Which Judd is the Judd in “Judd Photo?” For a short period of time, possibly less than thirty six months, a “Judd” was in the post card business. He took photographs and turned them into ‘real photo’ post cards, including several of the famous 1909 Reno fire photographs. With supporting images, we hope to answer the Judd question.
Who is ‘Judd’ in the “Judd Photo” credit line on Reno, Nevada post cards, is it Jacob H. Judd or his father, Oscar P. Judd?
This story has two sad endings.
In a post card titled “The largest Locomotive in the World, 16 Drive Wheels, Reno, Nev.” and signed “Judd – Photo,” a camera, tripod, and other photographic equipment are seen. Is this an early “selfie” of Judd walking to another of his cameras?
Until this point the Judd who had an eye for, captured, and sold real photographic post cards in Reno, ca. 1909 was identified as Oscar P. Judd.
I now respectfully suggest it was his son, the younger Jacob H. Judd who was the real photographer.
That conclusion is arrived at by starting with the 1910 U.S. Census. points to the younger Judd as the photographic post cards images of Reno in between 1908-1910.
Twenty-two-year old Jacob Harrison Judd in the 1910 U.S. Census listed his“Occupation” as “Photographer” and he was working on his “own Account.” [ii]
The senior Judd listed his occupation in the same census as owning his own “Piano Business.” [iii]
On April 9th, 1910, Reno Evening Gazette reports “Automobile Party has Narrow Escape From Death When Gear Breaks and Machine Turns Over,” The page five story says “Miss Myrtle Craig, a well known young lady of this city” was involved in an automobile accident with “J. H. Judd a photographer.” Judd said their “chauffeur” identified only as Sellman, and Miss Craig all “felt lucky to be alive.” The auto was almost demolished according to the paper.
Earlier, the older Judd had a mercantile operation in Reno focused on small, gifts, stationary and music.
Again in November of 1909 the senior Judd said he was now selling the “small goods department” of the store to focus on “more important departments.” [vi]
Like many post card photographers, Judd produced and sold view cards of downtown Reno, the University of Nevada, the Truckee River, and the areas surround the city.
The most famous “Judd Photo” post cards are of the Reno fire on March 2, 1909 that destroyed the Palace hotel, restaurant and saloon.
Judd, the photographer, arrived on the scene and took several photographs of the blaze, including one that was featured on the front page of the Nevada State Journal, on March 2, 1909.
While “Judd Photo” is clearly visible, (sure, if you look real close with a powerful magnifying glass) on the bottom photograph of the Nevada State Journal story does not identify which Judd took the photograph.
The following day Judd was back on the scene taking additional photographs. The photographs were quickly made into post cards and put on sale.
Again, Judd’s photograph captures more than the burned out shell of a gambling house. A close look to the right side finds a group of men interested in the ruble.
Weeks after the Palace fire, the Nevada legislature criminalized gambling in Nevada. The ban went into effect September 30, 1910
Few details of who photographer Judd was, how many post cards he produced or how long it was in operation. Based on images and post marks it is likely Judd stopped producing post cards as early as 1911.
By October of 1910, the senior Judd was selling Buicks from a music store on Sierra Street in Reno.
A 1913 Reno business directory and a 193 newspaper story reveal “O.P. Judd & Son” were in business together selling the new 1914 Buick’s that has just arrived.[i]
By the mid-teens, both father and son changed occupations, both were in the automotive sales business in Reno.
The 31-year old Judd would die on January 7, 1919 in the influenza pandemic that hit much of the world. He left behind his wife Minnie, and their three daughters and one son.
The senior Judd, according to reports at the time, would die in 1929, of a self-inflicted gunshot. Financial problems were listed as the reason.
The following known post cards produced by Judd.
There are at least three, unnumbered, different post card “Judd Photo” produced of the fire within days of the fire.
- “BURNING OF LARGEST GAMBLING HOUSE IN THE STATE, RENO NEV. Judd – Photo”
- A wide shot of the fire with crowds in the street next to the railroad tracks.
- It is not known if there are two versions of this view, as far as the credit line of Judd Photo. In this version the credit line is all in upper and lower case and is not underlined.
- Earliest known post mark, Reno, March 10, 7 PM, 1909.
- “BURNING OF LARGEST GAMBLING HOUSE IN THE STATE. RENO NEV. Judd – Photo”
- There are two versions of this post card. One with the words Judd and Photo underlined and one without the underlined.
- Based on post marks, the underlined version was the second version.
- Judd-Photo, Reno, March 11, 1909.
- Judd – Photo, Reno, March 31, 1909.
- “PALACE GAMBLING HOUSE RUINS. RENO NEV. JUDD Photo.”
- In this view, the credit line is in upper case for JUDD, and upper and lower case for Photo.
- There are at least two versions of this post card. The title changes
- One title; “RUINS OF PALACE GAMBLING HOUSE – RENO NEV.”
- Second title; “PALACE GAMBLING HOUSE RUINS. RENO NEV.”
Other known “JUDD PHOTO” Post card. Unnumbered.
- “ELK’S HOME RENO NEV. JUDD PHOTO.”
- An exterior photograph of the Elk’s Home.
- A winter scene with the home hiding behind snow covered trees.
- Post marked Reno, January 12, 1910.
- “EVENING ON THE BEAUTIFUL TRUCKEE – RENO NEV. Judd Photo.”
- AZO paper four up triangles.
- “ALONG THE TRUCKEE RIVER RENO NEV. JUDD-PHOTO.”
- Postmark Reno, Nev. Feb. 3, 1910.
- Photograph shows rapids, with note on back’ “Truckee River at Flood States.”
- “THE MACKAY STTUE- RENO NEV. JUDD ”
- AZO paper four up triangles.
- Post mark Reno, December 21, 1909.
- Vertical post card
- Judd Photo is underlined.
- “THE LARGEST LOCOMOTIVE IN THE WORLD LENGTH 98FT. 6 ½ in. – 16 DRIVE WHEELS JUDD PHOTO RENO NEV.”
- Interesting as this shows the camera on a tripod with a man posing in the center of the photograph away from the railroad workers and the locomotive.
- Is this “Judd”? Set on a timer, or someone else taking photograph?
- Postmarked Reno, June 15, 1909.
- “JUDD PHOTO RUINS OF ST. Thomas AQUINIAS CHURCH.”
- Nevada Historic Society Collection.
- “NORTH CENTER ST. RENO NEV. ->JUDD PHOTO<-“
- Nevada Historical Society Collection.
Block title Unnumbered Post Cards
- “JUDD – PHOTO AN OLD-TIMER RENO, NEVADA.”
- Block lettering title and credit line.
- Earliest known post mark Mineral Hill, Nevada, Nov. 22, 1909.
- “VIRGINA ST. FROM THE RIVERSIDE HOTEL VERANDA RENO NEVADA JUDD PHOTO.”
- Great image. Shows men, wagon and horses crossing bridge.
- Shows construction underway across the street from the Masonic Building.
- “ON THE BANKS OF THE TRUCKEE RENO NEV. JUDD-PHOTO.”
- Nevada Historical Society collection.
- “SENATOR NIXON’S NEW HOME. RENO NEVADA. JUDD- PHOTO.”
- Vertical post card print…
- Nevada Historical Society collection.
Block type fonts on Reno post Cards, “Judd Photo’s”?
Did “Judd Photo” switch from hand letter fonts, to block letters for post card titles, or did you use both? There are post cards with the “Judd Photo” credit line that use title fonts created by hand, while others are found with block titles for both the credit line and title.
From the same time period, circa 1909 more than a dozen post cards have been identified with the same block lettering but without a credit line.
It is very likely that other photographers also produced post cards with Reno views, using the same block lettering for titles, possibly the same company photographic studio that printed post cards for other photographers.
Judd photographs used with post cards with Block titles, hand titled fonts, and no titles.
- “TRUCKEE RIVER ABOVE THE DAM RENO NEVADA JUDD-PHOTO”
- There is a printed by hand title with Judd Photo credit.
- Same image with block title “SCENE ALONG THE TRUCKEE RIVER. RENO NEVADA.” Postmark February 3, 1908 Reno, Nevada.
- “EVENING ALONG THE TRUCKEE RENO NEVADA. JUDD PHOTO.”
- Vertical image post card. The photograph used in for this post card is different than the same titled Judd post card that was printed horizontally.
- Also produced without Judd credit, with the addition of a number in front of the title; “47 EVENING ALONG THE TRUCKEE RENO NEVADA.”
More research needs to be done on the Judds!
[i] “Photoi] “Reno, Sparks and Washoe County Directory 1913-1914,” 1913, R. L. Polk & Company of Utah, page 35, and “1914 Buick For Big Fair Week,” September 20, 1913, Reno Evening Gazette, page seven.
“Photo graphic Views of Nevada, 1903 -1938,” by Robert Greenwood, 1998, “Published by Fred Holabird Americana, Reno, Nevada,” page A-1.
[ii] 1910; Census Place: Reno Ward 6, Washoe, Nevada; Roll: T624 859, page 6B, Enumeration District: 0073, Microfilm: 1374872
[iii] 1910; Census Place: Reno Ward 6, Washoe, Nevada; Roll: T624 859, page 6B, Enumeration District: 0073, Microfilm: 1374872
[iv] “Menardi’s Announcement,” November 20, 1909, Reno Evening Gazette, page three.
[v] “Menardi’s Announcement,” November 20, 1909, Reno Evening Gazette, page three.
[vi] “Menardi’s Announcement,” November 20, 1909, Reno Evening Gazette, page three.