Clarke Historical Library
Central Michigan University

Finding aid for
James C. Freeman Photographic collection

Finding aid created by
Marian Matyn

Summary Information
Title: James C. Freeman Photographic collection,
Creator: Freeman, James C.
Inclusive dates: 1893, 1918, and undated
Extent: 1 cubic feet (in 2 boxes)
Abstract:
Photographic collection consists mainly of undated glass-plate negatives and photographs of Mount Pleasant, Michigan, buildings and street scenes, Central Michigan University buildings, staff, students, and numerous images of Apaches in Arizona and Sioux in South Dakota.

Call number: MSS.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University
250 East Preston Street
Mount Pleasant, MI 48859
Phone: 989-774-3352
Fax: 989-774-2160
Email: clarke@cmich.edu
Website: http://clarke.cmich.edu


Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

Acc# many

Access Restrictions:

James C. Freeman Photographic collection is open for research.

Copyright:

Copyright is unknown.

Preferred Citation:

James C. Freeman Photographic collection, 1893, 1918, and undated, Folder # , Box #, Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University


Arrangement

The collection is organized by format and then alphabetically by topic.


History

Biography:

James C. Freeman is listed in the 1925 Mount Pleasant, Michigan, directory as a jeweler and optometrist living with his wife, Mary A. Freeman. The Clarke Historical Library has a Transcript of Original Field Notes for the surveying of Sherman Township (Isabella County, Michigan) by G. H. Henslow, which Freeman transcribed in 1896. Freeman also enjoyed photography as a hobby. The Freemans had at least four children: a young daughter who died in 1888; Mrs. A. R. O’Brien of Breckenridge, Texas; Alvin of Muskegon; and Mary C. James, who died in 1926 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, after a long illness. His body was returned to Mount Pleasant for burial. James was survived by his wife and three children. Later, Mary C. Freeman married Clyde V. Showalter (died April 15, 1962), with whom she had two sons, Dr. Lawrence E. Showalter (died before 1962), and Leo K. Showalter of Vancouver, Washington. Both Clyde and Mary were active members of the Isabella County Republican Party. Clyde was also an Isabella County official. (This information was gathered from a variety of sources. Copies of this information are in the Biographical Materials folder in Box 1 of this collection.)

The only biographical information that came with the collection is written on the back of the portraits of Ann and Noah Carmer, Mrs. Showalter’s great-aunt and great-uncle who she noted “adopted my father when he was 14 months old.”


Collection Scope and Content Note

The collection includes glass-plate negatives, one Kodak safety film negative, a postcard, prints created from the negatives, duplicates of the prints, and some original prints for which there are no extant negatives. Some of the photographs are mounted on board, postcards, or other paper. Some of the glass-plate negatives were sent by Clarke staff in the early 1970s to the University of Michigan where prints were created from the plates. Additional prints were created over time. The prints originally created from the plates measure 4”x5”. Later copies measure 5”x7” and 8”x10”. The glass-plate images have very sharp detail. The miscellaneous images in the collection vary in size and are mounted on postcards, soft paper, or board. A total of 75 negatives and 185 images (including copies) compose the collection.

The collection is divided by format, then alphabetically organized by topic. Box 1 includes Biographical Information (copies, 1 folder) and Photographs. Box 2 includes Glass-plate Negatives.

Most of the original images were taken by James C. Freeman. Some are signed on the back “J. C. Freeman” or have notes from Mary, such as an image of Mount Pleasant rooftops in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, General Views folder, which reads on the back “Papa took this picture from the courthouse cupola Mt. P.” Other images have notations on them and include either James or Mary’s names or both.

After the collection came to the Clarke, it was widely dispersed over time between many general Michigan photograph files. The unlabeled boxes of negatives were housed in the old map room of the Clarke. In 2007 a request was made to recompile as much of the collection as was possible. This collection is the result. For some images there are multiple negatives, multiple prints, multiple copies, or no copies or no negatives.

The collection includes James C. Freeman’s local photographs of downtown Mount Pleasant, Michigan, buildings, notably the Isabella County Courthouse, general views of town, a baseball game, a train by the depot, and three men fishing. Also included are photographs of Central Michigan University (CMU) buildings, and the only extant photograph of Mr. Grawn at CMU with faculty, which is dated 1917-1918. One image of the Old Main building has a notation on the back of the print which states that it was used by the 1893 Mount Pleasant newspaper in an article about the groundbreaking at CMU. An etching based on the photograph was actually used in the paper, not the image itself. Many images of the Mount Pleasant Indian School, mostly of buildings and a few of staff and students, are also included. None of the other photographs are dated, but they all appear to be from the 1890s.

Many images of Apaches and Sioux, Indian schools on their reservations, Sioux teepees, and western scenic scenes, one of which is labeled “below rim Grand Canyon” are also in the collection. Whites and Native Americans are shown in the school and scenic views. These images were originally divided simply into Sioux or Apache folders. Most Apache reservations are in Arizona, as is the Grand Canyon. The archivist was unable to determine which Apache tribe/s are represented in these images or precisely where the images were taken, except that they were likely taken in Arizona. The Sioux images are from an unspecified South Dakota reservation.

The western and scenic views have either [Apache] or [Sioux] at the end of their label indicating their folder of origin. The archivist maintained the folder labels following the arrangement used in the Michigan general photographs collection folders at the Clarke as much as possible to allow patrons who have used the photographs in those folders to find photographs of interest in this collection.

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • Central Michigan University--Buildings.
    • Showalter, Mary C.
    • Freeman, James C.
    • Grawn, Charles T.
    • Apache Indians--Photographs.
    • Dakota Indians--Photographs.
    • Mount Pleasant Indian School (Mount Pleasant, Mich.)--Photographs.
    • Mount Pleasant (Mich.)--Photographs.
    • Grand Canyon (Ariz.)--Photographs.
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
     
    James C. Freeman Photographic collection [series]:
    Box   1 F   1
    Biographical Information, undated
    Box   1 F   2
    Glass-plate Negatives, Family, Unidentified (4 negatives, no extant photographs), undated
    Box   1 F   3
    Glass-plate Negatives, Mount Pleasant, Michigan, Business and Industry [street intersection] (6 negatives, 3 of which are duplicates, 2 images without extant photographs), undated
    Box   1 F   4
    Glass-plate Negatives, Mount Pleasant (Michigan), Central Michigan University, Old Main (2 negatives), 1893, and undated
    Box   1 F   5
    Glass-plate Negatives, Mount Pleasant (Michigan), General Views (7 negatives, 3 of which are duplicates, 1 has no extant photograph), undated
    Box   1 F   6
    Glass-plate Negatives, Mount Pleasant (Michigan), Isabella County Courthouse (2 negatives, 1 of which is a duplicate), undated
    Box   1 F   7
    Glass-plate Negatives, Mount Pleasant (Michigan), Mount Pleasant Indian School, Buildings (6 negatives, 1 is a duplicate), undated
    Box   1 F   8
    Glass-plate Negatives, Mount Pleasant (Michigan), Train at Depot (1 negative), undated
    Box   1 F   9
    Glass-plate Negatives, Native Americans, Sioux (17 negatives, 1 of which is a duplicate, 3 negatives without extant photographs), undated
    Box   1 F   10
    Glass-plate Negatives, Native Americans, Sioux by/in Indian School (3 negatives), undated
    Box   1 F   11
    Glass-plate Negatives, Native Americans, Sioux, Indian School, White and Native American Staff and Students (13 negatives, 2 of which are duplicates), undated
    Box   1 F   12
    Glass-plate Negatives, Native Americans, Sioux, Indian School, White Man and Steam-powered Turbine (2 negatives of two different men), undated
    Box   1 F   13
    Glass-plate Negatives, Western Scenic Views With People (10 negatives, 3 of which are duplicates, 1 is slightly chipped on edges, from Sioux folder), undated
    Box   1 F   14
    Glass-plate Negatives, Western Views, Cemetery, Crowd, Band (2 negatives, 1 of which is a duplicate, from Sioux folder) undated
    Box   2 F   1
    Photographs, Carmer, Ann and Noah (Mrs. Showalter's great-aunt and great-uncle, 2 images), undated
    Box   2 F   2
    Photographs, Mount Pleasant, Michigan, Baseball game (1 image, 2 copies), undated
    Box   2 F   3
    Photographs, Mount Pleasant, Michigan, Bridge with People [Postcard, tinted], The caption on it reads "Longest span cement bridge in the state, across Chippewa River near Mt. Pleasant, Mich.", undated
    Box   2 F   4
    Photographs, Mount Pleasant, Michigan, Business and Industry (2 images), undated
    Box   2 F   5
    Photographs, Mount Pleasant, Michigan, Central Michigan University, Mr. Grawn and Faculty (1 image), circa 1917-1918
    Box   2 F   6
    Photographs, Mount Pleasant, Michigan, Central Michigan University, Old Main (2 images), 1893, and undated
    Box   2 F   7
    Photographs, Mount Pleasant, Michigan, General Views (fields and homes, men fishing, 3 images), undated
    Box   2 F   8
    Photographs, Mount Pleasant, Michigan, Isabella County Courthouse (1 image), undated
    Box   2 F   9
    Photographs, Mount Pleasant, Michigan, Mount Pleasant Indian School, Buildings (27 images, of which 7 are duplicates), undated
    Box   2 F   10
    Photographs, Mount Pleasant, Michigan, People (3 images, 1 of staff, two of male students), undated
    Box   2 F   11
    Photographs, Mount Pleasant, Michigan, Train at Depot (1 image), undated
    Box   2 F   12
    Photographs, Native Americans, Apaches (22 images), undated
    Box   2 F   13
    Photographs, Native Americans, Sioux (42 images, 17 duplicates, sometimes multiple duplicates), undated
    Box   2 F   14
    Photographs, Native Americans, Sioux by/in Indian School (9 images, 1 of which is a duplicate), undated
    Box   2 F   15
    Photographs, Native Americans, Sioux, Indian School Buildings (2 images), undated
    Box   2 F   16
    Photographs, Native Americans, Sioux, Indian School, White and Native American Staff and Students (10 portraits and 5 group images, 3 of which have duplicates, 2 are cropped), undated
    Box   2 F   17
    Photographs, Native Americans, Sioux, Indian School, White Man and Steam-powered Turbine (3 images, each with a different man), undated
    Box   2 F   18
    Photographs, Western Scenic Views, Waterfall (3 images, 2 of which have people in them, from Sioux folder), undated
    Box   2 F   19
    Photographs, Western Scenic Views, With People (6 images, one labeled "below rim Grand Canyon", from Apache folder), undated
    Box   2 F   20
    Photographs, Western Scenic Views, With People (9 images, 6 of which have duplicates, from Sioux folder), undated
    Box   2 F   21
    Photographs, Western Scenic Views, Without People (17 images, one labeled "Colorado", from Apache folder), undated
    Box   2 F   22
    Photographs, Western Scenic Views, Without People (11 images, from Sioux folder), undated
    Box   2 F   23
    Photographs, Western Views, Cemetery, Crowd, Band (6 images, 3 of which have duplicates, from Sioux folder), undated
    Box   2 F   24
    Photographs, Western Views, Dining Hall Decorated for Christmas Party (1 image from Apache folder), undated