Box 13 Associates Album of Photographs and News Clippings, Cincinnati Fire Department 1930s-1950s
Metal covers with pebbled leatherette-lined cover, hand-lettered in red and white. Measuring 18 x 11.75 x 2.5 inches and weighing in at 12 lbs, a hefty collection of original photographs, papers, and news clippings related to the Cincinnati Fire Department, mostly ca. 1930s-1950s. Very Good with expected wear for an unwieldy album: Parts of the lettering on the corner worn, tattering around the edges, particularly some of the oversize newspaper clippings and fragile mounting leaves--a bit touchy, but able to be handled without peril. Estimated around 200-250 leaves, 110 original photographs in the album, many photo reproductions, news clippings, and ephemera from community events. Most mounted with photo corners or pasted in, though some are loosely tucked in. Additional materials loosely inserted: original Underwriters Salvage Corps typed report of the losses from a fire just before Christmas, 1940. 10 additional original photographs loosely inserted, 7 showing old firetrucks.
Compiled by Joe Goetz, photographer and member of the Box 13 Associates, an organization formed in support of the city's firefighters in 1933. Named for the firebox central to the city's worst early disasters, Box 13 members were originally trained in first aid and could provide basic medical assistance as well as organize food and supplies at the scenes. The role of the Box 13 Association became less hands-on as the services of the Red Cross and trained emergency medical responders became more readily available, but the organization remains active in the Cincinnati area.
Cincinnati is the birthplace of professional firefighting in the United States, establishing the first paid fire company there in 1853. The Cincinnati Underwriters Salvage Corps also figures prominently in the city's history of firefighting, having commissioned the first automotive firetruck, a "sidewinder" named Marguerite, around 1905. Several USC items are laid into the album, including 3 small portraits and 3 large photographs of Corps members with their vehicles (one identified on the verso as a 1942 Packard, another 1930 Ahrens Fox Model V16). An additional mounted photograph and three small [collodion?] prints show an earlier fire engine, ca. 1911.
The album manages to reflect the warm sense of camaraderie and community alongside the devastating photographs and news reports. Includes menus and programs from social events, much related to the long-serving Fire Chief Barney J. Houston, correspondence regarding visiting speakers, community and social events. Also much in the way of general firefighter enthusiasm, with the inclusion of cheery community and lifestyle articles and photos from safety presentations and goings-on around the firehouse. The vast majority of news clippings cover regional Ohio incidents, with additional reporting from incidents in New York, Baltimore, and the Spring 1941 forest fires near Fort Dix/Lakehurst NJ. News clipping are mostly from the 1930s-1950s, with a few later items, but many earlier photographs are also included. The album is not presented strictly chronologically and Goetz has included photos from before the Box 13 founding, some dating c. 1910. Most are identified with location and date in pencil or on a typed label. A photo of Goetz himself, donning a cartoonishly period wardrobe and mustache, appears with the label "Ye Photographer Goetz," a cheeky tone that characterizes a number of the captions.
Immensely physical and weighty in both scope and scale. Shipping for this behemoth will be calculated based on buyer location.