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Frank Sadorus, Illinois Photographer
Sadorus, Illinois
The Sadorus Family
The Sadorus Farm
Frank Sadorus' Photography
Early 20th Century Photography
Photo Gallery
Resources & Activities
ISM System


photograph of Frank with corn belt 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.

"I Live in the Corn Belt"

The Online Presentation
This online 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.

photograph of family in groveThe 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.

The menu to the left takes you to narrative text on family and photography relating to the exhibit.

The photographs 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

photograph of baling hay
The Resources and Activities will help students and others appreciate photography and farm life and suggest ideas to research their own roots through photography or geneaology.

Baling Hay

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