Clark-Strater-Hill Family Photograph Collection, ca. 1850-1960s

Held by The Filson Historical Society

Creator:  Clark-Strater-Hill Family

Title:  Clark-Strater-Hill Family Photograph Collection, ca. 1850-1960s

Rights: For information regarding literary and copyright interest for these photographs, contact the Collections Department.

Size of Collection:  3 cu. ft.

Location Number:  021PC35

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of original photographs, negatives, cartes-de-visite, two small, framed photographs, two ambrotypes, one daguerreotype, and twelve photograph albums from several generations of the interconnected Clark, Strater, and Hill families. Materials relate primarily to Jessie LaNauze Clark Strater Watson, her husband William Edward Strater, their child Edward LaNauze Strater and his wife Barbara Milton Strater (née Watkins). The photos date from ca. 1850-1960s and are organized as folders of loose photos and negatives, slides, wrapped albums, and various framed and unframed photos of miscellaneous formats. Most images are well identified with names, dates, and other relevant details. Subjects include various homes and estates belonging to the family members, including Drumanard Estate (whose grounds and landscaping—designed by the Olmsted Brothers—are documented mostly in the slides), family and social life in Louisville, European travel, World War I Ambulance service, theatrical performances of the 1920s, among many others. The two ambrotypes and daguerreotype have been removed from the collection and are stored with the ambrotype and daguerreotype collections.

Related Collections:

Clark-Strater-Watson Papers, 1850-1970, Mss. A C595

Clark-Strater-Hill papers, 1675-2011, Mss. A C595a

Edward LaNauze Strater scrapbook, 1913, Mss. SB S898

Anne Bruce Haldeman papers, ca. 1928-1993, Mss. A H159c

Anne Bruce Haldeman Landscape Design Records, 1929-1986 (bulk c. 1950-1975), Mss. AR H159

Henry Strater prints, 1963, 998PR3


Biographical Note

The Clark, Strater, and Watson families lived in Ontario, Canada, and Louisville and Henderson, Kentucky. The Clark family originally hailed from Scotland, with William Clark (1794-1881) and his wife Isabell Stevenson Clark emigrating from Scotland to Scarboro, Ontario, Canada around 1838. The family gained wealth through various business enterprises, including James Clark’s tobacco company and the Strater Tobacco Company.

William Clark’s son, James Charles Clark (1830-1902) was born in Scotland and immigrated to Canada with his parents in 1838. He was involved in the tobacco business in Pittsburgh, before moving to Louisville in 1850, where he became a prominent buyer and exporter of leaf tobacco. He went on to become director and vice president of the First National Bank, treasurer and vice president of the Ohio Valley Telephone Company, director in the Louisville Tobacco Warehouse Company, and president of the Farmers’ Tobacco Warehouse Company. He and his wife, Jessie LaNauze Clark (1837-1908) (whose parents also immigrated from Scotland), settled in Old Louisville and had seven children, including Jessie LaNauze Clark Strater Watson (1868-1954).

In 1893, Jessie LaNauze Clark Strater Watson married William Edward Strater (1866-1908), who owned Strater Tobacco Company with his brothers. Together they had a son, Edward LaNauze Strater (1894-1966). In 1900, the family was living at 1212 S. Third Street in Old Louisville. Following William Edward Strater’s accidental death by drowning in Harrods Creek in 1908, Jessie married Major Alexander “Sandy” MacKenzie Watson (1883-1957) in 1913. In 1928, Jessie and Alexander began building a summer home called Drumanard, located near Wolf Pen Branch Mill and Harrods Creek. The home was completed in 1929, and today is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Edward LaNauze Strater attended Male High School, the Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, and Princeton University, from which he graduated in 1917. He served in World War I as a volunteer ambulance driver in the American Field Service in France, receiving a Croix de Guerre by the French government. After the war, he married Barbara Milton Watkins (1898-1971), a stage actress from Louisville. The couple lived in Paris during the 1920s as part of the American expatriate community that included Ernest Hemmingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald (purportedly a Princeton classmate of Edward’s). They eventually settled in Louisville and purchased the Rialto Theater on Fourth Street. Together they had two children, Sylvia Barret Strater Hill (1928-2015) and Edward Pendleton “Pen” Strater (1924-2004). In 1950, Sylvia Barret Strater Hill married James Brents Hill, Jr. (1926-1995) of Nashville, and together they had three children.

Other people of possible interest represented in the collection include:

Henry Hyacinth “Mike” Strater (1896-1987): A famous painter and cousin of Edward LaNauze Strater.

Anne Bruce Haldeman (1903-1993): A pioneering woman landscape architect and cousin of Barbara Milton Watkins Strater (the Filson also holds her papers).

Annie Ford Milton Hamilton (1873-1949) and Bruce Haldeman (1862-1948): Prominent newspaper publishers, owners of the Courier Journal and Louisville Times, and aunt and uncle of Barbara Milton Watkins Strater.

James Brents Hill, Sr. (1878-1952): President of the L&N Railroad from 1934-1950 and father of James Brents Hill, Jr.

Frank Chapman (1864-1945): A renowned ornithologist. One of the few non-relatives prominently represented in the collection, he was a friend of Jessie LaNauze Clark Starter Watson.

An extensive family tree, which includes branches of the Clark, Strater, Courtenay, Milton, Haldeman, Hill, Cooper, Nicol, and LaNauze families (and their relationships with one another), has been created by the cataloger and is included in the finding aid folder. An effort has been made to include every known family member whether they appear in this collection or not, but a red star has been added next to the name of everyone whose photo does appear.


Folder List

Folder 1: Hill family, 1857-1960s

Includes portraits of Mary Lowrey Hill and James Anderson Hill—the parents of James    Brents Hill, Sr.—and family portraits with James Brents Hill, Sr., with his parents and siblings; a photo featuring Grace Marion Cooper Hill’s aunt Marionette “Nettie” Burrell          and her husband James Alden Cooper; a photo of James Brents Hill, Sr.’s sisters Estelle               Hill and Alice Hill Anderson, taken in 1967; two other photos that show Alice Hill     Anderson at a house on 18th Avenue in Nashville.


Folder 2: Grace Cooper Hill and James Brents Hill, ca. 1880-1950s

Includes originals and copy photographs related to or taken by Grace Cooper Hill and James Brents Hill, Sr., including their 1913 honeymoon, the two of them participating in recreational activities such as hunting and baseball, houses, childhood photographs, with family members, and several photos of Bess Cooper Crittenden.


Folder 3: Two framed photographs of Grace Cooper Hill and James Brents Hill, ca. 1885-1890


Folder 4: James Brents Hill professional and train career, ca. 1930s-1950s

Includes originals and copy photographs of James Brents Hill’s professional life in the railway industry, specifically his time as president of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad.


Folder 5: Hill residences in Nashville and Louisville, ca. 1930s-1940s

Includes photos, negatives, and blueprint/sketch reproductions of the residence of James Brents Hill, Sr., and his family in Nashville; one photo of a home in Louisville.


Folder 6: Cooper family and ancestors, ca. 1850s-1901

Includes photos of portraits of Levi Buckingham and Eliza Bell, the great grandparents of Grace Marion Cooper Hill (ca. 1850s); a photo of George P. Burnell, father of Marionette “Nettie” Burrell Cooper; a photo of James Cooper, father of James Alden Cooper; an undated photo of Marion Hill Harcourt, whose relation is unknown.


Folder 7: Clark family, ca. 1860s-1940s

Includes materials related to James Clark, Jessie LaNauze Clark, and their marriage; postcards from Beith, Scotland; photographs of William Clark, Jr., Isabel Stevenson Clark Courtenay, Billy Kerr Clark, James Clark, Jr., William Edward Strater, James C. Courtenay, Erskine Courtenay, Leonard Strater, and Edward Strader. Of note are photos of James’ tobacco factory and flower garden.


Folder 8: Jessie LaNauze Clark Strater Watson, 1874-1952

Includes studio portraits of Jessie as a young girl and woman; with her twin sister Isabel Stevenson Clark Courtenay; with ornithologist Frank Chapman and his family. Also included are photographs and negatives of Jessie’s European vacation, her summer home Drumanard, and her 84th birthday party.


Folder 9: Edward LaNauze Strater, ca. 1894-1958

Includes Edward LaNauze Strater as a young boy and student; with his cousins Erskine and James Courtenay, at Hill School; theatrical productions he participated in while at school. Of note are depictions of Brownface and Blackface in theatre and a panoramic photograph of his class at Male High School.


Folder 10: Edward LaNauze Strater World War I service, 1915-1918

Includes items related to Edward Strater’s service in the American Ambulance Service during World War I. Includes formal military portraits, group photos with fellow soldiers, and negatives.


Folder 11: Henry Strater, ca. 1960s

Includes material related to the career of Henry Hyacinth “Mike” Strater, a cousin of Edward LaNauze Strater and a famous painter. There is a photo of one of his paintings and a 1962 Courier Journal photo of one of his art shows, which includes Edward Strater, Barbara Milton Watkins Strater, and Nicholas A. Strater (Henry Hyacinth “Mike” Strater’s son).


Folder 12: Barbara Watkins Strater theater career, ca. 1940s

Includes photos of Barbara Watkins Strater’s theatrical performances, possibly at the “Little Theater” in Louisville.


Folder 13: William Edward Strater, ca. 1880-1908

Includes an undated photo of three men with the caption “Strater Bros”—one is clearly William, and the other two are presumably two of his brothers, and two negative photos of portraits of “Strater grandparents,” presumably Williams’s parents Casper Henry Strater and his wife.


Folder 14: Barbara Milton Watkins Strater ancestors, ca. 1870s-1913

Includes Barbara Milton Watkins Strater, James Perry Watkins, William Agun Milton, Edward Jefferson Watkins, a photo of Susan Barret Milton Watkins at Buckroe Beach in Virginia, and one identified as “Melville,” possibly Louisville writer Melville Otter Briney.


Folder 15: Frank Chapman, 1916-ca. 1920s

Includes items related to Frank Chapman (1864-1945), a renowned ornithologist and friend of Jessie LaNauze Clark Strater Watson. Includes several photos of Chapman in South America and several photos of homes presumably belonging to Chapman—one is in Miami, and another is part of a 1924 Christmas card sent by Chapman and his wife, Fannie.


Folder 16: Nicol, Henderson, and related families, ca. 1860s-1900s

Includes materials related to the Nicol, Henderson, Watson, Cleland, and Alexander families. A lot of these appear to be studio portraits and cartes-de-visite of the family members living in Scotland.


Folder 17: Sarah Collins and unidentified others, ca. 1900s

Includes two negatives of Sarah Collins (Edward LaNauze Strater’s childhood nurse), and other negatives and prints of what are likely men employed by the Strater family. Of note is a negative of two African American men identified as “Stokes and Hots (Clarence) Lang.”


Folder 18: Slide index, 1940s-1960s

This is a handwritten index of the slides included in this collection. Slides depict                    members of the Strater family and the exterior and interior of Drumanard estate. (NOTE: Some of the numbered slides described in the list are missing). The sleeved slides remain in the original order and are foldered as below:


Folder 19: Slides A: 1943-1953

Folder 20: Slides B-C: 1953- Jan. 1957

Folder 21: Slides C-D: Mar. 1957- Apr. 1959

Folder 22: Slides D-E: June 1959- Nov. 1962, 1963, 1965

Folder 23: Miscellaneous undated or unidentified slides


Album 24: Haldeman, Milton family album, 1889-1964

Includes individuals from the Milton and Haldeman families: Anne Milton Haldeman, Anne Bruce Haldeman, Bruce Haldeman, Florence Haldeman, William Agun Milton, Admiral John Brown Milton (and his wife Harriet Steele), Elizabeth Haldeman, Barbara Watkins, Walter Haldeman, Edward J. Watkins, Sue Barret Milton Watkins, Florence Clark Milton, Collis O. Campbell, Elizabeth Campbell Gawthrop, Ann Price Combs (and her husband and kids). Notable photos include two young Black girls labeled Katie and Viola Park (Inscription: “Viola was Barbara’s nurse”) and another photo of two young Black women with Anne Bruce and Walter Haldeman (Inscription: “Viola Parks and Paradine Dickey”); Florence Haldeman wearing a maid costume, with the inscription: “In Green Stockings,” which was a stage play and a film; the Grant Canyon, a Holloran system sight-seeing car; “The Milton Apartments” at 1415 St. James Court.


Album 25:  Barbara Milton Strater Watkins childhood album, ca. 1910

Includes photographs of Barbara Milton Watkins Strater and her childhood friends. Notable photos include an autographed photo of Madison J. Cawein (famous Louisville poet); Melville Otter Briney’s wedding; Semple Collegiate School; and children’s theatrics.


Album 26: Barbara Milton Strater Watkins theatre album, 1913-ca. 1920

Relates to Barbara Watkins’ career in theatre. Also includes other well-known stage actors: Bruce McRae (1867-1927), Alice Lindahl (d. 1918), Frances Goodrich (1890-1984), Alice Baxter (dates unknown), Marguerite St. John (1861-1940), Mrs. Charles G. Craig, Fleming Ward (1886-1962), Ruth Chatterton (1892-1961), Saxon Kling (1891-1940), Lorna Volare (1911-1998), Dorothy Gamble, Jessie Todhunter(?), Ruth Shepley (1892-1951), Charles Darrah, Douglas Leavitt (1883-1960), Ruth Leavitt (1890-1984), Zoe Barnett (1883-1969), Fred Hillbrand (1893-1963), Chrystal Herne (1883-1950), Ann Mason (1896-1948), Philip Mernvale (1886-1946), Rea Martin, Fania Marinoff (1890-1971), Jane Houston, Donald Tyler, Helen Flint (1898-1967), Peter Foote.


Album 27: Barbara Milton Watkins Strater theatre album, 1916-1920

Relates to the theatrical career of Barbara Milton Watkins Strater. This scrapbook mostly consists of large photographs of staged productions, including performers depicting Blackface or a “Mammy” trope. Most seem to have been taken in San Francisco, Chicago, Baltimore, or New York.


Album 28: Strater family album, ca. 1870- ca. 1910

Relates to individuals in the Clark family and ancestors of the Straters, including: the parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, and children of Jessie Clark Strater Watson. Included are James Clark and Jessie LaNauze Clark, Christiana Perry Clark, William Kerr Clark, James Clark, Jr., Lucinda Helm Clark, Walter Symington Clark, Isabel Clark Courtenay, Isabella George, William Clark, Jr., and his wife Ellen Crawford, Margaret Clark Kennedy, Isabella Kennedy, Hugh Clark and children, Margaret Young Markham, and Edward LaNauze Strater. There are several other identified relatives and friends whose exact relationships within the family are unknown.


Album 29: Strater family album, ca. 1880-1964

Includes individuals from the Strater, Clark, and Courtenay families: Henry Strater, Charles Strater (and wife Adeline), Isabel Stevenson Clark Courtenay, William Howard Courtenay, James Clark Courtenay, Erskine Courtenay, Jessie Clark, Henry Hyacinth Strater and wife Lois Thompson, James Clark, Jr., William “Billy” Clark, Walter S. Clark, and Constance Clark. Notable photos include James Clark Courtenay in a “box” at the races; with pet dogs; the Bibb family; children’s playhouse; Constance Clark’s wedding.


Album 30: Strater family album, ca. 1880-1900

Relates to individuals in the Strater family: William Edward Strater, Henry Strater, Augusta Strater and her kids Leonard and Helme, Jessie LaNauze Clark Strater Watson, James Clark, Jr., William K. Clark, Isabel Clark, and Edward LaNauze Strater. Notable photos include Middle Bass Island, Ohio; Harrods Creek Spring; Louisville Boat Club; camping; the New Willard Hotel; and Dr. Feodor Koehler.


Album 31: Strater family album, 1902- ca. 1915

Relates to individuals in the Strater, Courtenay, and Clark families: Edward LaNauze Strater, Jessie LaNauze Clark Strater Watson, Isabel Clark Courtenay, Erskine Courtenay, William Edward Strater, Jim Courtenay, Augusta Willey and Laura Willey (cousins of Edward Strater’s). Notable photos include Margaret Hardiman with the inscription “maid”; Sarah Collins, Edward’s nurse; group photo of the Independent Tobacco Growers; European travel; Japan travel; illusion photos taken in Atlantic City; the Patterson-Davenport School; Male High School; and Hill School.


Album 32: Strater family album, ca. 1910-1945

Relates to individuals in the Strater, Courtenay and Clark families: Edward LaNauze Strater, Erskine Courtenay, Jessie LaNauze Clark Strater Watson, Alexander “Sandy” Mackenzie Watson, William Howard Courtenay, Isabel Clark Courtenay, Barbara Milton Watkins Strater, and Edward LaNauze Starter. Notable photos include Kentucky composer Clifford Shaw (1911-1976); a portrait of Alexander Mackenzie Watson by Sam McDowell; travel photos in Egypt, Singapore, and other locations (1912); Edward Strater’s WWI service in the American Ambulance Field Service; and Alexander Mackenzie Watson’s WWI service in the Marine Corps.


Album 33: Milton, Strater, Hill family album, ca. 1870-1910

Relates to individuals in the Milton, Strater and Hill families: Bushrod Taylor Milton, Mary Ann Claypool, William Agun Milton, Florence Marie Clark Milton, Annie Ford Milton, Sue “Barrie” Barret Milton, Edward Jefferson Watkins, and Barbara Watkins.  Notable items include photos of the 1890 tornado in Louisville; musicians and bands; a posed portrait of Barbara with a little Black boy; and a list of handwritten facts about the family, written by James Brents Hill, Jr., in 1971.


Album 34: Hill family album, ca. 1880-1950

Includes individuals from several generations of the Hill family (most of these are photocopies and not originals): James Brents Hill, Sr., Grace Marion Cooper, Nettie Burnwell Cooper, James Alden Cooper, James Brents Hill, Jr., Mary Eleanore, and Grace Marion. Notable photos are at I. N. Bloom School; Highland Junior High School; Culver Military Academy; Mississippi River cruises; Louisville & Nashville Railroad Board of Directors; Jeffersonville Boat Works; weddings; and honeymoons.


Album 35: Garrin Place album, ca. 1898

Includes photographs of the interior of William E. Strater and Jessie LaNauze Clark Strater Watson’s home in Louisville.


Removed from Collection

021PC35.01: Daguerreotype of Edward Martin Clark, ca. 1850s

021PC35.02: Ambrotype of Elizabeth Newton Sperry and two others (unidentified), ca. 1850s

021PC35.03: Ambrotype of an unidentified woman, ca. 1850s


Subject Headings

American Field Service.


Bibb family.


Bluegrass music.


Children’s playhouses.

Children’s theater.

Clark family.

Cooper family.

Country music.

Courier-journal (Louisville, Ky.)

Courtenay family.

Culver Military Academy (Culver, In.)


Drumanard Estate (Louisville, Ky.)

Greenhouses – Kentucky – Louisville.

Henderson family.

Highland Junior High School.

Hill family.

Hill School (Pottstown, Pa.)


Household employees.

International travel.

Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company.

Louisville Boat Club.

Louisville (Ky.) – Tornado – 1890.

Male High School (Louisville, Ky.)

Middle Bass (Ohio)

Milton family.

Mississippi River – Description and travel.

Musical instruments.

Nashville (Tn.)

Nicol family.

Ohio Valley Telephone Company (Louisville, Ky.)


Race awareness in children.


Scottish Americans.

Semple Collegiate School (Louisville, Ky.)

Social classes.


Strater family.



Tobacco industry – Kentucky – Louisville.

Tornado damage.

Trick photography.

United Daughters of the Confederacy.

World War, 1914-1918.