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Trowbridge and Beals Photograph Collection

Identifier: DADA-009

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of 51 photographs of fashionable suburban houses in northern Illinois and Wisconsin taken between about 1923 and 1936 by Raymond W. Trowbridge, Jessie Tarbox Beals, and an unidentified photographer. Approximately, twenty-one houses are depicted, all of them recently constructed. Many (perhaps all) were designed by architects Russell S. Walcott, Robert Work, and the firm Walcott and Work. The houses, whose locations are known, are in Winnetka, Evanston, Lake Forest, Cary, and Sterling, Illinois, and Fish Creek, Wisconsin.

Thirty-five of the photographs were taken by Trowbridge, fifteen by Beals, and one by the unidentified photographer. All but one are sepia-toned prints matted or mounted on boards. The images range in size from 6” x 9” to 9.5" x 12.5". The boards are 12” x 16” or smaller.

The mats, for most of the Trowbridge photographs, bear his mark (his name in red letters on a black rectangle), stamped below the right margin of the print. On one set of photos, which are mounted rather than matted, the back bears a stamped name and address: “Trowbridge, 737 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Illinois.” Beals either signed the mounts or printed her mark in pencil on the front. The backs are stamped, “Jessie Tarbox Beals, Chicago, Ill.” in most cases, or occasionally “Jessie Tarbox Beals, Hotel Allerton, Chicago, Ill.”


  • Creation: 1923 - 1936

Language of Materials

Materials entirely in English.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Copyright Notice

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Drawings and Documents Archive, Archives and Special Collections, Ball State University Libraries, Muncie, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Drawings and Documents Archive.

Biographical Note

Raymond W. Trowbridge

Raymond W. Trowbridge (1886-1936) was an architect before he arrived in Chicago in 1908, and he practiced as an architect in Chicago until 1923. A debilitating health problem of an uncertain nature (perhaps scoliosis) forced him to stop practicing architecture and to turn instead to photography, which had previously been his hobby. His photographic commissions came from architects and their clients. He was unmarried when he died and had no heirs. Hedrich-Blessing, architectural photographers, purchased the glass negatives from his estate. Hedrich-Blessing later gave the plates to the Chicago Historical Society.

Jessie Tarbox Beals

Jessie Tarbox Beals (1870-1942) is regarded as the first woman press photographer. A school teacher originally, she became a full-time photographer around 1900. She was hired as a news photographer by the Buffalo Inquirer Courier in 1902 and was the official photographer for the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis. She lived and worked in New York City between 1905 and 1928, becoming well known. Her photographs were comprised of a wide variety of subjects and were published in magazines such as Vogue, Ladies' Home Journal, Harper's Bazaar, and Town and Country. In 1928 she moved to California, then back to New York after the stock market crashed. Looking for a source of income in Chicago around 1932/1933, she “latched onto the architects who thought her a dream girl for the way she photographed their beloved houses.” By 1936 she was again in New York, where she continued to work until her death. Her works are in many major photographic collections in the United States, including the New York Historical Society, the Museum of the City of New York, the International Museum of Photography in Rochester, New York, and the Schlesinger Library at Radcliffe College.

Walcott and Work

Russell S. Walcott, a Chicago native, studied at Princeton University and overseas. He practiced architecture independently in Chicago in the 1920s. Several of his designs for houses in the northern suburbs of Chicago were published between 1923 and 1927 in American Architect and Architectural Record magazines. Robert Work was associated with architect David Adler from 1917 to 1928. Walcott and Work teamed up some time thereafter and remained partners until 1936, when Walcott moved to Tryon, NC. Work continued to practice in Chicago.


.3 Cubic Feet (1 OVA box)


The Trowbridge & Beals Photograph Collection is arranged alphabetically.

Custodial History

The Trowbridge & Beals Photograph Collectionwas received by Archives and Special Collections as a donation from Robert J. Work, Ball State University Architecture Library in 1978.


No additions are expected.


“House of Russell S. Walcott, Winnetka, Ill.,” American Architect 126 no. 2455 (24 September 1924): plates 109, 110.

“The Residence of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Ettlinger near Cary, Illinois, Country Life (New York) 70 (October 1936): 42-43.

“Planned for a Lot: the Home of Mr. Arthur Wheeler, in Sterling, Illinois...,” House and Garden 73 (January 1938): 53.

“House Beautiful’s Thirteen Annual Small House Competition,” House Beautiful 83, no. 2 (February 1941): 29.

Alexander Alland, Jessie Tarbox Beals, First Woman News Photographer (New York, 1978).

“Beals, Jessie Tarbox. Photographs, 1896-1941: A Finding Aid,” Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe College, 1988, />.

Eileen Flanagan, Prints and Photographs Division, Chicago Historical Society, orally, 16 May 1996.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2004/5/19 by Andrew R. Seager.Finding aid created 2004/5/19 by Andrew R. Seager, revised 2009/5/26 by Carol A. Street.


Trowbridge and Beals Photograph Collection
Created by Andrew R. Seager; revised by Carol A. Street
Created 2004/5/19; revised 2009/5/26
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Andrew Seager Archives of the Built Environment Repository

Architecture Building, Room 120
Muncie IN 47306 USA
765-285-3726 (Fax)