The Glass Negatives of William V. B. Mullikin
Photographer William V. B. Mullikin, who styled himself “The Mullikin Man,” was first active in Fort Lauderdale from 1914 to 1921. Hailing from South Carolina, Mullikin purchased the Sooy photography business and set about making a living by crafting portraits of individual sitters, families, graduation photos, servicemen, and his favorite subject, child and baby pictures, on a medium of glass negatives.
By 1916, the enterprising portraitist was advertising with his downstairs neighbor, a fledgling newspaper called Fort Lauderdale Sentinel. Ads beckoned potential sitters to “climb the golden stairs” leading to his second floor studio. Hundreds did so, acquiring sepia finish and hand-tinted watercolor portrait photos. A number of outdoor photos are also included in the collection.
Mullikin left Fort Lauderdale in 1921 for a two-year hiatus to California. Upon his return in 1923, Mullikin resumed his photography business and dabbled in the real estate business during Florida’s boom years. He died in 1940.
The William V. B. Mullikin glass negatives in the Historical Commission Special Collection were donated by local businesswoman Edith Lewis, who acquired a small cardboard suitcase containing the boxed negatives.
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