Photos from the Scopes "Monkey" trial -- public domain images from the Smithsonian
Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes Trial Photographs (via Wendy Seltzer)
During 1925, Watson Davis (1896-1967), Science Service managing editor, took numerous photographs while covering the State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes trial as a reporter. In what was dubbed "The Trial of the Century," Scopes was tried and convicted for violating a state law prohibiting the teaching of the theory of evolution. William Jennings Bryan served on the prosecution team, and Clarence Darrow defended Scopes. Almost eighty years later, the nitrate negatives, including portraits of trial participants, and images from the trial itself and significant places in Dayton, were discovered in archival material donated to the Smithsonian by Science Service in 1971.
Marcel C. LaFollette, an independent scholar, historian and Smithsonian volunteer uncovered these rare, previously unpublished photographs of the 1925 Tennessee vs. John Scopes "Monkey Trial" in the Smithsonian Institution Archives (SIA). In 2005, SIA restored fifty-two of the negatives with funds granted by the Smithsonian Women's Committee. Included here are thirty-nine of the images.