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"Frozen in Time" J. J. Pennell exhibit photographs

Call Number: RH PH 48


This collection contains photographs copied from 19th century Junction City, Kansas-based photographer Joseph Judd Pennell's glass plate negatives by John Blumb and Tom Southall for the 1983 Mid-America Alliance traveling exhibit, "Frozen in Time."


  • Creation: 1896 - 1922


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of Joseph Judd Pennell

The son of a confederate soldier, Joseph Judd Pennell was born March 9, 1866 in Kings Creek, North Carolina. When he was about 18, his father's business failed and the family could no longer afford the cost of private education in the North Carolina schools. A cousin returning from a trip to Kansas told of the good public schools in Kansas, so the decision was made to leave North Carolina and settle in Kansas.

In his first years in Kansas, Joseph Pennell worked as a carpenter making coffins for an Abilene undertaker. His first venture into the business of photography began in March 1888, when he bought a half interest in a Junction City photography studio owned by L.A. Ramsour. After a year of work in the studio, he quit to travel through the countryside making photographs in his "photo car," probably a wagon with a darkroom set up in it.

A year of touring the countryside gave him the desire for a more stable and permanent business, so he returned to Junction City and entered into a brief partnership with S.D. Hopkins. At the end of a year, he opened a studio in partnership with Ed Zellner, whom he bought out two years later in 1893.

In 1898, Pennell married Edith Stanley and their only child, Joseph Stanley Pennell, was born in 1903. As a photographer, Pennell was a success in both the business and the photographic world. His business grew enough for him to have a new studio built in 1907. The building is still in use in Junction City. Along with his business success, Pennell achieved recognition and awards for his photography. His work was shown at the World's Fair in 1893 and at the St. Louis Exposition in 1904. It was also published in photographic journals and in popular magazines of the time such as Munsey's and Ladies Home Journal.

Pennell was active in his community, serving on the Board of Education, the Chamber of Commerce, and in organizations such as the Rotary Club and Knights of Columbus. Pennell continued to operate his studio until his premature death by blood poisoning at the age of 56 on April 3, 1922. His widow, Edith, kept the studio running for about a year, after which the negatives went into storage. Subsequently, the negatives became the property of Pennell's son, Joseph Stanley Pennell, the author of two novels based on his family history and life in Junction City, The History of Rome Hanks and The History of Nora Beckham.


.25 Linear Feet (1 document case)

Language of Materials


Physical Location

RH PH 48

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Tom Southall, 1983.

Related Materials

Joseph Judd Pennell photograph collection, RH PH Pennell, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.

Guide to the "Frozen in Time" Joseph Judd Pennell Exhibit Photograph Collection
"Frozen in Time" J. J. Pennell exhibit photographs
Finding aid prepared by mh, 2008. Finding aid encoded by mh, 2008. Finding aid revised by bas, 2018.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
"Frozen in Time" J. J. Pennell exhibit photographs, RH PH 48, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States