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Scope and Content Note

Earl Morgan Savage behind the camera

Click here for Earl Morgan Savage Collection Digital Images 

The Earl Morgan Savage Photograph Collection was donated to the Special Collections unit of the Lakeland Public Library by one of Savage's relatives. The provenance of this collection is unknown. A note accompanying the donation indicates that the photographs were donated to the library by a niece or nephew.

Savage (pictured above behind his camera) is something of a mystery in early twentieth century Lakeland. He briefly owned a photography shop in the Vanity Fair Arcade on South Tennessee Avenue in the mid-1920's. By 1926, however, he was gone, apparently to Tampa. He left behind a wonderful collection of photographs of mid-1920's Lakeland at the height of the Florida land boom. His photos are of a very specific area of the city, the downtown business district. Savage did not wander too far from his shop in the Vanity Fair Arcade, as most of the photographs of Lakeland are of the downtown area immediately surrounding the Arcade.

The photographs are undated, but there is in the collection a photograph of the Lakeland Terrace Hotel under construction. In addition, some of the photographs of other buildings and street scenes show the Terrace under construction in the background, while others show the completed structure. Since construction on the hotel began in early 1924 and was largely completed by the end of the year, the photographs can be dated to that time period.

Savage and his camera captured the hustle and bustle of Lakeland' business district during boom times, with images of banks, shoppers walking along busy city streets, and the construction of the Terrace Hotel, the city's first high rise building. He also saw through his camera lens the Prohibition Era, as depicted in photographs of the city's police chief destroying confiscated liquor on the city hall steps.

There are 174 prints in various sizes and 96 negatives. Not all the prints have corresponding negatives; nor have prints been made from all the 96 negatives.

The Lakeland photographs have been divided into broad categories such as aerials, buildings, lakes, people, and streets and arranged alphabetically there under by the subject of the photograph. The non-Lakeland photographs and the negatives have been grouped together in two folders at the end of the collection.

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Aerial Views of Lakeland



           2 Elliston Building (215-217 East Main Street)
         3 Federal Building (corner of Tennessee Avenue and Lemon Street)
       4 Fisk Johnson Building (112-115 South Florida Avenue)
       5 Greylocks Entrance (on Lake Hollingsworth)
       6 Hartsell Building (108 East Main Street)
      7 Lakeland Buick (121 South Florida Avenue)
       8 Lakeland Citrus Growers Association (510 East Cedar Avenue)
          9 Lakeland Evening Telegram (324 East Main Street)
        10 Lakeland Terrace Hotel Under Construction
        11 Moores's Style Shop (207 East Main Street)
          12 Polk County Trust Company (Corner of Main and South Florida)
              13 State Bank of Lakeland (Corner of East Main and Tennessee)   
           14 Studebaker Building ( 215 East Bay Street)
          15 Thelma Hotel (Corner of Kentucky Avenue and East Lemon Street)
          16 Vanity Fair Arcade: Exterior (114 South Tennessee Avenue)
          17 Vanity Fair Arcade Interior
          18 Wilsonian Apartments (Lake Morton Drive)
         19 Unidentified


            20 Lake Hollingsworth
       21 Lake Mirror
     22 Lake Morton
      23 Unidentified Lakes


       24 Brotherhood of Railroad Clerks:  Parade float
       25 Perriman, J. I. (Lakeland Police Chief @early 1920's)
    26 Savage, Earl Morgan
       27 Unidentified


       28 East Main Street:  Being paved with bricks
       29 Main Street (Looking west)
      30 Tennessee Avenue (Looking south)
      31 Non-Lakeland Photographs
      32 Negatives