April 17, 2012
Artifact: No. 3A Autographic Kodak Special Camera
Date: Circa 1920
Significance: Rev. Theodore F. Walther used this camera to take photos around 1920 of the mission work among African-Americans in Alabama and North Carolina. The photos were made into slides that Rev. Walther used for lectures about this mission work. Theodore Walther, a grandson of the Missouri Synod’s first president, C. F. W. Walther, served as a member of the Missionary Board of the Evangelical Lutheran Synodical Conference of North America for nearly 40 years.
About the camera:
The No. 3A Autographic Kodak Special was manufactured by the Eastman Kodak Co. from 1914 to 1934. Autographic meant that the photographer was able to enter his or her own notes onto the film negative via a small door on the back of the camera.
About the slides:
Seen behind the camera are the box of 165 glass slides and the slide projector (Bausch & Lomb Optical Co. Model 8C Balopticon) that were used for these lectures. The slides include images of Immanuel Lutheran College in North Carolina, chapels and other church buildings, groups of parishioners and students, pastors, teachers and missionaries. Walther even included an 1847 slave trade agreement, which leads us to assume that he probably included some
history with his lectures.