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Outlaws | Vintage Photos

The Phillips Collection,
Proof without Provenance

By Cathleen Briley
In my first article, I introduced you to the Phillips Collection, a compilation of over 200 photos purchased from an antique store in Oklahoma nearly 20 years ago by happenstance by Mr. and Mrs. Owner (who wish to remain anonymous for the time being). The photos turned out to be an amazing collection of lawmen and outlaws, their families, and other major players in historical events, including the legendary shootout at Tombstone. I explained in that article our assumption that the collection once belonged to Frank Phillips, an Oklahoma millionaire, with deep connections and a well-known, vast interest in all things Old West and ďoutlaw.Ē Mr. Phillips certainly had the wherewithal to have amassed such an impressive collection that includes Doc Holliday, Big Nose Kate, Wyatt and Josephine Earp, the Earp family, the Clantonís, other famous people from Tombstone, the Mastersonís, Jesse James, the Younger Brothers, and Belle Starr.

Of course, questions immediately began to rise about the authenticity of the photos in the collection. What are the chances of someone finding a massive collection of extremely rare photos of incredibly famous people all at once? We grappled with that question ourselves. It seems so unbelievable. So, how can we have proof without provenance? Even though we have no record of previous ownership, the proof is in the pictures.

Previously, I introduced you to a new photo of Mattie Blaylock Earp from the Phillips Collection. With this article, I will introduce you to new images of Johnny Behan and John Clum. These two men were polar opposites! Initially, I was convinced that the only thing they had in common was their first name and the fact that they both once lived in Tombstone, Arizona Territory.

My impression is that Johnny Behan was a self-indulgent, arrogant, conspiring, profiteering, bigot who had lousy taste in friends. John Clum was an educated, forthright, hard-working, respectable man who did what he could for the Native Americans until the frustration of bureaucracy and corruption made him throw up his hands in frustration and leave his position as Indian Agent. As most of you know, he founded The Tombstone Epitaph, was the first mayor of Tombstone after its incorporation, and was a lifelong friend of Wyatt Earp.1

After doing more research on Behan, my dislike of him grew. I came to suppose that he was not only a big . . . well . . . jerk, but he probably also had lousy table manners and halitosis. But, once I looked past the not-so-impressive aspects of Behanís personality, I had to admit that he may not have known fear. He was not afraid to put himself in precarious positions, he was not afraid to go against the grain, he was not afraid to take on difficult jobs or tasks, and he was certainly not afraid to go up against Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday. As vast as their differences were, Behan and Clum, I will now reluctantly admit, were both brave men.

This well-known photo of Johnny Behan was taken from Wikipedia and is included for comparison purposes.
Johnny Behan
Johnny Behan 2
Wikipedia
The following photos of Johnny Behan are from The Phillips Collection. They are full, good condition cabinet card photos with just the faces put into ovals here by the author. These photos reveal a younger but still heavy lidded, sharply dressed, and unmistakable Johnny Behan.
Johnny Behan
Johnny Behan
Phillips Collection
Johnny Behan
Johnny Behan
Next, I will move onto John Clum. For comparison purposes, the following photo of Mr. Clum is included and is courtesy of the Alaska Mining Hall of Fame Foundation website.
John Clum
John Clum 3
Alaska Mining Hall of Fame Foundation
The following photo is of John Clum from the Phillips Collection. Again, it is a full, good condition cabinet card with just the face put into an oval here by the author.
John Clum
Phillips Collection
For further comparison purposes, I also wanted to include this famous photo of an older John Clum when he was photographed with Wyatt Earp in 1900. This photo is courtesy of Wikipedia. The resemblance of the John Clum from the Phillips Collection to this, albeit older, Mr. Clum is uncanny.
John Clum  and  Wyatt Earp
4 Wikipedia

As I mentioned earlier, the proof is in the photos. Soon, I will be introducing you to additional Tombstone players. Some of them are minor players and their faces speak for their identity. But others are major players, like Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday. Because they are major, they will require further proof. But, how can we prove that they are Doc Holliday when there are so few authenticated photos out there? When the time comes to reveal the Doc Holliday and other important photos, we will provide not only the photos but a convincing argument using the photographs themselves to show that they are authentic.

The Phillips Collection has several photos of Doc Holliday. There is one of Doc close to the same age as his famous dental college photo, and the others range from that time until later in his life. A chronological lineup of photos will enable you to see the changes in his appearance as he aged. Without the younger photos, the older photos of Doc might be hard to ascertain. Additionally, some of the photos of Doc have identical or similar style watch fobs, gloves, and suit jackets. There are also photos of Doc wearing a stickpin in his tie like the one described in Karen Holliday Tannerís book. There is a young Doc at a photography studio in Texas at the age when he was known to have been in Texas. Therefore, the location of where the photos were taken will provide further proof. And finally, we are also having a leading Professor of Forensic Arts do Age Regression Analysis on the Wyatt, Josephine, Doc, and Kate photos as the collection also has photos of Kate and Doc together as well as Kate by herself. Interestingly enough, there are also photos of Kateís sister and her sisterís daughter.

There would be no such thing as "proof without provenance" if this wasn't a massive collection of identifiable photos connected to one another by historical events, circumstances, and/or blood, along with an abundance of more-than-circumstantial evidence, as you will soon see. Until then, we look forward to your thoughts and comments about the photos presented so far from the Phillips Collection.

1 John Clum. (2015, May 1). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 19:43, May 21, 2015, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=John_Clum&oldid=660176570
2 Johnny Behan. (2015, June 9). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 15:25, June 22, 2015, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Johnny_Behan&oldid=666239843
3
http://alaskamininghalloffame.org/inductees/clum.php. Alaska Mining Hall of Fame Foundation, John Phillip Clum
4 John Clum. (2015, May 1). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 18:25, June 2, 2015, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=John_Clum&oldid=660176570

© Cathleen Briley
June 21, 2015 Feature


For more, see The Phillips Collection >

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