43).
David and I went to the spot and I took a photo that shows the change between then and now.
The Elmer Foote Collection is in the archives of the Lexington Public Library, who very graciously have granted permission for me to work with the images.
The magic lantern slides were tinted, by hand - somehow the color is a bit of magic. And magical to see these images at all - a local photo historian told me that he'd never seen any images of African Americans taken in this county before the 40s, and even those are rare. Although they are probably not relatives of Pete and Charles, they could be. In any event, they are a little glimpse, albeit colored, into what life at the turn of the century would have been like for Pete, and Charles, if he was still around.



5 comments:

SBD said...

EEEEEEEEEooooooow! what a trove. Are you the luckiest researcher, ever? Or does hard work just pay off, as Joe and Cebah always taught? I always have known my place....finding the inhabitants of that place make me realize much more about who I am.
Lucky me.

Dan Dutton said...

Lucky, definitely, too. The Elmer Foote collection is pretty amazing - there are nine images that pertain especially to YACB - but all the magic lantern slides are wonderfully evocative. I'll hypertext the link to the Lex Public Library when I get a minute. Foote must have visited Somerset, Burnside, and surroundings more than once - I don't know what his story is. Oh if only one had time to follow ALL the stories!

I'd really like to take up the poem again, but certain things concerning Daniel 1 & Lucy Jane Browning have to be cleared up before I can even take up Pete's part for another round. Jennifer is at the Bourbon Co. Courthouse today & we've both got our fingers crossed that something is there. Lucy Jane was living with her grandmother Pennington at the time she met Daniel. The Penningtons had a 45 year old female slave in 1850 - & most likely she was Pete's mother.

Cathy said...

Amazing, Dan. The magic lantern slides are indeed magical! So are the two photos of the Hill.

Apifera Farm said...

I always find it fascinating how old pics of terrain show how settlers went in and tore /cleared so many trees, and they got replanted sparingly again. Really cool DAn. Your poems are just too much for my head - that's not an insult. I will reread when I am less sick with foggy head cold.

Dan Dutton said...

At SOME point, lord knows when, I'm planning to do some paintings that will show this landscape 100 -200 - years previous - returning the forest that the settlers cut, itself a regrowth from the forest management of the native people who died in the epidemics brought in by De Soto.

I hear you about the head imploding from a combination of congestion and poetry. Mercy! (see next poem.)