Mitchell Finishes the 1907 Glidden Tour


N. Lazarnick photo - Mitchell Finishing 1907 Glidden Tour?
This recently acquired image has been a challenge to research.  On the back of the image is stamped: Photo by N. Lazarnick, 29 West 42nd Street, N.Y. Tel. 594 Bryant.
Additionally, hand written, on the back is “Mitchell finishing”.

Nathan Lazarnick (photo credit: Geo Eastman House)
The photographer is Nathan Lazarnick, an American photographer (born in Russia) who had a fascination with automobiles and started photographing them around 1900. The George Eastman House, who has a significant collection of his negatives - donated by his son, was able to provide some background. Lazarnick worked as a free-lance photographer for the New York Mail, the New York Herald, and Harper’s Weekly. Additionally, he documented early “Pathfinder Tours,” as well as Glidden Tours and the “Climb to the Clouds” at Mount Washington. Further, he photographed automobile races at Brighton Beach, Sheepshead Bay, Ormond Beach and the Vanderbilt Cup races and the Indianapolis 500. He was also the official photographer of the New York Automobile Show for many years. His photographs were published widely in Horseless Carriage, Automobile Journal, Automobile Topics, Motor Age, Motor Magazine, and other publications of the period.

The image itself has been a bit harder to detail. I believe this to be the finish of the 1907 A.A.A. Tour (for the Glidden Trophy & Hower Trophy) in New York City (if you click on the photo, you can see a finish line painted on the road). Assuming that this is a Mitchell car (looks like one to me), we’re looking at the only Mitchell entered – described in The Motor Way, Score for the Glidden Trophy – 1907 as: Car #24, driven by W.M. Lewis  (representing the Chicago Auto Club) - 30hp Mitchell. The Mitchell Motor Car Company of Racine, WI started building cars in 1903 and close it’s doors in 1923 (changing it’s name to the Mitchell-Lewis Motor Co. in 1910).  William Mitchell Lewis, president of the company at the time, was a Yale Law school graduate and played center on the “famous Yale Eleven of 1890”. He became captain of company F of the First Wisconsin Volunteers, serving under Major General Fitzhugh Lee in the Spanish-American war.  Mr. Lewis was also a candidate for the 1910 Republican nomination for Governor of Wisconsin.

From what I can tell of the car pictured here, it looks more like a 1908 Mitchell model G roadster then a 1907 model E (the model E was a 20hp car originally offered at $1000.00) or model H (the model H is a 35hp, 4-cylider car originally offered at $2000.00) – I’m just not sure. Additionally, there are few images of the finish of the 1907 tour to be found, thus I can’t confirm that this is the finish line in NYC in July of 1907. However, I base my conclusion on Lazarnick’s body of work, the age of the car (though, the Mitchell is hard to date as there was little change in the look of the flange fenders and radiator shape between 1907 – 1909), and the look of the city in the photo (the 1906 Glidden traveled to Quebec, the 1908 tour finished in Saratoga, NY, and the 1909 tour finished in Kansas City – none of which seem to resemble this image).

If you have more information about this image or can date the Mitchell, please leave me a comment.


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