J.C. Allen & Sons: More than just farm photos

Photo above- John O. Allen (standing), John C. Allen (right), Chester P. Allen (kneeling) in 1970

The J.C. Allen & Sons Company of West Lafayette, Indiana is considered to hold one of the country’s foremost agriculture and rural life photo archives.

In 1904 Purdue University employee J.C. Allen purchased a Kodak camera to take pictures on his trip to the World’s Fair in St. Louis. From that time, he used the wooden glass plate camera, and later a Press Graflex roll-film camera, to document farms and farm life throughout the midwest and United States.

In 1929, Chester P. Allen graduated from Purdue and joined his father in the photography business.

When John O. Allen graduated from Purdue he likewise joined his father and grandfather full-time and then incorporated the business in 1970.

Today, the J.C. Allen & Sons company is operated by John Allen. Photographs from the company archives grace many agricultural publications and find their way into other commercial uses. Recently, interest has been generated in the company’s extensive collection of Amelia Earhart photos taken at Purdue Airport prior to her ill-fated around-the-world flight.

Aside from agriculture-themes, the Allen men also took many photographs of rural life. These photographs documenting early outdoor sports are courtesy of J.C. Allen & Sons Inc.

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Get J.C. Allen Books: If you like old-time farming and rural life, you’ll love the latest photo book from J.C. Allen & Sons:

Pictures from the Farm, an album of Family Farm Memories.

The book is is available for $29.95 plus $5.75 shipping (IN residents add $2.10 sales tax) from: J.C. Allen & Sons P.O. Box 2061 West Lafayette IN 47906 Tel. (765) 463-9614