Collection Number: M87-29
Creator: Jack Spottswood Photography
Title: Spottswood Photographic Collection, 1916-1967
Quantity: 50,000 photographs (not all are online)
The 2,500 prints on this Web site represent a selection from the Spottswood Collection. The entire collection can be viewed onsite at the State Archives of Florida in Tallahassee.
Description: This collection consists of over 50,000 images comprising five decades of photography by Jack and Gordon Spottswood. As commercial photographers, the Spottswoods were kept on retainer by the Seaboard Railroad and the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, and they did a considerable amount of work for real estate agencies and for insurance companies photographing accident scenes. As a result, the collection contains numerous images of Jacksonville-area street scenes, businesses, churches, hotels, theaters, and trains, as well as studio portraits and wedding photographs.
Among the images in this collection are stores, restaurants, banks, automobile dealerships, service stations, and other businesses; synagogues, churches, choirs, and pastors and their families; scouting groups, political organizations, athletic clubs, charitable organizations, fraternal organizations, and other clubs and civic organizations; construction sites and equipment; funerals and wakes; railroad train engines, crews, passenger cars, freight cars, tracks, yards, and terminals; other transportation images, including cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, ships and boats, and planes; residences, including private homes, apartments, and housing projects; school buildings, groups, and events, including public and private high schools, vocational schools, military academies, and business colleges; sporting groups and events; and advertising displays for banks, stores, food manufacturers, and other businesses. Women are well represented in the collection. Areas of particular interest are postmortem photographs, women working in health care, and union strike photographs.
Historical Note: John Gordon "Jack" Spottswood Junior was the son of a Jacksonville stock claim agent. Jack Junior did free-lance photography and worked as an assistant sports editor and photographer for the Florida Times-Union before establishing an independent photographic studio in 1915. Jack's son, John Gordon Spottswood, known as Gordon (or J. Gordon), graduated in 1943 from Bolles Military Academy before serving in the United States Navy during World War II. After the war, Gordon went to work as a photographer in Spottswood Studio, later known as Jack Spottswood Photography (or Jack Spottswood Studio). After Jack's death (ca. 1950), Gordon continued operating the studio for several decades. After closing the downtown studio, Gordon Spottswood set up a studio in his home to continue taking portraits until his death in 2009. Gordon Spottswood became the first certified forensic photographer in the state and received the first lifetime membership in the Professional Photographers of Florida.
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