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Past Exhibitions

To Remember a Vanishing World: Photographs of D.L. Hightower

Charles Valentine sitting in front of his store in Clayton, Alabama; Courtesy of the Clayton Historical Preservation Authority Collection, University of South Alabama Archives

Between 1930 and 1965, businessman and amateur photographer Draffus Lamar Hightower created a unique photographic record of life in his native Barbour County, Alabama. Consisting of more than 5,000 candid images of the people, places and events Hightower believed epitomized life in the county, this purposeful documentary forms an unrivaled record of a place in time. The selection of images featured in this exhibition represents a cross-section of this remarkable collection.

From Hightower’s childhood, when he bought his first camera from a Sears catalog, to his retirement years, he was rarely without a camera handy. Included in To Remember a Vanishing World are dozens of his images of the natural and built environment which helped give Barbour County its special character, portrait photographs, and snapshots of people both going about everyday activities and participating in special community events. Hightower’s collection, which he donated to the town of Clayton, Alabama and was later acquired by the University of South Alabama Archives, is the subject of a book by long-time University of South Alabama archivist and history professor Michael V.R. Thomason.

This exhibition is made possible by generous support from Dan and Kathelen Amos.