Archive of photographs, newspaper clippings, and ephemera regarding automobiles and automobile accidents, 1963-1966

N.p. N.p., 1963-1966. Archive of photographs, newspaper clippings, and various ephemera belonging to a Kenny Aumont Brown (1943-2016), of Burlington, North Carolina, largely relating to automobiles and automobile accidents, 1963-1966.

The archive, assembled by Brown when in his early twenties, documents his preoccupation with automobiles, automobile accidents, and racing, at a time when Brown was first employed as a tow truck driver for Cobb Motor Company, and later as part of a rescue unit (as seen in one of the newspaper clippings). In his later years, Brown would serve as an Alamance County Deputy Sheriff for 34 years. A copious and insightful vernacular documentation of the relationship of Southern culture and automobiles in the early to mid 1960s.

The archive contains 37 standard size black and white photographs, one 8 x 10 inch black and white photograph, four color photographs, 25 newspaper clippings, two newspaper issues, and twelve various documents, all housed in a photo album. The archive contains annotations throughout, in white marker on the black leaves of the photo album, and frequently in pen or pencil on the margins of articles and photographs.

The photographs in the archive include shots of Cobb Motor Company vehicles and shop, including a circa 1930s photograph of a 1930s Cobb vehicle laid in, various crashed vehicles, with annotations including location and fatalities, wrecked NASCAR vehicles (one page including the annotations of "Petty Plymouth's 1962" and "Car witch (sic) almost killed Lee Perry"), three of local drag races, and several of friends and family vehicles, including Brown's own cherished 1949 Plymouth, which he identifies as "My Own True Love KAB." Many of the photographs include developer dates stamped into the margin which range from 1958, 1960, 1962, and 1965.

The newspaper clippings in the archive date from 1963 to 1966, with the majority about local automobile accidents, but also feature articles on NASCAR accidents and fatalities (Joe Weatherly), illegal racing, a transportation shop fire, a murder suicide, and an Alamance plane crash which killed three, which is included in two clippings as well as a full issue of the Daily Times News.

As well as the photographs and newspaper clippings, the archive includes various personal effects which include Brown's driver's license, two car registrations belonging to his mother, Cathera Garner Brown, a 1962 Dion and Sam Cook concert ticket, and a letter from the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles warning Brown his license is in danger of suspension from speeding violations (with an adjacent "Nasty Letter" annotation). Also included are much older family artifacts including a 1914 post-card receipt from Burlington Coffin Company, a 1917 post-card receipt from Piedmont Railway and Electric, and a 1919 receipt from Souther Bell Telephone and Telegraph Company, all belonging to a presumed grandfather, W.L. Burke, of Burlington.

On the first leaf of the album is Brown's name, dated "Dec. 1963," and his initials in bold Gothic calligraphy in white. On the verso of the first leaf is a Sunday, May 19, 1963 newspaper clipping of an accident featuring a strikingly disturbing photograph of a man hanging from a telephone pole upon which his body was thrown, his car burning below him, with the adjacent annotation "Will They Ever Learn." The photograph in the clipping is of note as it was the image appropriated by Andy Warhol for his 1963 painting "Green Car Crash (Green Burning Car I)," one of the most celebrated paintings of his early "Death and Disaster" series.

Photo album with string binding, 12.5 x 8.75 inches. Very Good plus. Photographs, Newspaper clippings, and ephemera Very Good overall, with a few clippings laid in, and ten of the photographs loose from the original tape mounting, many with faint soil, tape shadows, and light creasing.


[Book #155116]