The Cushman Photograph Collection

ChicagoAncestors.org provides a great way to look at Chicago by address. But another interesting way to use the site is to browse by type of data, or “collection.”

One of these collections is the Cushman Photographs Collection. ChicagoAncestors.org maps the location of 188 photographs taken in Chicago between 1943 and 1949 by photographer Charles Cushman. Each map point provides a link to an image in the  Indiana University Archives, Digital Library Program, Charles W. Cushman Photograph Collection. The Indiana Cushman Collection website also includes some essays on Cushman’s work, a brief biography and information about the collection itself. (Note ChicagoAncestors.org only maps Cushman’s Chicago photographs).

Cushman’s photographs of Chicago buildings certainly add to our knowledge of Chicago in the 1940’s, but learning about the man and the background of his work in Chicago is also fascinating. On the new acquisition shelf, one can find a copy of The Day in Its Color: Charles Cushman’s Photographic Journey Through a Vanishing America by Eric Sandweiss (Call number: TR140 .C87 S26 2011).

Charles Weever Cushman was born in Poseyville, Indiana in 1896. He was a descendant of physician Charles Weever, a Maine native who settled in Posey County, and Reuel and Elizabeth Cushman. Reuel Cushman was a Methodist circuit-rider who prided himself on his ties to Robert Cushman, an original Plymouth, Massachusetts settler. Eager to move beyond the county line, Charles headed to Indiana University in 1913. He went on to serve in the military and travel across the U.S., documenting the American landscape of his time.

The Day in its Color contains an interesting account of Cushman, providing personal details as well as insights into his work. Insights that will enhance your enjoyment of the digital images in the Cushman Collection. Stop by the Reference Desk and we’ll be happy to point out this new acquisition.

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