Missouri State Archives
Louise and Omar Putman Collection
Amateur photographers Louise and Omar Putman spent their married life traveling primarily through Kansas and Missouri capturing images of the people they encountered and the places they loved. They developed and mounted prints in their basement darkroom, entering their work into various photograph contests. They were also members of several national photography clubs.
Omar, born in 1886, was a postal worker in Raytown, Missouri. Louise Murphy, born in Kansas in 1904, attended college at Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas. She attended graduate school for one year at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. They married in 1936.
Although neither had any formal photographic training, both were gifted with an artistic eye. Louise and Omar loved to capture shapes and light in their photography. They experimented with exposures and papers to create different photographic effects. The collection consists primarily of portraits, agricultural and industrial scenes, and images documenting Kansas City life and buildings. Many of the photographs document typical rural Midwestern structures, such as water towers, barns, and silos. The Putmans' photographs capture their unique shapes against the rural landscape.
Omar died in 1962, and Louise died in 1996 at the age of 92. Thanks to the generous donation of over 300, large format, mounted prints from her nephews Curtis and Kelly Carle, the photographs Louise and Omar developed can now be enjoyed at the Missouri State Archives.