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Finding Aids to Personal Papers and Special Collections in the Smithsonian Institution Archives

Accession 10-042

Silverman, William

William Silverman Photographs, 1925

Repository: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Washington, D.C. Contact us at osiaref@si.edu.
Creator: Silverman, William
Title: William Silverman Photographs
Dates: 1925
Quantity: 0.26 cu. ft. (1 half document box) (0.01 non-standard size box)
Collection: Accession 10-042
Language of Materials: English
Summary:

This accession consists of photographs and negatives taken by William Silverman at the 1925 Tennessee v. John T. Scopes anti-evolution trail in Dayton, Tennessee. Silverman, a Georgia Tech student traveled to the trial with his high school science teacher to witness the event. Included are several images of Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan, including two photographs of the outdoor proceedings.

Descriptive Entry

This accession consists of photographs and negatives taken by William Silverman at the 1925 Tennessee v. John T. Scopes anti-evolution trail in Dayton, Tennessee. Silverman, a Georgia Tech student traveled to the trial with his high school science teacher to witness the event. Included are several images of Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan, including two photographs of the outdoor proceedings.

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Preferred Citation

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Accession 10-042, William Silverman Photographs

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Container List

Box 1

Image number 2009-21072. Three men standing in front of Robinson's Drugstore, Dayton, Tennessee, July 1925. Fred E. Robinson (at right) owned the drugstore at which local business leaders persuaded schoolteacher John Thomas Scopes to allow himself to be charged with violating state law by teaching about evolution. The sign on the tabletop says: "AT THIS TABLE THE SCOPES EVOLUTION CASE WAS STARTED MAY 5, 1925." In the days preceding and during the trial, Robinson, Scopes, and others frequently posed for photographs around the table. The two men at right are possibly Dayton attorneys Ben G. McKenzie and Herbert E. Hicks, who were part of the prosecution team. Photograph by William Silverman.

Box 1 of 1

Image number 2009-21081. William Silverman (right) and his high school science teacher standing in the yard of the Rhea County Courthouse, Dayton, Tennessee, July 1925. Nineteen-year-old William Silverman had grown up in nearby Chattanooga and was studying business administration at the Georgia Institute of Technology when he attended the Scopes trial. The newsboy at right holds a tabloid with a dinosaur illustration.

Box 1 of 1

Image number 2009-21074. Clarence S. Darrow walking with unidentified man, Dayton, Tennessee, July 1925. Famous attorney Clarence S. Darrow volunteered to lead John Thomas Scopes's defense team. Visible in the background is one of the many concession stands that filled the town during the trial. Photograph by William Silverman.

Box 1 of 1

Image number 2009-21076. Clarence S. Darrow talking with group of men, Dayton, Tennessee, July 1925. Clarence S. Darrow consulted with a wide range of scientists to prepare the defense of John Thomas Scopes. Visible in the background are a feed store and the law office of former attorney general Ben G. McKenzie, a member of the prosecution team. Photograph by William Silverman.

Box 1 of 1

Image number 2009-21073. William Jennings Bryan in the courtroom at the Scopes trial, Dayton, Tennessee, July 1925. Political and religious leader William Jennings Bryan (the balding man visible at center of group in back) participated eagerly in prosecuting John Thomas Scopes for teaching evolution. Like Clarence Darrow and many participants and spectators, Bryan had shed his coat because of the oppressive heat. Judge John T. Raulston had allowed press photographers and radio personnel to set up their equipment inside the courtroom. Photograph by William Silverman.

Box 1 of 1

Image number 2009-21080. Unidentified young woman, Dayton, Tennessee, July 1925. Photograph by William Silverman.

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Image number 2009-21075. Unidentified man, Dayton, Tennessee, July 1925. Taken on the Rhea County Courthouse lawn, this photo captures the informal atmosphere surrounding the trial. See the children playing and couple sitting on the grass in the background at left. The event attracted a wide array of journalists, evangelists, politicians, peddlers, and tourists. Could this be the Georgia preacher described in "The Great Trial," TIME, July 20, 1925, as wearing the "outlandish costume" of "alpaca coat, shabby policeman's trousers and an opera hat" or is it some other visitor? Photograph by William Silverman.

Box 1 of 1

Image number 2009-21078. Clarence S. Darrow (center) standing near Rhea County Courthouse with unidentified man (left) and Arthur Garfield Hays (right), Dayton, Tennessee, probably July 20, 1925. The morning of July 20, 1925, promised to be one of the month's hottest; legal fireworks were also expected in the courtroom. On Friday, July 17, Judge John T. Raulston had threatened to cite Darrow for contempt. Darrow is holding a Chattanooga newspaper describing the episode, and he is probably about to enter the courthouse, where he would apologize and then proceed with the defense of John Thomas Scopes. Photograph by William Silverman.

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Image number 2009-21079. Arthur Garfield Hays reading the scientists' testimony into the record, Scopes trial, Dayton, Tennessee, July 20, 1925. On Monday afternoon, Judge John T. Raulston declared that court would adjourn to where the temperature might be cooler and spectators accommodated more safely. When court resumed on a platform outside the courthouse, defense attorney Hays continued reading the sworn affidavits of scientists and other defense experts (whom the judge had refused to allow to testify in person). Visible on the courthouse wall is one of many "Read Your Bible" signs hung in Dayton during the trial. Attorney Dudley Field Malone can be seen behind Hays. Photograph by William Silverman.

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Image number 2009-21077. Clarence S. Darrow interrogating William Jennings Bryan, Scopes trial, Dayton, Tennessee, July 20, 1925. When Arthur Garfield Hays finished reading the expert affidavits, Clarence S. Darrow asked that the "Read Your Bible" sign be removed. Hays then called William Jennings Bryan to the stand and Darrow began one of the most famous examinations in American jurisprudence. The defense team sits directly behind Darrow (visible, from left, are: Dudley Field Malone, his arm on railing; Hays; and Scopes's Tennessee attorney John R. Neal). Photograph by William Silverman.

Box 1 of 1