Un-Locke the Mystery

In the January blog post “Ruel P. Tolman’s Images: Who Are You?,” Courtney Esposito invited you to identify any familiar faces found in the new Ruel Pardee Tolman set on the Flickr Commons.

Thanks to several champion contributors in the Flickr community, we have been able to uncover more about the individuals pictured, as well as update our official catalog records!

Flickr user Penny Richards helps identify image.


Capt. Locke, 1935, by Ruel P (Ruel Pardee) Tolman.


With the hard work and dedication from Flickr users pennylrichardsca, Pixel Wrangler, and Jody Roberts, we have further identified eight subjects of the featured Tolman images. While reeling from this great  success, there are still several images that have yet to be explored or identified.

A particularly baffling image is that of Capt. Locke.

This curious character has potentially been identified three times. Needless to say, the jury’s still out on this one. Initially, he was thought to have been Walston Levi Locke, featured in the YouTube video below. However, Mr. Locke’s nephew, Wilderness Vann, got in touch with us to express the possibility that the photo’s subject may not be his uncle. So the mystery continues.


"This is a small portion of a session spent with Walston Levi Locke in the fall of 1984, at his home in Charlotte, North Carolina. His wife, Micky, and grand nephew, Vann Helms, are seated with him at the table. He was 88 years old in this video, and would live another nine years." Courtesy of Miamiart7.


A virtual pool has developed between Flickr users severinus and Jody Roberts on whether the man in the above video is  “E.P. Locke Jr. who in 1934 ‘handled White House projects for the Office of Public Buildings and Grounds of the National Park Service,’” according to severinus, or “Edwin Allen Locke, Jr (1910-1999) . . . involved with the Truman Administration,” as suggested by Jody. Or, I wonder . . . (cue eerie music) could they in fact be the same man? Dun dun dun!

Although I could rattle-off eleven more clever theories, this puzzle is yours. I quite enjoy reading your comments too much to intervene. Look forward to more serious sleuthing on the Flickr Commons!


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