In a major story, the Chicago Tribune has featured the family of King Daniel Ganaway, an African-American photographer profiled in Railroad Heritage (scan of article) in 2001. Ganaway won a major award for his photograph of the Twentieth Century Limited at La Salle Street Station in Chicago. The image launched his career as a commercial and industrial photographer in the 1920s and 1930s. The Tribune headlined its story, published October 26, “Family’s Racial History Comes into Focus.” The Center’s president, John Gruber, has written more articles about Ganaway, who is included in the Center’s list of memorable 20th century photographers.
On June 23, 2012, the National Railroad Hall of Fame in Galesburg, Illinois, inducted John Walker Barriger III (1899-1976) into its pantheon of leaders in honor of his myriad contributions to the industry. Barriger III achieved high acclaim for his leadership of federal transportation agencies and of railroads themselves. Unusually for a top executive, one of the tools Barriger III used in making decisions and prophesies was none other than photographs he made himself of railroad infrastructure. So successful was he in helping to cure the industry from the 1920s into the 1970s that he became known as “the doctor of sick railroads.” And now at least some of the 60,000 diagnostic railroad photographs he made, both for his own pleasure and as x-rays of the industry, can be considered more than tools. They can be considered art. The Center, the Hall, and the John W. Barriger III National Railroad Library in St. Louis presented an exhibition of Barriger’s photography at the Ford Center for the Fine Arts at Knox College in Galesburg over the summer. The exhibition will appear in the future at the Barriger Library.
One of America’s leading rail enthusiasts and philanthropists, Fred Springer, died in Santa Fe on April 18 at the age of 83 after a long illness. His family notified friends with an email whose subject line reads “The last train has departed.” The announcement included “words of John Wesley that Fred lived by (and lived up to, though he never thought so himself), ‘Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can!'” The Railway & Locomotive Historical Society recently awarded Springer its 2011 senior achievement award, and a few months ago Springer and his wife, Dale, gave the Center his 87,500 railroad photographs along with a substantial sum to ensure they will be properly processed, housed, and described in a publicly accessible database. The images will be available for research at Lake Forest College’s Donnelley and Lee Library in the archives and special collections. Springer’s photographs range from the 1940s to a few years ago. See our feature on Trains Magazine’s website.