Harold F. Stewart: In His Own Words
By Steve Crise
One of the difficulties in scanning, cataloging, and adding useful metadata to the thousands of files we have in our archives is the general lack of information not recorded on many of our original transparencies, negatives and prints. Most photographers of the day never bothered to label their own work with their name, date, or a location. Hours can be spent on a single image researching who the original creator of the work was, where the photo was taken and its approximate date of creation.
Sometimes we are blessed with an item that has a great amount of history attached to it by the original author. In the example we present here, Pacific Electric motorman and photographer extraordinaire Harold F. Stewart left us with plenty of very detailed information affixed to the back of his print of PE 969 in the form of a typewritten letter. Harold dutifully recorded information on not only the 900 Class cars employed on the Pacific Electric, but he also noted the route and the location of the photo he made at Vineyard Junction on March 6, 1949. And as an extra added attraction, Harold gave us a little bit of commentary on his feeling towards the city fathers of that time.