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Michael Caporale Collection, William Preston Mayfield Photographs

Identifier: MS-269

Scope and Contents

The Michael Caporale Photograph Collection consists of 356 photographs collected by Michael Caporale. The collection is close in provenance to MS 271, the Peerless Mayfield Collection. Many of the images in both collections are similar subjects and clearly come from the same sources. Users may wish to consult both collections to obtain a more complete overview of Mayfield’s photographic legacy.

Series 1 of this collection consists of photographs taken by Dayton photographer William Preston Mayfield. Images include several scenes of the Dayton Flood of 1913, advertising images, building interiors and exteriors, street scenes, and people. Building exteriors include Dayton-area landmarks such as Memorial Hall, the Montgomery County Courthouse, the Dayton Public Library and the N.C.R. company. Several other Mayfield photographs are of sports and other leisure activities such as soapbox derbies, boxing, (including a shot of Jack Dempsey), as well as magicians Harry Blackstone Sr., and Howard Thurston.

Series 2 of this collection includes a variety of examples of the work of many well known photographers dating between the 1880s and the 1970s. The images are representative of the work of these photographers and will be potentially useful as examples for the history of photography. The photographs from other artists include albumen prints featuring scenes from late nineteenth and early twentieth century England, Palestine, India, Africa, and Grenada. Also included are prints from the United States showing Yosemite, San Francisco, and other California scenes, and New Mexico.

Series 3 includes photographs copied by William Preston Mayfield including an image of the Montgomery County Courthouse under construction in the late 1840s, the National Soldiers Home in 1872, and the Flood of 1866.

Series 4 includes views by various photographers including Jesse Tarbox Beals, G. Barrie, Ruth Thorne Thompson, and Paul Briol. Also included are several oversized photographs by William Preston Mayfield. Barrie is represented by an unusual early color photograph called a “photochromie.”


  • Creation: 1880-1979


Conditions Governing Use

Users should beware that copyright to these images may not be claimed by Wright State University. It is up to any users of the collection to seek out and obtain correct copyright permissions for any use of the images beyond fair use for limited educational purposes.

Biographical / Historical

William Preston Mayfield was born July 20, 1896, in Lexington, Kentucky. While working with Dayton newspapers and his own studio, Mayfield photographed many key moments in Dayton’s history, such as, the Wright Brothers flight experiments at Huffman Prairie, 1913 flood, as well as aerial photographs of Dayton. Mayfield died in 1974 at the age of 77.

Berenice Abbott was born in Springfield, Ohio in 1898. She spent most of her life photographing New York City. Abbott was also a major contributor in photographic education by originating the photographic program at the New School for Social Research. Many of her photographs followed documentary themes: Portraits (1920s-1930s), New York City (1930s-1940s), Science (1940s-1950s), and American Scenes (1930s-1960s). Abbott died in 1991 at the age of 93.

The American Colony in Jerusalem was founded in the 1880’s. The Colony made high quality albumen prints and gelatin transparency images with applied color, for sale to European tourists visiting Palestine. They were active between about 1885 and 1940, photographing scenes and historical and religious sites in the Near East, with a primary focus on Biblical Palestine.

James Anderson was born in 1813. He was an established photographer in ancient Greek and Roman sculpture and made views of Rome for the tourist trade. Anderson died in 1877 at the age of 64.

Felix Bonfils was born in 1831. He photographed Middle Eastern people and scenes. Bonfils died in 1885 at the age of 54.

Ruth Coleman was a world photographer. She photographed New York City, Japan, China, Africa, Europe and other destinations across the world. Coleman died in the late 1970s.

Nancy Ford Cones was born in Milan, Ohio in 1869. She was a member of the “pictorialist” movement. Many of her photographs resemble paintings rather than photographs. Cones died in 1962 at the age of 93.

Andre de Dienes was the first photographer for Norma Jean Baker, who became the world-known model, Marilyn Monroe.

Harry Ellis was born in Ohio in 1957. He was fascinated by common and daily scenes in Europe.

Francis Frith was born in 1822. He set out to photograph every city, town, and village in the British Isles. He also led many photographic expeditions to Egypt and Palestine. Francis Frith died in 1898 at the age of 76.

Fritz Henle traveled the Mediterranean, India, China, and Japan photographing portraits, documentaries, scenery, working for countless magazines. Henle died in 1993 and was described as one of the “last great classical photographers.”

William James Stillman was born in 1828. He was best known for his photographs of the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. Stillman died in 1901 at the age of 73.

Isaiah West Taber was born in Massachusetts in 1830. He was well-known for his photographs of California scenery. Taber died in 1912 at the age of 82.

George Washington Wilson was born in 1823. He began his career as a portrait miniaturist. He was the first photographer to have his photographs sold in cabinet size. His studio was one of the largest photographic publishers in the world in the 1880s. Wilson died in 1883 at the age of 60.


1 linear feet

Language of Materials



The collection is arranged alphabetically by subject.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was received in late 1995 by gift from Michael Caporale, through Walt Burton.

Related Materials

The collection is close in provenance to MS 271, the Peerless Mayfield Collection. Many of the images in both collections are similar subjects and clearly come from the same sources. Users may wish to consult both collections to obtain a more complete overview of Mayfield’s photographic legacy.

Guide to the Caporale Photograph Collection (MS-269)
2021 July 21
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Wright State University Libraries
Special Collections and Archives
3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy
Dayton OH 45435-0001 USA