Frank Sadorus (1880-1934) was a descendant of a pioneer family who founded
Sadorus, Illinois, in east central Illinois. He was a farmer who lived
with his mother, father, brothers, and sister on the family farm. During
the off season from November to April, he photographed the people and
landscape he knew intimately. He considered himself an artist and studied
photography via mail order books and catalogs.
He used a camera
with plate glass negatives and processed many of the plates. Decades after his death, a relative found hundreds of the plates in the attic of his home. The prints and plates make up the collection that was donated to the
Illinois State Museum.
in the Corn Belt"
exhibit contains about 500 images that Frank photographed from 1898-1912,
and some family portraits from earlier years. Frank's photographic career
was cut short by the death of his father, which led to the sale of
the family farm, the moving of the family to town, followed by the commitment
of Frank to a mental institution.
exhibit features landscapes, portraits, and still lifes in striking
black and white images that portray a strong sense of place and time
-- the early years of the 20th century, when technology was making itself
felt on the farm. The collection is a moment in time in rural Illinois,
focused on one family and its activities.
to the left takes you to narrative text on family and photography relating
to the exhibit.
appear in a searchable gallery of large images. The categories
are Family, Farm, and Sadorus Area.
There is also
a searchable database of the collection.
Right: Family on the Big Rock
and Activities will help students and others appreciate photography and
farm life and suggest ideas to research their own roots through photography