STEPHENVILLE (September 7, 2016) — The University of Oklahoma Press has released a new book on historic Route 66 by Tarleton State University Professor T. Lindsay Baker. Titled Portrait of Route 66, the volume features unknown photographs of former U.S. Highway 66 from the archives of the Curt Teich postcard publishing company of Chicago.
Dr. Baker discovered the photographs while conducting research in the postcard company records at the Lake County Historical Society in Wauconda, Ill. They are black-and-white photographs that customers sent to the company with orders for color postcards in the years before the invention of color photography. Researchers have used the Curt Teich archives to reproduce its postcards, but no previous scholars had sought the original photographs behind the postcards.
Baker selected photographs that illustrate attractions and businesses along U.S. Highway 66, which connected Chicago on the Great Lakes with Los Angeles on the Pacific Ocean. Famed in movies, television and literature, the roadway received its numerical designation in 1926 and it survived into the 1980s, when interstate highways took its place. The black-and-white photographs in the book are paired with the color postcards that they inspired. Baker provides historical sketches of each of the locations illustrated.
Baker teaches history in the Department of Social Sciences at Tarleton and directs its W.K. Gordon Center for Industrial History of Texas, a museum located at the Thurber ghost town midway between Fort Worth and Abilene.
Formal release of Portrait of Route 66 is set for Sept. 20. For more information, call 254-968-1886.