July 11, 2006
Online exhibit features Horrell's mining photos
CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The late C. William "Doc" Horrell made a name by chronicling the mining industry in Southern Illinois with his striking black and white photography. Southern Illinois University Carbondale is making a variety of Horrell's work available on the Internet.
Three SIUC entities — Morris Library, the Coal Research Center and the Cooperative Wildlife Research Laboratory — teamed up for the online exhibit, which is at http://mccoy.lib.siu.edu/%7ehorrell/.
The exhibit, which will remain in service for the foreseeable future, showcases 50 photographs that chronicle the people, places and machines that made the mining industry king in Southern Illinois 40 years ago. The library's Special Collections Research Center intends to add many more photos to the online exhibit in the future.
Horrell took more than 1,000 photos of both surface and underground mining operations during the 1960s. The photos depict many facets of mining, from tightly cropped portraits of miners to soaring landscapes showing the structures and machinery that toiled to bring the valuable black substance to the surface. Organizers invite visitors to the Web site to leave comments about the photos as well.
A Southern Illinois native, Horrell joined SIUC in 1949, leading the University's photographic services division until 1958. He was a leader in forming the Department of Cinema and Photography and taught there until retiring in 1983.
SIU Press published a book of Horrell's photography titled, "Land Between the Rivers: The Southern Illinois Country" in 1973. He died in 1989.
John Richardson, professor emeritus of botany, scientific photographer and former Horrell student, is collaborating on the project.
"Doc was a great guy and performed an invaluable service to the region in photographing the people and places of the vanishing coal mining business in Southern Illinois, "Richardson said.
Leading in research, scholarly and creative activities is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint the University is following as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2019.