It is currently Sat Nov 18, 2017 11:39 am

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 7 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: "Robert Graham, St. Paul, Minn."
PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 5:24 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8353
Location: Baltimore, MD
We at the Maryland Rail Heritage Library recently disassembled an old-fashioned photo album that was full of small b/w photographs that had the rubber stamp credit on the back:
Quote:
ROBERT GRAHAM
ST. PAUL, MINN.

The photos are all your classic 3/4 wedge roster shots of steam locomotives that were popularly traded from the 1920s through the 1950s.

Our suspicions are aroused because if this guy really did take all these photographs, he got to ridiculously obscure corners of the railroad network. We have everything from the Knox Railroad in Maine to Santa Fe 2-10-2's in Topeka, Kansas, Alton steam, shortline steam, narrow-gauge steam, loggers, West Virginia hollows, you name it. The output of this guy would have been up there with Otto Perry, Rob Richardson, or any of the more modern "greats" such as Jim Boyd.

And yet we've never heard of him. An internet search pulls up a few photos in some collections credited to him in the same way, referring to the name on the back.

From the diversity of subjects with his name on the back, I'm tempted to think he was a print and/or negative collector/trader, not necessarily the actual photographer. We've run into this syndrome already with our library, with at least one large collection having to be rebranded from "GXXX NXXX's Photos" to "GXXX NXXX's Photo Collection" as sufficient evidence surfaced to show he was a rampant copier, borrower, thief, and/or careless cataloger.

Does anyone know for sure?


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: "Robert Graham, St. Paul, Minn."
PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 7:04 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 5:52 pm
Posts: 513
Location: Apple Valley, Minnesota
Sandy, I have an "APB" out to the local rail/trolley fans here in the Twin Cities to see if anyone recognizes the name or knows the fellow. We actually have a Bill Graham in our Museum, so I'll call him and see if he knows the guy. I doubt it but you never know...

If I come up with something, I'll advise.

Thanks!

_________________
Jim Vaitkunas
Minnesota Streetcar Museum
www.trolleyride.org


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: "Robert Graham, St. Paul, Minn."
PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 7:04 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 2:50 pm
Posts: 2091
Location: Northern Illinois
I suspect you are correct that these are traded neg.s, but Robert Graham was relatively well know in the Twin Cities. He is also responsible for a reproduction Soo Line locomotive diagram book, where he re-drew all the older diagrams, and drew new diagrams to match the older format for engines that were too new to have ever been originally drawn in the older format. The only clue was that he dated these later sheets with the dates he drew them, which being in the early sixties, were after most the engines depicted had been scrapped. While I have a full set of copies of blue-lines of these sheets, I'd dearly like to find his originals.

For someone who actually knew Mr. Graham, you might want to talk to Larry Easton, the archivist of the Soo Line Historical & Technical Society. <mileposts@sbcglobal.net> should put you in touch.

_________________
Dennis Storzek


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: "Robert Graham, St. Paul, Minn."
PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 7:38 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2012 1:07 pm
Posts: 138
Location: Utah
This isn't related to Robert Grahm, but when the Floyd Jarvis Collection of slides, negatives and prints was donated to the Utah State Railroad Museum a similar situation was found to be the case - in a 12-volume set of 3-ring binders chock full of neat old prints of B&W photos, most of them were stamped with "Floyd Jarvis, Ogden, Utah" on the back. It was only after I recieved some copies of Jack Thode photos while doing research that I realized every single photograph was a copy traded from someone else.

Floyd was the Otto Perry of the 1970s and 80s, traveling the country and particuarly the D&RGW taking thousands of roster shots. We have several binders of slides that we do know are his, but sorting through the prints for duplicates of other collections is going to be a real bear of a project.

_________________
Regards,

Josh B.


Director, Golden Spike Chapter R&LHS
The official D&RGW 223 website


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: "Robert Graham, St. Paul, Minn."
PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 8:13 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 3:37 pm
Posts: 1055
Location: Pacific, MO
I would think Mr. Graham was a neg trader from "back in the day". This used to be quite common. One of our local folks, R.J.Foster was unofficially dubbed "The King of Engine Photos". Mr. Foster owned a pharmacy in O'Fallon, IL and his trademark camera was the trusty Kodak folding postcard (122) and a huge wooden tripod. He would set up when the light was low during the morning or evening, many times gave the hostler a cigar to spot the engine just right. Then he would fire off a whole roll (6 shots). When he got a wooden box full of exposed rolls, he would send it off to G.M.Best who was a trading buddy and worked for a movie studio in Hollywood for developing. Mr. Best would keep one neg of each engine for his trouble. The rest would be put up for trade or sale by Mr. Foster. His work was beautiful. I'm sure a lot of folks wound up with these negs and didn't bother giving credit to Mr. Foster.
Of all my negatives in my negative collection, I always give credit to the photographer when I know who it is. It's a matter of respect. A lot of times, someone will put their stamp on the back of a print just to let people know where it dame from.
There's one person who has had photos in magazines and books for many years and they always have his credit line. This is OK if he is 175 years old and has spent all those years traveling and taking pictures. To say "I don't know who took this" when you have been in the business for many years is ludicrous because the old timers' work was identifiable. Some, like Mr. Foster when he used a 616 had little notches filed on the film plate in the camera which told the world it was his shot. Several of his friends had the same notch code.
I have some prints with Mr. Graham's stamp on the back as I'm sure many others have and just figured it was a sign of the collecting times back then.
The internet has made nothing safe any more. I'd still rather share what I have even knowing that if it helps a fellow Frisco fanatic. That's a sign of our times.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: "Robert Graham, St. Paul, Minn."
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 8:31 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2017 6:16 pm
Posts: 1
I would like to bring the subject of Mr. Robert Graham back up. I have knowledge of 22 albums compiled by Mr. Graham, each of them with several hundred photos of steam locomotives, organized by rail line. These books were given to a deceased friend of mine, and are now in the possession of his widowed wife. My friend and his wife were friends and neighbors of Mr. and Mrs. Graham. Prior to Mr. Graham's death in 1981, he gave the books to my friend. The story (as my friend's wife remembers it) is that Mr. Graham, who was an architect in Stillwater, Minn., had a motorcycle with a sidecar. As Mr. and Mrs. Graham had no children, they would often spend their free time traveling the country taking pictures of steam locomotives. Mr. Graham developed his own pictures and put them into albums. At some point near the end of his life, someone offered to buy the negatives from Mr. Graham. Mr. Graham sold the negatives, receiving only one payment from the dishonest buyer. We are currently looking for a home for the 22 albums. Knowing little about Mr. Graham, I was happy to find this posting here. If any one has more information on Mr. Graham, I would be very glad to hear it.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: "Robert Graham, St. Paul, Minn."
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 11:28 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 24, 2004 5:41 pm
Posts: 188
Location: Colfax,WI
You might want to try the Colfax railroad Museum in Colfax, WI. We're opening a new library/archive in the 1898 depot. We currently have over 1000 hardback books, 3000+ periodcals and softbacks, 450 videos, the Soo Line track plans for WI, the tech drawings for Northwest Motor Co., over 2500 slides and over 400 photos.
Herb Sakalaucks
Chairman
Colfax RR Museum

_________________
Herb Sakalaucks
Chairman
Colfax Railroad Museum


Offline
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 7 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]


 Who is online

Users browsing this forum: baldwin, Bing [Bot], elecuyer, Google [Bot], Yahoo [Bot] and 37 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to: