Found by Hardwick descendants, the photos that started this website date back to the 1850s. Contained within this site and coming from the photo books are images of well-known Clevelanders, including never-before-seen photos of young Nina Craigmiles.
“My mother and father always took pictures. They were very into scrapbooking; it was just common for the time,” said Charlie Corn, one of the descendants who found the albums.
When the photos were brought to the attention of Allan Jones, the entrepreneur, philanthropist, and history lover longed for the history to be preserved and presented to the public. He suggested a website and offered the Allan Jones Foundation to sponsor the project.
In the website’s initial stages of development, a group of historians inspected the photos to determine identities of those photographed. Historians on the team included Charlie Corn, Jeff Pettit, Mitchell Guinn, Bryan Reed, Paul Hickman, Rufus Triplett, Stephanie Holmes, and Margot Still.
Toby Pendergrass of the Allan Jones Foundation explained that despite the collective history knowhow on the project, numerous faces in the photo album remain unknown.
“What we are trying to do is identify everyone in this album,” Pendergrass said. “That way, anyone can go online and either identify unknown faces or just use it for study. It’s a very valuable find.”
Bryan Reed, President of the Bradley County Historical and Genealogical Society, said that some photos are obviously from the 1850s because they are tintype photos, “meaning made of metal from the period.”
Aside from Hardwick, Craigmiles, and other famous Cleveland family names, the albums contain never-before-seen photos of the young men from Cleveland who were killed in an 1889 train wreck in Virginia, including Will Steed. These young men, for whom the large obelisk splitting Ocoee and Broad streets was dedicated, were killed on their way to Paris.
Special recognition for bringing these photos to the public’s attention goes to Charlie Corn’s parents, William Terrell Corn and Francis Hardwick Corn, who compiled the immense tomes of memories for future generations to study.
The process for deciphering unknown identities in the albums will utilize genealogical records, Internet searches, and memory. You are encouraged to look through the images found here and see if any faces ring any bells. If you recognize an unnamed face, please contact us and help continue to improve this site for the enjoyment and enlightenment of generations to come.