Hattiesburg Christmas Photographs from the Robert Waller Collection
In an era when people have access to cameras on their smartphones, it’s hard to imagine a time when personal cameras were a luxury. Robert C. Waller was a professional photographer in Hattiesburg from the 1940s-70s During this time, he documented the life and places of Hattiesburg and the surrounding area.
After serving in the Army during World War II, Waller worked for the Hattiesburg American as a photographer and reporter (The picture above shows the 1946 Hattiesburg American Christmas party.) By the early 1950s, he had set up his own studio specializing in family portraits, weddings, and commercial photography for local businesses, schools, churches, and organizations.
Christmas was a busy time for Waller. People hired him to take holiday pictures of the happy families decorating for Christmas, opening presents, and posing in front of the family tree. In addition, he documented Christmas parades, school pageants, and organization holiday drives (as illustrated by the pile of dolls later distributed to children by the Lions Club). His photographs provide an intimate look at the lives of Hattiesburg residents and, in this case, local holiday celebrations.
A selection of photographs from the Robert C. Waller Collection can be found here. For additional information about Waller and his work, view the collection guide here.
Text by Jennifer Brannock, Curator of Rare Books and Mississippiana