Newly Discovered Scopes Trial Photos Come to Core Academy
Core Academy of Science recently acquired three newly discovered photographs of the Scopes Trial at a public auction. The photos have never been published before, and they depict tourists posing with a “Read your Bible” sign as well as the Rhea County Courthouse.
In the steamy summer of 1925, the famous Scopes “Monkey Trial” occurred in Dayton, TN (home of Core Academy), when the newly-formed American Civil Liberties Union sponsored a legal test of the Butler Act, Tennessee’s recently-passed law prohibiting the teaching of human evolution. John Scopes, a coach and substitute teacher at the local high school, volunteered to go on trial for violating the law, and hundreds of people descended on the tiny town for the spectacle.
“These appear to be photos taken with an Eastman Kodak Brownie camera, the leading mass-produced camera of the period,” said Stephanie Wood, Core Academy archivist and director of education. “These photos give us a wonderful glimpse of the tourist experience in Dayton in the summer of 1925.”
Most published photographs of the Scopes Trial were taken by professional photographers working for newspapers. These extremely rare photographs offer a far more personal view from the average tourist.
“We’re extremely excited to obtain these lost photographs,” said Todd Wood, president of Core Academy. “I’m very grateful to all our supporters who helped us rescue these photographs from obscurity.”
The photographs will become part of Core Academy’s permanent Scopes Trial collection and are available for public study by appointment at Core Academy of Science.