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Detroit Publishing Company

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Photochrom postcard of Mulberry Street in New York City, ca. 1900, by the Detroit Photographic Co.

The Detroit Publishing Company was an American photographic publishing firm best known for its large assortment of photochrom color postcards.


The Detroit Publishing Company was started by publisher William A. Livingstone and photographer Edwin H. Husher in the late 19th century as the Detroit Photographic Company. It was not until 1905 that the company called itself the Detroit Publishing Company.[1]

The company acquired exclusive rights to use a form of photography processing called Photochrom. Photochrom allowed for the company to mass market postcards and other materials in color. Their products were sold in the United States.[1] Around 1899, they published "Views of People and Sites in Algeria."[2]

Restored photochrom print of Hotel del Coronado in Coronado, California, from a photograph by William Henry Jackson, c. 1900.

By the time of World War I, the company faced declining sales both due to the war economy and the competition from cheaper, more advanced printing methods. The company declared bankruptcy in 1924 and was liquidated in 1932.

William Henry JacksonEdit

The best-known photographer for the company was William Henry Jackson, who joined the company in 1897. He became the plant manager in 1903, and in 1905 the company changed its name.


Most of the existing negatives and prints are now housed by the United States Library of Congress, which received them via the Edison Institute and the Colorado Historical Society in 1949. Most images are visible in digital form at the Library of Congress Web site.[3]

A large collection of photographic and photomechanical prints are also housed by the Beinecke Library at Yale University and are available for viewing online.[4] The Archives and Special Collections at Amherst College holds a collection of photochrom images of American landmarks from 1898 to 1908.[5]


  1. ^ a b "Margaret's Isle, Budapest, Hungary, Austro-Hungary". World Digital Library. Retrieved 19 January 2013.
  2. ^ "Great Mosque in the Marine Street, Algiers, Algeria". World Digital Library. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
  3. ^ Library of Congress—Detroit Publishing Co.
  4. ^ Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Retrieved 2009-07-09.
  5. ^ William Henry Jackson Photochrom Collection. Amherst College Archives and Special Collections.

Further readingEdit

  • "Chapter II: William Henry Jackson and the Detroit Publishing Company", in Jack Davis and Dorothy Ryan: Samuel L. Schmucker: The Discovery of His Lost Art, pp. 25–48, Olde America Antiques (2001). ISBN 0-615-11186-6 (Google books)

External linksEdit