E. O. (Eugene Omar) Goldbeck (American, 1892-1986) was a commercial photographer who specialized in panoramic photography. Perhaps best known for his large Cirkut panoramas of military personnel and bases, Goldbeck also brought his creative eye and energetic drive to the smaller banquet panoramic format. Extremely well suited for documenting smaller groups and more intimate environments, the banquet camera had a fixed maximum film width of 20 inches. Because the banquet camera gave even greater flexibility of access to, and expanded the potential range of, subjects for the camera, Goldbeck was able to record a wider range of subjects and places, and many more cultural, commercial, religious, educational, and governmental organizations.
By accepting the challenge of and specializing in both of these very unique formats, Goldbeck would raise panoramic photography to a true art—one which not only set him apart from other panoramic photographers of the time but also brought an important emotive power to the genre itself. Goldbeck’s dedication to and passion for his craft is apparent through the images shown here which document a period of rapid growth and prosperity in San Antonio, Texas, as well as America's involvement in the First World War on the home front both on- and off-base.
This collection consists of digital positives made from 993 banquet-format, cellulose nitrate negatives, the majority of which date from the mid-1910s through 1930, with a handful from 1946 and 1962. Many of the negatives were taken by Goldbeck, but also included are those he acquired from several of his contemporaries including C. W. (Charles W.) Archer; C. A. (Charles Albert) Stead (1870-1932); and W. W. (Walter W.) Mitchell (1890-1928). Photographers often took more than one negative of any given subject, adjusting poses and/or exposure times between shots. Examples of such variations appear throughout the collection. Over the years some of the negatives have suffered from deterioration, causing several to crack or split. These negatives were pieced together and shot as best as possible, however several of the digitized images will reflect this damage. The project to digitize this small but significant portion of the E. O. (Eugene Omar) Goldbeck Papers and Photography Collection was made possible with support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Browse all items in the collection.