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David V. Tinder Collection of Michigan Photography, ca. 1845-1980

Approximately 113,000 photographs and 96 volumes

The David V. Tinder Collection of Michigan Photography consists of over 100,000 images in a variety of formats including daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes, cartes de visite, cabinet photographs, real photo postcards, stereographs, and mounted and unmounted paper prints. The collection is primarily made up of vernacular photographs of everyday life in Michigan taken by both professional and amateur photographers from the 1840s into the mid-twentieth century. In addition to supporting local history research, the collection has resources for the study of specific events and subjects. Included are images related to lumbering, mining, suburbanization; the industrialization of cities; travel and transportation; the impact of the automobile; the rise of middle-class leisure society; fashion and dress; ethnicity and race; the role of fraternal organizations in society; and the participation of photographers in business, domestic, and social life. The collection is only partially open for research.

The subject contents of different photographic format series within the Tinder collection vary, depending in part upon how each format was historically used, and the date range of that format's popularity. For example, cartes de visite and cased images are most often formal studio portraits, while stereographs are likely to be outdoor views. Cabinet photographs are frequently portraits, but often composed with less formality than the cartes de visite and cased images. The postcards and the mounted prints contain very diverse subjects. The photographers' file contains many important and rare images of photographers, their galleries, promotional images, and the activities of photographers in the field. See individual series descriptions in the Contents List below for more specific details.

Included throughout are images by both professional and amateur photographers, although those by professionals are extant in far greater numbers.


Miscellaneous photographic collection, 1901, 1918, and undated

2.75 cubic feet (in 6 boxes)

The collection consists mostly of variously sized tinted portraits, film negatives, glass-plate negatives, lantern slides, and tin types, of diverse topics.

This is a miscellaneous collection housed together because of format, not because of provenance. Parts of the collection were donated by several donors over a period of time prior to 1996.

The materials are divided by type of format and size. Some materials which were originally housed or appear to have come from the same donor have been processed together. Therefore, Film Negatives and Glass-Plate Negatives are in two locations in this collection. Ex. Film Negatives are found in both Boxes 1 and 4. In this collection are found Colored, or Tinted, Glass Portraits, Film Negative portraits of men, women, children, and couples [probably from the 1940s-1950s]; Glass-plate negatives of men and women, buildings and structures, a train, and a train station; Lantern Slides; two pamphlets; and Tin Types. Only one Glass-plate negative of construction is dated, 1901. The rest of the materials are undated and may run from the late 19th through the early 20th century.

While many of the images are unidentified portraits of men, women, children, couples, and groups, cows, and miscellaneous, identified images include that of Dr. Anspach (See the catalog record and finding aid to his papers under CMU. Office of the President for further information on him), George Muhlberg [men fencing], the train station at Hudson (Mich.), lumberjacks, the Michigan state capitol, the Chippewa Hotel on Mackinac Island, Dog Sleds, Lumber Yards, and numerous Straits ferries. Among the ferries are Lansing Shoal, Duluth, Tionesta, Juanita, Straits of Mackinac, City of Mackinac, City of St. Ignace, the St. Ignace, and the Majestic. Ferries identified by company name only include the Goodrich Transit Company and Arnold Transit Company.

Also of particular note in the collection are glass-plate negative advertisements for a wide variety of topics including: ad space, businesses, clothing, food, miscellaneous, newspapers, personal, products, and a theater.

Also found in the collection are some World War I “Support the War,” 1918 and undated, propaganda glass-plate negatives. Lastly, there are two Methodist Episcopal Church bulletins, one from Clarkston, 1918, and Wayne, 1912. The decision was made to not separately catalog the bulletins at this time.

Box 6 includes Miscellaneous which may be some photographic experiments with exposure. A number of the images appear to have superimposed images or other visual distortions.

Processing Note: Two glass-plate negatives were so badly cracked that they were withdrawn from the collection. Several others suffered damage from being cracked and/or the emulsions being almost or partial peeled away from the glass. These were scanned by the Clarke’s web master, Pat Thelen, on June 20, 2007. The originals, which could be safely housed without causing further damage to the emulsions, were retained, along with a paper print-out of the image from the scan. Those originals which were so severely deteriorated that they could not be safely housed, were withdrawn from the collection, and a CD of the scan as well as a paper print-out of the image were added to the collection in their place.