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Stephen Henry Horgan Papers

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Repository: Richard and Ronay Menschel Library, George Eastman Museum
Source - col: Sipley, Louis Walton, 1897-1968
Source: 3M Foundation
Creator: Horgan, Stephen H. (Stephen Henry), 1854-1941
Title: Stephen Henry Horgan papers, Louis Walton Sipley/American Museum of Photography collection
ID: RRML.SC0008
Date [inclusive]: 1867-1946, undated
Physical Description: 3.25 Linear Feet 5 boxes
Physical Description: Bound and unbound notebooks are in poor condition.
Language of the Material: English

Abstract: Stephen Henry Horgan is credited by many as having introduced the first screen halftone used in connection with newspaper printing. This collection, dating from 1867-1946, comprises correspondence, notebooks, scrapbooks, and graphic material related to Horgan's role in the history of the graphic arts.

Scope & Contents: The material primarily relates to Horgan’s role in the history of the graphic arts. Horgan was a pioneer in the field of photomechanical reproduction and was connected in various capacities with many printing, publishing, and engraving concerns. The halftone process, Horgan's inventions for putting halftones on high-speed rotary newspaper presses, and color phototelography are especially well covered in his papers. Of special note are two items in Scrapbook #3: a ticket bearing Mark Twain's autograph, and an autographed letter to Horgan from Theodore Roosevelt.

Clippings, correspondence, proof sheets, and three-color separation transparencies document the “he-said, he-said” between Horgan and Bell Laboratories over who should receive credit for the idea of transmitting color photographs by telephone in 1924. The collection includes three-color transparencies of the image of Rudolph Valentino that was the first color photograph sent by wire. However, it is unclear whether these are the originals used in 1924.

Horgan was also involved in the Catholic church and numerous articles, clippings, correspondence, and collected material relate to his activities in this area.


Creation of this finding aid was made possible in part by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, grant #MA-30-15-0019-15.