[Various locations in Florida]: 1901.  leaves, illustrated with thirty-two original vernacular photographs, all 3.5 x 3.5 inches, most with manuscript captions in ink above the images. Oblong octavo. Contemporary gray paper wrappers, white titles on front cover. Spine mostly split, a few shallow chips to edges. Internally clean. About very good. Item #2885
A small but important vernacular photograph album containing rare views of the devastation wrought by the Great Fire of 1901 in Jacksonville, Florida, which took place on May 3, 1901. The most destructive event in the history of Jacksonville, the Great Fire swept through 146 city blocks, destroying over 2,000 buildings, killing seven people, and leaving almost 10,000 residents without homes. It is considered the third-largest urban fire in United States history, after the Great Chicago Fire and the 1906 San Francisco conflagration.
The photographs in the present album were taken by an unidentified passenger aboard the Clyde Line steamer Comanche. Eight of the images capture the scene in devastated Jacksonville, including a shot of the ruins of the Windsor and St. James hotels, shots from atop the "Jacksonville Government Building," a group picture of the city guard, "ruins of Jacksonville Court House," "An unknown ruin," a crowded scene at the Jacksonville wharf, and a distant shot showing "Ruins of Jacksonville taken from Steamer Comanche, May 12." All of the photographs of Jacksonville are dated in manuscript on May 12, 1901, nine days after the Great Fire.
In addition to the Jacksonville pictures, other identified locations along the photographer's voyage include the Hillsborough River near Tampa, the Tampa Court House, scenes around the Tampa Bay Hotel, family pictures in Florida, the Comanche and its crew, Fort Sumter, and four views around Charleston. One particularly notable photograph shows six boys standing in shallow water, holding fishing nets, likely near Tampa. The image is captioned, "A group of young crabbers, representing three nationalities, American, Italian and Negro, May 10, 1901."