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.
Fred Springer has been awarded the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society’s 2011 senior achievement award for his contributions to writing, preserving, and interpreting North America’s railroading history. A few months ago, Springer gave the Center his railroad photographs—about 80,000 color slides and 7,500 black-and-white negatives—along with a substantial donation (his wife joined in this element of the donation) to process them for public access and to house them in archivally correct materials. Springer started making railroad photographs in the 1940s in Colorado and New Mexico, and quickly fell in love with narrow-gauge lines. See our feature on Trains Magazine’s website.
Thanks to everyone who visited the Center’s booth at Train Festival 2011 in Rock Island, Illinois. We displayed two rotating photography exhibitions, one in memorial of Ryan Schoenfeldt (1976-2011) and one of Jack Delano’s World War II photos of Chicago & North Western’s women workers at Clinton, Iowa, 30 miles up the Mississippi River from Rock Island. Thanks to everyone who made the event possible. See more on our Facebook page.
The theme for the Center’s 2012 Creative Photography Awards Program is “Railroading, inspired by Steinheimer.” His wife, Shirley Burman Steinheimer, also a skilled photographer, will be the guest judge. In 2011, Miško Kranjec, of Ljubljana, Slovenia, topped a very close race in the Center’s 2011 Creative Photography Awards Program. Second place went to Stephen Hussar of Reading, Massachusetts, while Patrick J. Cashin, Brooklyn, New York, received third place honors.
The Center’s exhibition Requiem for Steam: The Railroad Photographs of David Plowden is at the Oliver Jensen Gallery at the Valley Railroad Company in Essex, Connecticut, from June 25 through September 6. The exhibition consists of 30 black-and-white inkjet prints from the photographer’s new book of the same name, released in October 2010 from W.W. Norton. Essex is the second venue for the show, which was previously at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento and will travel next to the Grohmann Museum in Milwuakee for the fall.