John T. “Jack” Engeman may be one of the most prolific photographers that you’ve never heard of. Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1900, Engeman graduated from the Naval Academy in 1924, remaining in the service for 17 years. At the outbreak of World War II, he returned to the Academy to teach engineering where he served for the duration of the war. After his time in the service, Engeman dedicated himself to photography, working on contract for the government, several airlines such as TWA and American, as well as the Baltimore City School system, among others. In his work with the airlines he saw the world, but in his work with the school system, Engeman was a witness to the impact of the 1954 Brown vs. Education decision which initiated the integration of public schools here at home. In his career, Engeman authored 12 photo essay books, and captured countless scenes of Baltimore and the world around him. His photographic and painted works were featured in a number of exhibitions, including several at the Peale Museum and the Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery. Engeman remained an avid photographer until his death in 1984.
Portrait of Jack Engeman (Coll_118-42-003)
Whether you’re interested in the United States Military, airline stewardesses, priests or even the Queen of England, the Engeman Collection has something for you. The AOK Special Collections department is home to a massive collection of Jack Engeman’s books, photographic and painted works, and many of his original negatives in a wide variety of formats, from glass slides to Kodak Discs, and a massive assortment of color slides.
Integration at “P.S. 4” (Coll_118-39-005)
Images in the collection not only span mediums, but time, housing photographs from the turn of the century into the 1980's. There are a number of images of the photographer as a young man, taken between 1900 and 1930, as well as pictures taken of his own children and grandchildren from the 1940's to the 80's. The collection also contains original prints from his books (published in the 1950's and 60's), picture stories about working life- following priests, doctors, nurses, stewardesses, military officers and more- aiming to help young adults choose a career path.
Image from Student Nurse book (Box #69, File 7)
Other topics include important early images of integration in Baltimore City Schools, scenes of Baltimore (his adopted home), and Queen Elizabeth’s 1954 visit to Annapolis, among the immense variety of subjects shot by the prolific photographer. Also an avid painter, a number of Engeman’s painted works are housed here in Special Collections as well.
Queen Elizabeth visits Annapolis, 1954 (Box #38)
The Jack Engeman collection also houses detailed business contracts, correspondence, and newspaper articles relating to his career, his artwork, and his life. There are 99 boxes of captivating images, documents, and artifacts – including some pretty fantastic Nixon presidential campaign buttons- available for use by the public. See the collection inventory for details. Visit Special Collections to view Engeman's images today!
Integration in a Baltimore City School (Coll_118-39-013)
This post was written by former Special Collections student assistant Kathleen Foster.