Joliet Prison photograph collection, ca. 1889-1895

Wetmore, S. W., photographer.

 

Descriptive Inventory for the Collection at Chicago History Museum, Research Center

 

Copyright 2014, Chicago Historical Society, 1601 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60614-6038

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Title: Joliet Prison photograph collection, ca. 1889-1895

Inclusive dates: ca. 1889-1895

Main entry: Wetmore, S. W., photographer.

Accession #: 1987.0129

Extent:

Call #: 1987.0129 PPL

43 photographic prints : b&w ; 8 x 10 in. or smaller. Originals made by Wetmore.

ca. 140 photographic prints ; 8 x 10 in. or smaller. Copies by CHS from negatives.

Call #: 1987.0129 PGN-0054

140 negatives : glass ; 9 x 11 cm. (3 1/4 x 4 1/4 in.)

 

Restriction: Please consult photoprints instead of glass negatives. To consult the glass negatives in this collection in the Research Center it is necessary to make an advance appointment (email: Research@chicagohistory.org ).

 

Summary: Glass negatives and photoprints of Joliet Prison taken by the prison staff photographer, S.W. Wetmore, and used in an illustrated lecture on prison reform. Subjects include male and female prisoners, guards, interior and exterior of prison buildings, prison yard and shops, cell blocks. Some images illustrate the Bertillon system of analyzing human character.

 

Chicago Historical Society (CHS) made b&w, 8 x 10 in. copies from nearly all of the original negatives and filed them with the original photoprints received from the donor. The original photoprints presumably were made by S.W. Wetmore from the negatives soon after he took the photographs.

 

Copy of one image online: http://www.chicagohistory.org/hadc/visuals/47V0570.htm

 

Provenance statement:

Gift of Estelle S. Burton, 1952 (1987.0129).

 

List of online catalog headings:

The following entries for this collection were placed in the online catalog:

Subjects:

Illinois State Penitentiary (Joliet, Ill.)

Burton, Frank A.--Portraits.

McClaughry, R. W. (Robert Wilson), 1839-1920--Portraits.

Neebe, Oscar W., 1850-1916--Portraits.

Schwab, Michael, 1853-1898--Portraits.

Fielden, Samuel, 1847-1922--Portraits.

Prison facilities--Illinois--Joliet--1890-1899

Prison hospitals--Illinois--Joliet--1890-1899

Prison reform--Illinois--Joliet--1890-1899

Prisoners--Illinois--Joliet--1890-1899

Bertillon system.

Guards--Illinois--Joliet--1890-1899

Chapels--Illinois--Joliet--1890-1899

Offices--Illinois--Joliet--1890-1899

Women--Illinois--Joliet--Work--1890-1899

Haymarket Anarchists Trial, Chicago, Ill., 1886.

Joliet (Ill.)--Social conditions--1890-1899.

United States--Illinois--Will County--Joliet.

Form/genre:

Portraits.

Montages.

Identification photographs.

Silver gelatin prints.

Glass negatives.

 

Storage designation:

Call #: 1987.0129 PGN-0054 Glass negatives (in 10 boxes: 4 x 5 in.)

140 negatives : glass ; 9 x 11 cm. (3 1/4 x 4 1/4 in.)

Call #: 1987.0129 PPL b&w photoprints (in 1 box: 8 x 10 in.)

43 photographic prints : b&w ; 8 x 10 in. or smaller. Originals made by Wetmore.

ca. 140 photographic prints ; 8 x 10 in. or smaller. Copies by CHS from negatives.

 

Container list of box and folder numbers and titles:

Call #: 1987.0129 PPL b&w photoprints (in 1 box: 8 x 10 in.)

Box of photo lot contains:

43 photographic prints : b&w ; 8 x 10 in. or smaller. Originals made by Wetmore.

ca. 140 photographic prints ; 8 x 10 in. or smaller. Copies by CHS from negatives.

The images are described in the list of negatives below, except for these 4 photoprints for which there seem to be no negatives available:

1. Five women standing in prison, one with a broom (similar to box 3 folder 17)

2. Three tiers of cells

3. Crowd watching boxing match in prison yard

4. Room outside chaplain's office

 

Call #: 1987.0129 PGN-0054 Glass negatives (in 10 boxes: 4 x 5 in.)

Negatives for which the box-lot above contains original photoprints are labeled: (O)

Negatives for which CHS made copy photoprints in the box-lot above are labeled: (C)

 

Box 1 of glass negatives:

Prisoners - "mug shots"

Folders:

1 [Fielden, Schwab, Neebe - Haymarket anarchists] (C)

2 [Fielden, Schwab, Neebe - Haymarket anarchists] (C)

3 [Fielden, Schwab, Neebe - Haymarket anarchists] - positive(C)

4 Mug shots(C)

5 Mug shots(C)

6 Mug shots(C)

7 Man before and after shave and haircut(C)

8 Mug shot with vital statistics, 1889(C)

9 Mug shot with vital statistics(C)

10 "A Type" prisoner(C)

11 Youth #19440 (C)

12 A convict (archetype created by superimposing images of convicts) Bertillon system (C)

13 Chinese prisoners, 1890 (C)

14 Chinese prisoners (C)

15 Two Indians [prisoners] (C)

 

Box 2

1 Chained to the door (C)

2 Two men behind bars (C)

3 Man lying on floor behind bars (C)

4 Prison chapel (C)

5 Prison chapel (O/C)

6 Prisoners in chapel with new garments (O/C)

7 Prisoners in chapel with guards (C)

8 Prisoners dining hall (C)

9 Dining hall (O/C)

10 Prisoners dining hall (O/C)

11 Prisoners in dining hall (O/C)

12 Prisoners in musical group (C)

13 Prisoners punishment (C)

14 Prisoners graveyard "Last Resting Place" (O/C)

15 Prisoner after committing suicide (C)

 

Box 3

1 Prisoners - new arrivals (C)

2 Prisoners exercising by the prison wall (O/C)

3 Prisoners marching by buildings (C)

4 Prisoners walking by trees (C)

5 Prisoner in doorway (C)

6 Prisoner workers in line (O/C)

7 Prisoners lined up in lockstep (C)

8 Prisoners entering prison in lockstep (C)

9 Prisoners in lockstep in yard (O/C)

10 Prisoners in lockstep in yard (C)

11 Prisoners marching in lockstep (O/C)

12 Prisoners lined up in lockstep (O/C)

13 Prisoners lined up in lockstep in winter "The Old Line" (O/C)

14 Women prisoners sitting facing wall (C)

15 Women prisoners sewing (C)

16 Women prisoners and little girl (C)

17 Women's ward, women with brooms (O/C)

 

Box 4

1 Prisoners in sewing factory (O/C)

2 Prisoners in shoe factory (O/C)

3 Prisoners working in rock quarry (C)

4 Prisoners working in rock quarry (C)

5 Prisoners working in prison yard (C)

6 A trusty and wagon (O/C)

7 Prisoners carrying buckets (C)

8 Prisoner with horse hauling wood (C)

9 Underground cell (C)

10 3-tier cell block (C)

11 Prisoners on bunks in cell (C)

12 Cells, main area (C)

13 Hallway of solitary confinement (O/C)

14 Cell block, decorated for 4th of July? (O/C)

15 Cell door (C)

16 5-tier cell block and corridor (C)

 

Box 5

1 Bath tubs (C)

2 Coffee cups (C)

3 Kitchen, baking bread (O/C)

4 Kitchen, baking bread (O/C)

5 Tubs of ? (C)

6 Laundry (O/C)

7 Pharmacy (O/C)

8 Library (O/C)

9 Library (O/C)

10 Hospital (O/C)

11 Clothing department (O/C)

12 Conservatory with prisoner (C)

13 Conservatory with guard (C)

14 Guards demonstrating method of photographing prisoners (O/C)

 

Box 6

1 Front of prison, wall, grounds (O/C)

2 Dining hall exterior (O/C)

3 Sidewalk by a wall (C)

4 Front of prison with lily pond (O/C)

5 Women around water supply? (O/C)

6 Corner of prison building (C)

7 View of prison (C)

8 View of prison (O/C)

9 Corner of prison wall, tower, guard (C)

10 Prison wall and street "West Side Hall" (C)

11 Main entrance (C)

12 Hospital building (O/C)

13 Work shops (O/C)

 

Box 7

1 Warden McClaughry (C)

2 Mike Mooney (prisoner) (C)

3 Guard dressed in new garb (O/C)

4 Warden's office (O/C)

5 Hospital dining room (O/C)

6 Guards' room (C)

7 Guards at an entrance (C)

8 Guard and sentinel post (C)

9 The iron gates (C)

10 Miscellaneous - convict blanket and wall (C)

 

Box 8

Folders:

1-6 Bertillon system, demonstration and examples of measuring prisoners:

6-different measurements

filing

12-different measurements

seated measurements

photo of drawing illustrating the system

standard measurements

7 Christmas poster and decorations

8 Discharge list, 1885

9 Weapon display

10 Reward notice

11 Handcuff display

12 Punishment Record

13 Description of Convict

 

Box 9

Photos of drawings by prisoners?

1 Escape attempt, female convict

2 Escape attempt, female convict falling from window

3 Cartoon "Phthisis Pulmonalis"

4 Cartoon "Packing the Baby"

5 Cartoon "The Contract-Prison-Labor question..."

6 Prisoners

Photos of paintings/drawings:

7 Days of slavery

8 Slavery human life cheap

9 Schooling

10 The Wedge

11 Live for reflections remorse

12 The stoning of Achron

13 Death of Cain

14 The Inquisition

15 The Roll Call at the Bastille

16 Story of Ben Hur

 

Box 10 - Negatives need conservation

1 Plan of the prison (2 plates stuck together) (C)

2 Corridor of solitary confinement (emulsion deteriorating) (C)

3 Prisoners in chapel (fading) (C)

4 Prisoner in graveyard (broken) (C)

5 Prisoners in graveyard (fading) (C)

6-8 Negatives stuck to old envelope (These were not copied by CHS).