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35 Vibrant Color Photos Of Chicagoans In The 1940s

By Emma G. Gallegos in Arts & Entertainment on Jan 14, 2016 5:47PM

Photographer Charles Cushman jumped on the color photography bandwagon in 1938, creating a rare, fantastic trove of images. The amateur photographer took his camera with him on his journeys around the globe, but fortunately there are quite a few in Chicago, where he made his home for decades.

Cushman was born in Poseyville, Indiana in 1896, and he attended Indiana University, which now hosts his archive of 14,500 Kodachrome slides. He later moved to Chicago, where he enlisted in the Navy, worked for the railroad and other private companies, including Montgomery Ward and LaSalle Extension University in Chicago.

Cushman died in 1972, and his photos nearly ended up in the trash heap until a photo researcher saved them, NPR says.

The university's biography of him says little is known of him: "It is known that Charles enjoyed attending the opera and the theater, and presenting shows of his slide collection. After moving to San Francisco sometime in the 1950s he would enjoy having a five o'clock drink while overlooking the ocean."

We picked out a few shots from his archives of Chicago in the 1940s, and arranged them in chronological order. Based on the archives, we'd guess that two of his favorite spots in the city were the lagoon at Jackson Park and Promontory Point.