Jenkins’ Heritage and Youth
Jenkins’ Heritage and Youth
Abstract and Keywords
This chapter provides a background on C. Francis Jenkins' heritage and youth. Jenkins' life spanned six decades of American history that witnessed the birth of photography, radio, television, the automobile, and the airplane. He lived in an age dominated by things mechanical, from the Industrial and Gilded Ages through World War I, the Roaring Twenties, and the Great Depression. Jenkins, a Quaker farm boy, was born just north of Dayton, Ohio, on August 22, 1867. Two years after his birth, Jenkins' parents moved to Richmond, Indiana, where he grew up through his teenage years. This chapter first discusses Jenkins' early years on the farm, his family and family values, and his education before considering his sojourn to the West Coast. It also examines Jenkins' time in Washington, D.C., where he worked for the Life Saving Service and where he also met his future wife, Grace Hannah Love, culminating in their wedding on January 30, 1902.
An Age of Things Mechanical
Today’s world is predicated on the inventive ingenuity of those who preceded us. Imagine life without the movies, television, telephone, airplanes, or automobiles. The twentieth century added those things and more into our lives. The inventors of past centuries, including Charles Francis Jenkins, made these things possible. They worked as independents and often clashed with established industry giants, as Jenkins did. It was challenging for lone inventors to make a living, fund their work, and promote acceptance of a new device, and Jenkins had to meet each of these challenges. He was brilliant, gifted, mechanically inclined, and intuitive. His life spanned six decades of American history, seeing the birth of photography, radio, television, the automobile, and the airplane. He was an amateur photographer who loved to travel, a personality in demand, and a pilot. His mechanical television devices are gone, but his concepts in film projection, using intermittent motion, and his theories related to optical signals in television remain a viable force.
Jenkins lived in an age of things mechanical. He was a product of the Industrial Revolution motivated by the famous Rev. Russell Conwell’s sermon “Acres of Diamonds,” which reflected the American Dream: “rags to riches … onward and upward.”1 Conwell set this national opportunistic tone, preaching this sermon more than six thousand times across the nation.2 His ancestors had left Europe, settled in rural America, and later moved into cities in search of better lives. Collectively, these immigrants were the labor force of the Industrial Era. In the case of Jenkins individually, Conwell was a resourceful reserve of ideas.
(p.4) Jenkins lived from the Industrial and Gilded Ages through World War I, the Roaring Twenties, and the Great Depression. The 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic killed an estimated fifty million people—more than the war itself. It was the deadliest human disaster in history. Schools, businesses, and homes were closed and quarantined.3 Jenkins’ work contributed to stalling the spread of the disease by providing a new sanitary milk bottle, which, according to family lore, brought him more profits than any other invention. To Jenkins, however, all of this was a means of supporting his primary endeavors in film and later television. By the 1920s, the United States had become a global economic, industrial, and military power. Financial investments once reserved for the war effort were now back in the marketplace.4 As a result, inventors prospered. No one anticipated the stock market crash on October 29, 1929. The market had always corrected itself, and in the 1920s investment returns had been exceptional. The crash ended all of that. It devastated the American population. Corporations crumbled, including the Jenkins Television Corporation and the Jenkins Laboratories.
So, what did Jenkins contribute during these contrasting ages? Why should he be remembered today? He should be remembered as an inventor and a man of eminent forward-thinking ideas. In his own time, he ranked among the “Remakers of Civilization.”5 He was described as “one of a trio of the nation’s foremost inventors”6 and “one of the ten greatest figures in Motion Pictures.”7 In radio, he was placed among the top one hundred men of science.8 Scientific American described him as having “the mind of the practical, working inventor … dedicated to his profession like any banker, lawyer, medical doctor or journalist [who] would become the man who [kept] America in the front ranks in the development of radio vision or ‘seeing’ by radio.”9 He was known as “one of radio’s most colorful personages,” a pioneer of “seeing via the ether.”10 The Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Arthur C. Hardy credited our ability to see movies in our homes as “due largely to the efforts of C. Francis Jenkins.”11 His primary inventions were in motion picture and television, but he held hundreds of patents for an amazingly wide variety of inventions. He spearheaded motion-picture and television work with mechanical systems, and then, when electronic television replaced mechanical systems, he moved into optical-electronic systems. Inventing was his natural talent (see appendix A for a list of Jenkins’ patents).12 The story of C. Francis Jenkins would have been different without the Great Depression, or if he had lived longer. Yet, even in a world permeated by inventive contrasts, worldwide epidemics, the Great War, and economic roller coasters, L. C. Porters depicted Jenkins as “a man of great vision, with courage of (p.5) his convictions, a man of indomitable will and boundless energy.” He was a “happy warrior … launching a daring attempt to unite television and motion pictures.”13 This is our Charles Francis Jenkins.
Growing Up on the Farm
Charles Francis Jenkins was a Quaker farm boy, born just north of Dayton, Ohio, on August 22, 1867.14 Two years after his birth, his parents moved to Richmond, Indiana, where he grew up through his teenage years. The 141-acre farm was ten miles north of Richmond, near the small community of Fountain City.15 The house where he spent his youth still stands: a twelve-room, two-story brick structure that remains picturesque today. Tall pine, maple, fir, and linden trees line a long lane from the main road down to the home. In one corner of the yard there was once a circle of cedar trees, which the Jenkins children used as an imaginative playhouse during the warm summer months. Green lawns, shrubbery, and fields of beans surrounded the home. The children’s nursery was on the first floor in the northeast corner of the house.16 They were easily entertained by life on the farm—there were animals to play with and trees to climb. The honking of the Canadian geese flying overhead, in their annual migrations, fascinated the youngsters. Cows, sheep, pigs, and work animals were raised on the farm. Making soap was Jenkins’ first lesson in practical chemistry. The primary crops were beans and wheat. Francis learned the meaning of hard work, driving the four horse teams at an early age.17
The daily chores were physically demanding, farm work was difficult, and life depended upon a successful harvest. His earliest summer chores included keeping the fire going in the smokehouse, where meat was hung and cured for the winter. The meat came from the family’s small herd of grazing cattle or the surrounding forest, which was full of game and other wildlife. As a boy, he cracked the large rocks and cleared them from the fields in preparation for planting. He helped in the harvest, tended the animals, and, more reflective of his natural talents, he kept the farm in good mechanical working order. Each farmer was self-reliant and traded “in kind” with neighbors and storekeepers for their needs. The stores in town accepted farm products as trade currency.
The New Garden Friends church, where the Jenkins family worshiped, still stands. It is just south of Fountain City and was established by the Quakers in 1811. It was a centerpiece of life and one of the Underground Railroad depots where southern slaves were helped North to escape captivity.18 The (p.6) family of Amasa and Mary Jenkins were devout. The horse-and-buggy stalls, originally just north of the church, are long gone, but in the Jenkins family’s day these shelters protected their horses from the cold winters during church services. Amasa drove “a carriage with a matched pair of horses, a clear sign of affluence.”19
Farm life and his Quaker origins were the foundations of life for young Jenkins—who in his early years dropped “Charles” and became known as “Francis.” Formally, he would be known as C. Francis Jenkins. His understanding of mechanics helped solve regular farming challenges. In those days, if something was broken, you fixed it. You could not readily replace it or purchase a part. Add to this independence a natural work ethic, the Quaker belief in a working Christianity and God as a personal being who encourages works over financial gain, and one can begin to understand Jenkins’ lifelong devotion to his work.
The Jenkins Family
Francis came from a rural family with a rich inventive streak; extended family members say that invention was in the Jenkins blood. A family cousin, later a technical advisor to the president of the Monsanto Research Corporation, had forty-five of his own patents and enjoyed “gadgeteering.” Robert Jenkins, who first owned the local jewelry store, was said to have invented the rolling cookie cutter.20
Francis’s father Amasa was born in Marion County, Ohio. He was Welsh, and his mother English. Amasa worked on his family’s farm near Dayton, Ohio, and attended public school. He later attended the Spiceland Academy and Earlham College for his advanced education. He was drafted into the military but was honorably discharged due to his religious beliefs as a devout Quaker and thus a conscientious objector. He was six feet tall, a dignified man who carried himself in a stately manner. He had a “kind face, inspiring confidence … gracious[ness] … and common sense.” He was a Christian man who commanded respect.21
Francis’s mother, Mary Ann Thomas, came from a large family of seven brothers and sisters. She was born and raised in the New Garden neighborhood and attended church and school. She too was a student at Earlham College and later taught school. Mary’s brother was a friend of Amasa Jenkins, and Amasa was a frequent visitor at the Thomas farm. Mary saw life as an “opportunity for service … either in her own home … or in helping someone else.” Her friends compared her to Dorcas, the New Testament woman who (p.7) spent her life making clothes for the poor.22 Mary befriended the lonely, “in trial or need. … [T]o visit and cheer the sick and shut-ins was an especial pleasure to her.”23 Amasa and Mary would have seven children—five boys and two girls. Francis was the firstborn, the only one born in Ohio, as his brother and sisters were all born in Indiana.
The Jenkins Family Tree24
Amasa Jenkins (1844–1938)—Parents Robert Jenkins and Ann Pearson-Jenkins
Mary Ann Thomas (1843–1916)—Parents Luke Thomas and MildredFulghum-Thomas
June 16, 1866 Children Born:25
- C. Francis, August 22, 1867 (1934)
- Atwood L., December 14, 1869 (1946)
- Olive L., February 14, 1873 (1929)
- Alice A., July 21, 1878 (1931)
- Alvin, February 12, 1881 (1882)
- Alfred “Willie” William, November 23, 1883 (1958)
Francis’s grandfather, Luke Thomas, lived in a log cabin on acreage not far from the Jenkins farm.26 Francis would later recall the open fireplace hearth and working together with his grandfather. At his grandfather’s knee he heard stories of the pioneering days, Daniel Boone, Indian attacks, and lessons from the Bible. Reading and reciting Bible passages was a daily ritual, just prior to breakfast. These lessons in love and appreciation inspired Jenkins. They excited him with the possibilities of learning, travel, and his own future. He wanted to see the West that his grandfather described in the stories.
The Youthful Francis Jenkins
Young Francis was a freckled redhead, “red as a brick,” as he said, but with age his hair would become steel grey. His character was humble and unassuming, with a self-assured, driving passion.27 His eyes were blue, and at five-and-a-half feet tall, he was a short, slender man. “He had a medium square build, and weighed around 175 pounds, with the face of many who spent (p.8) much of his time out of doors … [and the] forehead of a thinker.” He was full of energy, nervous, and constantly on the move. He was a high-strung adventurer, always modest about his achievements, yet with an ingenious aptitude. Things came easily to him.28
One summer day, when Francis was a youngster, his mother dressed him to play in the yard. He must not have been thrilled with the outfit—a short dress and sunbonnet, to keep the fair-skinned boy from getting sunburned. The yard was surrounded by a large board fence, so his mother did not worry about her children—they could not go far, and she could see them from the windows while she worked around the house. On this particular day, when she checked the grounds, little Francis had disappeared. Panicstricken, Mary began to search for her son—he’d gotten through the fence and out of the yard. He had borrowed a wood saw from the tool shed, cut a hole in the fence, gotten out, and headed for the barn. The evidence of his escape and ingenuity lay beside the fence—he had taken off the sunbonnet, left the saw, and was gone. He was found shortly thereafter, playing with the new suckling pigs.29
As Francis grew, so did his contributions to farm work. His earliest inventions facilitated farm operations. He once caught his fingers in the gears of a vibrating bean-sifter screen, and this incident left him with lifelong scars. So he invented a bean husker, which removed the seed of the bean from the outer shell. His father was not too appreciative of the boy’s idea, which Francis had built in the attic of the house, because inventing diverted his son’s attention from the chores of greasing the wagon axles. To make that greasing job easier, Francis designed a jack that raised the wagons so that the lubricant could be more easily applied. This invention caught the attention of his neighbors. Francis and a younger brother, likely Atwood, made several jacks and sold them in town. In selling the jacks, he learned his first lesson in marketing. The painted jacks sold first, while those not yet painted, but just as workable, were slower to sell. More of his inventiveness complemented farm work. He set up a telephone system to communicate between the barn and the house. It became his responsibility to keep the farm machinery working. “That is thy gift, and to thee it is no great credit,” his father commented after Francis had fixed the field mower.30 Amasa sought not to chastise his son but to teach him that his “gift” was from God.
Francis was always inquisitive, wanting to know how everything worked. Such things as opening a pocket watch with a hatchet and disappearing at the train station, where he was found examining the engine, were youthful explorations that did not always sit well with his parents. His uncle once (p.9) brought him a small model-train engine he had made, and Francis immediately set out to make one of his own. The farm was a haven for a growing young mind—it set the pattern of “need and inventiveness” in his life, but as Francis grew, the farm could not hold him. He longed to travel West.
Traveling the Western Frontier
Francis graduated high school and attended a year at Earlham College, where he developed an interest in electricity.31 Then, sometime between 1883 and 1887, he left home for the West Coast. He was most likely about twenty years of age when he boarded the Santa Fe railroad in Chicago for the trek to the Pacific.32 It was a pivotal point in his life. Had he remained on the farm, he might have made different contributions to society. The record of why Francis left is unclear, but the death of his younger brother Alvin likely influenced his decision. The baby Alvin had died after having been left in Francis’ care. It was a crushing blow to Francis, as he seemed to be blamed for his brother’s death.33 Thus, grieving and motivated, he left home in search of his own life.
Francis’s travels for the next several years took him through the lumber mills of Washington and Oregon. He rode the logs in the mill pond where the timber was cut and loaded aboard the trains. If he fell off a log, he worked all day in cold, wet clothes. At the saw mill his mechanical aptitude proved valuable when two trains collided, knocking both off the tracks. His ideas untangled the cars and had them running again within a few hours. In Seattle, he took a course in stenography. He studied telegraphy in Newburg, Oregon, and traveled through Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico working in various mines. He was reportedly an accountant for the Sierra Nevada silver mines of Arizona and New Mexico and helped keep their machinery in good repair.34 He made friends with the workers on the Santa Fe railroad and did a little independent engineering of his own one evening when he took his girlfriend on an unofficial train ride. He later admitted that he had taken “a steam locomotive from a railroad terminal and drove it ten miles into the country. Why? The girl of course. Her pop’s ranch fronted the railroad. I stopped the locomotive near the ranch house and pulled the whistle.”35 The kindly boss was waiting by the tracks when Francis returned the engine. He undoubtedly made an impression on the girl, but the boss was likely none too happy. Another time, while out in the desert near Cook’s Peak, with a search party looking for an old miner, Jenkins suffered a flesh wound in an attack by a local Apache hunting party. He was “nicked in the shinbone before he found cover and his companion was killed a few days later by the (p.10) same Indians.”36 Francis did not stay long in any single place. He roamed the West, as many did in his time, using the railroads and on horseback, with his rifle at his side. He worked different jobs, growing in maturity with each opportunity.37
The love for his family brought him home each year for a brief visit. Their difficulty in imagining his wilderness lifestyle—the high mountains, deserts, and the Pacific Ocean—was a clear catalyst for Jenkins’ interest in photography. He wanted to share his experiences. On one of his visits home, his mother encouraged him to take a civil service exam; it would be a turning point in his life. He was in New Mexico when he received a telegram notifying him that he had been appointed as a clerk for Sumner I. Kimball of the U.S. Life Saving Service—now the U.S. Coast Guard, then a part of the U.S. Treasury Department.
Moving to Washington, D.C.
In 1890, Francis gave his guns and holsters to his friend. He turned eastward to report in Washington, D.C., for his new job. His first home was a boarding house at 317 East Capitol Street, where he lived until 1898.38 In the Life Saving Service, Francis experienced his adventures vicariously, as his job was to write stories of people guarding the coast. He wrote them by hand and then typed them into annual reports. Often he rode in the rescue boats with seaman seeking firsthand accounts as well as adventure. His work with the Life Saving Service honed his writing skills, and his association with Kimball further instilled a humanitarian spirit complementing his Quaker commitment to service. He enjoyed his work, good fortune, and the prospects of a promotion.39 He loved Washington, D.C. He was fascinated by the mechanics and the technological progress that flourished around him. He felt that he was in the center of growing opportunity. The city was a bustling center of “charming femininity and handsome manhood.”40 It was a stark contrast to the farm and western chores, but it created a turning point in his life with service connections that he would use throughout his career.
During his first years with the Life Saving Service, Jenkins’ experiments in photography began in earnest. They initially took up the young bachelor’s evenings and weekends, but it would not be long before he was working full-time with film and creating “devices for recording and reproducing motion.”41 One of his friends, a young lady with whom he shared his enthusiasm, would find out “what it means to be the wife of a great inventor.”42
A beautiful young woman entered Francis Jenkins’ life shortly after he arrived in Washington. Her name was Grace Hannah Love. He and Grace met in the winter of 1891.43 She worked in the Treasury Department cafeteria and later the Log Cabin Café, both owned by her family. Francis ate at the cafeteria regularly while he worked at the Life Saving Service.44 Their relationship evolved slowly, from their early restaurant exchanges to pleasant conversation, dating, and marriage. Indeed, they courted eleven years before they were married.
Grace was born on January 19, 1868, and raised near Conowingo in Cecil County, Maryland, on a farm not far from the Susquehanna River. Nature, the woods, and the river were her youthful playgrounds. Her ancestors were Scottish immigrants who came to the American colonies before the Revolutionary War. Her father, Samuel Love, was a Methodist, and her mother, Sophia Jane Taylor-Love, was a Quaker. She had four sisters and three brothers. Grace was the youngest daughter. The family relationship was close, and the household regularly attended Methodist services. The sisters were devoted to each other. The “Love girls” were noted for their musical talent, a reputation gained from singing in church and at congregational socials.45 Grace was described as placid by nature—calm, even-tempered, and likable. She was sympathetic and understanding, winning the hearts and confidences of all who associated with her.46 She was a little taller than Francis, with “brown eyes and a steady straightforward look like the captain of a ship. … She dressed simply and inconspicuously.”47 Francis “treated her, both in public and in private, as a youthful lover.”48 He was young at heart, and “Mrs. J was a motherly, understanding type who mothered him and kidded him along.”49 She was raised a strict Methodist, and while she was certainly interested in the young inventor, it took some time before she yielded to his proposals.
Grace had originally moved to Washington, D.C., to start a job, be with family, and get away from a jilted love affair.50 Two of her older sisters, Annie and Sadie, were already living in the city and married to brothers Henry and Lewis Breuninger.51 Grace was engaged to the third brother, George, but George had an affair with the “innkeeper’s daughter.”52 Heartbroken, Grace moved to the District of Columbia and lived with her sister Annie. Eventually, Grace’s whole family would follow. In the city, she worked at her grandfather’s eatery, the Log Cabin Café, at 1337 F. Street, NW.53 It was fall when she met Jenkins. His evenings and spare time would now be divided (p.12) between full-time work with the Life Saving Service, part-time work on his photographic gadgets, and dating.54
Grace and Francis enjoyed being together. A picnic, boating, cycling, or just walking along the banks of the creek were their most common dates. The two “love[d] to pack a little basket of lunch and fare forth to the banks of Rocky Creek … and just sit there among growing things … talking over their plans and experiences till the great yellow moon [came] up.”55 These were years before the social revolution in morals and manners of the 1920s, so Grace and Francis were always chaperoned by a member of the family or a friend. They talked about his inventions and just savored the natural state of the riverside park—it was pleasurable recreation that would be repeated many times in their lives together. In her diaries, Grace provided a flavor of life’s simple joys, her character, and the cold Washington winter as she wrote simply, “beautiful day, I went to church, Rev. Wilson preached. I met CFJ [Charles Francis Jenkins] downtown and we took a walk in the sunshine.”56 She was receptive, supportive, and interested—a comfortable audience, and always willing to walk in the warmth of the sun. Francis attributed his personal success to her “business wisdom” and “personal genius.”57 By 1899, her brother-in-law Lewis Breuninger had opened a second restaurant in the Treasury Department, and Grace became its manager.58
One of the reasons Francis and Grace’s romance progressed so slowly was their families. They were initially uncertain whether Francis was good husband material. He had resigned his job as a clerk in the Life Saving Service to become a full-time inventor. Since 1895, Francis had listed his profession in the Washington, D.C., directory as “inventor.” The family criticized him. What kind of a man lists “inventor” as his occupation in the city directory? Even Francis’s own mother did not like the title. From his youth she had encouraged him to “stop messing” and get to work. Years later, Jenkins described inventing as “a profession like a tramp, having no visible means of support.” However, after his later years of success, he asked his mother for a title that would describe him, and she replied, “a finder-outer.”59 The family’s questions and comments about Francis’ avocation were really more a reflection of worry and misunderstanding than a condemnation of the man’s character. At the center of concern was the vexation of how he would support himself, a wife, and a family. However, Francis and Grace’s affection for one another was unquestionable, as they spent increasing amounts of time together. During the winter of 1899, due to the inclement weather, Jenkins even stayed overnight in the home of Annie and Henry, where Grace lived. The next morning, he walked her to work in one of the coldest winters on record.60 Grace would (p.13) never admit to how much of her influence had persuaded him “to give up a regularly monthly [government] check for certain poverty [of an inventor] over a long period on the chance that he would make good eventually, but she was always supportive.”61
The wedding took place on January 30, 1902.62 The family gathered at the home of Grace’s sister Sadie and Lewis Breuninger. The union was performed by Grace’s Methodist minister, Rev. J. T. Heisse. Francis’s mother commented to the new bride, “I fear thee hast married my black sheep”63 No one was quite sure what she meant. Was it Francis’s declaration to become an inventor, his participation in the Methodist faith, a reference to family differences, finances, or just her own uncertainties?
As a wedding gift, Grace gave Francis her life savings of three thousand dollars ($78,353 in 2012), and he promised her half of all he made from his inventions.64 They invested the cash in a laboratory and in a modest little home at 1103 Harvard Street, NW—the cost was $25.50 ($666) a month. Grace’s mother lived there with them until her death in 1906.
Francis credited his success to his wife: “[I]t [was] to her kindly help and business wisdom, rather than to any personal ‘genius,’ that this inventor attributes such success as has attended his efforts.”65 Grace was totally unselfish, even in hard times. Their relationship was “the most beautiful relationship in human life.”66
Francis and Grace had no children of their own, so her sister’s children had multiple mothers: Grace, Sadie, Annie, and their grandmother. The sisters lived close to each other, so they were constantly together with the extended families. Francis’ sense of humor endeared him to his extended family and children. They all took part in his photography. He loved his nieces and nephews as his own children. He was continually doing things for them as they grew older, helping them get a financial start in life.67 Family was the foundation of Jenkins’ life and his work. Throughout his life, he retained strong relationships with his Indiana family and his wife’s family. He was an endlessly hard worker and a man of strong religious values. His inquisitive mind and exploring nature motivated a lifetime of inquiry across a broad spectrum of ideas. Inventing was what he liked to do, and his family was a part of it. (p.14)
(1.) Russell Conwell, “Acres of Diamonds,” in American Forum: Speeches on Historic Issues, 1788–1900, ed. Ernest W. Wrage and Barnet Baskerville (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1960), 263–75.
(2.) “Acres of Diamonds” was first delivered around 1870, and Conwell traveled the lecture circuit delivering it. See Robert Shackleton, Russell Conwell: Acres of Diamonds, His Life and Achievements (New York: Harper and Bros., 1915), 3–59.
(3.) See John M. Barry, The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Greatest Plague in History (New York: Viking Penguin, 2004).
(4.) Gleason L. Archer, The History of Radio to 1926 (New York: American Historical Society, 1938), 136–37. See also John Michael Kittross, in Historical Dictionary of American Radio, ed. Donald G. Godfrey and Frederic A. Leigh (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1998), 423–25.
(p.196) (5.) “Names ‘Remakers of Civilization,” New York Times, September 13, 1930, 22.
(6.) “Wizards Gather,” Washington Herald, September 1, 1924, qtd. in Charles Francis Jenkins, Radio Pictures (Washington, D.C.: Radio Pictures Corporation, 1922), 122. See Henry Sova, Communications Serials: An International Guide to Periodicals in Communication and the Performing Arts (Virginia Beach: Socacom, 1992), 587.
(7.) Jay Brien Chapman, Story World magazine, September 1, 1924, qtd. in Jenkins, Radio Pictures, 122. Story World magazine was published mid-1919 through August 1925. It was drawn into the Photodramatist in August 1923. See Henry Sova, Communications Serials: An International Guide to Periodicals in Communication and the Performing Arts (Virginia Beach: Socacom, 1992), 586. According to the Library of Congress online catalog, issues of Story World are in the Motion Picture/TV Reading Room reference collection.
(8.) Orrin E. Dunlap Jr., “Charles Francis Jenkins: Put Pictures on the Air,” in Radio’s 100 Men of Science: Biographical Narratives of Pathfinders in Electronics and Television (New York: Harper, 1944), 141–43.
(9.) William Atherton Du Puy, “A Professional Inventor,” Scientific American 106 (March 30, 1912): 292–93. See also “Admiral Bullard and Dr. Lee de Forest Are the Deans—Forty Is the Average Age of Engineers and Manufacturers,” New York Times, July 24, 1927, 15
(10.) George H. Clark, “C. Francis Jenkins—Television Inventor,” Radio-Craft (January 1948): 32.
(11.) “Predicts Vision by Use of Radio” Boston Post, February 11, 1924, Jenkins Scrapbooks, 1920–24, Wayne County Historical Museum.
(12.) Charles Francis Jenkins, The Boyhood of an Inventor (Washington, D.C.: National Capital Press, 1931), 31–32, 48. See also David Arthur Hollenback, “Contributions of Charles Francis Jenkins to the Early Development of Television in the United States” (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Michigan, 1983), 40–43.
(13.) “Radio Post,” Christian Science Monitor, July 7, 1926, 6.
(14.) E. M. Haas, “Jenkins Store Celebrates Seventy-fifth Anniversary,” Richmond Palladium and Sun Telegraph, May 16, 1928, newspaper clipping from the Richmond Palladium-Item news services files (hereafter Palladium-Item News Files).
(15.) History of Wayne County, 658, Virginia Roach Family Papers, Washington, D.C. Roach was a great-niece of Grace Love. Papers and writing used with permission.
(16.) “Charles Francis Jenkins Started Career on Farm,” Richmond Item, June 6, 1934, Palladium-Item News Files.
(18.) New Garden Friends Church, historical pamphlet (New Garden, Ind.: New Garden Friends Church, n.d.), 1–4.
(19.) Elizabeth Maxfield-Miller, “Jenkins Genealogy: Jenkins Family,” February 1984, p. 5, Philip Jenkins Family Files, Richmond, Ind.
(20.) Eloise Beach, “Jenkins Family Possessed Strong Inventive Streak,” unidentified newspaper clipping from the Palladium-Item News Files. At this writing, no registered patent was located for this device under this name.
(p.197) (21.) John R. Webb, “Amasa J. Jenkins: A Tribute,” unidentified newspaper clipping, Virginia Roach Family Papers. See also Elizabeth Maxfield-Miller, “Jenkins Genealogy: Jenkins Family,” February 1984, p. 4, from the Philip Jenkins Family Files, Richmond, Ind.
(22.) See also Acts 9:36–41.
(23.) Mary Ann Thomas Jenkins, Friends Archive, File FPG-VI, Lilly Library, Earlham College.
(24.) Luke Thomas, History of Wayne County, Indiana, vol. 2 (Chicago: Inter-State Publishing Co., 1884), 657–74; Abstracts of the Records of the Society of Friends in Indiana (Richmond, Ind.: Wayne County Genealogical Society), 179, 220, 241. There is a discrepancy in recorded wedding dates. The History of Wayne County clearly indicates the date of June 16, 1866, and May 21, 1866 (p. 658). However, her elegy indicates May 24, 1866, as the wedding day. See Mary Ann Thomas Jenkins, Friends Archive, File FPG-VI, Lilly Library, Earlham College.
(25.) “Line of Descent of Charles Francis Jenkins of Richmond, IN, and Washington, D.C.” Virginia Roach Family Papers.
(26.) Thomas, History of Wayne County, Indiana, vol. 2, 670. The Thomas family were immigrant farmers of Welsh descent.
(27.) “C. Francis Jenkins Tells of First Projector,” Moving Picture World, July 15, 1916, 418.
(29.) Esther Cooper, “Francis Jenkins as a Boy on the Farm,” American Friend, June 14, 1934, 214. See also Esther Cooper, “Charles Francis Jenkins Started Career on Farm,” Richmond Item, June 6, 1934, newspaper clipping from Palladium-Item News Files; Mary Ellen Donat, “Messin’ Paid Off for Inventor,” Richmond Palladium-Item, March 5, 1990, A8.
(32.) Ibid., 42. The date of Jenkins’ departure differs in the records. If he left in 1883, following Alvin’s death (see n. 33 below), Francis would have been sixteen years of age, which is when he says he departed (Jenkins, Boyhood of an Inventor, 49–50). This would have given him seven years in the West before his arrival in Washington, D.C, in 1890. However, Hollenback reports that he left in 1887. The latter appears more likely, because it allows for Jenkins to finish high school and spend a little time in college. This would have given him three years in the western states, and this parallels his experiences as reported in Boyhood of an Inventor (48–67).
(33.) Family interviews infer a number of different causes for his Alvin’s death, likely a farm accident in which he mistook the poisons used on the farm as a fresh drink. Whatever the cause, the tragedy was devastating. No records of the death were located.
(34.) Earlham College records indicate that Jenkins was the head bookkeeper for the Silver Mining Company of Lake Valley, New Mexico. From a handwritten note (p.198) in the correspondence of Thomas D. Hamm, Archivist and Associate Professor of History, Lilly Library, Earlham College, to Virginia Roach, postmarked June 12, 1992, Virginia Roach Family Papers. While there is no record of Jenkins being in the Lake Valley area, the mines of the valley were the Sierra Grande, the Sierra Bella, and the Lake Valley Mining Company. The Silver City New Mexico Museum records indicate that there were many bookkeepers working for area mines, but at the time in question there was no Silver City Mining Company. Author’s correspondence with Silver City Museum, August 15, 2009.
(35.) “Inventor of Radio Photographs Got Big Idea While Piloting Plane,” Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, March 5, 1923, 2.
(36.) Brady, “Inventor of Radio Movies Also Invented First Motion Pictures,” A8. Brady indicates that the event occurred in Texas. This is likely an error. See n. 42 relative to railroads, spur lines, and the area of Jenkins’ travel.
(37.) It is difficult to trace Jenkins’ travels from his autobiography. However, the railroads crossing the country were well developed by this period. The Chicago and Northwester, the Chicago Burlington and Quincy, and the Chicago Rock Island and Pacific all might have taken Jenkins to Omaha. Here, he could have boarded the Union Pacific. Trips into Colorado would be on the Union Pacific subsidiary Union Pacific Denver and Gulf. In Ogden, Utah, he could have changed to the Central Pacific for his trip through the Sierra Nevada Mountains to Sacramento. The Southern Pacific subsidiary Oregon and California went south and north into Oregon. The Southern Pacific ran to Los Angeles, with a line continuing east across Arizona and New Mexico, and spurs would have taken him into northern Arizona and New Mexico. Lake Valley and Cook’s Peak, New Mexico, which he referenced, were served by the Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe lines. Author’s correspondence with Kyle Wyatt, Curator of History and Technology, California State Railroad Museum, August 17, 2009.
(38.) John Eustis, “Armat and Jenkins, Part I: The Dispute, 1895–1896,” 5, Local History Project, Columbia Historical Society.
(39.) Charles Francis Jenkins to his cousin, July 20, 1891, Ann McKee Coffin Family Files. No reports could be located from the Life Saving Service.
(40.) Jenkins, Boyhood of an Inventor, 69. See also Charles Francis Jenkins to his cousin, July 15, 1891, Ann McKee Coffin Family Files. The letter describes the sights of the city from a recent tour he’d given to his cousin.
(42.) Muriel Caswall, “What It Means to Be the Wife of a Great Inventor,” Boston Post, January 13, 1924, 1.
(43.) Grace and Francis’ meeting was recorded in later court testimony. Grace L. Jenkins Testimony, Motion Picture Patents Company v. Independent Moving Picture Company of America, U.S. Circuit Court for Southern District of New York, Equity No. 5-167, p. 243 (hereafter Equity No. 5-167). The case was a part of the motion-picture “trust war.” The Motion Picture Patents company was working to monopolize the technology and had tied up competitors with injunctions and interference cases. See Terry Ramsaye, (p.199) A Million and One Nights: A History of the Motion Picture, 3d ed. (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1964), 485–98, 536. Jenkins’ family and associates were called to testify in this case. See also Maurice Bardeche and Robert Brasillach, The History of Motion Pictures, trans. Iris Barry (New York: W. W. Norton, 1938), 59, 62–77.
(45.) Untitled manuscript of Virginia Roach, p. 1, Virginia Roach Family Papers.
(48.) Annotated draft of an article by C. L. Porter for the Journal of the Society of Motion Picture Engineers (1934), 126–30, George H. Clark Radioana Collection, Papers, Series 142, Box 143, Smithsonian National Museum of American History (hereafter the Clark Collection). The references to this collection were noted over multiple years of research. The collection has since been reorganized, with papers, boxes, and files shifted without retaining any forwarding information. The citations here remain as formatted at the time of my visits in 2003 and 2009.
(49.) George Clark notes, inserted in summary of C. L. Porter article for the Journal of The Society of Motion Picture Engineers (1934), Series 142, Box 143, Clark Collection.
(50.) According to Virginia Roach, Grace was engaged to a young man who was not faithful. When the other woman became pregnant, Grace broke off the relationship and moved to Washington, D.C. Virginia Roach, oral history interview, August 2003.
(51.) This would appear to be Lewis Eugene Breuninger (1859–1942), a successful developer in Montgomery County, Maryland. Untitled family manuscript, p. 3, Virginia Roach Family Papers.
(52.) Untitled family manuscript, p. 1, Virginia Roach Family Papers.
(53.) Different sources have the grandfather as owner and the brother-in-law as proprietor of the Log Cabin Café. The Virginia Roach manuscript indicates that a brother-in-law set Grace up as the proprietor of the café.
(54.) Grace L. Jenkins, testimony before the U.S. District Court, March 2, 1911, Equity No. 5-167. See also Jenkins and Motion Pictures Scrapbook, p. 28, Franklin Institute, Jenkins Papers.
(56.) Grace Love, personal diaries, January 22, 1899, Virginia Roach Family Papers. Grace’s diaries are scattered through the family; those utilized here are in the Virginia Roach Family Papers.
(59.) Virginia Roach, untitled family manuscript, p. 2, Virginia Roach Family Papers.
(60.) Personal diary of Grace Love, February 14, 1899. A copy of the 1899 diary is within the Virginia Roach Papers.
(62.) See “Certificate of Marriage,” Washington, D.C., January 30, 1902, Virginia Roach Family Papers.
(p.200) (63.) Virginia Roach, untitled family manuscript, p. 2, Virginia Roach Family Papers.
(64.) This and subsequent financial comparisons are taken from S. Morgan Friedman, “The Inflation Calculator,” at http://www.westegg.com/inflation. Dates used in the calculations were the original noted by Jenkins and adjusted in 2013 to the latest figures.
(66.) George Herbert Clark, “Note on Jenkins Television: Washington” (1947), p. 17, Virginia Roach Family Papers.