The Filson Historical Society Digital Projects

Life in the Mountains: The Rogers Clark Ballard Thruston Photograph Collection

The Mountain Photograph Collection consists primarily of photographs taken by Rogers Clark Ballard Thruston in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky, Eastern Tennessee, and Southwestern Virginia between 1882 and 1905.

Thruston (1858-1946) was a member of one of Louisville’s most prominent families. He was an engineer by education and vocation, and a historian and photographer by avocation. Thruston was also a benefactor and longtime president of The Filson Historical Society (1923-1946).

In 1882, Thruston was hired as a geological assistant under Albert Rogers Crandall (1840-1926) of the Kentucky Geological Survey. The Survey’s goal was to explore and record the natural resources in Appalachian counties. Thruston helped survey, photograph, and document the region. The photographs in this exhibit were produced during the mid-1880s, when Thruston and Crandall worked for the Kentucky Geological Survey, and from the 1890s through the early 20th century, when Thruston continued to work and document Appalachia during his time with the Kentucky Union Land Company. The counties featured in this exhibit include: Bath, Bell, Breathitt, Breckinridge, Carter, Elliott, Floyd, Harlan, Knox, Letcher, Pike, Whitley, and Wolfe in Kentucky, and Wise and Lee in Virginia.

CREDIT: Filson Collections Staff


Heather Potter, Curator of Photographs & Prints