Through striking architectural photographs and lively, readable narrative, this pictorial account of early-twentieth-century Jacksonville tells the triumphant story of photographer Leah Mary Cox while revealing Jacksonville's architectural history. Nearly 50 years after her death, a treasure trove of more than 4,000 glass negatives were discovered, stashed in the basement of Cox's home. Cox's images capture Jacksonville at the turn of the century; from the Spanish-American War and the Great Fire of 1901 to the city's rich architectural diversity and everyday street scenes, her photographs serve as one of the most significant visual records available of Jacksonville in the early 1900s. Ann Hyman takes 61 captivating photographs from this vast collection and reconstructs an image of life in Jacksonville, weaving it together with pieces of Cox's life to create a lively narrative. Background insights, such as Cox's determination to keep her family together after the death of her father and the illness of her mother, provide the reader with a sense of context for her photography. This illustrated account of Jacksonville's architectural achievements is an incredible find for photographers, Jacksonville historians, and those interested in early photography and women's studies.
Ann Hyman is the former editor of the Florida Times-Union Sunday book review page and author of The Lansing Legacy and Chaos Clear as Glass. She has won several awards from the Florida Press Club for excellence in commentary and criticism and currently works as a freelance writer in Jacksonville, Florida.