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Wayne State University Press

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Enterprising Images

The Goodridge Brothers, African American Photographers, 1847-1922

John Vincent Jezierski

African American Studies, Biography, Michigan

Great Lakes Books Series

Hardback
Published: June 2000
ISBN: 9780814324516
Pages: 368 Size: 8.5x11
Illustrations: 331
Review

The Goodridge family and their photographs are of national historical significance, and there are many lessons to be learned from them.

— Linda A. Ries

From its beginnings in York, Pennsylvania, in 1847, until the death of Wallace L. Goodridge in Saginaw, Michigan, in 1922, the Goodridge Brothers Studio was the most significant and enduring African American photographic establishment in North America. In Enterprising Images, John Vincent Jezierski tells the story of one of America's first families of photography, documenting the history of the Goodridge studio for three-quarters of a century. The existence of more than one thousand Goodridge photographs in all formats and the family's professional and personal activism enrich the portrait that emerges of this extraordinary family. Weaving photographic and regional history with the narrative of a family whose lives paralleled the social and political happenings of the country, Jezierski provides the reader with a complex family biography for those interested in regional and African American, as well as photographic, history.

John Vincent Jezierski is a professor of history at Saginaw Valley State University.

The Goodridge family and their photographs are of national historical significance, and there are many lessons to be learned from them. Their sweeping multi-generational history reads like the Great American Novel, transcending the entire nineteenth century and several states including Pennsylvania, Michigan, New York and Minnesota. There are many topical themes also, from early photography, slavery, free blacks in the North, commercial entrepreneurship, lumbering, and black/white relations-to name only a few.

– Linda A. Ries, Pennsylvania State Archives