Harry Lemen. Real estate agent. Photographer. His life’s work resulted in an awesome photo collection.
Harry Crawford Lemen was a native of Jefferson County, Indiana. He was born near Canaan, Indiana, the son of Emerson and Mary Lemen. He was a lawyer for some time, but entered the field of real estate and he followed that vocation for more than 30 years.
Mr. Lemen was also a skilled amateur photographer and it was natural and fortunate that he combined his love of taking photos with his real estate business. The result of this happy union was an imposing collection of photographs documenting Madison and Jefferson County though the mid-20th century.
Harry Lemen was also an admirer of the works of other earlier photographers and he collected an extensive number of photographs from the earlier days of Madison, often reproducing them as postcards and framed pictures. The Jefferson County Public Library purchased the collection after Mr. Lemen’s death.
The photos cover a vast and varied amount of material not only of Jefferson County, but from all over Indiana. The library will endeavor to showcase the major part of the collection on this website under the title of “The Harry Lemen Collection.”
It would be prudent to say here that Hiram Lemen, son of Harry, took a few photos that were included in this collection. However, the number was small and it is difficult, if not impossible, to discern Hiram’s work from that of his father so we have given credit for all photos to Harry Lemen.
We hope you take time to browse and enjoy the collection. We think Mr. Lemen would be pleased you stopped by.
A big thank you goes to the Friends of the Jefferson County Public Library. This project would not have been possible without their financial support!
Along with more than 2,000 photos, the Jefferson County Public Library also received Harry Lemen’s camera, an Eastman-Kodak Brownie Camera No. 2C model A. The camera used the unusual Kodak No. 130 film which resulted in photos of letterbox format. The negatives are much larger than today’s 35mm film — nearly five inches wide by three inches tall.
This early camera also had what photographers call a limited “depth of field.” One point of the scene is in focus while surrounding areas, especially those further away were blurred.
His later photos came from a different camera. Based on the negative size, the camera was most likely a newer version of the Kodak Brownie. These photos also had much better contrast and depth of field.
Our team scanned the negatives at 1200 dpi using a MicroTek ScanMaker 9800XL. We scanned and retained the full frame of negative. We did not correct errors such as light damage to the negative. However, for image clarity, we did make some sharpness and contrast adjustments. On occasion, however, the photo came from a postcard or from a negative taken of an older endangered print. We did not correct any errors such as water damage as those were a part of the original print and not the negative we scanned.
Feel free to contact us with questions about this collection or the archiving project.
Copyright and reproduction statement.
Website and contents are copyright 2003-2010 by the Jefferson County Public Library. Permission to reproduce images for other than personal use must be requested from the Director of the Jefferson County Public Library.