Chariots of Fire

Being that the Olympics are currently ongoing, I figured I would drag out this series of glass negatives of a track team shot by John B. Capewell of Westville, New Jersey between 100 and 110 years ago. Capewell is the fourth man from the left, and it appears the team has won the trophy perched atop the lodge-pole table.

The runners’ uniforms read CROWN POINT, N.J. with a 268 in the center. Crown Point Road runs through Westville which is right across the Delaware River from Philadelphia.

I have three separate glass negatives of Capewell and the other runners. At first I thought they were all from the same meet, but the shot below has a couple more runners and a couple more trophies.

Capewell is the second from the left, kneeling behind the seated fellows.

Here is the entire glass negative:
These images were all so similar that I decided to publish them all together on the same post rather than dole them out one a week.

One of the weird things about this collection of 200 glass negatives in my possession is that I have virtually no prints. Maybe someone in the Capewell family wound up with the prints or he gave them all away. It’s a mystery.

Below is one of a very few prints that I got along with the negatives:

It’s washed out, and the markings on the shirts are blown away. Maybe it was on a wall or out in the light and faded over the decades. Fortunately for me, the negatives held the detail.

I was hoping there was a penciled list of names or a date on the back of the print, but no such luck.

Capewell is the second from the left.

Below is the full image from that negative:

As with all of the photographs in the Capewell Collection, I placed this 5″ x 7″ glass negative on a lightbox and shot it with a digital camera locked down on a tripod. The “processing” was done digitally on a Mac using Adobe Photoshop.

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