Found Photos

Found Photos – Henry N. Mudge – A Suitcase of Negatives, 1916 to 1925 – Christoph Traugott

September 27, 2020

While out photoing in the rural Manchester and Glasgow, Scott County, Illinois areas, I stopped into the Winchester Historic Square area, and made a beeline for the Antique store, but it was closed, so circled around the area taking photos of the courthouse and other historic buildings. My father, who accompanied me on the trip, was wandering around too, and somehow found the owner, who let us in the back of the store. It turns out the place was formerly an antique store, converting into a medical services facility. They were wanting to get rid of everything, just nothing much there that interested me. That is until looked in a normally-closed back room; there on the bottom of stacked cardboard boxes full of miscellaneous antiques, a SUITCASE FULL of prints and negatives.

The photos, mainly constituting of trips to Indiana and Illinois Sand Dunes, taken by a Henry N. Mudge (Feb. 20, 1853 to Jan. 5, 1927) of Illinois. Advertising Agent of the Illinois Central Railroad, the Main Line of Mid-America. Henry N. Mudge was also President of the American Philatelic Society (1909-1911), his photo envelope return (or Office) address said, 6643 Normal Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, which was also the Headquarters of the American Philatelic Society at the time. Henry was the son of Zachariah and Caroline (Goodridge) Mudge. His spouse was Lydia S. Bowler Mudge (1851 – 1910).

His photos feature a cast of characters, from Esther Johnson, Anna Johnson, Charlie Johnson, Eleanor Marie Johnson, Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, Hilda Lundeen & Carl, Esther C. The Johnson house was located at 7315 South Union Ave, also a 6720 South Lowe Ave, is mentioned a good deal. Frequent locations are Olympia Fields, Mineral Springs, Dune Park, and Parlor Park. Olympia Fields, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, is about 25 miles south of The Loop. Indiana Dunes State Park is also fairly close to the Chicago area. Also mentioned are Waverly Beach (Porter, Indiana) and some place called “Wyckliffe.”

Illinois Central Magazine, Jan. 1922: 

H. N. Mudge, who has just retired as general advertising agent of the Illinois Central, has been in that position continuously for 30 years and 8 months. Mr. Mudge was born in Massachusetts in 1853. He was educated in the public schools of that state and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at Boston, where he later served as an instructor for several years. He was advertising agent of the Burlington for seven years before he came to the Illinois Central. Among various activities for the Illinois Central, Mr. Mudge was the author of the “Rambler’ stories which were published each month for six years in the Illinois Central Magazine. He is an ardent amateur photographer and often illustrated his stories with pictures taken by himself. The accompanying picture was taken last summer on the Indiana sand dunes, where Mr. Mudge frequently takes outings. Mr. Mudge confesses enthusiasm for the outdoor life.

122 roll film, Postcard-Format (3¼ × 5½)

July 4th, 1918, Johnson Family and Henry N. Mudge, at Dune Park.

July 4th, 1918, Johnson Family at Dune Park

July 4th, 1918, Johnson Family at Dune Park

July 4th, 1918, Johnson Family at Dune Park

July 4th, 1918, Johnson Family, at Dune Park

July 4th, 1918, Johnson Family, at Dune Park

Shooting Practice, Henry N. Mudge, at Dune Park on July 4th, 1918

July 4th, 1918, Johnson Family at Dune Park.

Finally, the above is sample of indexed photo packets, each packet has 10 to 30 negatives, and sometimes, but not always, accompanied by prints. Reorganized and curated, with photo indexes and descriptions.

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10 Comments

  • Reply
    Neil Kesterson
    September 27, 2020 at 1:56 pm

    Thank you for this Christoph. I’ve been trying to confirm a date range of some family photos from southern Ohio. I suspected 1917-1920, and your pictures look like my family could have been celebrating the 4th with the Johnsons. The striped dress and the hair styles are the key. A family celebration would be the time to bring out the camera in those days. America was at war (as was my grandfather) and any excuse to have fun was important.

  • Reply
    Kurt Ingham
    September 27, 2020 at 4:30 pm

    Great tuf, thanks!

  • Reply
    Kurt Ingham
    September 27, 2020 at 4:31 pm

    stuff…

  • Reply
    D Evan Bedford
    September 27, 2020 at 6:28 pm

    Wow! Pure gold! Thanks for posting this.

  • Reply
    Scott Gitlin
    September 27, 2020 at 10:01 pm

    . . . and kind of a responsibility to now become the curator for this treasure trove of American life in the early 20th century.

  • Reply
    Merlin Marquardt
    September 28, 2020 at 12:48 am

    The suitcase of negatives from 1915 to 1926 is the same suitcase that appears in a couple of the photographs of the family at the Dunes National Park from July 4, 1918?

    • Reply
      Christoph Traugott
      September 28, 2020 at 4:24 am

      Possible, lots of suitcases pictured in whole collection however, stamp collecting suitcases, full of stamps, I assume, advertising chromolithographs suitcases, sand-dune picnic suitcases, and as I suspect, per other reference material, two or tree more suitcases lost to time, which is a real a shame, as I think those contained Chicago and Illinois Central Railroad photos. But he was rather fond of suitcases, so lots to choose from.

  • Reply
    Kodachromeguy
    September 28, 2020 at 3:31 pm

    Fantastic. This is a valuable glimpse into another era. Will our digital files be readable by our descendents in 102 years??

    • Reply
      Christoph Traugott
      September 28, 2020 at 5:42 pm

      Well not an easy lot here either, historical negatives produce newton rings like so many dandelions, and present a whole differing set of compounding issues, that the modern 135/120 and Sheet shooters simply miss. Flatbeds are a still a dismal lot for negatives, minus maybe Creo/Cezannes, but ideally drums and Coolscan 9000 EDs, but I do 116, 122, and 130 other oddball historical formats, that the dedicateds don’t dedicate to. If had a Heidelberg Tango all perfect, but those require super investments on the level of a city-state and demand eternal babysitting, but results = wow. The museum archive requirements I operate under, means DSLR scanning, an often proposed solution, is simply not an option. So, the most economical best-results way, in my experience, emu-side taped (3M Green, NOT 2060 Blue) to the bottom of a 8×10 ANR (ScanTech Inc. has best glass imho) with 1.6mm risers on the 750/850s. The default holders, “Better” Scanning holders and the supposed much-loved DigitalLIZA, just don’t get flat enough, triple for some of these old negatives that curl around the world. Yet, in pure reality, wet mount best, just a major royal pain, but if mission critical, I trust in Lumina scanning fluid being safe for (most) film, no way would I want to work with Kami on a regular basis. But saving up for a personal Creo/Kodak IQsmart3, so don’t have to book time. 🙂

  • Reply
    Ben Garcia
    September 28, 2020 at 9:50 pm

    Amazing work, Christoph!

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