I don’t usually have pictures with people in them because, well, I guess I’m always focused on the buildings, but after mentioning architect R.W. Naef’s picture yesterday, I figured I’d better rustle it up and show what I was talking about. Unfortunately, the photo I was thinking of was in a book at the archives called The Story of Jackson, and I found that the photocopy I have of that is so dark (have I mentioned the problems of photocopying photographs before?) that it’s not worth showing. However, I do have this picture of Naef, about a decade later, as far as I can tell, maybe in the early 1950s. This picture was in the Kiwanis Club directory.
I like the Story of Jackson photo better, but even in this one, he seems to have a kind face, so unless I learn for sure otherwise, I’m going to assume he was a kind gentleman who saw a special spirit in smutty brick. As Carunzel mentioned in a comment on yesterday’s post, he was also a member of the Jackson Citizen’s Council at least in the mid-1950s, so he was obviously a complex creature, as are we all, I suppose. And as Frank pointed out, many businessmen of the time felt compelled to join these groups at that time for fear of being ostracized and losing their livelihood.
I should mention that Naef grew up in Whiting, Indiana and got his architectural degree at University of Illinois. He moved to Jackson because his wife was from here. He served as Vice-President on the Jackson School Board in the 1950s, a service that was considered a real sacrifice because he effectively took himself out of the very lucrative school building boom that the city was undergoing at that time–he essentially offered his architectural expertise for free to the board.
Anyway, as I was rummaging around to find this photo, I came across this one and had to post it. It’s a picture of architects N.W. Overstreet, Frank Gates, R.W. Naef, and Carl Matthes at a big Mississippi AIA shin-dig in 1970 in their honor. They were the last of the “founding generation” of Mississippi architects and all of them were dead within a few years. I love this picture:
Ok, here’s the question: who’s who? Is Overstreet to the far right or the second from right? Doesn’t the man at the far right look like he’s been photoshopped [or I guess it would be "airbushed"] in? And don’t the two men on the right look alot alike? Do you think Naef (based on the photograph above) is the one second from the left, or at the far left? I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a picture of Matthes, a Biloxi architect, to compare to this one. Unfortunately, this picture didn’t come with a caption, just the four names written around the sides over and over. Surely there’s got to be a captioned photo somewhere to help us.