About This Collection
The Cullom-Davis Library at Bradley University holds over 1,000 images in Special Collections which were donated by Jack Bradley, a retired photographer for the Peoria Journal Star. The images in this online collection are a representative sample of those already digitized; more will be added periodically.
The images are predominantly black and white, residing on prints and 35mm slides as well as negatives in several formats up to 4x5. The collection spans a period from 1955 to 1977 and deal mostly with people, places, and events in central Illinois. The emphasis is on human interest with subjects such as: small town life, architecture, farming, sports and recreation, religion, cemeteries, politics, the homeless, the Illinois River, and country scenes.
Although many of these pictures have artistic merit, photojournalism as a genre is primarily documentary. It is often practiced under pressure and in less than ideal conditions. These images in particular are best appreciated in an historic context for they were created without autofocus, image stabilization, or exposure automation in an era when distances were often estimated and preset on a lens, when films were “pushed” during processing to allow pictures to be taken in low light, when the final images could not be enhanced through Photoshop, and when meeting deadlines meant allowing time to physically transport film from the field back to the lab and then waiting for processing and printing.
It must also be remembered that, until the 1980’s, aesthetic considerations were seldom of paramount importance to photojournalists since the oil-based ink, poor quality paper, and coarse engraving screens used by most newspapers resulted in reproductions that were often fuzzy and indistinct.
Low resolution digital images are provided for reference purposes only. All rights reside with the Cullom-Davis Library. Information about obtaining higher resolution copies either hard or digital as well as permission for using them may be obtained by contacting. Please include image numbers with requests.