Two men bookending an end table with books
Click here to view it larger.
What it is:
Photo (3.75 x 5.5 inches) mounted to a cardboard frame/backing (a bit less than 6.75 x 9.75 inches; I’ve cropped most of the distractingly damaged backing from this scan).
What I know about it:
Photographer is A. W. Moore of Vandergrift, Pennsylvania. Otherwise undated and unidentified.
Vandergrift is another one of those small towns that is disproportionately represented in my collection because a bunch of photos from there happened to come in a single online purchase. Although this is one of three photos of the man on the right, they seem mostly to be unrelated, and are mostly decades newer. But since this is the first one I’ve posted, I’d never looked up the town until now. It turns out to be almost as interesting as any of the photos! Established in 1895 about forty miles east of Pittsburgh, it was founded by a steel magnate (George McMurtry of Apollo Iron & Steel Co.) who had been so beleaguered by labor strife that he decided to earn (or buy, depending on your point of view) the loyalty of his workforce by creating an ideal planned company town. Apparently the entire town was created (steel mill erected, utilities installed, churches built, etc.) before a single resident moved in. And apparently it was a success. Who, you might ask, was the designer of such an audacious plan? Why none other than the design firm of Frederick Law Olmsted, the renowned landscape architect famous for everything from New York City’s Central Park to the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair! Incidentally, since the town was founded in 1895, we can date the photo to later than that (which I would have done anyway), and a picture of the photographer’s studio can be seen here.