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Portraits by 19th Century Female Photographer from Cadiz Receive Second Life With New Publication

Mamie Randolph, Kim Fortner, and Paul Fourshee
The cover for the coffee table book about Mamie Randolph, a female photographer from 1893 to 1946 in Cadiz, KY, and Sheridan, IN, compiled by Kim Fortner and Paul Fourshee.

A pair of historians from Cadiz have announced the release of their newest publication. Mrs. Randolph, a Small Town Portrait is a 282 page coffee table book from the desks of Kim Fortner and Paul Fourshee. Fortner and Fourshee visit Sounds Good to discuss their newly published compilation. 

Mrs. Mamie Randolph was born in 1876 in Cadiz, Kentucky. Three years after marrying at the age of fourteen, she and her husband purchased the studio of Quarles and Keates in downtown Cadiz in 1893. It was at this studio that Mrs. Randolph began her photography career. 125 years later, Cadiz historian, Paul Fourshee, "realized that I had a number of photographs that had a studio stamp on it that said Mrs. Randolph. I realized that they were of an age that would make it unusual for a woman to be in business." This peaked the interest of Fourshee, and with the help of Kim Fortner, he began contacting other locals to see if anyone else had a Mrs. Randolph portrait hiding in their attics or basements. 

Aside from portraits contributed by nearly 100 local families, there was not much available information on Mrs. Randolph. "It's very difficult to research someone who is just sort of a 'man on the street,'" Fourshee says, "there were no real articles about her, we just had to dig and find as much as we could." The volume of portraits made by Mrs. Randolph is indicative of her prominence in the business world, which was highly uncommon for women of the turn of the century. As Ms. Fortner says, "Mamie Randolph is remarkable because she was a successful business woman in a man's world." Paired with the fact that Mrs. Randolph got divorced shortly after her young marriage, she was a trailblazer of her time. 

In 1914, Mrs. Randolph moved to Sheridan, Indiana, approximately three hundred miles away. Mrs. Randolph, a Small Town Portrait contains portraits from both Cadiz and Sheridan, although the two cities shared many characteristics that remain similar even today. Fourshee explains that Sheridan was "almost identical to Cadiz, even when [Mrs. Randolph] moved in 1914 and even today, the population is about 50 different than Cadiz. The age of the town is not terribly different, the makeup of the town is not different." One difference Fourshee noticed between the two collections of portraits was her transition outside of the usual studio portraiture she did in Cadiz. "Once she moved to Sheridan, she seemed to feel at liberty to do a great deal of advertising, did work outside of the studio, and became the photographer at two different high schools." Mrs. Randolph continued to work in Sheridan until she died in 1946. 

The book took approximately eighteen months to finish, and contains over 500 pictures. The original pictures were restored to full color, successfully capturing the wonderful essence of finding your grandmother's picture box in the attic. To purchase the book, you can contact Mr. Paul Fourshee or Ms. Kim Fortner. You can also visit their website, where you can order the book via PayPal to your front door. 

Tracy started working for WKMS in 1994 while attending Murray State University. After receiving his Bachelors and Masters degrees from MSU he was hired as Operations/Web/Sports Director in 2000. Tracy hosted All Things Considered from 2004-2012 and has served as host/producer of several music shows including Cafe Jazz, and Jazz Horizons. In 2001, Tracy revived Beyond The Edge, a legacy alternative music program that had been on hiatus for several years. Tracy was named Program Director in 2011 and created the midday music and conversation program Sounds Good in 2012 which he hosts Monday-Thursday. Tracy lives in Murray with his wife, son and daughter.
Melanie Davis-McAfee graduated from Murray State University in 2018 with a BA in Music Business. She has been working for WKMS as a Music and Operations Assistant since 2017. Melanie hosts the late-night alternative show Alien Lanes, Fridays at 11 pm with co-host Tim Peyton. She also produces Rick Nance's Kitchen Sink and Datebook and writes Sounds Good stories for the web.
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