Paradise Valley, Az. [ca. 1930]. 220 silver gelatin photographs, most 2 1/2 x 4 1/4 inches to 3 1/4 x 5 3/4 inches, with a handful of larger photographs and some smaller-format panoramas. Oblong folio. Original brad-bound album. Minor dust-soiling. Overall very good. Item #WRCAM52672
An engaging collection of original photographs from Arizona, circa 1930. The album would seem to depict the early days of the Judson School, a well-known boarding school which opened in Paradise Valley, Arizona in 1928. It was evidently assembled by one of the students. The first photograph shows the student body of nineteen young men in coat and tie; the second shows founder and head, George Judson, and the three men who evidently constituted the whole faculty at the time. Since one of the photographs contains a joking reference to Prohibition, it would seem to date before 1933; at the same time, there are enough buildings and structures to suggest the school had been going for several years, hence our dating to circa 1930.
The school prided itself on offering a vigorous outdoor life as well as regular schooling. The students are shown in various settings: tending to a camp, surveying, or on horseback in the desert (a few shots depicting a snow-covered desert). The young men are also depicted at leisure: reading in chairs indoors and outdoors, playing baseball and tennis, wrestling, and roping. Also present are a good number of photographs depicting the landscape around the area, captured while the boys were exploring the areas around Paradise Valley and Phoenix, with numerous shots of the men preparing food while out on the desert prairies. Five photographs depict a railroad derailment, and a handful capture Spanish-style buildings or Native American structures in the area, with one image of a Native American family inside a makeshift tent. There is also a group of photographs in an eastern setting, presumably the student back home.
The Judson School, once in a rural desert setting, was eventually surrounded by the explosive growth of Phoenix. The owner of the school (which was always a private, for- profit endeavor) sold the land to luxury real estate developers and closed the school in 2000.
A wonderful collection of photographs depicting a famous pioneering school in Arizona.