[Photo Album from Daytona Beach at the Advent of America's Automobile Racing Craze].
[Photo Album from Daytona Beach at the Advent of America's Automobile Racing Craze].
[Photo Album from Daytona Beach at the Advent of America's Automobile Racing Craze].
[Photo Album from Daytona Beach at the Advent of America's Automobile Racing Craze].
[Photo Album from Daytona Beach at the Advent of America's Automobile Racing Craze].
[Photo Album from Daytona Beach at the Advent of America's Automobile Racing Craze].
[Photo Album from Daytona Beach at the Advent of America's Automobile Racing Craze].
[Photo Album from Daytona Beach at the Advent of America's Automobile Racing Craze].
[Photo Album from Daytona Beach at the Advent of America's Automobile Racing Craze].
[Photo Album from Daytona Beach at the Advent of America's Automobile Racing Craze].
[Photo Album from Daytona Beach at the Advent of America's Automobile Racing Craze].
[Photo Album from Daytona Beach at the Advent of America's Automobile Racing Craze].

[Photo Album from Daytona Beach at the Advent of America's Automobile Racing Craze].

Daytona Beach and elsewhere, 1910. Oblong 8vo, black cloth. 86 silver print photographs, mostly 2.25" x 3.25" to 3.5" x 5.375", including 13 real photo postcards, most signed “Lesesne,” 1 oversize at 3.25" x 9.25"

A Florida photo album depicting in part the peak of Daytona Beach's automobile racing and the dawn of a new American obsession.

This album, evidently documenting a group—possibly family—outing to the Daytona Beach auto races, testifies to the growing popularity among everyday people of automobile racing and speed records in the early 20th century. It contains some twenty-two photographs showing the cars , their drivers, the racing setup and crowds, and, from somewhat further away, the racing itself. On the verso of one postcard is a penciled manuscript note "Graci & I," with the date of March 22, 1910, suggesting that the visitors were watching the 1910 Annual Daytona Speed Tournament, less than a week after Barney Oldfield broke the world land speed record by reaching a one-way speed of 131.72mph—"As near to the absolute limit of speed as humanity will ever travel"—in his "Blitzen Benz." In honor of the achievement, he renamed it the "Lightning Benz," as it appears in this album, but soon afterwards reverted to the original appellation. At least six of the racing images were taken by Richard LeSesne, a noted photographer of land speed attempts. LeSesne's photographs include portraits of Barney and his wife in the "Lightning Benz," auto racing giant Ralph DePalma, and the winner of the 1910 tournament, David Bruce-Brown, New York engineer and auto-innovator John Walter Christie, among others.

Even as it was a place of home-grown experimentation, drawing racecars powered by gas, steam, and electricity alike, by 1910 the event had already attracted such big names as Henry Ford and the Stanley brothers. Although attention was already shifting to the recently-constructed Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Daytona Beach continued to play a central role in auto racing—it would, after all, become the birthplace of NASCAR—and is known today as the "Birthplace of Speed" in America. Other photographs in the album depict its early auto-racing enthusiasts basking and squinting on the beach, both at the Tournament and later in bathing costumes, as well as posed in various other Florida settings.

CONDITION: Very good.

REFERENCES: Kimes, Beverly Rae, “The Dawn of Speed,” American Heritage, Vol. 38 No. 7; Dill, Mark, “Shorespeed,” at The First Super Speedway.

Item #3824

Price: $975.00

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