Early Smith Photographs from Wichita

Courtesy of Mary Nelson from the Special Collections Library at Wichita State University, and Al Stephens, a researcher whose father and mother went to North High School with Smith in 1936, the year Smith’s father committed suicide.  Below is a photo by Smith of Al’s father Hubert Stephens, who was editor-in-chief of the yearbook and the school paper.

Hubert Stephens at Wichita High School North, 1936.  Photo by W. Eugene Smith

Hubert Stephens at Wichita High School North, 1936. Photo by W. Eugene Smith

Stories about Smith survive from Al’s mother, who remembers Smith cutting and hollowing the middle of a book in order to hide a camera inside it and carry it around the school.

East High vs. North High, 1936, Photo by W. Eugene Smith

East High vs. North High, 1936, Photo by W. Eugene Smith

Al notes that in scanning the local newspapers on microfilm from Smith’s teenage years, the photographers weren’t always given a by-line, but Smith seemed to always have one.  An early sign of his doggedness perhaps?

Many thanks to Al for these materials.

-S.S.

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