Blog: Jimmy Carter's 1940 Camera?

When I’m not shooting in Billings, I’ve spent some time exploring antique shops for oddities and old cameras. I’ve found several old brownie cameras that make great bookends.

A couple of months ago, however, I found one that may have an historical connection to president Jimmy Carter. I thought you might enjoy seeing these images and hearing the story.

The “Hollywood Camera” was made by the Encore Camera Company in the 1940s. It was a disposable, cardboard camera. The user put a 6 cent stamp on the box and inserted $1.25 in a slot and mailed it in for processing.

Because they’re disposable, they don’t turn up very often and when they do, I assume there’s film in them.

I found this one at Oxford Hotel Antiques in Billings in January. (It’s a great place to explore.)

If you look at the return address carefully, it says “Jimmy Carter’s 1205 Peach St., Plains, Georgia.

When I processed the film, three were three legible images (black and white of course) that you can see here.

The Carter Center in Atlanta couldn’t verify that it was the President’s but if it was his he would have been in his teens at the time these cameras were made.

I had met him once on a book tour he was doing after he left office. He sent me a handwritten note after we chatted that is still on the wall over my desk.

Jimmy Carter has inarguably had one of the finest post presidencies in US history and now as we prepare to wish him goodbye, his good work will live on at the Carter Center. I’m sure he’d welcome your support.

The center offered to sell this camera for the benefit of the center. I’m going to make a donation and keep it myself.