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Secretary Detzner Announces Donation of Joseph Janney Steinmetz Photographic Collectionto State Library and Archives of Florida

State Library and Archives of Florida acquires nearly 5,000 photographs by world-renowned photographer

Tallahassee, Florida –

TALLAHASSEE – Secretary of State Ken Detzner today announced the State Library and Archives of Florida has acquired nearly 5,000 photographs by world-renowned photographer Joseph Janney Steinmetz. Steinmetz’s images have appeared in such publications as the Saturday Evening Post, Life, Look, Time, Holiday, Collier’s and Town and Country. Recognized for his ability to capture moments of everyday life, Steinmetz’s work has been referred to as “an American social history.”

“We are honored to display the photographs of someone as talented as Joseph Janney Steinmetz on the Florida Memory site,” said Secretary Detzner. “His work captured a diversity of scenes from different eras of our state and nation’s history that can be enjoyed by a diversity of audiences.”

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1905, Steinmetz earned a degree in English from Princeton University. He became widely known among Philadelphia’s elite for his talent at capturing candid moments at society events. During World War II, Steinmetz served in the Navy in Florida and helped to develop innovative techniques for aerial reconnaissance photography.

Steinmetz remained in Florida after the war and began taking on assignments with the Florida Development Commission in addition to operating his own studio in Sarasota. He was particularly interested in the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, but photographed a variety of subjects, from Seminole Indians to Tupperware parties. Later in life, he and his wife Lois became noted photojournalists who specialized in destination coverage of Florida and the Caribbean.

After storing the collection at his home for 18 years, Brett Arquette, Steinmetz’s grandson, decided to donate the collection to the State so the world could share and enjoy his grandfather's work. Steinmetz’s images constitute a significant addition to the State Archives’ Florida Photographic Collection and enhance what is already considered the most complete visual history of Florida.

To view a selection of the vibrant and expressive photographs in the Steinmetz collection, visit Florida Memory at, where more than 170,000 photographs are available to view in the Florida Photographic Collection. The Steinmetz Collection can be viewed at the link here.

About Florida Memory

Florida Memory is a web initiative of the Florida Department of State’s Division of Library and Information Services. Florida Memory provides online access to significant photographs, films, audio recordings and archival documents from the collections of the State Library and Archives of Florida.

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Sponge diver John M. Gonatos putting on his diving suit in Tarpon Springs, 1940s

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Lt. Joe J. Steinmetz with Speed Graphic camera at Naval Air Station Pensacola, 1955


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Tupperware home party in Sarasota, 1958