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Jewish History Resources at the McCall Library: Photographic Collections

This guide is comprised of primary sources, including records of businesses and synagogues, and the papers of individuals. The guide provides a brief description of each collection, including dates, size, and links to any online guides. In addition, this


OVERBEY, ERIK (81-02-51, 81-03-48, 81-07-50, 81-03-49, 85-01-01, 85-02-02, 85-07-04, 85-08-05, 85-03-03, 09-07-51)

This collection consists of approximately 95,000 glass, nitrate, and safety negatives (5 x 7, 8 x 10, and panorama) produced by Erik Overbey and the Overbey Studio between 1903 and 1963, or by the William A. Reed Studio from the 1880s until it closed in 1911. The collection also includes glass plate, nitrate, and safety negative portraits of Mobilians and scenes of Mobile and surrounding areas. The principal subject areas in the non-portrait work are: buildings and businesses, waterfront, ships, street scenes, recreation, religion, education, Mardi Gras, houses, transportation, and construction. Portraits are filed alphabetically but only printed upon request. Most of the non-portrait nitrate and glass plate negatives, and a smaller portion of the safety negatives have been printed and are grouped by subject. The collection also includes many original prints and six small record books kept by Erik Overbey.


Consists of approximately 6,000 color (35mm) and 290 black and white glass lantern slides made by Henry L. Hagenbring between 1948 and 1965. After retiring as a haberdasher, Hagenbring made many trips all over the world, capturing the places, flora, and fauna he saw along the way. Included in the collection are images of Germany, Italy, Jerusalem, Morocco, Sweden, Australia, Japan, Norway, Brazil, Hong Kong, Peru, South America, and Austria, as well as other foreign places. Closer to home, the collection also contains a few slides of a train in Foley, some images from Magnolia Springs (mostly of a familial nature but a couple do show the river), and a few slides of Fort Morgan. None of the slides have been printed. If requested, they are only available digitally.

MOBILE PRESS-REGISTER (80-03-39, 87-07-147, 87-07-148)

Donation number 39 contains more than 60,000 black and white negatives (120mm and 35mm film) taken by various photographers for the newspaper between 1971 and 1976. Dates and information about the subject are given, and the photographer is usually identified. Subjects in the collection are too numerous to list. Only a few prints have been made. The other two donations are made up of 143 photographs of various sizes taken by an assortment of newspaper photographers. Some were taken in the 1930s and others in the 1960s. Of particular note are the images of the 1966 and 1968 Senior Bowls and the construction of the Water Street expressway. The 1930s images show activities at the state docks. (See also Printed Material under Mobile [Press] Register.)


ST. JOHN, SAM (99-08-353)

This collection consists of 283 historic black and white and hand-colored postcards and 3 photographs in an album, 37 images and text found in Peter J. Hamilton's Artwork of Mobile and Vicinity (1894), and 10 copy negatives of postcards. The postcards feature early 20th-century shots of the Mobile area. The copied postcards were made into color slides and feature the Mobile Yacht Club. Some other cities, including Charleston, Birmingham, Biloxi, and New Orleans, are also represented. There are also a few early holiday greeting postcards and some World War I cards.

AZALEA CITY NEWS (90-08-211)

The Azalea City News, a weekly newspaper dedicated to local events, arts, sports, and entertainment, was published in Mobile from 1974 to 1991. The early format was monthly and more political; it became bi-monthly, and finally weekly. The McCall Library holds 1982-1990. The paper has also been microfilmed. (See also Photograph Collections under the same heading.) 

GOULD, ELIZABETH B. (89-09-207)

This collection is made up of over 1,000 slides (35mm) illustrating Mobile's architectural heritage and made by architectural historian Elizabeth Gould. The slides are well identified and organized principally by architectural styles. The collection also includes 35mm black and white negatives made by Gould to illustrate her 1988 book From Fort to Port: An Architectural History of Mobile, Alabama, 1711-1918 (1988).


MOBILE HISTORIC DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION (90-04-210, 91-09-237, 92-18-251, 09-030489)

This larger collection actually consists of four smaller donations. The first, donated in 1990, consists of photographs made in the 1960s for the Mobile Housing Board of buildings before their demolition for the widening of Water and Beauregard streets and the construction of the Texas and Orange Grove housing projects. Images of the buildings, now demolished, are filed alphabetically by street address. There are no negatives and the prints are small (3 x 5). The second donation, given in 1991, is made up of carbon copies of appraisals done in various years. Around 20 of them were done as part of the Big Creek Lake project. Black and white photographs of the appraised structures are usually included. The third donation, given in 1992 consists of 10 architectural drawings on linen of the Chickasaw business district done in 1919-1920 by William H. March. Among other structures, the drawings show a drug store, a bakery, and a barbershop. The last donation, given in 2009, contains approximately 35,000 black and white negatives and slides (primarily 35mm) of structures in Mobile's seven historic districts, as well as buildings on the Eastern Shore and other areas including Axis, Chastang, and Mount Vernon. Most of the negatives have accompanying contact sheets. (See also Manuscript Collections under Mobile Housing Board.)

MARX, JULIUS E. (85-03-116)

Contains approximately 10,000 black and white negatives and prints of various sizes made between 1927 and 1985 of Mobile properties which were rented or sold by Marx Realty, one of the city's oldest real estate businesses. It is particularly useful to architectural researchers since buildings can be located by block and lot number. Photographs made of the same location over many years also document the changes that occurred to structures and entire neighborhoods. Most structures photographed are also described as regards size, condition, and price on file cards which accompany the pictures. Six thousand of the best images have been digitized and are available for viewing on site.

MUSEUM OF MOBILE (79-04-33, 98-03-330)

Made up of 58 hand-colored glass lantern slides (3 1/4 x 4), most of which were made from drawings. The slides depict the people and events typically associated with colonial Mobile. They were commercially made by the Victor Animatograph Corporation of Davenport, Iowa. A larger collection of material within this collection are the over 18,000 black and white negatives (4 x 5) made between 1949 and 1955 by the Thigpen Studio in Mobile. Includes numerous aerial views of Mobile, Dauphin Island, and the Eastern Shore, as well as recreational and commercial subjects. The negatives have been cataloged, but only a few prints have been made. Also contains several smaller negative collections (ca. 1900-1940). Subjects include Murphy High School, Bankhead Tunnel construction, Church Street Cemetery, 1916 hurricane damage, 1910 United Confederate Veterans reunion, and various waterfront, business, and residential scenes. These negatives are cataloged and most have been printed.


The McCall Library has newspaper clippings (state and local) relating to USA activities from 1964 to 1985 and negatives and photographs made by various photographers for the public relations office dating from 1964 to 1987. Contact prints have been made for all negatives. There are also 13 audio tapes made between 1966 and 1978 for broadcast on local radio stations. These include interviews of faculty and students, speeches given for dedication ceremonies of various buildings, and a description of USA facilities in 1978. 44.5 linear feet.


BURTON, WILSON C. (88-03-131)

This collection is comprised of approximately 77,000 negatives (4 x 5 and 5 x 7) taken from 1935 to 1998 [bulk 1957-1994]. While portraiture makes up most of the collection, it also contains historically significant images such as the graduation photograph of Vivian Malone.


Numerous black and white and several hand-colored photos of the Julius Goldstein family. There is also a group photo of employees of the People's Bank. This collection also contains specialized portraits, as well as two empty photo frames, and a newspaper-like image and painting of Cecile Goldstein Forchheimer.