The Photographic Journal of Charles W. Cushman (Born July 30, 1896 Died June 8, 1972)
|Eunice Alexander -- on rocks.|
Charles Weever Cushman's collection of 14,500 colour slides is held at Indiana University. The collection consists of Kodachrome slides taken in the period between 1938 to 1968, including images of all around the world.
|Cigarette Girl June 17 1944 Model Promo by Charles W. Cushman|
For thirty years, Charles Cushman documented a dying landscape in living color.
Packing his car with camera, lenses, and film, his tripod, his notebooks and—often as not—his first wife, Jean (who was not, to judge from the expression on her face in Cushman's occasional carside portraits, always a happy traveling companion), this extraordinary amateur photographer pursued a life on the road, and in the streets, of mid-twentieth-century America. Whatever its effect upon his marriage, Cushman's peripatetic compulsion did result in a remarkable gift to future historians, photography lovers, and students of Americana. For here, framed through the lens of his Contax IIA camera, saturated in almost embarrassingly vivid colors, springs to life a world that we had long since resigned ourselves to viewing only in shades of gray. The America that we thought we knew, whether through the self-conscious artistic starkness of the images of Berenice Abbott and Walker Evans or through the polished middle-brow poses ofLook and Life, is revealed as being but the shadow of a world no less full and tangible than our own. In Cushman's work the past becomes, for an instant, impossibly present. Read More
In June of 1989, Elizabeth Cushman sent Charles' camera equipment, including the Contax II A camera it is believed was used to take most of the pictures in this collection, to the Indiana University Foundation. From there the equipment was sent to the Indiana University School of Journalism where it was used in an exhibit of antique camera equipment. The equipment was permanently transferred to the Indiana University Archives on Nov. 18, 1999. At the time of the camera equipment's arrival at the Indiana University Foundation, Elizabeth wrote that the appraiser "...was very impressed with the Contax II A camera. He said it is a museum piece, and asked if he could take it on consignment for there is a collectors market for it."
The Charles Weever Cushman Collection comprises approximately ten cubic feet of materials and ranges in dates from circa 1876 through 2003. The bulk of the collection consists of black and white and color images that range in dates from circa 1917 to 1969.
The vast majority of the collection arrived at the Indiana University Archives in October of 1972, four months after Charles' death. Originally, the collection contained phonograph records and books. These were dispersed to the Indiana University Music Library and the Chancellor's home in Indianapolis, Indiana at the Indiana University-Purdue University campus. A list of these books and records has been retained at the Indiana University Archives.
The collection is currently organized into four series: Photographs and Negatives, Slides, Correspondence and Papers, and Camera Equipment.
The first series in the collection, Photographs and Negatives, consists of approximately five cubic feet of images and minor descriptive notes that range in dates from circa 1876 through 1941. Contained within this series can be found Charles' two photo albums and his scrapbook which mostly covers his days as a student at Indiana University (a few of his black and white images can also be found in this scrapbook). Most of this series, however, consists of loose negatives (all of which have been rehoused in archival sleeves) and prints. This first series of the Charles Weever Cushman Collection has only been partially processed, and has not been digitized. See the Cushman preview of the black and white images for more information.
The Slides series comprises about three cubic feet, or a little more than 14,400 color Kodachrome slides shot from Sep. 3, 1938 to April 20, 1969. The slides have all been removed from Cushman's original slide storage cases and reboxed in Gaylord brand slide file cases. Slides that had originally been glass-mounted were removed and transferred to Wess brand plastic slide mounts.
The third series, Correspondence and Papers, consists of genealogical information, correspondence and other various papers that mainly describe Charles' work life up to 1944, and thenotebooks which Charles used to compile information on the slide-film he was shooting.
Finally, in the Camera Equipment series, there is one cubic feet of camera equipment which consists of Cushman's Contax IIA camera made by Zeiss Icon; a Carl Zeiss Sonnar F/1.5 50mm lens, a Carl Zeiss Sonnar F/4 135mm telephoto lens, a Photrix S.S. light meter, 135mm view finders, and various other equipment including his leather camera bag, a tripod, and a sampling of two of the cases that Cushman had originally stored his slides in.
The Indiana University Archives also recently acquired some of Charles' personal effects. Some of these items include a belt buckle and gold pencil with Charles' initials, a "C.W. Cushman" brass stencil, his silver baby spoon, dog tags from his tenure in the U.S. Naval Auxiliary Reserve Force, business cards for some of the companies he worked for, and the first issue of Your Moneywhich Charles edited when he worked for the Standard Statistics Company.
|Student army doctor Al Swanson poses fiancee in tree on Wooded Island.|
|Al Swanson and future Mrs. Swanson in garden of Wooded Island.|
|A circus beauty in pale lavender cap, coat + shorts.|
|Jean Neil, swimming girl.|
|Two Alzanas hang out their wash. Ringling Circus Chicago|
|Ringling Bros. Baton weilder |
takes time out for refreshment | Circus
|Two young German girls in head-on-hand balancing act. |
Head to head - two German girls Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey
|Location: San Francisco, California, United States (San Francisco county)|
Description: Advertising model San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts lagoon
|Young Miss Unus on Ringling elephant|
|Judy Sargent + Blonde Friend Jul. 20, 1941, Chicago, Illinois, United States (Cook county)|
|Aug. 24, 1941. |
Mrs. Schneider poses astride rock off Promentory point
while Charles W. Cushman wades in with his camera.