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Clark Family Photography Collection, 1939-2000 | Manuscripts

By E. Aparicio and Ashley Rankin

Collection Overview

Title: Clark Family Photography Collection, 1939-2000Add to your cart.
Predominant Dates:1940-1980
ID: 01/AR0749
Extent: 584.0 Boxes
Arrangement:

Materials arrange into 6 series: Series 1: Joe Clark, HBSS: contains negatives and prints of images taken by Joe Clark, publications that feature his work, scrapbooks, correspondence, and writings. Series 2: Junebug Clark, JBC contains negatives, prints, and 35mm slides of images taken by Junebug Clark as well as publications and advertisements featuring his work. Series 3: Jack Daniel's Distillery contains negatives, prints, 35mm slides, and contact sheets of images taken by both Joe and Junebug Clark for magazine ad campaigns featuring the distillery, as well as correspondence, business paperwork, a scrapbook, artifacts, and publications featuring these advertisements. Series 4: Separated Materials contains negatives, prints, 35mm slides, publications, and papers separated from their original location during processing due to size and fragility. Series 5: Media contains optical media and moving images. Series 6: Exhibition Prints contains prints from the Mayborn Conference Exhibition Collection held at the University of North Texas.

The majority of negatives in the Clark Photography Collection are arranged by job number documented in the Clark Family logbook. A database of these job numbers and their content has been created but is not publically available; contact Special Collections staff for research assistance with this collection.

Subjects: Black-and-white photography, Cumberland Gap (Tenn.), Documentary photography, Lynchburg (Tenn.), Photography, Portrait photography
Languages: English

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Abstract

This collection contains the photographic archive of the Clark Family: Joseph Benjamin Clark (Joe Clark) and his son Joseph Wade Junebug Clark (Junebug Clark). The collection contains predominantly photographic prints and negatives, as well as advertisements, business records, scrapbooks, clippings, publications and personal writings.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

Consisting of over a million photographic images, the collection contains still photographic prints and negatives in a variety of formats documenting Joe and Junebug’s photographic work, images shot for various ad campaigns over more than four decades, as well as correspondence and personal writings. The collection also contains business records and exhibit prints from the family’s photographic studio, and scrapbooks and clippings documenting the family’s photographic legacy.

Collection Historical Note

Joseph “Joe” Benjamin Clark, H.B.S.S

Joseph Benjamin Clark was born in Cumberland Gap, Tennessee on October 4, 1904, one of ten children.  Raised in a log cabin, he quit school in the fifth grade and was apprenticing to be a carpenter. In 1934, he moved to Detroit, Michigan, lured by the job prospects of the booming auto industry, but took a job as a night watchman and janitor for the J. L. Hudson Store.

At the age of 35, Joe Clark began his photography career on a dare. Stories of his Appalachian up-bringing hometown became regular office conversation. A fellow coworker at J. L. Hudson gave him a $12 camera, two rolls of film, and a $0.95 handheld flash, telling him to “go take some pictures of those mountains and people you’ve been lying about.” On the train ride to Tennessee, he taught himself how to operate the camera, having never held one before. During his first visit to Cumberland Gap, Joe Clark shot the Mountain Funeral series and documented other scenes of rural life.

The images were exhibited in the front window of the J. L. Hudson store. Soon after, they were published in National Geographic, Life, and Coronet Magazine. In 1940, these images caught the attention of a New York based editor for Life Magazine, who purchased them and ran them in a 14-page spread.

Joe returned home numerous times throughout the 1940’s to document his friends, family, and Appalachian culture, creating a body of work later known as the “Tennessee Select.” These images are gathered into a sub-series of the same name and features some of Joe Clark’s most notable images. His early focus on rural life following the Great Depression earned him the nickname “Hillbilly Snap Shooter,” or H.B.S.S for short.

While still working his night shift at J. L. Hudson’s, Clark began working part-time at a local camera shop. He processed film, ran errands, and learned the art of photography from local professionals. During this time, he took correspondence lessons to learn how to read and write, and began his lifelong practice of writing hillbilly philosophy. Eventually published in local magazines and newspapers, the writings caught the attention of Bernice Krent in 1943. Krent contacted Clark, saying “I think you’re pretty smart;” and Joe immediately phoned her. They were married within the year. On their honeymoon, Joe Clark continued to document the disappearing culture of the Appalachian people along with an editor from National Geographic who joined them.

Joe’s photography started gaining national attention. In 1944, he quit his job at Hudson’s and opened his own photography studio with his wife. In the early 50s, Joe worked with multiple clients, creating successful ad campaigns for Ford, General Motors, Chrysler, American Motor Association.

During the mid-50s, Joe photographed the whiskey making process for the Jack Daniels Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee. In the process of photographic this advertising campaign, he captured the spirit of the Distillery, its employees, and the surrounding community of Lynchburg. Often juxtaposed against his own hillbilly philosophies, these images illustrated the lives and experiences of the individuals behind the product, as well the surrounding community. Joe Clark and his son, Junebug, shot the majority of all Jack Daniel’s ad images for nearly four decades. The Clark Family motto, “Pictures that tell a story,” can be found stamped on the back of almost every print by Joe and Junebug.

Joseph Benjamin Clark died on December 3, 1989. He was 85 years old.

Wade Junebug Clark

Joe’s son, Junebug, began taking photographs as soon as he was able to hold a camera. He sold his first image at the age of five, while on an assignment with his parents for Stroh’s Brewery. At the end of the day, Junebug took a picture of his mother relaxing with a Stroh’s beer, and the art director purchased these images instead of the ones taken by his father. 

Within the year, Junebug worked as a photographer for the Detroit Times. He photographed his kindergarten classmates, Cub Scout activities, and his friends for the paper’s Sunday Supplement. The paper employed him for nine months until union complaints of child labor law violations forced the Times to take Junebug off the payroll. News that the paper had terminated the “world’s youngest professional photographer” bolstered Junebug’s career. Soon after, he published photos in Life, Look, and The Saturday Evening Post.

Junebug majored in Graphic Arts at Ferris State College, then transferred to Rochester Institute of Technology in New York to study photo illustration before enlisting in the Marine Corps. He served as a photographer, documenting his experiences during service, and returned to Rochester upon his discharge.

Junebug worked as a motion picture photographer and a catalog photographer before starting his own freelance photography business. His clients included Federal Mogul Corp., Jack Daniel’s Distillery (alongside his father, Joe Clark), Eli Lilly and Co., and Anaheuser-Busch Companies, Inc.

Subject/Index Terms

Administrative Information

Repository: Manuscripts
Access Restrictions: This collection is not restricted.
Use Restrictions: Reproduction and publication of materials in this collection are subject to the policies of the UNT Special Collections department. Copyright restrictions may apply.
Physical Access Note: This collection is stored off-site and requires a minimum of 24 hour notice prior to use.
Preferred Citation: Clark Family Photography Collection, University of North Texas Special Collections
Finding Aid Revision History: This finding aid was revised in October 2017 by C. Jacobs to clarify the collection content and standardize dates.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:


Series 2: Junebug Clark, JBC, 1950-2000Add to your cart.
 
Sub-Series 1: NegativesAdd to your cart.
 
Sub-Series 1: 35mm NegativesAdd to your cart.
 
Box 312: Alpha - 108Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70310
Box 313: 110-145Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70311
Box 314: 147-198Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70312
Box 315: 199-253Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70313
Box 316: 254-289Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70314
Box 317: 291-330Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70315
Box 318: 332-384Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70316
Box 319: 285-440Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70317
Box 320: 440-486Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70318
Box 321: 488-537Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70319
Box 322: 540-596Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70320
Box 323: 599-656Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70321
Box 324: 658-739Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70322
Box 325: 740-797Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70323
Box 326: 798-857Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70324
Box 327: 854-939Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70325
Box 328: 940-999Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70326
Box 329: 1004-1065Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70327
Box 330: 1066-1111Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70328
Box 331: 1112-1140Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70329
Box 332: 1141-1180Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70330
Box 333: 1181-1218Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70331
Box 334: 1219-1250Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70332
Box 335: 1251-1305Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70333
Box 336: 1306-1338Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70334
Box 337: 1339-1436Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70335
Box 338: 1437-1514Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70336
Box 339: 1517-1609Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70337
Box 340: 1610-1675Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70338
Box 341: 1680-1725Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70339
Box 342: 1726-1800Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70340
Box 343: 1801-1868Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70341
Box 344: 1871-1952Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70342
Box 345: 1955-2015Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70343
Box 346: 2019-2088Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70344
Box 347: 2089-2169Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70345
Box 348: 2170-2260Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70346
Box 349: 2231-2377Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70347
Box 350: 2328-2377Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70348
Box 351: 2377-2430Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70349
Box 352: 2431-2499Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70350
Box 353: 2501-2543Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70351
Box 354: 2544-2569Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70352
Box 355: 2572-2604Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70353
Box 356: 2606-2656Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70354
Box 357: 2658-2698Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70355
Box 358: 2703-2780Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70356
Box 359: 2791-2842Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70357
Box 360: 2843-2919Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70358
Box 361: 2920-2946Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70359
Box 362: 2947-2992Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70360
Box 363: 2993-3073Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70361
Box 364: 8725-56610Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70362
Sub-Series 2: PrintsAdd to your cart.
 
Sub-Series 1: SubjectAdd to your cart.
 
Box 365: Military PrintsAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 70363
Box 366: Miscellaneous PrintsAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 70364
Sub-Series 2: Loose PrintsAdd to your cart.
 
Box 367: No identifier, Dan MooreAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 70365
Box 368: 100-400Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70366
Box 369: 500-9000Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70367
Box 370: No identifierAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 70368
Box 371: No identifierAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 70369
Box 372: PersonalAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 70370
Box 373: PersonalAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 70371
Box 374: PersonalAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 70371
Box 375: MountedAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 70373
Box 376: Mounted no identifiers - 4 digitAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 70374
Box 377: Mounted signedAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 70375
Box 378: Mounted PersonalAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 70376
Box 379: Mounted PersonalAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 70377
Sub-Series 3: PublicationsAdd to your cart.
 
Sub-Series 1: IssuesAdd to your cart.
 
Box 380: MiscellaneousAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 70378
Box 381: Torii TellerAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 70379
Sub-Series 2: ClippingsAdd to your cart.
 
Box 382: ClippingsAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 70380
Sub-Series 4: PapersAdd to your cart.
 
Sub-Series 1: CorrespondenceAdd to your cart.
 
Box 383: CorrespondenceAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 70381
Sub-Series 2: NotesAdd to your cart.
 
Box 384: Notes and IndicesAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 70382
Sub-Series 3: IndicesAdd to your cart.
 
Box 384: Notes and IndicesAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 70382
Sub-Series 4: Public RelationsAdd to your cart.
 
Box 385: Public RelationsAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 70383
Sub-Series 5: Business PapersAdd to your cart.
 
Box 386: Business PapersAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 70384
Sub-Series 6: MiscellaneousAdd to your cart.
 
Box 387: Miscellaneous PapersAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 70385
Sub-Series 5: AdvertisementsAdd to your cart.
 
Box 388: Laminated AdsAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 70386
Box 389: Laminated AdsAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 70387
Box 390: Laminated AdsAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 70388
Box 391: Laminated AdsAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 70389
Sub-Series 6: Contact SheetsAdd to your cart.
 
Box 392: IdentifierAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 70390
Box 393: Virginia ProofsAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 70391
Box 394: OversizedAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 70392
Sub-Series 7: SlidesAdd to your cart.
 
Box 395: Blue BindersAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 70393
Box 396: Photo Research PortfolioAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 70394
Box 397: DuplicatesAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 70395
Box 398: No IdentifiersAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 70396
Box 399: Miscellaneous Loose SlidesAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 70397
Box 400: 1-9Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70398
Box 401: 10-16Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70399
Box 402: 17-20Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70400
Box 403: 21-23Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70401
Box 404: 23-25Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70402
Box 405: 26-31Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70403
Box 406: 32-34Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70404
Box 407: 1377-1450Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70405
Box 408: 1495-1524Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70406
Box 409: 1530-1544Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70407
Box 410: 1551-1581Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70408
Box 411: 1607-1652Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70409
Box 412: 1658-1659Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70410
Box 413: 1659-1884Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70411
Box 414: 1872-1942Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70412
Box 415: 1953-1988Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70413
Box 416: 1989-2040Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70414
Box 417: 2043-2074Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70415
Box 418: 2091-2147Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70416
Box 419: 2150-2196Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70417
Box 420: 2199-2260Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70418
Box 421: 2246-2247Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70419
Box 422: 2374-2434Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70420
Box 423: 2264-2285Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70421
Box 424: 2297-2400Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70422
Box 425: 2442-2464Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70423
Box 426: 2525-2557Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70424
Box 427: 2557-2571Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70425
Box 428: 2575-2592Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70426
Box 429: 2575-2592Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70492
Box 430: 2646-2688Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70428
Box 431: 2705-2900Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 70429
Box 432: Colored Slides for PublicationAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 70430
Box 433: Colored Slides for PublicationAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 70431
Sub-Series 8: ArtifactsAdd to your cart.
 
Box 434: Kandt PrintAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 70432
Box 435: MiscellaneousAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 70433

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