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Wednesday, December 09 2015

During his fifty year career as a professional photographer, Jacob Hicks produced a treasure trove of historical images of the frontier days in Clay County, Missouri.  This book showcases 400 of those images which were captured by Hicks on glass plate negatives.  All of these photos are more than 100 years old.  Some go as far back as the early 1860s.  This remarkable collection ranks among the most important and most interesting holdings at the Clay County Historical Museum in Liberty, Missouri.  Biographical sketches describing the life and times of Jacob Hicks, as well as fifty other noted citizens from those early days in Clay County are included.

The Clay County Museum and Historical Society is proud to present Portraits of a Frontier Community - The Jacob T. Hicks Glass Plate Photo Collection.  This remarkable series of 400 vintage photographs ranks among the most important and most interesting holdings at the Museum.  This book has been produced in order to showcase the collection, to make it more accessible to the public and to preserve it for the enjoyment of future generations.  

Jacob T. Hicks was born in 1840 in Liberty, Missouri.  By the outbreak of the Civil War, Hicks was already developing his skills as a photographer.  He retired in 1912 after a professional career that spanned nearly fifty years.  

Some of Jacob Hicks more noteworthy subjects include Mexican War hero and statesman Alexander Doniphan, outlaw Frank James, Civil War guerrilla William “Bloody Bill” Anderson, Confederate Civil War commander Henry L. Routt, and Mormon leader David Whitmer.  In addition to individual portraits and group photos, Hicks also had the foresight to photograph buildings and street scenes from those early days.  Among the most captivating are his images of a covered wagon making its way through the dusty streets of Liberty, the Owens Tavern where Clay County Court was first held in 1822, the Liberty Arsenal, William Jewell College, storefronts on the public square, the childhood home of Frank and Jesse James, as well as the jail where Mormon leader Joseph Smith was incarcerated for several months during the winter of 1838.  Those who study frontier history will appreciate the remarkable images which Jacob Hicks captured of those early days on the Missouri frontier.

The introductory chapters of the book provide biographical information regarding Jacob Hicks and his family as well as an overview of early photographic technology.  Biographical sketches are included for fifty of the noted individuals whose portraits appear in the book.  A comprehensive index is also provided.  

Portraits of a Frontier Community – The Jacob T. Hicks Glass Plate Photo Collection
Paperback: 248 pages
Product Dimensions:  8.5” x 11”

This publication may be purchased for $20 at the Clay County Historical Museum which is located at 14 North Main in Liberty, Missouri.  All proceeds from the sale of this book benefit The Clay County Museum & Historical Society. 

This project was undertaken in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Clay County Historical Museum (1965-2015).   

The Clay County Museum & Historical Society is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.  For additional information email, call 816-792-2854 or visit

Information for this review provided by the Clay County Museum and Historical Society  [Website]

Posted by: AT 01:20 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email

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