Found Photos

Found Photos – Sam Hyde’s Photography Adventures, 1898-1904 – by Christoph Traugott

October 25, 2020

Sam Hyde’s Photography Adventures, 1898-1904, travelogue and personal pictures came in quite the elaborate handmade-showpiece-styled photo-album. Images are of locations in the Illinois side of the St. Louis area, Chicago, Wisconsin and more, even as far off as the Sandwich Islands. A found photos family-archive project for Doug & Eileen Leunig, founders of the  city-mural-displaying, Big Picture Initiative, whom have graciously allowed for the digitization and display of Sam Hyde’s images.

Samuel Peake Hyde, born Feb 17, 1850, in St. Francisville, Clark, Missouri; died on April 28, 1921, in Belleville, St. Clair, Illinois. Sam was the son of Edwin C. Hyde and Elizabeth Hyde. Samuel was a clerk for J. G. Green Company, 1867, and then worked with his father as a manager at E.C. Hyde & Co., Storage and Commission, 4 South Commercial Street. Sam resided at 37 North Douglas, Belleville, Illinois.

“In the immediate vicinity of St. Louis, it lies in the very heart of the great industrial center of our nation, from which the mighty arteries of trade and industrial life pulsate to every confine of the land. Surrounding Belleville, roll the richest of the alluvial prairies of St. Clair County, whose fertility is beyond description. These furnish to the husbandman bounteous return for his labors. Underneath these extend the almost inexhaustible fields of coal.” — ‘Belleville, Illinois Illustrated, Some Phases of Life in the City and Many of its Principal Points of Interest’, 1905



2nd Missouri Volunteer Infantry, Company D, Spanish American War, 1898.

On April 25, 1898 the United States declared war on Spain following the sinking of the Battleship Maine in Havana harbor on February 15, 1898. The war ended with the signing of the Treaty of Paris on December 10, 1898. As a result Spain lost its control over the remains of its overseas empire — Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines Islands, Guam, and other islands. The war had cost the United States $250 million and 3,000 lives, of whom 90% had perished from infectious diseases.

In early Chicago city planning, subways were too expensive to consider, elevated tracks appeared to be the right choice. On June 6, 1892, the first elevated line in Chicago opened, running from Congress Parkway and State Street to 39th Street, along the alley, behind and around buildings, its route was completely through city-owned alleys. Earning it the nickname “Alley ‘L'”, this was done to circumvent the difficulty of obtaining consent signatures from the property owners along the streets, something required by Cities and Villages Act of 1872

The photos were badly silver mirrored. Silver Mirroring is a form of old picture degradation, that manifests as a reflective, silver bluish cast in the shadows, creating reverse contrast issues in scanning and photoing. The silver in the print’s binder oxidizes over time to form silver ions.  I correct digitally, and have found that Charles Berger’s forensic Color Deconvolution plug-in, works in replacing the various dark blues with shaded grays. You can also effectively mitigate silver mirroring through cross polarization techniques.

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  • Reply
    Jonathan Leavitt
    October 25, 2020 at 1:11 pm

    What a wonderful collection of photographs! Thank you for putting this together.

  • Reply
    October 25, 2020 at 3:06 pm

    Wonderful! As a displaced Chicagoan now in California, seeing those old Chicago images was a real treat!

  • Reply
    Ian R
    October 25, 2020 at 4:17 pm

    Really loving this series so far. Thank you for your efforts

  • Reply
    Scott Gitlin
    October 26, 2020 at 12:54 am

    So interesting to see these. Thank you.

  • Reply
    Michael Jardine
    October 26, 2020 at 6:00 am

    These incredible scenes explain the wide-eyed wonder of the rest of the world looking at the new cities of the American Mid-west in the 19th and early 20th centuries. They are also testing my recall of Sigfried Giedion’s ‘Mechanization Takes Command’… thanks for posting!

  • Reply
    October 26, 2020 at 4:22 pm

    belle, sono “quasi” invidioso!

  • Reply
    October 27, 2020 at 6:41 pm

    Thank you very much. I found these photos to be very interesting. It is always interesting to see what was important for the people creating the photographs of their day.

  • Reply
    October 27, 2020 at 8:33 pm

    I have photographed a lot of silvered prints. The best technique is to use are polarizing filters on the light sources and a pola filter on the lens. When you rotate the lens filter the silvering disappears. Its very effective.

    • Reply
      Christoph Traugott
      October 27, 2020 at 9:38 pm

      Yeah, cross polarization works great, just here for this project, needed more Museum-Archive Creo iQsmart 3 level scans, for zoom-details, multi-crops and other such, ideally cross-polarization on a PhaseOne XT Camera System (wish owned, sigh), but hyperspectral imaging (imho) works even better, but not really a mere-mortals process.

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