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Arthur J. Trory Photograph Collection

Special Collections and Archives

Arthur J. Trory Photograph Collection

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Special Collections and Archives

Arthur J. Trory Photograph Collection

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The Arthur J. Trory Photograph collection

The Early Years, 1895-1927

Exhibition Catalogue, 1976

Exibition Dates:

October 30, - November 12, 1976
The Student Center Art Lounge
Kent State University
Kent, Ohio


Exhibition Catalogue Information


Exhibition List

[Biographical] Chronology

Progress Report:
The Prints
The Negatives
Camera Equipment
Flood of 1913
Kent Opera House

Exhibition Catalogue

Project Director
Ralph L. Harley, Jr.
Assistant Professor of Art History
School of Art, Kent State University

Contributors to Catalogue
Betty Trory McCormick
Rebecca Fosnaugh Budd
Jane E. Farver
Deborah A. Figley
Susan E. Hrivnak
Susan Klein
Mark J. Manenete
Anne Rohrbaugh
Doreen E. Swensen

Sponsored by The Kent American Revolution Bicentennial Commission with cooperation from the Ohio American Revolution Bicentennial Commission. This project was also made possible through the support of The George Gund Foundation of Cleveland, John Davey Foundation of Kent, and Kent State University.

Printed by Kent State University Publications The Arthur J. Trory Photograph Collection: The Early Years, 1895-1927 Exhibition Catalog is a Special Bicentennial Edition limited to 1000 copies. It is available at The Kent State University Library, as well as Special Collections and Archives where the original and reproduced photographs are housed.

* Web editor's note: The exhibition's photograph reproductions are separate from the Arthur J. Trory Photograph Collection, and thus do not follow the same numbering scheme. A complete list of the 200 photographs used for this 1976 exhibition can be found in the Exhibition Catalogue.


The Early Years 1895-1927


Assistant Professor of Art History
School of Art, Kent State University

He was a man of unlimited enthusiasms and had an insatiable interest in people, nature and life in general. In his eighty-eight years he had acquired and enjoyed a multitude of friendships of fellowman from all walks of life. He expressed surprise that the Good Lord should have allowed him to live so many good years and enjoy every minute of it. A few minutes before his death he looked out the window at early morning sunshine and said, "Isn't this a beautiful morning? It's going to be my kind of a day."

Betty Trory McCormick

During the past decade photographic history has been undergoing reappraisal. This changing perspective has given rise to an interest in regional developments and the discovery of large bodies of work produced by serious amateurs. The materials of Arthur J. Trory are among the more important collections. They represent seventy-eight years of continuous photographic activity by a single amateur. The subject of this exhibition is Trory's early interests as imagemaker and collector. It has been prepared especially for America's Bicentennial.

Arthur J. Trory's life coincided with the second phase of amateur photography: the snapshot. He was born at Lyons, Ohio, in 1879, the same year that George Eastman made the dry plate process practical. The Eastman Dry Plates, followed by the hand-held camera, triggered the revolution in amateur photography that was well underway by the time Trory received his first camera at age ten.

Entries in his diaries and a journal of newsclippings indicated that Trory actively photographed in Kent and its environs as early as 1896. Newspapers in Northeastern Ohio were publishing his prints. Indeed, before he was twenty, Trory had collected some 1300 photographic prints and was recognized as one of Ohio's finest amateur photographers. Through the next sixty-eight years this interest in photography was sustained. After retirement in 1949, he continued to take photographs, attempted to organize his collection, and in some instances reprinted older negatives, forming what has become known as The Arthur J. Trory Photograph Collection. On Thanksgiving Day, 1967, Trory made his last photographs at age eighty-eight, two days before his death, bringing to a close an extraordinary life-long avocational. involvement with photography.

Some believe that Arthur J. Trory was nothing more than an amateur. By definition this means only that one is a lover of the art. However, one might recall the observation of Helmut Gernsheim, the English photographer and historian: "Indeed the progress of photography in its picturemaking aspect has at every period been largely due to the work of serious amateurs." 1 The issue of Trory's photographic contribution then would seem to rest on our perception of the word "serious" as distinct from what has commonly been called the "pushbutton photographer."

Alfred Stieglitz in 1897 pointed out the dangers introduced by Eastman's readily available commercial materials which opened the way for "photographing by the yard."2 Bernard Shaw observed, "The photographer is like the cod, which produces a million eggs in order that one may reach maturity."3 These opinions do not describe accurately the photography of Arthur J. Trory.

Trory was a spontaneous recorder of life about him. At times he was an avowed photojournalist; at others, a genre realist; and, still others, a creator of mood. But, while he was prolific, he was not mindless. There existed in his early work a freshness and vitality balanced with a conscious sense of composition. Whatever the intangible matrix of creativity may be, he possessed a capacity to infuse his work with a personal artistry. The ability to "imbue ordinary subjects with artistic quality bearing a personal stamp" was by Gernsheim's definition the mark of a serious amateur.4 It was precisely this "personal stamp;quot; that established Trory's credibility as an imagemaker worthy of posterity's consideration.

The research that has produced this exhibition and catalogue began during Spring Quarter 1976, six weeks after the American History Research Center at Kent State University announced receipt of the Collection. Nine members of a graduate seminar on American Art History. 1893-1945, and a tenth student from the undergraduate section, elected the Collection as their term project. The uncatalogued material presented a rare opportunity for students to gain valuable first-hand experience with primary research materials housed on the campus, working within the confines of the course structure with additional guidance from archival staff. So vast was the material to be examined that research extended through the summer and is yet in progress.

From the project's inception, it was determined that the student should have the principal role in reporting the findings. Given the scope of material and the continual arrival of new information from the donor, however, it became evident that only a portion could be considered for exhibition. With these circumstances, the decision was made to present the early years, spanning the mid-1890's when Trory came to Kent, until 1927 when he and the family moved to Hudson, Ohio.

The progress report begins with Ms. Jane E. Farver's overview of the prints. It is followed by Ms. Doreen E. Swensen's discussion of the condition and types of surviving negatives and Ms. Deborah A. Figley's observations on the camera equipment. Ms. Farver and Ms. Swensen are graduate students in art history and studio art, respectively; Ms. Figley is an undergraduate art history major. Their reports are followed by Mrs. Rebecca Fosnaugh Budd's research into Trory's coverage of the 1913 flood, Mr. Mark J. Manente's dating of prints showing Kent bridges, Ms. Figley's interpretation of Trory's portraits, and conclude with the findings by Mrs. Anne Rohrbaugh and Susan E. Hrivnal on the Kent Opera House. Mrs. Budd and Mrs. Rohrbough graduate students in art history; Mr. Manenete and Mrs. Hrivnak are graduate students in art education. The closing statement is by Mrs. Susan Klein, graduate student in studio art.

The chronology of Arthur J. Trory's life has been prepared by Betty Trory McCormick, his daughter, and, Patricia McCormick Grant, granddaughter. The enthusiastic efforts of Mrs. McCormick to recall memories of her father and search for additional materials have made it possible to verify and expand the research.


1Helmut, Gernsheim, Creative Photography: Aesthetic Trends 1839 to Modern Times (Bonanza Books, NY, 1962), p. 118.
2"Alfred Steiglitz: the Hand Camera," The Art and Science of Photography, ed. Beaumont Newhall (Century House, NY, 1956), p. 134.
3Gernsheim. p. 116.
4Ibid., p. 119.


The Arthur J. Trory Photograph Collection

American History Research Center: HarleyReprints

Boxes 59 - 63
Box 59
Box 60
Box 61
Box 62
Box 63

  1. The Opera House
  2. The Post Office
  3. Post Office Interior
  4. RCC Gymnasium
  5. RCC "Smoke"
  6. RCC Card Party
  7. RCC "Smoke" and Oyster supper
  8. F.W. Trory Drugstore, exterior
  9. F. W. Trory, exterior
  10. Fred Trory in his Drugstore
  11. Early Days Back of the Counter, 1800's
  12. Boys at the Soda Fountain
  13. The New Soda Fountain
  14. Sodas
  15. Mr. Watts and Mr. Mick
  16. Dealing Out Ice Cream
  17. Jo-Bo Hindu Hypnotist and Art Trory
  18. Malt Hops
  19. Fred and Charlie: Fisherman's Luck
  20. The Advertising Clown
  21. Ayers Cherry Pectoral
  22. A Happy New Year 1898
  23. Family Portrait, Wauseon
  24. Portrait of Arthur J. Trory
  25. Portrait of Arthur J. Trory
  26. Stow Foot Bridge
  27. Old Sill - Summit Street
  28. The Dam in 1896
  29. Main Street Bridge
  30. Two River Views between Stow and Main Street Bridges [2 copies]
  31. Brady Leap Bridge 1897
  32. Patton Swinging Bridge
  33. Mayor Patton and Mr. Fowler
  34. Man in Carriage
  35. Woman in Carriage
  36. Cunningham's Trotter
  37. Carriage and Drugstore Scene
  38. West Main Street - Methodist Church Before Street Car Time 1897
  39. High Wire Act
  40. High Wire: Lunch Hour
  41. Lunch Hour
  42. Kearney and Foot File Works
  43. The Smokestack
  44. Raising the Smokestack
  45. Smokestack Installed
  46. Factory Workers
  47. Kearney and Foot Rivet Works, Old Glass Factory 1898
  48. At the Ball Park
  49. Kent Ball Team 1897
  50. Fourteen Join Cleveland Grays Battalion
  51. Santiago's Surrender, Fireball, Kent, Ohio
  52. Community Celebration
  53. Celebration at Erie Railroad Station
  54. Politics Erie Yard 1898
  55. July 4 Erie Shops Flagraising
  56. Wells fargo - Erie Depot 1899
  57. Station Master
  58. Erie Railroad Coal Shoots, Kent, Ohio
  59. Train Wreck on C.C.&S. Tressel
  60. Train Wreck
  61. Steam Shovel, Brice Railroad, Kent, Ohio
  62. Inspecting Construction
  63. Stow Street Foot Bridge and new Bridge Abutment
  64. Stow Street Bridge Abutment
  65. Scaffolding for Stow Street Bridge
  66. Workman at Bridge Construction Site
  67. Portrait of Photographer
  68. Completed Stow Street Bridge
  69. Paving Main Street, Wauseon
  70. Main street, Hudson
  71. Mr. and Mrs. Andenson
  72. Portrait of Arthur J. Trory
  73. The Swells
  74. College Rooms, Ada, Ohio, 1900
  75. College Rooms, Ada, Ohio, 1900
  76. Ada, Ohio, January 2 - March 9, 1900
  77. College Rooms, Heller House
  78. Pastime While in College, January 20, 1900
  79. Miss Heller
  80. A Pleasant Corner, 1899
  81. Pharmacy Lab, December 1899, O.N.U. Ada, Ohio
  82. The Bakery Wagon
  83. Bakery Interior
  84. Mr. Ralph
  85. Fresh Bread
  86. Bakery Business 1900
  87. Downtown Kent Showing National Bank Cornerstone
  88. View of Crain Avenue Bridge
  89. View of Ne Stow Street Bridge
  90. West Bank North of Main Street Bridge
  91. Brady Leap Swinging Bridge, about 1900
  92. Abandoned Factories, West Bank
  93. Winter Photo Showing Bridge, old B&O Depot, with shute for trunks, also flagstaff, about 1900
  94. Two Views of North Water and Main
  95. The Watering Trough and North Water Street
  96. Load of Hay Overturns, 1897
  97. City Livery and West Main Street
  98. West Main Street and Streetcar Tracks
  99. View of Dam
  100. 1895 Box B&O Depot Car
  101. Skatin on River
  102. Old Rockwell Building
  103. Case Block, East Main. 1895
  104. Main Street East
  105. Baby Clarence Jordan
  106. On the Stump at Sandy Lake
  107. Woods and Lake
  108. Fortune Telling
  109. Gentleman and Ladies
  110. Two Young Ladies
  111. Art Trory and Friends at Stewart Glen
  112. Boaters on Lake
  113. Herma
  114. Three by the River
  115. Music at Herma's
  116. Walking the Plank
  117. Walking the Plank
  118. The Watchman
  119. Kent Fire Department
  120. Dr. Krappe's Office
  121. Smallpox
  122. Medina Rooms
  123. Portrait of A.J. Trory
  124. Self-Portrait
  125. Mabel - Kelso and Amy Geisinger
  126. Cal Salen's Party, July 4, 1904
  127. Mother and Father Trory and Mabel
  128. Our Apartment at Buchtel Hotel, Akron, 1905
  129. Fos-Fo - Rat Display
  130. Cutting Ice at Brady Lake, Kent, Ohio, A.J.T.
  131. Costume Party
  132. Young girl in Costume
  133. Chamber of Commerce Going to Cleveland Ball Game
  134. An Interior
  135. Howell Keith Stock Company at the Opera House
  136. Low Water When Dam Broke after 1913 Flood
  137. Repair of Small Lock for Mill
  138. On to Mexico, five images
  139. Autowreck at Railroad Crossing
  140. Victor Dog, Brady Lake
  141. Chessindia
  142. Balloon and Firetower
  143. Dirigible
  144. Normal Hill
  145. Entrance from East Main Street
  146. View of Forest donated by Mr. W.S. Kent
  147. Big Spring
  148. View of Kent from Clapp Farm
  149. Laying the Cornerstone of Kent Normal School
  150. Normal School
  151. Coed
  152. Coeds
  153. The Bookstore
  154. Bookstore, interior
  155. A.J. Trory in his Bookstore, Kent, Ohio
  156. Coeds Outside the Bookstore
  157. Dam in Winter
  158. High Water Flood, Cuyahoga River
  159. Flood Taken from Crain Avenue Bridge Area
  160. View of Flood from Crain Avenue Bridge
  161. Erie Train Delayed by Flood
  162. Broken Lock
  163. Two Men Watching Waters Rise to the South
  164. Cuyahoga River Flood, 1913: American Legion Building
  165. Water Rising to Floor of Stow Street Bridge
  166. Twelfth Company, Third Battalion
  167. Young Soldier
  168. Trenches, Camp Sherman
  169. Bayonett Practice
  170. Armistace Parade
  171. Armistace Parade
  172. Armistace Parade
  173. Armistace Parade
  174. Mabel and Infant Elizabeth
  175. Dr. Krappe's Nurse Lizzie and Elizabeth Jeanne Trory
  176. Elizabeth Jeanne and Victor Dog
  177. Elizabeth Jeanne and Victor Dog
  178. Elizabeth Jeanne and Victor Dog
  179. Elizabeth Jeanne and Victor Dog
  180. New Coat and Muff
  181. New Coat and Muff
  182. New Coat and Muff
  183. New Coat and Muff
  184. Little Drummer Girl
  185. Brown-eyed Susans
  186. Mason Tire and Rubber Company
  187. Grocery and Meat Market
  188. Armistace Day Parade
  189. Burning of the Spellman Ice House, Brady Lake, Jine 6, 1924
  190. Magic Gas
  191. Reflections
  192. Sunset
  193. Railroad Tracks
  194. West Main, winter
  195. Street Car Tracks, West Main, Winter 1921
  196. Moonlight
  197. Total Eclipse of Sun