Background of this photograph

I bought some type from a friend and with it came a framed copy of the attached photo. I’ve seen it a couple of times used on various websites.

Does anyone know the origin of the image, who the photographer was, who might the printer be, or the context of the image?

image: printer.jpg


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Looks like it could be old Lusk Edwards, who had a mountain print shop near Burnsville, NC, in which all the presses (which included 3 platen jobbers and a venerable Campbell Oscillating Cylinder, as well as a Linograph) were powered by a steam engine fired with wood.

But probably not. I have seen a photo of him but I don’t remember what he looked like, though he was a very eccentric old fellow and could easily have looked like this photo. I got a lot of the type and two of the presses including the Campbell, which went to the IPM. Lusk died about 1965.


The background looks pretty black.

It would appear to be a photograph by Lewis Wickes Hine. It doesn’t seem to be in the Hine material at either the Library of Congress’ Prints and Photographs division or the Smithsonian (though not all of the Smithsonian’s material is digitized, so I’m not entirely sure of this). So I’m not sure who might own the negative, if it survives.

The Art Institute of Chicago owns a print. If you go to their website at:

and in the “quick search” box enter: Hine printer
it should come up in the search results. They have this to say about it:

Lewis Wickes Hine
American, 1874–1940

“Printer and Craftsman,” 1905

Gelatin silver print
17.7 x 12.7 cm (image/paper)

Gift of Robert A. Taub, 2012.257

BTW, I didn’t know any of this five minutes ago. I just took the image as posted here and used it in a Google “image search.” This turned up several commercial reprints of it, one of which identified it as by Hine and gave it a title (“Printer and Craftsman”). A regular Google search on these keywords (“Hine”, “Printer and Craftsman”) turned up the Art Institute of Chicago copy. Ordinary searches of the LoC PP site and the Smithsonian’s collections site then failed to turn it up there.

Google is pretty well known :-)

These are all quite useful tools.

David M.

Well, that shoots down my theory — too early for Lusk Edwards; although he was printing in 1920, he was only about 32 years old. It does look like the press is driven from an overhead line shaft, as were his platen jobbers, though.


its ME… on a blonde day……

That’s a darn fine picture! I tried to find one by way of Google search that was a really good ‘size’ but couldn’t. However, I did find this other one by this Lewis Wickes Hine……it had the caption ‘Young Italian boy at job printers..’ …….if I can upload it….I’ve not done this before………

image: index.php_.jpeg


Lewis Hine also took many images of African-American life, including some of children doing vocational printing training.

SORRY, No back up info, BUT possibly of extra interest, trawling E bay while ago, just seen the above post(s) hence add the following, . .” very shrewd seller!!” He must have inherited/acquired old photographs, retaining the original, advertising repro,s on E bay, with a buy now price etc £,s Sterling implying U.K. . . More interesting to L/press Printers, but now sold /taken down **African American Men working Printing Presses/Equipment, employment, A.P. Bedou, 1910,** CHANDLER & PRICE in the Foreground with unbelievable!! Line shafting and belting. . . H. & S. >No Chance<
Shot still available!!! But sellar,s other Items, (some of) show for example, . .Rosa Parks, Alabama,1950, . . Gas Station Butte, Montana, . . Hoisting Engine, Calumet Michigan, 1900, … Edison Phonographic experiment, Orange, N.J. !892. etc etc.
Apologies for Only One PRINT RELATED, but hopefully part of your Heritage… Mick

Building on what has been shared, I ran the photo through Several results appeared.

The third search result appears to be the most promising. It appears that Charles McKenzie Lewis donated the print in 1954 to the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. The same date is mentioned as the one in David’s link, of 1905.

Perhaps someone on the site with a connection to the art museum can give more information?