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John G. Bullock collection

Identifier: HC.MC-1251

Scope and Contents

The collection centers on photographs taken by John G. Bullock (1854-1939), primarily of Marjorie Bullock, his daughter, in the period 1889-1907, as well as his notebook/diary with a list of 4 x 5 negatives with titles and dates (1880s-1920s). In addition, there are John Bullock's manuscript "newspapers," and map of Wilmington, Delaware, created when he was a child of 12-14 years, which indicate his inclination toward journalism. Underpinning all is the genealogical and biographical information on the Bullock, Griscom, and related families going back to 1799, including material collected by Marjorie Bullock Le Boutillier.


  • Creation: 1799-1947


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17).

Biographical / Historical

John G. (Griscom) Bullock (1854-1939) was born in Wilmington, Delaware to a Quaker family; his parents were William Rockhill Bullock and Elizabeth Emlen. As a child, he printed and published his own newspaper (City Journal). He graduated from Haverford College in 1874 and received a Ph.D. from Philadelphia College of Pharmacy which prepared him for photographic chemistry requirements; he was a chemist and druggist for the firm Bullock & Crenshaw for 31 years beginning in 1874. He married Rebecca Malin Downing in 1888.

"Bullock's earliest photographs were made with a small view camera using 4 × 5 inch Carbutt dry plates. The lenses he employed were designed for rapid exposures and reduced distortion, and included a Ross Rapid Rectilinear lens and a Grubb landscape lens. By 1886 he had a larger format camera which took 61/2 × 81/2 inch dry plates.... In 1911, he began using a roll film camera which made 3 1/2 × 5 3/4 inch negatives." The earliest prints Bullock made were on albumen paper, followed by platinum paper to give a richer image. His platinum paper was manufactured by Willis & Clements and by Buchanan Bromley & Company. Although Bullock rarely made modifications to his prints, platinum printing allowed greater flexibility in manipulation of the image. When he did manipulate his images, it was to print clouds into blank skies or to change tonality; most of these alterations were made by retouching the negative.

Bullock became interested in photography in 1882; the same year, he became a member of the Photographic Society of Philadelphia, later its president. He studied under the photographer John C. Browne.

Bullock had two of his photographs accepted in the first international exhibition, the Vienna Salon. Bullock was an organizer of the Philadelphia Photographic Salon, an annual juried competition, and his work was known to Alfred Stieglitz. In approximately 1902, the latter became director of the Photo-Secession gathering together Bullock and others as founders to forward the cause of art photography; their work was called pictorial photography. The journal of this group, CameraWork, was founded by Stieglitz the same year to further modern photography. Initial exhibitions of the group resulted in international invitations to Bullock to exhibit. Bullock's last major exhibition during his lifetime was at the Albright Art Gallery in 1910.

These notes were taken from Beck, Tom, An American Vision: John G. Bullock and the Photo-Secession. New York: Aperture in association with University of Maryland Baltimore County, 1989 and and the Biographical Catalog of the Matriculates of Haverford College, 1833-1922. Philadelphia: Alumni Association, 1922.

The collection contains some of Bullock's earliest writings, beginning in 1866. These works show his disposition to publishing, as he started a newspaper when a student at Haverford College. After this, he got a printing press.

William Rockhill Bullock, son of John Bullock and Rachel Griscom, was born in 1824. He entered Haverford College and left in 1842. He received his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. He became Surgeon to the United States Army Hospital at Wilmington during the Civil War. He was a frequent lecturer on chemical and electrical subjects. He was a fellow of Philadelphia College of Physicians; a charter member and physician to Delaware Hospital; and one of the founders of the Wilmington Institute and Library as well as president of the Board of Education in Wilmington, Delaware.


2.59 linear ft. (5 hollinger boxes, 1 oversized flat box, 1 tube )

Language of Materials



A collection of materials relating to John Griscom Bullock (1854-1939), a photographer and member of the Photo Secession group. These materials include photographs by John G. Bullock of his daughter Marjorie Bullock at various points in her life from birth in 1889 until 1907, as well as written information about Marjorie Bullock and genealogical materials of the Griscom, Bullock, and related families. Includes John Bullock's early writings.


The John G. Bullock collection was donated to Special Collections, Haverford College in November, 2012 by Robert R. Bishop, great grandson of Bullock.

Processing Information

Processed by Diana Franzusoff Peterson.

John G. Bullock collection, 1799-1947
Diana Franzusoff Peterson
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Find It at the Library

Most of the materials in this catalog are not digitized and can only be accessed in person. Please see our website for more information about visiting or requesting repoductions from Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections Library

370 Lancaster Ave
Haverford PA 19041 USA US