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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 4: Separated MaterialsAdd to your cart.
The separated materials series was created from items removed from original location during collection processing and format divisions. Factors in item removal which lead to inclusion in this series consisted of format discordance with items in original location, the fragility of an item, item-level historical significance to collection, and the rarity of an item.
Sub-Series 1: NegativesAdd to your cart.
 
Sub-Series 1: 4x5Add to your cart.
 
Box 517Add to your cart.
This box contains 4x5 negatives removed from Joe Clark's 35mm negative files.
barcode: 76485
Sub-Series 2: 35mmAdd to your cart.
 
Box 518Add to your cart.
This box contains 35mm negatives removed from Joe Clark's 4x5 negative files.
barcode: 76486
Box 519Add to your cart.
This box contains 35mm negatives removed from Joe Clark's 4x5 negative files.
barcode: 76487
Box 520Add to your cart.
This box contains 35mm negatives removed from Joe Clark's 4x5 negative files.
barcode: 76488
Box 521Add to your cart.
This box contains 35mm negatives removed from Joe Clark's 4x5 negative files.
barcode: 76489
Box 522Add to your cart.
This box contains 35mm negatives removed from Joe Clark's 4x5 negative files.
barcode: 76490
Box 523Add to your cart.
This box contains 35mm negatives removed from Joe Clark's 4x5 negative files.
barcode: 76491
Box 524Add to your cart.
This box contains 35mm negatives removed from the Junebug Clark series.
barcode: 76492
Box 525Add to your cart.
This box contains 35mm negatives removed from the Junebug Clark series.
barcode: 76493
Box 526Add to your cart.
This box contains 35mm negatives removed from the Junebug Clark series.
barcode: 76494
Box 527Add to your cart.
This box contains medium format negatives removed from both the Joe Clark and Junebug Clark series.
barcode: 76482
Box 528Add to your cart.
This box contains medium format negatives removed from both the Joe Clark and Junebug Clark series.
barcode: 76481
Box 529Add to your cart.
This box contains medium format negatives removed from both the Joe Clark and Junebug Clark series.
barcode: 76483
Box 530Add to your cart.
This box contains large format negatives removed from both the Joe Clark and Junebug Clark series.
barcode: 76484
Box 531Add to your cart.
This box contains large format negatives removed from both the Joe Clark and Junebug Clark series.
barcode: 76480
Box 532Add to your cart.
This box contains mixed format negatives removed from both the Joe Clark and Junebug Clark series.
barcode: 76479
Sub-Series 3: Loose NegativesAdd to your cart.
 
Box 533: Negatives for AdsAdd to your cart.
This box contains negatives removed from the Joe Clark series.
barcode: 76478
Box 534: Jack Daniel's NegativesAdd to your cart.
This box contains negatives from the Joe Clark series. The box also includes Ekta color.
barcode: 76477
Box 535: HBSS and JBC NegativesAdd to your cart.
This box contains negatives removed from both the Joe Clark and Junebug Clark series. It also includes corresponding prints.
barcode: 76476
Box 536: HBSS: 113-6452Add to your cart.
This box contains negatives removed from the Joe Clark series.
barcode: 76475
Box 537: JBC: 9-61Add to your cart.
This box contains mixed format negatives removed from the Junebug Clark series.
barcode: 76474
Box 538Add to your cart.
This box contains negatives removed from both the Joe Clark and Junebug Clark series.
barcode: 76473
Sub-Series 2: PrintsAdd to your cart.
 
Box 539Add to your cart.
This box contains Joe Clark's prints separated from 35mm photo files.
Box 540Add to your cart.
This box contains Junebug Clark's prints separated from 35mm photo files.
Box 541Add to your cart.
This box contains miscellaneous Joe and Junebug Clark's prints separated from the series.
barcode: 76470
Box 542Add to your cart.
This box contains Joe and Junebug Clark's prints separated from the series.
barcode: 76472
Box 543Add to your cart.
This box contains oversize Joe and Junebug Clark's prints separated from the series.
barcode: 76468
Sub-Series 3: PublicationsAdd to your cart.
 
Box 544: American Youth - Wow!Add to your cart.
 
Box 545: Clippings: Undated-1981Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 76466
Box 546: Clippings: Mounted from "Pictures that tell a story"Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 76465
Box 547: Oversize clippings from "HBSS Sample Clippings"Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 76464
Box 548: Oversized Sample ClippingsAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 76464
Box 549: Oversized Sample Clippings, 1957-1962Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 76463
Box 550: Oversized 1949-1969Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 764
Box 551: Oversized 1969-1983Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 764
Sub-Series 4: PapersAdd to your cart.
 
Sub-Series 1: CorrespondenceAdd to your cart.
 
Box 552Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 76459
Sub-Series 2: IndicesAdd to your cart.
 
Box 553Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 76458
Sub-Series 3: MemosAdd to your cart.
 
Box 554Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 76457
Sub-Series 4: MiscellaneousAdd to your cart.
 
Box 555Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 76456
Sub-Series 5: NotecardsAdd to your cart.
 
Box 557: NotecardsAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 76455
Box 558: NotecardsAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 76454
Sub-Series 6: Contact SheetsAdd to your cart.
 
Box 558: Alpha-9000sAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 76453
Box 559: Odd #sAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 76452
Sub-Series 7: SlidesAdd to your cart.
 
Box 560: Abstract and Design - 8295Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 76451
Box 561: 1946-1963Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 76450
Box 562: 1946-1963Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 76449
Box 563: 1946-1963Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 76448
Box 564: 1946-1963Add to your cart.
 
barcode: 76447
Sub-Series 8: ArtifactsAdd to your cart.
 
Box 565: HBSS PhotosAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 76446
Box 566: Junebug's ScrapbookAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 76445
Box 567: Lynchburg BookAdd to your cart.
This artifact is an original container which housed Joe Clark's 11x14 prints.
barcode: 76444
Box 568: PIX'sAdd to your cart.
This artifact is an original container which housed Joe Clark's prints.
barcode: 76443
Box 569: Unmounted 16 X 20Add to your cart.
This artifact is an original container which housed Joe Clark's prints. It  contained 34 Jack Daniel's, 164 Non- Jack Daniel's prints.
barcode: 76442
Box 570: Wyoming SnapshotAdd to your cart.
This artifact is an original container which housed a reel of film.
barcode: 76441
Box 571: Joe Clark, HBSS.: LedgerAdd to your cart.
This artifacts is Joe Clark's ledger in which he recorded his job number, date, and a minimal description of each job. The job number is referred to as his negative identifier number. This identifier can be found on most of Joe Clark's negative, prints, and Jack Daniel's ad. It is a significant item which links formats together, allowing users to view the photographic process.
barcode: 76420
Box 572: Book 1 & 2 LedgerAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 76421
Box 573: Photo Log & Stock Color LedgerAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 76422
Box 574: Jack Daniel's 35 Years of Advertising VI BinderAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 76415
Box 575: Jack Daniel's 35 Years of Advertising VII BinderAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 76416
Box 576: Tennessee Select 1-6 BinderAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 76417
Box 577: Tennessee Select 7-27 BinderAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 76418
Box 578: Tennessee Select 28-50 BinderAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 76419
Box 579: Tennessee Select Miscellaneous BinderAdd to your cart.
 
barcode: 76423

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