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John G. Bullock Memorial Collection

Identifier: HC.MC-1173

Scope and Contents

Materials are primarily the photographs, mostly undated, of John Griscom Bullock (1854-1939), but also include manuscripts and some correspondence, biographies and photographs of John G. Bullock; correspondence, genealogical notes and memorabilia of his son John Emlen Bullock (1891-1970), and materials relating to other family members, including John Bullock (1785-1847), founder of Widener University and John G. Bullock's grandfather; Rebecca D. Bullock, (1865-1945), John G. Bullock's wife; William R. Bullock (1824-1914), John G. Bullock's father; Richard H. Downing, Rebecca Bullock's father and others.

John G. Bullock's photographs consist primarily of people, mostly the Bullock family, places, including the Philadelphia area and the Poconos, places with people, and John Emlen Bullock.

Other John G. Bullock materials include essays on a variety of topics, issues of "City Journal"and photographs of him. John Emlen Bullock materials include correspondence to him, mostly from family, letters by John Emlen Bullock, materials about his time in the army, and photographs of him.

Materials from other family members include photographs, correspondence, and legal documents. There are also unidentified family photographs.


  • Creation: 1867-1940



This collection is open for research use.

Use restrictions

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

Biographical note

John Griscom Bullock (1854-1939) was born in Wilmington, Delaware to a Quaker family. As a child, he printed and published his own newspaper, City Journal. He graduated from Haverford College in 1874 and received a Ph.G. 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 photogarphs 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.

The person or place in front of the camera was the dominant subject matter for Bullock, with secondary importance given to light or to symbolic meaning. His subjects were mostly rural America. From 1895-1898, his subjects were almost exclusively his children.

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. Alfred Stieglitz's work was also accepted. Bullock was an organizer of the Philadelphia Photographic Salon, an annual juried competition, and his work was known to 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 photogarphy. 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.

In the period 1911-1915, Bullock embarked on a project to photograph historic buildings in the area of his home in Germantown to illustrate the book by Charles F. Jenkins The Guide Book to Historic Germantown.. He served on several local historic societies including in West Chester where he had moved in 1923. There is no evidence that he made any photographs after 1935.

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 Biographical Catalog of the Matriculates of Haverford College, 1833-1922. Philadelphia: Alumni Association, 1922.

Missing Title

  1. 1— John BULLOCK (1712)
  2. sp- Margaret
  3. 2— Isaac BULLOCK (1749)
  4. sp- Elizabeth ROCKHILL
  5. 3— John BULLOCK (1785)
  6. sp- Rachel GRISCOM
  7. 4— Charles BULLOCK (1826)
  8. 4— William R. BULLOCK (1824)
  9. sp- Elizabeth Ann EMLEN
  10. 5— John Griscom BULLOCK (1854)
  11. sp- Rebecca M. DOWNING
  12. 6— Marjorie BULLOCK (1889)
  13. 6— John Emlen BULLOCK (1891)
  14. 6— Francke Rumsey BULLOCK (1895)
  15. 6— Richard DOWNING BULLOCK (1900)
  16. sp- Jane PRESTON

Missing Title

  1. 1— Richard THOMAS
  2. sp- Rebecca MALIN (1799)
  3. 2— Lydia Ashbridge THOMAS
  4. sp- Israel W. DOWNING
  5. 3— Rebecca M. DOWNING
  6. sp- John Griscom BULLOCK (1854)
  7. 4— Marjorie BULLOCK (1889)
  8. 4— John Emlen BULLOCK (1891)
  9. 4— Francke Rumsey BULLOCK (1895)
  10. 4— Richard DOWNING BULLOCK (1900)
  11. sp- Jane PRESTON
  12. sp- Sarah THOMAS
  13. 2— Mary THOMAS
  14. sp- Jacob JONES
  15. 3— Richard T. JONES
  16. sp- Marie Louise BAILEY
  17. 3— Martha JONES


7.5 linear ft. (13 boxes)

Language of Materials



Photographer John Griscom Bullock (1854-1939) was a founding member of the Photo Secession along with Alfred Stieglitz, and an organizer of the Philadelphia Photographic Salon. The collection consists primarily of Bullock's photographs, but also some of his manuscripts and photographs by his son, John Emlen Bullock.


Materials are arranged by format and size.


Gift, Elizabeth G. Bullock,1991-1993. Elizabeth Bullock was the daughter-in-law of John G. Bullock.

Related Materials

MC 1251: John G. Bullock collection

Separated Materials note

Items Removed to Quaker Collection: Holy Bible. Inscribed by John Griscom Bullock to Rebecca D. Bullock in 1918; 1894 Bible inscribed to John Emlen Bullock by his parents in 1899; The Complete Angler. Inscribed: "To John Emlen Bullock from his grandmother Downing; Book of Common Prayer. Inscribed by John Griscom Bullock to John Emlen Bullock in 1905; "The Livezey Family",1934-44 and 1944-54.

To PG: Clippings re various Bullock family members.

To Library Maps Collection: Map of North Africa,1942.

To Magill Library: The Lady of the Lake, n.d. miniature.

Processing Information

Processing history is unknown.

Genre / Form


John G. Bullock memorial collection, 1867-1940
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • September 2018: Finding aid revised; whole collection rehoused.
  • June 2022: by Nathaniel Rehm-Daly, Harmful Language Revision Project

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