Tennessee v. John T. Scopes Trial: Rhea County (Tennessee) Courthouse

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    Description: Taken the month before the Tennessee v. John T. Scopes Trial. June 1925

    Creator/Photographer: Watson Davis

    Medium: Black and white photographic print

    Dimensions: 4.25 in x 3 in

    Culture: American

    Geography: USA

    Date: 1925

    Repository: Smithsonian Institution Archives

    Collection: Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes Trial Photographs - During 1925, Watson Davis (1896-1967), Science Service managing editor, took numerous photographs while covering the State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes trial as a reporter. In what was dubbed "The Trial of the Century," Scopes was tried and convicted for violating a state law prohibiting the teaching of the theory of evolution. William Jennings Bryan served on the prosecution team, and Clarence Darrow defended Scopes. Almost eighty years later, the nitrate negatives, including portraits of trial participants, and images from the trial itself and significant places in Dayton, were discovered in archival material donated to the Smithsonian by Science Service in 1971. Marcel C. LaFollette, an independent scholar, historian and Smithsonian volunteer uncovered these rare, previously unpublished photographs of the 1925 Tennessee vs. John Scopes "Monkey Trial" in the Smithsonian Institution Archives (SIA). In 2005, SIA restored fifty-two of the negatives with funds granted by the Smithsonian Women's Committee. Included here are thirty-nine of the images. All images belong to the Record Unit 7091: Science Service, Records, 1902-1965 collection of SIA. All photographs were taken by Watson Davis, Managing Editor of Science Service, while he was in Dayton, Tennessee, June 4-5, 1925, and July 10-22, 1925. LaFollette identified and dated each of these images, and has published a new book highlighting these and other images from the trial entitled, Reframing Scopes: Journalists, Scientists, and Lost Photographs from the Trial of the Century, University Press of Kansas, 2008.

    Accession number: SIA2008-1125

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