2012 Conference Took Attendees Home and Around the World

Railroading from a home-town perspective to railroading from an around-the-world perspective captivated attendees at the Center’s tenth annual Conversations about Photography conference, April 13-15 at Lake Forest College. The importance of close-at-hand experience to railroad art was emphasized by Tom Fawell of West Chicago, whose paintings derive from his early exposure to them in his backyard. While Henry Posner III held listeners spellbound with his photographs and stories of railroad activities from around the world. On Saturday a near record 157 attendees (160 is the record) participated. Other speakers were Shirley Burman Steinheimer, Bill Botkin (who also exhibited photographs that elicited high praise), Steve Crise, Christian Goepel, Drake Hokanson, Joel Jensen, Clark Johnson, Richard Solomon, and Chris Starnes. Sponsors were Lake Forest College, the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society (a first-timer), Trains and Classic Trains magazines, Canon, and Railfan & Railroad magazine. Visit the conference page for a more complete overview. The next conference will be held April 12-14, 2013, at Lake Forest College.

Friday Night Reception

Fred Springer Dies

One of America’s leading rail enthusiasts and philanthropists, Fred Springer, died in Santa Fe on April 18 at the age of 83 after a long illness. His family notified friends with an email whose subject line reads “The last train has departed.” The announcement included “words of John Wesley that Fred lived by (and lived up to, though he never thought so himself), ‘Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can!'” The Railway & Locomotive Historical Society recently awarded Springer its 2011 senior achievement award, and a few months ago Springer and his wife, Dale, gave the Center his 87,500 railroad photographs along with a substantial sum to ensure they will be properly processed, housed, and described in a publicly accessible database. The images will be available for research at Lake Forest College’s Donnelley and Lee Library in the archives and special collections. Springer’s photographs range from the 1940s to a few years ago. See our feature on Trains Magazine’s website.

Springer Receives R&LHS Award

Fred Springer has been awarded the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society’s 2011 senior achievement award for his contributions to writing, preserving, and interpreting North America’s railroading history. A few months ago, Springer gave the Center his railroad photographs—about 80,000 color slides and 7,500 black-and-white negatives—along with a substantial donation (his wife joined in this element of the donation) to process them for public access and to house them in archivally correct materials. Springer started making railroad photographs in the 1940s in Colorado and New Mexico, and quickly fell in love with narrow-gauge lines. See our feature on Trains Magazine’s website.

Train Festival 2011

Thanks to everyone who visited the Center’s booth at Train Festival 2011 in Rock Island, Illinois. We displayed two rotating photography exhibitions, one in memorial of Ryan Schoenfeldt (1976-2011) and one of Jack Delano’s World War II photos of Chicago & North Western’s women workers at Clinton, Iowa, 30 miles up the Mississippi River from Rock Island. Thanks to everyone who made the event possible. See more on our Facebook page.

2012 Awards Program: Railroading, Inspired by Steinheimer

The theme for the Center’s 2012 Creative Photography Awards Program is “Railroading, inspired by Steinheimer.” His wife, Shirley Burman Steinheimer, also a skilled photographer, will be the guest judge. In 2011, Miško Kranjec, of Ljubljana, Slovenia, topped a very close race in the Center’s 2011 Creative Photography Awards Program. Second place went to Stephen Hussar of Reading, Massachusetts, while Patrick J. Cashin, Brooklyn, New York, received third place honors.