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New Scopes trial photographs

John T. ScopesJohn T. Scopes

A batch of photographs from the Scopes trial was recently acquired by the Smithsonian Institution Archives. Taken by William Silverman, a nineteen-year-old student, the photographs show "famous players and unknown spectators: Clarence S. Darrow, William Jennings Bryan, defense attorneys Arthur Garfield Hays and Dudley Field Malone, drugstore owner Fred E. Robinson, a mysterious man on the Rhea County Courthouse lawn, a young woman posing for the camera, and others," according to a post at The Bigger Picture, the Smithsonian Photography Initiative's blog. The photographs are available on the Smithsonian Institution’s photostream in the Flickr Commons.

The historian Marcel Chotkowski LaFollette, whose book Reframing Scopes: Journalists, Scientists, and Lost Photographs from the Trial of the Century (University Press of Kansas, 2008) examined the trial from the perspective of journalist-photographers Watson Davis and Frank Thone, commented in a separate post at The Bigger Picture, "William Silverman's images provide another set of valuable confirming perspectives. Recorded from yet another view, they infuse action into the official trial transcript and reveal faces from different angles, famous celebrities and ordinary visitors alike, all captured in the moment, fascinated with the trial."