1997 Jack Naylor with gold Leica by David Burder
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thurman

"jack" naylor

June  24, 1919  -  November 26, 2007

Naylor donned 17 spy cameras, some in pockets, six visible -
see Smithsonian article below for more information 

A Treasure Trove Of Photographica; Jack Naylor's Unmatched Collection

Will Move On


by Rosalind Smith  -  Sep 1, 2006

For the past 55 years what has captivated collector Thurman (Jack) Naylor about photography is just about everything. He has amassed a private collection that has extended from the pre-photography days of Chinese mirrors and the earliest daguer-reotypes to a miniature digital camera used today as a spy device. It has been a labor of love for Naylor and an unforgettable exper-ience for those of us who have been privi-leged to visit the private underground mus-eum where the majority of the collection resides.

A recent visit to the museum stirred both nostalgia and a touch of sadness since Naylor has decided to put what may be the world's largest private collection on the market. Many of us shall miss his pride and hospitality and his wonderful tales about collecting these treasures.

Now 87 years old, Naylor is a retired president of a company that employed more than 6000 people for over 30 years.

 

Back in the 1980s he became editor of Shutterbug for two years, changing the format of the magazine and adding color to the publication. Twenty-five years ago he built his current estate in Brookline, Massachusetts, creating a 4000-foot area below ground to house his collection of cameras, photographs, and memorabilia. Climate controlled to 68 degrees F with regulated humidity, the rooms are sound-proofed and surveillance cameras peek from the ceiling.

On the first level, paintings by Mondrian, De Kooning, and family portraits by Andy Warhol seem strange bedfellows for the early portrait of a member of George Washington's family or the magnificent Edward Curtis images and work by Naylor's close friend "Maggie," Margaret Bourke-White.

A few steps up to the main living room there resides one of Naylor's favorite "gems." Called a "Megaletoscopio" and patented in 1859 by the Venetian photo-grapher and inventor Carlo Ponti, this unique and exquisite teak and inlaid ivory camera produced the illusion of a color photograph 79 years before anyone con-ceived of such a vision. Peering through a lens at the front, an 11x14" wet plate photo-graph, hand-painted in color on its reverse side, miraculously becomes a richly colored photograph. This dramatically inlaid Mega-letoscopio happens to be the only one in the world.

Another star in the collection is the largest daguerreotype ever made, the mammoth plate taken by John Adams Whipple of Boston, showing a family of 14 from Maine. It is one of the most beautiful images I have ever seen.

As we descend to the museum I nod a hello to Alfred Eisenstaedt's "VJ Day" and Joe Rosenthal's cover of LIFE magazine show-ing the US Marines as they raise Old Glory on the summit of Mount Suribachi at the end of World War II. Sam Shere's image of the Hindenburg disaster in 1937 and the signing of the peace treaty with Japan aboard the USS Missouri are also part of the collection, as is a small flag that Naylor proudly points out, telling me, "This flag went to the moon with Alan Shepard, the Navy commander who was the first astronaut to land on the moon in 1961."

Naylor has made many friends over his years of collecting and looks back on visits from Ansel Adams as he shows me Adams' own favorite photograph, "Moon and Half Dome," taken at Yosemite. Adams present-ed this to Naylor and it takes its place with Adams' portrait of Georgia O'Keeffe and Orville Cox.

Large glass cases contain the jewels of the collection, including the only known daguerreotype of the midget Tom Thumb. Many of the thousand daguerreotypes in the collection were taken by the well-known Boston photographers Southworth and Hawes, and nearby are letters written by Southworth. These are pricey images, the larger ones valued close to half a million dollars each.

Every picture has a story. Naylor tells of how General Eisenhower asked "Doc" Edgerton to select some of his associates at MIT to take pictures of Normandy Beach prior to D-Day. Taken from an A20 bomber the two images show Normandy Beach one month before and again, the night before the invasion, to ensure there were no warning signs that the Germans may have become aware of the planned attack. "These are the first pictures ever taken in the dark of night from a plane, using Edgerton's electronic flash," Naylor says.

When Margaret Bourke-White died she bequeathed her entire collection of cameras to Naylor, including the camera she used to take the first cover for LIFE magazine. From Mathew Brady's rare group of 19th century Civil War images to Jackie Onassis sun-bathing nude on the Greek island of Scorpio, the Naylor Collection is surely diversified.

"The Bradys stand alone, though," Naylor says. "They are all from the original nega-tives. If you look at them through a magni-fying glass you can see the difference in the paper. It was less glossy before the turn of the century and of course lenses were not as good, so the print itself was never as sharp."

The most fascinating part of the collection stems from Naylor's interest in espionage. During the Cold War his business was producing heat exchangers for planes and Russia was interested in acquiring infor-mation as to how these were built. A Russian Army general disguised in civilian clothes paid a visit to Naylor and agreed to gain access for him into Russia through Finland.

"I was met at the airport by a KGB spy who became my escort for the trip," Naylor recalls. "We went to the southern part of Russia where we discussed plans to build my heat exchangers. I told my escort of my interest in rare espionage spy equipment--cameras, knives--anything...

"When I arrived home from Russia a pack-age came to the United Nations for me and I got a call from a man I didn't know at the Russian Embassy, requesting that I meet him at a small restaurant on Third Avenue. `There will be a package lying on the seat next to me from your friend at the KGB,' he told me.

"There was no conversation and I left him an envelope with the payment we had agreed upon. I didn't open my package until I got home. I felt as much like a spy as anyone could have at that point. Inside I found knives, guns, and cameras. A month later a second package arrived and this is how my spy camera collection was formed."

In one glass case there is now a lady's delicate handbag with its place for make-up and a hidden compartment for her spy camera. A German homing pigeon holds a camera strapped to its stomach; cigarettes in a package contain tiny spy cameras; small weapons are disguised in a cane. Nothing here is what it appears to be. "The FBI still visits me yearly to show new members the tools used in those early days," Naylor says.

After 3 1/2 hours I am still wandering through the museum. Here is Jacques Cousteau's favorite camera and the exquisite violin that belonged to concert violinist Leopold Godowsky who, with Leopold Mannes, developed color film.

"When Godowsky died his wife Frankie called me and said, `Jack, Leopold wanted you to have all of his files, letters, and research papers as well as his violin. Bring a truck!'"

In one corner sits the world's first movie projector and I turn the crank to see pic-tures in motion! And here is the world's largest camera that Naylor acquired from a German professor at Boston College and, of course, the world's smallest one, a Soviet KGB camera measuring 1 5/8" in length by 5/8 of an inch wide.

A special camera using 70mm film displays a 35-foot long color photograph that covers the length of the glass case while a large underwater spy camera that is self-propelled and made by Benthos Corp-oration on Cape Cod is a major piece in the collection. It is currently used to search for underwater mines. This camera was a crucial tool in the finding of both the Titanic and the Bismarck.

Such memorabilia would be incomplete without the large wooden Playboy camera that took the 8x10 centerfold pictures for 30 years. I suspect there are a number of these images in the collection, but have yet to be privy to them.

A sadder memory shows George Eastman's suicide note while another relic is Queen Victoria's purse with her portrait on the outside, each a treasure in the history of photography.

Naylor's former collection sold to the gov-ernment of Japan for the price of $9,000,000, and this 30,000 piece collection is priced at $20,000,000. It is a photographic history of our world and we shall miss it when it finds its new home.

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Boston Globe obituary from Nov 28, 2007:

'Jack' Naylor, pilot, inventor, photography collector, at 88
By J.M. Lawrence, Globe Correspondent 

Thurman "Jack" Naylor, a World War II pilot and industrialist who invented an automo-tive thermostat that became the standard, parlayed his fortune into one of the greatest personal collections of cameras and photo-graphy in the world.

Mr. Naylor, 88, died in his sleep Monday at his home in Chestnut Hill. His 4,000 square- foot, climate-controlled basement once overflowed with 31,000 treasures ranging from rare daguerreotypes to tiny spy cam-eras to original images by Ansel Adams,  Walker Evans, and Matthew Brady.

"His favorite thing - even more than getting the stuff - was taking people through the collection," said author and photo historian Martin W. Sandler. "He could show it three times in one day and someone could show up at 5 at night and he'd still say, 'Do you want to see the collection?' "

Mr. Naylor, who suffered from spinal can-cer, died weeks after selling his favorite pieces at auction in New York for more than $2 million. Family members worried about his health, but Mr. Naylor insisted on attending.

"We all knew it was his last hurrah," said his daughter, Jan, of Laconia, N.H. "It wasn't so much the auction that gave him joy. It was the fact that a lot of people recognized him. He got all the kudos he deserved before he died."

Mr. Naylor had hoped to find a single buyer who would open the collection to the pub-lic. No one in his family wished to take over so he offered the entire lot for $20 million two years ago.

"He was very disappointed," Sandler said. "He came close. The problem was . . . anybody who got it had to have a place to put it."

He amassed much of the collection while working as chief executive of Standard-Thomson Corp., which was based in Walt-ham, for 25 years. He traveled frequently and sought items during his journeys as a way to relax, according to his family.

He obtained some of his spy cameras through meetings with a KGB agent during four Cold War-era trips to the Soviet Union. Mr. Naylor brought back tiny cameras once strapped to homing pigeons and cameras secreted in cigarette packs and masquerad-ing as rings.

Born in Baltimore, Mr. Naylor was orphan-ed as a boy and brought up by his grand-parents. He never spoke about the painful losses of his childhood, according to his daughter.

He earned a degree in economics from Fordham University in 1941 and became a B-24 pilot, conducting bombing runs in Eastern Europe. He took aerial pictures on his missions and became friends with famous photographer Margaret Bourke-White.

 

Mr. Naylor said White flew with "Captain Jack" because he always came back. She left some of her cameras to him when she died.

In 1951, Mr. Naylor used the GI Bill to earn a degree in mechanical engineering from Johns Hopkins University.

He had married Marguerite Rosalee Clark, a nurse, in 1942. The couple had three daughters. Clark died from heart failure in 1975.

Mr. Naylor cultivated friendships with photography pioneers in Boston, including Polaroid founder Edwin Land and Harold "Doc" Edgerton, an MIT professor who developed the use of strobe lights in photography. Mr. Naylor helped found the Photographic Resources Center at Boston  University, which opened in 1976.

"He was instrumental in setting the direction for the PRC in the early years," said executive director Jim Fitz. "It's because of his vision the PRC is going forward today."

Mr. Naylor married again in 1981 after friends secretly set him up on a date in Boston with Enid Maslon Starr. Mr. Naylor and Starr thought they were joining others but found they were alone, according to daughter Jeanne Mahoney of Washington, D.C.

She described her father as a generous man who was a good listener. "He would not only give what we asked, he would give more," Mahoney said.


In addition to his daughters Jan Naylor and Mahoney, and his wife, Mr. Naylor leaves another daughter, Nancy Busby of Fair-view, Texas; stepchildren Sandy Starr of Cambridge and Tony Starr, Julie Starr-Duker, and Dinny Starr, all of Newton; sister Lucille Terry of Baltimore; and 18 grand-children.

A funeral service was held at Temple Israel in Boston. Burial was at Temple Israel Cemetery in Wakefield.

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Captain Jack Naylor by Seemetery 

Thurman F. "Jack" Naylor

June 24, 1919 – November 26, 2007   

was an American inventor

Naylor was born in Baltimore, Maryland.

 

Naylor learned to fly early. After joining the USAF, he trained and saw combat in P51 fighter planes over France and Germany. He switched to B24s and flew forays over Eastern Europe and ended up bombing the infamous oil refineries in Ploiesti, Romania. It was a momentous time and out of the windows of his bomber planes he was able to feed his growing passion for photo-graphy by shooting aerial pictures using a purloined Voigtländer. While based in Bengasi, Libya, he met Margaret Bourke-White and flew her along on his missions. She insisted on traveling with "Captain Jack" because he always "came back" which was a major feat back and forth over the Mediterranean.

Post WWII


Back stateside after the war, Naylor used the GI Bill to finish a degree in mechanical engineering from prestigious Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. But for his first job after graduation he chose to capitalize on his training during the war and became a test pilot. He put experi-mental planes through their paces until he crashed one into a river bank next to a pasture. The farmer ran up holding his mangled propeller blade and announced "son, you lost this thing..." The accident cut his swashbuckling career short.

Putting that dangerous occupation aside, Naylor became a consultant to industry. Hired to advise companies in how to grow and manage their resources, he was asked to prepare one of them for bankruptcy. Seeing the value in the business, Naylor embarked on yet another career as an entrepreneur and, in 1970, took over Thomson International Corporation which was headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts. The engineering and manufacturing company made automotive and airplane parts. In the reorganization, Naylor moved to Massachusetts, made some tough choices by cutting personnel and closed extraneous plants.

Thomson's biggest seller was car thermostats and heat exchangers for aircraft engines. In desperation, Naylor, living out of a hotel room, sat in the restaurant at the Somerset Hotel in Boston and, over a matter of months, designed a new automotive thermostat. Able to work reliably at higher temperatures, it allowed the car designers to use smaller radiators. He took it to General Motors first, next Chrysler, Ford and then to Europe. Today every motor vehicle in the world uses that design.

Success with Thomson


That product line led to manufacturing and engineering plants in 13 countries. The successful CEO traveled extensively in the 1980s and early 1990s. He not only ran his own business, Naylor sat on the boards of directors of several FORTUNE 500 compan-ies, Kodak being one of them. In order to meet all of his business obligations, Naylor spent a lot of time in the air. Tired of wait-ing in foreign countries for commercial airlines that would eventually not show up, Naylor bought his own plane and moved about the world on his company Gulfstream jet. Visiting customers and plants in Japan, he always brought back a new camera.

The collecting years


When he began his collecting, Naylor concentrated on cameras and photographs, but he quickly expanded to all manner of ephemera and photographica. Much of the collection was acquired at camera and antique shows, auctions, and yard sales. Many of the items were donated by photographers and inventors of the para-phernalia that supports photography. Since Boston is one of the epicenters of photo-graphy, he befriended innovators like Edwin Land, who founded Polaroid and "Doc" Harold Edgerton, professor of MIT, who invented the strobe light. Naylor owns the notebooks and scientific equipment of Leopold Godowsky, who along with Leo-pold Mannes co-invented the first color film.

The majority of the thirty thousand object collection is displayed at Naylor's subur-ban Boston home. The 1031 daguerreotypes eclipse the 725 owned by the Library of Congress and include unique examples produced by the finest practitioners of the medium, such as, Southworth & Hawes, Whipple, and Mathew Brady.

The dozens of glass display cases contain the world's largest collection of cameras used for espionage. Equipment produced for spying that spans the period from the American Civil War through the Cold War with Russia. Cameras worn by homing pigeons in the First World War, cameras mounted onto U2 spy planes, books, watches and cigarette lighters that conceal picture making devices. East German Stasi, British OSS, CIA and FBI are all represented. He acquired some of the most select items in the 1980s from a KGB agent he met in the USSR on a business trip.

Naylor has original glass plates by Edward Curtis taken with huge field cameras while he traversed the American West for thirty years documenting Native Americans and their vanishing cultures. Thereby one of the most ambitious anthropological projects is preserved since most of the Curtis negatives were destroyed.

Upstairs there is a library of over 3000 volumes. Packed away are books, journals, notebooks, albums and first editions, including a complete limited edition set of Pencil of Nature, the first commercial book that included photographs.

Naylor has been the subject of articles in Smithsonian magazine and Wall Street Journal. He and his collection have been on NPR and the Discovery Channel.

Death

 

Naylor died on November 26, 2007 in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, at the age of 88, in his sleep from complications of spinal cancer.

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Jack Naylor in his personal photo equipment collection
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October 1987 Smithsonian magazine article by Doug Stewart 
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1992 Stereo World July-August Gold Leica
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1992 Stereo World July/August issue of the National Stereoscopic Assn. www.stereoview.org
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"A NEW LOOK AT THE OLD 35: The Origin and Early History of 35mm Photography" by Thurman F. Naylor
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1990 Jack Naylor holding his prize Gold Leica at his collection July by Susan Pinsky 030a
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1990 Jack Naylor outside holding his Gold Leica from his collection July by Susan Pinsky 045a
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Thurman F. (Jack) Naylor with triple lens magic lantern projector

Video Time!!

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Click on this

image to watch

a wonderful 5 minute video of

Thurman (Jack) Naylor telling YOU about his own

collection.

Thurman Jack Naylor, with a vintage Rectaflex safari camera. John Tlumacki-Globe Staff-FILE 2006
1995 The Journal NE Jour of Photo Histor
The Photographic Historical Society of New England (PHSNE) publishes "The Journal" New England Journal of Photographic History and "Snapshots".   For more information on this excellent organization go to: phsne.org    
This article is reprinted from the 1995, Issues 1 & 2, Nos. 144, 145 while Jack Naylor was Editor.
1995 The Journal NE Jour of Photo Histor
1995 The Journal NE Jour of Photo Histor
1995 The Journal NE Jour of Photo Histor
1995 The Journal NE Jour of Photo Histor
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The Naylor Collection.

The Complete History of Photography 

Naylor, Thurman F. (Jack)

Arlington, MA: NP, (2005). Softcover. Folio. Unpaginated (34pp).

 

Glossy wrappers bound in bolted aluminum bracket and aluminum backboard covered by textured slide-on wood slipcase. Abrasions on lower part of front wrapper. Five-inch strip of tape remnants on slipcase. Two-inch split on top-edge of slipcase still firmly holding. Foreword by & signature of Jack Naylor.

 

Stunning catalog of Naylor's collection profusely illustrated with reproductions of photographs in vibrant colors & b/w photos of cameras, images, photographic technology, associated ephemera as well as Nayler's famous extensive espionage collection. This was one of the finest privately-owned photographic collections.

 

The Naylor Collection has been described as repre-senting the "complete history of photography" (hence the title). In truth, the Collection was really many collections, each representing a period of time or an important category within the development of photography which are present in the contents of this work*.

 

"From Daguerreotypes to digital imaging, from entertainment to espionage, the Naylor Collection traces the profound and pervasive influence of photography on all human endeavor."

 

 

The core of the collection was sold at an unreserved auction on October 18-21, 2007 by Guernsey's Auction.

This catalogue was published to give the potential buyer's an overview of the most interesting items in the collection. Includes DVD inside pocket in rear. Printed on Mega Gloss by M-real. 

                     * Contents: Introduction by Jack Nayler / Megaletoscopio / The Earliest Photography / The Naylor Espionage Collection / Important Photo-graphers and Photographs / Edward Sheriff Curtis (1868-1952) from original Glass Plates / Library of Photography / Pre-Photography / The Daguerreian Period / A Sewing Purse for Queen Victoria / Stanhopes and Microscopic Photography / Three-Dimensional Photography / Magic Lanterns / Photography by Mathew Brady / Civil War Memorabilia / Dr. Harold E. Edgerton (1903-1990) Technology and Signed Photographs / The First Print Made in America: Reverend Cotton Mather of Boston / Kodak Cameras and Ephemera / Dr. Edwin Land's Instant Photography / A Wide-Ranging Collection of Cameras / Specialized Cameras / Three "Greats" of Photography: Margaret Bourke-White, Leopold Godowsky, Jr. and Leopold Mannes / The Playboy Camera / Dr. Bradford Washburn's Photography / An Overview of Items in the Naylor Collection / List of Illustrations.

Naylors Collection Letter from Jack Nayl

"For over 50 years I have traveled the world for both business and pleasure. In the course of those travels I have assembled a one-of-its-kind collection of more than 30,000 photographic items. While collecting photographica has been immensely satisfying, my greatest satisfaction has been sharing these discov-eries in my private museum.


I have always looked for artifacts that illuminate human endeavor, that not only demonstrate the technological progress of image-making but also inspire insight into the history of events and ideas. I have always looked for items of high aesthetic quality that tell stories and entertain as they enlighten.


That is why my collection is so diverse, including the pre-history of photography, the history of photo-graphy, and the history of espionage. It is also why its cultural vision encompasses both the East and the West. During the Cold War, for example, I acquired spy paraphernalia while in the Soviet Union.


One of the ways I've put these principles to work is by creating a museum for my collection. There, in a climate-controlled environment designed for security and optimal preservation, I have played host to thousands of both young and adult visitors. I'm proud to say that their responses, including those from many curators, indicate that my collection has provided ample food for thought and entertainment.


I would like to share my discoveries with a broader public, and so, as the culmination of a life-long passion for photography, I am now offering my collection for purchase.


I invite you to peruse the enclosed materials, which give an oversight of the collection as well as details about selected items. If you would like to learn more, visit the collection, or make an inquiry, please contact my representative by telephone, fax, or e-mail. I would be pleased to entertain your expression of interest."
 

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To see the pages
of this amazing auction catalog of the Naylor Collection click on the catalog image to the left
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Oct 6, 2011:  (Author unknown)

"I had an innate love for photography. Why? I'm not quite sure, but I did, and so I always carried a camera or two with me. And that got me into photography. It got me in very deeply, as you can probably tell!"

Certainly photography has evolved greatly throughout its existent, and Naylor is the man who has been able to experience most of it through his obscene collection, that has been described as the 'complete history of photography'.

 

The Thurman (Jack) Naylor collection was a truly dazzling and unmatchable collec-tion full of all kinds of treasures that any photographer would drawl over. Naylor's impressive collection ranges from many different unique and extremely rare items, such as a number of spy cameras, pre photographic equipment, a staggering collection of photographic books, signed photographs from Harold Edgerton, an array of important and iconic images, it also includes the worlds largest commer-cial camera, the Playboy camera and many more, the list could go on and on.

For the past 55 years just about everything to do with photography has captivated collector Thurman (Jack) Naylor which has formed his labour of love into the worlds best Photographic Collection. He has accumulated a private collection that has extended from the pre-photography days of Chinese mirrors through to the earliest daguerreotypes to a miniature digital camera used today as a spy device.

 

For those who have been lucky enough to visit his unimaginable private underground collection, I think I can speak on behalf of us all and say that we are truly envious of you.

"For over 50 years I have traveled the world for both business and pleasure. In the course of those travels I have assem-bled a one-of-its-kind collection of more than 30,000 photographic items. While collecting photographica has been immensely satisfying, my greatest satisfaction has been sharing these discoveries in my private museum.

I have always looked for artifacts that illuminate human endeavor, that not only demonstrate the technological progress of image-making but also inspire insight into the history of events and ideas. I have always looked for items of high aesthetic quality that tell stories and entertain as they enlighten.That is why my collection is so diverse, including the pre-history of photography, the history of photography, and the history of espionage. It is also why its cultural vision encompasses both the East and the West. During the Cold War, for example, I acquired spy paraphernalia while in the Soviet Union.

One of the ways I've put these principles to work is by creating a museum for my collection. There, in a climate-controlled environment designed for security and optimal preservation, I have played host to thousands of both young and adult visitors. I'm proud to say that their responses, including those from many curators, indicate that my collection has provided ample food for thought and entertainment. I would like to share my discoveries with a broader public, and so, as the culmination of a life-long passion for photography, I am now offering my collection for purchase.'

He ended up putting the collection up for auction at the Guernsey Auction House in October 18-21, 2007.

Mr. Naylor cultivated friendships with two significant photography pioneers in Boston, including Polaroid founder Edwin Land and Harold "Doc" Edgerton, an MIT professor who developed the use of strobe lights in photography. Also Mr. Naylor helped found the Photographic Resources Center at Boston University, which opened in 1976.

Mr. Naylor, an engineer and entrepreneur, is the former Chief Executive Officer of Thomson International Corporation. From 1988 to 2004 he was corporate director for Benthos Corporation of Falmouth, Massa-chusetts. For nineteen years he has served as trustee and chair of the Acquisitions Committee for the International Museum of Photography at the George Eastman House, Rochester, New York. He is a consul-tant to Boston's Museum of Fine Arts and Museum of Science; founder and director of the Museum of Imaging Technology at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand; creator of The Naylor Museum of Photographic History in Yokohama, Japan; and past president of the Photographic Resource Center at Boston University. Since 1977, he has edited the Journal of Photographic History. Naylor is a truly dedicated and passionate collector who I am sure will not be forgotten for his great work and staggering contribution to photography, for bringing together in an almost 'Aladdin's cave' the cameras, images and many other items relating to photography ranging from the last 171 years of the mediums existence.

In November 26th, 2007 Naylor died in his sleep from complications of spinal cancer.

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1992 David Starkman and Jack Naylor looking at Jack's Megaletoscopio next to Jan Burandt Nov by Susan Pinsky
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1997 Jack Naylor's collection July by Susan Pinsky
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1990 NSA Manchester NH Jack Naylor museum outing July 2 fisheye by Susan Pinsky
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2003 Photographic Historical Society of New England - 30th Anniversary-Sept 7, 2003 by N. Gordon-L. Bruce 
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