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About this collection

In early 1934, a traveling photographer arrived in Corpus Christi, Texas, searching for businesses that would pay him to take pictures of their establishments. Part photographer, part salesman, he combed the streets of the city, going door to door and offering his services. Leaving town after only a few weeks, he abandoned his glass plate negatives with a local photographer because they no longer had any commercial value to him.

The images portrayed a wide range of businesses operating in Corpus Christi, which was relatively prosperous in the midst of the Great Depression, including those in the agricultural industry (seed companies, mill and elevator companies, etc.), retail and wholesale businesses (auto dealers, candy shops, grocery stores, etc.), city and county government offices, manufacturing businesses (blacksmiths, ice plants, etc.), and those offering numerous types of services, such as automotive, legal, medical, and personal (barber and beauty shops, laundries, tailors, etc.).

The Harry Ransom Center received the Itinerant Photographer collection as part of the acquisition of work by Dr. John F. "Doc" McGregor, a Corpus Christi chiropractor-turned-photographer. McGregor had obtained the photographs from another Corpus Christi photographer named George Tallmadge, in whose studio the itinerant photographer had developed and abandoned his negatives.

 

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