Looking Back Through Kodachrome-Part 1. (approx. 1 MB)
About five years ago I was given a large batch of slides from the estate of my wife's uncle, Mr. Raymond V. Cull of Concord, Massachusetts. I was hesitant to accept them. I already felt hard pressed to keep my own collection properly catalogued. But they were Kodachromes, so how could I not take them in? The slides arrived in slide trays, and this took up a lot of room. I knew they needed to be at least minimally identified and repackaged, and I did this during the initial viewing.

These slides live up to the reputation of Kodachrome in that they do not appear to have suffered from color degradation. They had been stored ready to view in dozens of metal slide trays, the type of tray that likely would be unaffordable today if you tried to buy them new. Each slide was in its own metal holder that slid out from the main tray frame for projection. There was breathing room between each slide in these trays, and I believe this, and the location in which they had been stored, helped retard fungal growth.

My wife's primary interest was in seeing the old family shots that Uncle Dick had taken. Her family was well represented, growing from toddlers to adolescents to graduates through Dick's lens. There were a lot of shots of more distant family members, and where she could identify them, my wife mailed off the slides to her cousins.

There were more than family photos here. There were shots of outdoor skating rinks in winter, local fire departments at work, shipyards, political figures, and even an airshow or two. It was these latter categories in which I took a personal interest. Part 1 of this series is largely comprised of these images. I will eventually present Part 2, in which I hope to show a closer look at the people and dress of the period. To do this while preserving the family's privacy will be the challenge. There may be enough slides taken in public places and of public subjects to make this possible.

While getting these scans ready, I decided that I would leave the slide border margins in place. In this way, at thumbnail size I can't confuse them with my own images.

Lets scroll our way back about forty years, to the late 1950s and early 1960s. A slice of time long enough for us to recognize many changes in American life. I hope you enjoy them.

Heading north from their home in eastern Massachusetts, the Culls often enjoyed travelling through New Hampshire's White Mountains. I believe this October 1958 view is of the Swift River covered bridge in Conway.

A favorite destination was Quebec City, and this August 1959 scene reveals shipping on the St. Lawrence river and the village of Levis on the south bank.

Another Quebec scene, in which we are reminded that ladies wore hats.

Dick like to photograph shipping. Here, before the days of container ships, we see the Jeppesen Maersk tied up in Boston. It is May, 1961.

I suspect that USN hull #17, photographed in this September 1968 view, was being converted to guided missile frigate configuration at the Fore River Shipard in Quincy, Massachusetts.

This is an October 1969 view of a shipyard, probably Fore River again. My Faheys books have not helped me identify carrier #4. My suspicion is that she is about to be scrapped. Fore River was the unfortunate site of yet another Massachusetts scandal about 7 years ago, and the shipyard is now gone. Naval enthusiasts please feel free to step forward with an ID on the vessel.

Dick was not afraid to hit the street with his camera if something was going on. Here we see local fire department action has caught his attention, with pumper #2 working hard. This and the following two slides were in blue, undated Kodak Ready-Mounts. I think we are looking at shots 1956-57.

Down the street from engine #2 we see the spectators. Standing out from the crowd is the fellow walking in the middle of the street. He's not trying to hide in his bright red jacket and socks, but I can't help but wonder how often he was seen at fires.

The ladder boys are earning their pay. In those days, before they were routinely described as heroes, they were working men. Today, the media quest for superlatives has hindered realistic expectations of what hardworking men can accomplish.

Exiting a government building in this May 1968 view, we see Lyndon Baines Johnson. Dick did well to get this close. Note the motion picture lensman and what appears to be a 35mm camera (judging by the width of the film reel enclosures). Also the photographer on left in mid-hustle. Maybe a rescan will reveal the type of camera he has. G-Men haven't changed much.

Ahh, airshows! It is September 1961 and Dick is at the now-closed Naval Air Station South Weymouth, Massachusetts to see the Blue Angels. They are flying the nimble Grumman Tiger in this shot, taken in a time when people dressed better than they do today.

END Part 1.