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David V. Tinder Collection of Michigan Photography

A Guide to the
David V. Tinder Collection of Michigan Photography

Biography

David TinderDavid V. Tinder was born in Lima, Ohio, in 1926, and moved to Flint, Michigan, as a child. He served in the United States Navy as an electronic technician’s mate until he was honorably discharged in July of 1946. Dave Tinder attended Flint Junior College for one year before transferring to the University of Michigan, which awarded him a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics in 1949.

Tinder spent the majority of his career as a project engineer and engineering manager to new product development in the Detroit area. He worked for manufacturers and automotive suppliers including Dura Corporation, McCord Corporation, and United Technologies. Tinder developed many successful products and has been issued sixteen United States patents plus a number in foreign countries. Dave Tinder retired from United Technologies, Automotive Products Division in 1990.

Tinder began collecting antiques in the late 1950s, starting with leaded glass lamps, art glass and ceramics, Art Nouveau pewter, and Japanese bronzes. Inspired by William C. Darrah’s 1964 book A History of Stereographs in America and Their Collection, he amassed a large group of international photographic stereo views. By the early 1970s he began trading his international collection for Michigan stereo views and other early photographic formats related to Michigan. Eventually this would include examples of virtually every popular photographic format used by both professional and amateur photographers in the first century of photography.

Tinder became increasingly interested in the lives and careers of the photographers represented in his collection and began creating The Directory of Early Michigan Photographers. The combination of his collection and research has led to his recognition as the leading authority on the subject of early Michigan photography.

Collection Description

The David V. Tinder Collection of Michigan Photography consists of over 100,000 images in a variety of formats including daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes, cartes de visite, cabinet photographs, real photo postcards, stereographs, and mounted and unmounted paper prints. The collection is primarily made up of vernacular photographs of everyday life in Michigan taken by both professional and amateur photographers from the 1840s into the mid-twentieth century. In addition to supporting local history research, the collection has resources for the study of specific events and subjects. Included are images related to lumbering; mining; suburbanization; the industrialization of cities; travel and transportation; the impact of the automobile; the rise of middle-class leisure society; fashion and dress; ethnicity and race; the role of fraternal organizations in society; and the participation of photographers in business, domestic, and social life. The collection is only partially open for research.

 

Bibliography

“The David V. Tinder Collection of Michigan Photography.” William L. Clements Library Occasional Bulletin No. 2 (June 2014).

Tinder, David V. Directory of Early Michigan Photographers. Edited by Clayton Lewis. Ann Arbor: William L. Clements Library, 2013. This reference work contains biographical information about virtually every known commercial and significant amateur photographer in the state of Michigan from the first known appearances in the 1840s into the early twentieth century.

Finding Aids

The David V. Tinder Collection of Michigan Photography is organized primarily by photographic format, and sorted either by geographic location, photographer, or subject content. Because of the size and variety of the collection, separate finding aids describe each photographic format or subsection of the collection.

Series I. Cased Images

Cased daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, and tintypes. Primarily portraiture with some special subjects. Date range from 1840s-1860s. Approx. 95 items. Finding Aid

Series II. Cartes de Visite/card photographs

Alphabetized by photographer with special interest subjects sorted separately. Comprised mostly of studio portraiture. Includes small cdv sized tintypes. Date range from 1860-1900. Approx. 13,000 items. Finding Aid.

Series III. Stereographs

Sorted by county, place name, photographer and/or publisher, with some a few special sets are grouped separately. Comprised mostly of outdoor views. Date range from 1859-1920. Approximately 6500 items. NOT PRESENTLY OPEN FOR RESEARCH.

Series IV. Cabinet Photos

Alphabetized by photographer with special interest subjects sorted separately. Comprised mostly of studio portraiture. Date range from 1868-1900. Approx. 19,000 cards. Finding Aid.

Series VI. Over-Sized File

Sorted by subject. Includes large card mounted photos and unmounted paper prints. Includes views of places, events, local scenes, group portraits, Cirkut Camera panoramas. Also includes examples of fine art photography by contemporary Michigan photographers known personally to the collector, David V. Tinder. Date range 1860s-1980s. 454 items. NOT PRESENTLY OPEN FOR RESEARCH.

Series VII. Photographers File

Alphabetized by photographer. Housed in ring binders, approximately 24 binders representing over 800 photographers. Includes both original and reproduction photo portraits of photographers, views of gallery storefronts and interiors, images of photographers in the field, and advertising samples. Approx. 1,800 items. NOT PRESENTLY OPEN FOR RESEARCH.

Series VIII. Real photo postcards

Alphabetized by Michigan County, place name, and subject. All 83 Michigan counties are represented. Date range 1906-1950s. Approx. 50,000 postcards. NOT PRESENTLY OPEN FOR RESEARCH.

Series IX. Photo albums and photographically illustrated books

In chronological order. Includes both professional and amateur photographic albums, carte de visite albums, travel collections, school albums, published books, souvenir viewbooks, and pamphlets with photographic plate illustrations. Date range 1860s-1970s. 96 items. NOT PRESENTLY OPEN FOR RESEARCH.

Series X. Framed photographs

Photographic prints in vintage decorative frames or printing frames used for exposing contact prints. NOT PRESENTLY OPEN FOR RESEARCH.

Series XI. Small formats

Small mounted prints, unmounted snapshots, tintypes, miniature souvenir portfolios. NOT PRESENTLY OPEN FOR RESEARCH.

Series XII. Detroit Publishing Company

Process related examples of mass produced lithographic prints and postcard production and advertising. NOT PRESENTLY OPEN FOR RESEARCH.

Series XIII. Henry Stephens Lumber Company

Archive material including documents, photographs, and printed advertising examples. NOT PRESENTLY OPEN FOR RESEARCH.

Series XIV. Black River lumbering photographs

Mounted albumen prints circa 1880s of lumbering operations in Alcona County, Michigan. 16 items. Finding Aid.

Series XV. C.C. Buskirk Railroad Photographs

Railroad locomotives, lumber camps, transport of logs via truck and rail in various Michigan counties all photographed by C.C Buskirk of Big Rapids. Date range 1885-1939. 7 items. NOT PRESENTLY OPEN FOR RESEARCH.

Series XVI. Owen Fawcett theatrical photos

Photographs of the British born actor, Owen Fawcett (1838-1904) and his family. 41 items. Finding Aid

Series XVII. Objects and realia

Small objects and realia related to Michigan photography. NOT PRESENTLY OPEN FOR RESEARCH.

Series XVIII. Glass slides and negatives

NOT PRESENTLY OPEN FOR RESEARCH. 

Online Resources

A selection of images from the David V. Tinder collection have been digitized and are available in the Clements Library Image Bank.