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J. C. Coovert Cirkut Photograph Collection

Identifier: MS0308

Scope and Contents

Two panoramic photograph collages by J. C. Coovert of cotton crop being harvested.


  • Creation: 1914 - 1922


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The Coovert Cirkut Photographs are the physical property of J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections. Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Biographical / Historical

J. C. Coovert was one of the most respected photographers in Memphis, and was hired by everyone from the police department to Hollywood director King Vidor because of his photographic skills and creativity. His photographs circulated internationally and showed that the Delta region was more complex and of interest to many worldwide. In the two photos that make this collection, J. C. Coovert created fantastic worlds, in this case, the plantation as he imagined it. Using a Cirkut camera (full rotation panoramic camera), Coovert shot a scene of cotton fields ready for harvest. The original Cirkut titled, "King Cotton" was copyrighted in 1907 (Library of Congress has the photographic print (gelatin silver, 10 x 36.5 in.). First, Coovert took a panoramic photograph of the plantation as it actually existed with the foreman, the disheveled house, and wagons hauling in the crop. Then Coovert inserted people, more wagons, and houses from other pictures. He created a universe from his imagination that drew on a lifetime of immersion in the Delta. He was still working at the peak of his abilities at the age of 50 -- also the peak of the Delta's prosperity. When Coovert began his career, it was not easy to go out of the studio and make pictures in nature. Because of the technology Coovert used, he had to create a world without motion. But despite these limitations, he arranged dramatic, arresting scenes. Cotton was king in Coovert's universe. Although he created these collages in the 1920s, Coovert drew his images from the turn of the century. Coovert created images of the world of "white gold" that satisfied his customers, especially those who made their living from King Cotton.


3.5 Linear Feet (2 photographic collages in folder)

Language of Materials



Two "Cirkut Collages" of Southern cotton fields by photographer, J. C. Coovert.


Panoramic prints measure 39 x 13 in.

Processing Information

Photographs found with no donor info, etc. Preliminary processing by M. Perez & J. Henry, 2015.

J. C. Coovert Cirkut Photograph Collection
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Repository Details

Part of the Manuscript Collections, J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives, UNC Charlotte Repository

Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
9201 University City Blvd
Charlotte NC 28223 United States

About this Site

Finding aids are guides to archival collections, including manuscripts, university records, and oral history collections. These guides help you find physical collections which can be viewed in the Dalton Reading Room on the 10th floor of Atkins Library. A small number of finding aids link to digital content online. Please contact us to learn more or to schedule an appointment:

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