TULSA RACE RIOT PHOTOGRAPHERS

BY
I. MARC CARLSON


One of the most interesting aspects of the Tulsa Race Riot in 1921, as compared to the other riots of the period is how well it was documented photographically.  Part of the task of sorting through the images, as well as addressing the labyrinth of copyright statuses for the images is identifying who took pictures, and what pictures did they take.  It is my hypothesis that the people who took the images were not the people who printed the post cards, but that the shops where the images were developed made the postcards.

Many of the photographers are unknown, and are likely to remain so, although as collections continue to emerge from private collections, it is hoped that more unknown images will resurface, as well as the identities of the people who made the effort to document these events. 

Known photographers:

Dudley, Arthur, 1881-1924.
Arthur Dudley worked at Central Drug Company in Tulsa. He was married first to Anna, and then to Lucille after Anna died in 1918. He was born 3 February 1881 in Maine, and died 15 March 1924, and was buried at Rose Hill Cemetery in Tulsa.
Copyright Status: Photos taken by A. Dudley entered the public domain on 1 January 1975.
Locations of Photos: Oklahoma State University Tulsa Campus has a collection of Dudley photos in the Ruth Sigler Avery Collection.  Individual images reside in the Beryl Ford Collection/Rotary Club of Tulsa, Tulsa City-County Library and Tulsa Historical Society, The Oklahoma Historical Society, and The University of Tulsa, Department of Special Collections, McFarlin Library.
Hooker, Jacob Hayes, 1884-1974.
  Jacob H. Hooker was an African-American minister who also owned a photography business first on Elgin, then on Greenwood Avenue both before and after the riot. He was born in Mississippi on 10 May 1884. He married Lorenia (or Lorena) Mahone on 24 May 1918 in Creek County, Oklahoma. His draft registration record of 1918 notes “left arm off at shoulder ? Otherwise physically able.” In 1920 he and his family resided at 22 N. Elgin, while his studio was at 119 N. Greenwood. The studio was destroyed in the burning of Greenwood. He may be the African-American photographer shown to be taking pictures in some of the other images from the riot. In 1922, his studio and residence were at 119 N. Greenwood. By 1930, he and his family had moved to 432 Marshall Place. Sometime after 1930, he and his family moved to Oklahoma City, where he died in 1974.
Copyright Status: Photos taken by J.H. Hooker will enter the public domain on 1 January 2045. With no known descendants or heirs, the copyright is complicated.
Locations of Photos: Tulsa Historical Society has a collection of Hooker’s photos.
Krupnick, Alvin C., c. 1898-1952
  Abraham Krupnick was born in July 1894 in Missouri and as a child lived in St. Louis. He was one of five children. He later changed his name from Abraham to Alvin C. His brother, Le Roy, or Lee, was also a Tulsa photographer. Alvin married Ruth in 1922, and they were the parents of three children. He died 8 October 1952.
Copyright Status: Many of his riot photos were published in various newspapers, and are now in the public domain. Previously unpublished photos taken by A.C. Krupnick will enter the public domain on 1 January 2023. The copyright for those remains with the Estate.
Locations of Photos: The NAACP has a collection of Krupnick photos. Another collection is in private hands.
 
Reeder, Dr Charles L., 1864-1926.
  Charles Reeder was born 6 July 1862 in Appanoose County, Iowa. He was the son of Dr. Philander Reeder and, like his father, became a physician. In 1886 he married Jessica. He served as Mayor of Tulsa from 1904 to 1907. He died 20 December 1926 in St. Louis, Missouri, and is buried in Rose Hill Cemetery, Tulsa.
Copyright Status: Photos taken by C.L. Reeder entered the public domain on 1 January 1997.
Locations of Photos: Oklahoma State University Tulsa Campus has a collection of Reeder’s photos in the Ruth Sigler Avery Collection.  Individual images reside in the Beryl Ford Collection/Rotary Club of Tulsa, Tulsa City-County Library and Tulsa Historical Society, The Oklahoma Historical Society, and The University of Tulsa, Department of Special Collections, McFarlin Library.
Schmidt, Francis A., 1885-1944.
  Francis Albert “Close the Gates of Mercy” Schmidt (3 December 1885 – 19 September 1944) was football coach at Henry Kendall College in Tulsa beginning in 1915. In 1919 he became head football coach, which post he held until 1922, the year Kendall College became the University of Tulsa. He then went on to coach at the University of Arkansas, Texas Christian University, and Ohio State University. At Ohio he won two Big Ten Conference championships and was eventually inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
Copyright Status: Photos taken by F.A. Schmidt will enter the public domain on 1 January 2015. Until then the copyright remains with his Estate.  The images used in the postcards may be in the public domain.
Locations of Photos: The University of Tulsa, Department of Special Collections, McFarlin Library has a collection of Schmidt's photos. Individual copies of images reside in the Beryl Ford Collection/Rotary Club of Tulsa, Tulsa City-County Library and Tulsa Historical Society, The Oklahoma Historical Society, and in private collections.
Swinney, James Sidney, 1879-1949.
  James Sidney Swinney, Sr. was born 2 April 1879 near Florence County, Texas. In 1904, Swinney was in the restaurant business. According to the 1910Carrizo Springs, Dimmit County, Texas census, he was manager of a lumber yard. The 1920 Haskell, Muskogee County, Oklahoma census lists him as a bookkeeper. In March, 1921, he stood for the positions of Judge of the Police Court and Justice of the Peace in Haskell. In 1925, he became an engineer for the Sinclair-Prairie Pipeline Company, from which he retired in 1941. He died 16 June 1949 in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma.
Copyright Status: Photos taken by J.S. Swinney, Sr. will enter the public domain on 1 January 2020. Until then the copyright remains with his Estate.
Locations of Photos: The University of Tulsa, Department of Special Collections, McFarlin Library has a collection of Swinney’s photos.
Trager Earl A., 1893-1978.
  Earl A. Trager (17 June 1893 – 21 February 1978) was a geologist in the Tulsa area at the time of the riot.
Copyright Status: Photos taken by E.A. Trager will enter the public domain on 1 January 2049. Until then the copyright remains with his Estate. The images used in the postcards may be in the public domain.
Locations of Photos: The University of Tulsa, Department of Special Collections, McFarlin Library has a collection of Trager’s photos. Individual copies of images reside in the Beryl Ford Collection/Rotary Club of Tulsa, Tulsa City-County Library and Tulsa Historical Society, The Oklahoma Historical Society, and in private collections.
     

Unknown photographers:

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Unknown Photographer #1
  This gentleman, who from his posture, is taking a photograph of the hotel on Hartford.  He may be the same as Unknown photographer #2, or may be someone else entirely.  It's not even clear if he's Caucasian or African-American.  He is likely using a Brownie or folding camera, or similar hand-held camera.

This image is extracted from a larger photo of the ruin.  I'm not certain what the source is.    The photographer is unknown, and so the copyright status makes this currently an orphan work.
 
Unknown Photographer #2
  This African-American gentleman is facing the ruins of the Midway Hotel. He is standing at approximately 23 N. Elgin. He may or may not be Jacob Hooker. I believe he may be the same Unknown Photographer #1 (based on the cut of his jacket, and the hang of the camera case). He is using a Brownie or folding camera, or similar hand-held camera.

This image is extracted from a larger photo, located in the University of Tulsa collections, of the post-riot ruin; however, that photo is a copy of a print in the Clarke Blue Collection of the Oklahoma Historical Society. The photographer is unknown, and so the copyright status makes this currently an orphan work.

The photo has been digitally altered for enhancement purposes only.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     


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This page was last updated 24 June 2012


Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 - Tulsa Race Riot Photographers.  Copyright 2012 © I. Marc Carlson
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