John C. Gordon worked as a local commercial photographer in San Jose from 1910-1963. Gordon was born in Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin on January 3, 1887. In 1916 Gordon opened a commercial photography studio located at 97 South First Street in downtown San Jose, just above what was then known as Lean's Jewelry Store. He later moved to 395 South First Street where he remained until his retirement in 1963. As a local commercial photographer, Gordon served the business community by creating glass slides for advertisements used to promote local theaters, sporting events, civic events, and weddings. In addition, Gordon photographed accidents and criminal trials for the San Jose Mercury News. John C. Gordon died at the age of 80 in 1967.
The Digital Collection
The King Library Digital Collections contain a representative selection of the contact prints in the Gordon Collection including images of hotels, water parks, chickens, weddings and funerals. The library is adding new material to the collection weekly in an ongoing digitization project. If you are interested in keeping up to date with the latest additions, you can sign up for the collection RSS Feed. For additional information about using images in this collection, contact the SJSU Special Collections Department.
The Physical Collection
The complete collection includes over 6,000 contact prints, 10,000 negatives, lantern slides, and panorama formats that document the history of San Jose and the Santa Clara Valley. Gordon's work illustrates changes in area business ventures such as agriculture, fruit canning and processing, banking, aeronautics, railroads, and other manufacturing businesses. His photographs document everyday life and include images of the Winchester House, Lick Observatory, store fronts, hospitals, hotels, landscapes, funerals, weddings, parks, and parades. For additional information about undigitized material in the Gordon Collection, contact the SJSU Special Collections Department.
For a description of the contents of the physical collection, see the online Finding Aid.
For more information about the scope of the physical collection see the online collection guide.