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A Treasure Trove of Antique Car Accidents

For four decades from 1917 through the late 1950s, Boston Herald-Traveler photographer Leslie Jones covered every major and minor events in and around the city of Boston, including the Great Molasses Flood of 1919 that killed twenty one people, and every storm and blizzard that made Bostonians miserable. He photographed newsmakers and celebrities, and sporting events, such as boxing, racing, sailing, and probably every Red Sox game and player for thirty years. One of his specialties was car accidents.

Leslie Jones car accidents

Post World War 2, the automobile industry underwent rapid technological changes with innovations such as automatic transmissions, hydraulic brakes, independent front suspension, and overhead-valve engines. Stiff competition between automakers, mass production and the benefits of economies of scale brought prices down making automobiles more affordable for Americans. Streets were flooded with Fords and Cadillacs. But traffic laws were pliant and drivers were terrible, making top-heavy vehicles prone to overturn at sharp corners. There was enough chaos on the streets to keep Leslie Jones busy.

“Jones took hundreds of pictures of car accidents, but his focus on the crowds of gawkers and bystanders makes these otherwise grim pictures almost lighthearted, and even funny at times,” writes the Boston Public Library, where thousands of Leslie Jones’s photographs are digitally archived.

When Leslie Jones died in 1967, his personal collection amounted to nearly 40,000 negatives.

Leslie Ronald Jones

Leslie Ronald Jones.

Leslie Jones car accidents

Leslie Jones car accidents

Leslie Jones car accidents

Leslie Jones car accidents

Leslie Jones car accidents

Leslie Jones car accidents

Leslie Jones car accidents

Leslie Jones car accidents

Leslie Jones car accidents

Leslie Jones car accidents

Leslie Jones car accidents

Leslie Jones car accidents

Leslie Jones car accidents

Leslie Jones car accidents

Leslie Jones car accidents

Leslie Jones car accidents

Leslie Jones car accidents

Leslie Jones car accidents

Leslie Jones car accidents

Leslie Jones car accidents

Leslie Jones car accidents

Leslie Jones car accidents

Leslie Jones car accidents

Leslie Jones car accidents

Leslie Jones car accidentsLeslie Jones car accidents

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