Rich Saal began at The State Journal-Register in 1985 as a staff photographer and was named photography editor in 2001. He has spent years researching the newspaper’s photo archives, revealing the remarkable historical and visual legacy created by the paper’s first staff photographers. He has assembled two exhibitions showcasing photography at The State Journal-Register including Our Town: A Visual Journey in 2005 featuring photos from 1936 to the present day and Springfield Photographs: Images From the Illinois State Journal Glass Plates 1929-1935.

On his second day on the job in July 1985, he covered the demolition of the former Illinois State Register building on Monroe Street in downtown Springfield, witnessing the end to an important chapter of local newspaper history. He is pleased to have the opportunity to bring to light another chapter from that story.

Please email Rich if you share an interest in newspaper photography collections from the early to mid 20th century or are concerned about their preservation.

email ::
phone :: 217-788-1475


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  1. What a great exhibit! Even for those of us who didn’t grow up in Springfield, it’s a fascinating look at the city’s history. Thanks for all of the hard work you put into assembling it, and I hope that it will be an ongoing project!

    • Thank you, Michael. I hope it will be, too. There are many great images in the glass plate collection that I haven’t posted yet, and more in the newspaper’s archives also. I’ll hope to get to them all eventually.

  2. Thanks for all the hard work on this project! I only wish they had come out a bit earlier so that those who might have info on them were still around. Also, I wish addresses of the business had been included in the caption, if known. Ex. the gas stations and the markets.

  3. Rich: Very enjoyable looking at the photos. I even remember some of those places! In researching the photos, do you recall any pictures of sports teams from the 1920s and 1930s, specifically high school teams? I would really be interested in seeing them and purchasing copies of some of them.
    Thanks, Phil Shadid

    • Hi Phil,

      There were only a few team photos in the collection; I believe they are Springfield High basketball teams from the early ’30s. I was unable to find the published images so couldn’t identify them with certainty, but if I do, they may make it into the gallery. In the next few months, I will be adding more images to the site. Thanks for your interest.

  4. Rich: thank you for your reply to my e-mails. I had mentioned to you the movie “Call Northside 777″ and have since found out that Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is going to show the movie on Thursday night, May 17, 9 pm.

  5. How can I get a copy of your book: Springfield Photographs: Images From the Illinois State Journal Glass Plates 1929 – 1935

  6. Very very cool to go through the work and trouble. Great photography. I go to a lot of flea markets and buy up old negs, etc and scan them to preserve them. But these are way better than the ones I find.

  7. Wonderful collection! You say there are more photos? We’ll be looking forward to additional images of our past. Thank you!

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