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Digital Collections : Furnas Family Album Collection

Furnas Family Album Collection

About the Collection

The Furnas Family Album (circa 1887 -1910) Collection consists of 609 images, most of which were captured with a 4 x 5 camera. The collection provides a unique, sentimental, and sometimes humorous view into the lives of members and friends of the Furnas family of Louisville, Kentucky, in the early 1900s. In addition to photographs of the family at their home and in rural Marion County, Indiana, it features scenes of Louisville (including local parks, buildings, monuments, and steamboats on the Ohio River) and travels west (to the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, Missouri and as far as Spokane, Washington).

Walton Furnas co-owned Furnas & Maddox Photographic and Stereoscopic Supplies in Louisville, Kentucky. His son Vincent Furnas was an engineer with the Louisville Home Telephone Company, and several photographs document the installation of telephone poles and wires in the Louisville area circa 1905. One of Walton's daughters, Lucile Furnas, is listed as a nurse in the 1905 Louisville city directory, and her graduation from nursing school is documented in the album.

Before Walton Furnas moved to Louisville, he farmed at Spicewood, the Quaker community just outside Sheridan, Indiana. Lucile and Vincent were born, grew up, and went to school in Spicewood. Their mother, Eva Smith Furnas, died when they were young and is buried in Spicewood Cemetery with the Furnas family. Eventually Walton married Maddie Teeter and had two more children.

Although the style and content of the photographs indicate that they are family photographs, the identity of the photographers is unknown. The two albums with 247 silver gelatin prints mounted onto paper and the glass negatives and 18 film negatives of varying sizes appear to have been maintained in a loose chronological order. This order, as well as the progress of images of Lucile Furnas, provides the range of dates for the collection. Handwritten captions under some of the images supplied information for titles and locations. Additional information comes from Louisville city directories and genealogical sources. Titles were supplied by the cataloger unless otherwise noted in the Description field.

The photographs and negatives were donated to Photographic Archives at the University of Louisville by Rick Simmons in 1998 so that they would be preserved for use by future students and researchers. The albums were disassembled so that the pages could be removed from the binding and re-housed in acid-free archival materials. All of the images were scanned, although the digital collection excludes duplicates, copy negatives, and images of particularly poor quality.

Conditions of Use

The University of Louisville welcomes fair use of this website and its contents. If you wish to publish, broadcast, or publicly display these materials, please notify Archives and Special Collections. In addition, it is your responsibility to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions, which may include paying fees for commercial use. For further information about permissions, use, and ordering reproductions, see Order Reproductions, or contact Archives and Special Collections, University of Louisville.

To cite an image from this collection, please use the format:

[Image Number], Furnas Family Album Collection, 1998.11, Photographic Archives, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky.

To cite the digital version, add its Reference URL (found by following the link in the header above the digital file).


Marcy Werner scanned all of the Furnas family album images in 2011 and 2014 on an Epson Expression 10000 XL as 600 ppi TIFF images in 8-bit grayscale sized at 10 inches on the long side. All TIFFs were batch converted to JPEGs of "best" quality and resized to 600 pixels in the longest dimension using IrfanView version 4.25, then uploaded to CONTENTdm Digital Collection Management Software by Rachel I. Howard.

Marcy Werner researched and prepared the metadata in accordance with the University of Louisville Digital Initiatives data dictionary (PDF) and based in part on information provided by Bill Carner, Susan Finley, and Amy Hanaford Purcell, Photographic Archives, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky.

Terri Holtze designed the HTML pages.

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