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University of Louisville University Libraries


Digital Collections : Martin F. Schmidt Photographs of Louisville, ca. 1956-1966

Martin F. Schmidt Photographs of Louisville, ca. 1956-1966

About the Collection

Martin F. Schmidt (1918-2010) was born in Caruthersville, Missouri and raised in Louisville, Kentucky where he attended Belknap Elementary, Highland Junior High and DuPont Manual High School. After earning a business degree from Tulane University, Schmidt served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He returned to Louisville in 1946 to work in his family’s Coca-Cola bottling business. That same year Schmidt became an active member in the Louisville Rotary Club where he would eventually serve a term as President (1957-1958).

In 1967 Schmidt returned to school at the University of Kentucky, earning a master’s degree in library science. He began working for the Louisville Free Public Library where he became Head of the Kentucky Division. He was also a librarian and director at the Filson Club Historical Society (1973-1983). Schmidt was a major supporter of the Kentucky Historical Society in Frankfort where a library is named in his honor. 

Schmidt is the author of Kentucky Illustrated: The First Hundred Years, a selection of prints he collected documenting Kentucky's first century.

The Martin F. Schmidt Photographs of Louisville contain 573 color snapshot photographs of buildings in downtown Louisville, Kentucky shot between 1956 and 1966. The albums begin with 100 images of downtown churches then moves to buildings from the Phoenix Hill neighborhood to Portland and from the Business District out to the Russell and California neighborhoods. Many pictures show urban buildings dating from the late nineteenth century, businesses, neon signage, painted advertisements, automobiles and pedestrians. Recognizing the significance of Louisville’s historic downtown, Schmidt took his photographs at a time when urban renewal and federal highway programs promised major changes to the architectural landscape. Many of the buildings depicted have since been razed.

The photographs were donated to the University of Louisville Photographic Archives in 1998 so they would be preserved for use by future students and researchers. The digital collection contains all 573 images from the albums.

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], Martin F. Schmidt Photographs of Louisville, ca. 1956-1966, 1998.09, 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 Schmidt album images in 2013 on an Epson Expression 10000 XL as 600 ppi TIFF images in 24-bit RGB color sized at 10 inches on the long side. All TIFFs were color corrected in Adobe Photoshop CS5.1 by Elizabeth E. Reilly, and batch converted to JPEG2000 files upon upload to CONTENTdm Digital Collection Management Software version 6.1.3 by Rachel I. Howard.

Britt Walford and Marcy Werner researched and created metadata for the collection in accordance with the University of Louisville Digital Initiatives data dictionary (PDF) and based in part on information provided by notes from Martin F. Schmidt and consultations with Tom Owen, Pam Yeager, and the Louisville city directories.

Terri Holtze designed the HTML pages.

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