Original vernacular photograph album documenting the vehicle ownership history of Greg Wildrick of Peru, Indiana, 1955-1966
Peru, Indiana: N.p., 1967. Vintage stringbound vernacular photograph album documenting the vehicular obsessions of one Greg Wildrick of Peru, Indiana, who would ultimately kill four people in a motor vehicle accident and later die himself in the same manner while speeding. Approximately 150 black-and-white photographs and 50 color photographs, with holograph ink annotations captioning most of the images.
Holograph ink annotations on the front board provide the album's title: "#1 / Our new cars etc. / Family Too." Additional annotations on the inside rear board note: "The bullshit contained in this so called albumn (sic) belongs to Greg E. Wildrick / 4 Holiday Drive / Peru, Indiana is where I live if you don't know me. Call 472-2550 / If you don't call me, forget it!!! / Book Finished March 5, 1967 at 4:45 A.M."
The photographs in the album span roughly 1955 to 1966, compiled by Greg at the age of 19. In addition to many images of the family's muscle cars and trucks, the album also contains quite a few shots of bicycles, go-karts, quarter midgets, and speedboats, often with family members posing happily nearby. Several images also capture vehicles in use.
Patently obsessed with cars and speed from a young age, Wildrick would go on to work as a used car salesman in nearby Kokomo, Indiana throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Wildrick's fanaticism also evidently extended to his leisure hours, as the Kokomo Tribune notes Wildrick's involvement in multiple speeding violations during the same period.
One of the album's more striking photographs, taken on December 19, 1965, is a blurry color Polaroid of the speedometer of a 1966 Oldsmobile 442 going 110 miles per hour down US Highway 31. This same stretch of 31 would see Wildrick gravely injured and four others dead in a grisly two-car accident five years later, in January of 1971. Sadly, this would not be Wildrick's last serious accident, as a similar collision on US Highway 35 would precipitate his own demise in 1986, at the age of 39.
A fascinating and thorough album, capturing a young man's coming-of-age in a car-centric family, and more broadly, allowing a personal glimpse into the golden age of the automobile in postwar America.
12.75 x 12.25 inches. Photographs ranging from Near Fine to Very Good plus, with approximately 18 photographs lightly scuffed, cracked, toned, and edgeworn. Album Very Good plus, with light edgewear and scuffing on the boards.
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