Monday, June 6, 2011

Unlabeled Photos and Other Pet Peeves

OK so maybe just one pet peeve per post.

Not long ago I came across a photo of two men. It was a partially labled photo, so I was having trouble naming the people in it. All the caption said was "dedicated by Elder Charles A. Callis", but it didn't say who was who.

I figured out the one on the left right looks a little like Charles A. Callis. Kind of.  Below is a different photo of him. So what do you think? Are they the same person?

The one on the right left stumped me. The article names 11 other people at the service, so I thought it must be one of them. But most of the people were not well known like Elder Callis. So I had nothing to compare it with. That was until I got the photo below.

This is Miles Levanter Jones, the Eastern States Mission President in 1934, the date the photo was taken. I think the resemblance is remarkable. He was one of the people at the dedication. So he is a good fit.

I know, it is strange to get excited about something so obscure. Only a history geek could get this excited over something like this. But there is a lesson here.


After over two years of trying to figure out who this guy was, I had given up. Don't do this to your descendents.


Last Lemming said...

Are we looking at a mirror image of what you are describing? The mission president looks far more like the guy on the left in the picture than the guy on the right.

Clark Herlin said...

I agree with what you said. If one posts photos of importance (whether historical or not), label the people in them and any important buildings/events. Also, I can't stand it when one posts facts, but fails to cite where they got them. To me, a credible historian always tells where they got the facts.

BruceAllen said...

Actually LL, I meant my other left. In all seriousness, I may have to get someone to proof read what I write before I post it. Now fixed.

BruceAllen said...

Clark, I'm kind of new to this field so help me understand. I totally get the need for a historian to provide enough information so that new ideas can be independently verified, but how does the professional researcher (which I certainly am not) walk the line between citing their research and giving away their work for free?

Ardis said...

Good sleuthing. Charles Callis was kind of a stocky man, which doesn't show up too well in the formal portrait but does in the photo you're trying to ID.

As Bruce knows, I seldom share citations on my Mormon history blog, and neither do the academic historians at Juvenile Instructor. Internet posting is not formal publication, and readers have no right to expect these tentative sharings of our work to carry the same academic apparatus. I am aware of several instances when I have posted citations for one reason or another, where other people have sucked my work into their files, citing the primary source (which they have not seen!) and failing to give me any credit whatsoever for my research. The honest thing for such people to do would have been to contact me -- all the blogs I frequent, including Bruce's, have easily discovered contact links -- to discuss sources, proper credit, and even payment. Uncovering such sources is a legitimate way for historians to earn a living, after all.

When a reader is concerned about the origin of information, even when it isn't for reuse in the reader's own work, it is perfectly acceptable to question a blogger, publicly or privately, regarding those concerns.

I'm the one who is always demanding "Provenance!" for questionable history. But I also support a legitimate historian's right to protect his sources before formal publication, and urge readers not to confuse that formal publication with the more casual, preliminary sharing that occurs on blogs and other less formal internet sites.

Anonymous said...

The picture is indeed of my Great Grandfather Miles L. Jones (left). He was a personal friend of Elder Callis. My mother talks of spending summers in South Fork (above pine view dam area) where my Great Grandfather had a cabin. She says that sister Callis taught her to crochet one summer there. She has great memories of several general authorities, including David O. Mckay also being at the cabin.

BruceAllen said...

Thank you for give us confirmation on you Great grandfather's identity. AND for the connection between Elder Callis and President Jones.

I'm curious if your great grandfather wrote anything else about his mission or about his visits to Tennessee.