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Lane Brothers Commercial Photographers records

Identifier: L1985-33

Scope and Contents of the Collection

This finding aid describes records and papers associated with the Lane Brothers Commercial Photographers studio as well as a portion of the photographs that the collection includes. The bulk of the photographic images produced by the Lanes are described elsewhere. Business records in this part of the Lane Brothers collection include a large but incomplete set of assignment books that detail photo shoots, clients, and print orders, as well as financial records, 1940-1976. Artifacts from the business include a camera and accessories, film holders, rubber stamps, printing plates with Lane logos from promotional uses (as well as one newspaper photographic plate), and film cans. A handful of publications in the collection show published versions of Lane photos commissioned by various entities. A very small amount of personal correspondence and papers reflects family relationships, military service, and religious affiliations, including correspondence dating from World War Two from Jack Lane, who was stationed at St. Simons (Georgia) Naval Air Station. Photographic prints are in a number of different sizes, from contact prints to oversized enlargements. Some of the prints may have been created at Georgia State University Library, and some of the prints may not be represented by a corresponding negative in the main Lane Brothers photographic collection.


  • Creation: 1893, 1934-1977


Restrictions on Access

Collection is open for research use.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Georgia State University is the owner of the physical collection and makes reproductions available for research, subject to the copyright law of the United States and item condition. Georgia State University may or may not own the rights to materials in the collection. It is the researcher's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and obtain permission from the copyright holder before publication, reproduction, or display of the materials beyond what is reasonable under copyright law. Researchers may quote selections from the collection under the fair use provision of copyright law.

History of Lane Brothers Commercial Photographers

One of the leading commercial photography firms in mid-twentieth century Atlanta, Georgia, Lane Brothers Commercial Photographers was originally a partnership between W. C. (William Cox) Lane (1885-1964) and Jack (Jack Hubert, named George Hubert at birth) Lane (1889-1970). Both brothers were born in Georgia, sons of mathematics teacher Luke Cox Lane (1819-1904), an English immigrant, and Alabamian Martha Harris Lane (1852-1923). From the middle 1910s, Jack and W. C. both worked as photographers for the Georgian, the Hearst syndicate’s Atlanta newspaper. Jack's son Dan (Jack Daniel) Lane (1914-76) also photographed for the newspaper from the middle 1930s, as did W. C.'s son, Dub (William Cox Lane, Jr., 1912-70). When the Georgian ceased publication in 1939, Jack and W. C. Lane established a freelance operation called Lane Brothers Photo News Service, shooting features and news for local papers and the national wire services. Their sons both continued as newspaper photographers, for the Atlanta Journal. After military service during the Second World War, Dan and Dub both joined their fathers in the Lane Brothers business, which moved at around that time from an office in Atlanta's English-American (Flatiron) Building to one in the Peachtree Arcade. The company developed a large roster of corporate and non-profit clients, doing extensive work around the city and elsewhere in Georgia for retail, advertising, insurance, entertainment, and real estate companies. Dan Lane did much of the photography work and his cousin Dub managed the firm's business and public relations. James Williams, son of Jack and W. C.'s sister Lula Lane Williams, also worked for the firm, as a darkroom assistant. Williams's sister, Vera, married another Atlanta photographer, Tracy O’Neal. Around 1961, the company was renamed Lane Brothers Commercial Photographers, and moved a few years later to the Loew's Grand Theatre building. After the deaths of W. C., Jack, and Dub, business slowed but Dan Lane continued with an employee, Larry Coleman. In 1975, he retired and sold the business and recent negatives to Coleman. Dan Lane hoped to capitalize on nostalgia by selling prints of the images of Atlanta captured during the Lanes' heyday, but he passed away in 1976. Coleman closed the studio the following year.


13.25 Linear Feet (in 20 boxes and 1 oversize folder)

Language of Materials



One of the leading commercial photography firms in mid-twentieth century Atlanta, Georgia, Lane Brothers Commercial Photographers operated from 1939 until about 1976. The records of the studio, 1893, 1934-1977, include assignment books, business records, some familty material, and photographic prints, negatives, and artifacts. The bulk of the Lane photograph collection is described elsewhere.


The records are arranged into two series:

  1. Series I: Records and artifacts, 1893-1977
  2. Series II: Photographs

Provenance Information

When Dan Lane sold the Lane Brothers company in 1975, he retained all the negatives created through 1970. After Larry Coleman closed the Lane Brothers business about two years later, he returned some business records and equipment to Margaret Lane, Dan's widow. The Lanes stored all the material until Margaret sold it to Georgia State University in 1985.

Acquisition Information

Negatives, office records, artifacts, and some prints purchased from Margaret Price Lane, October 2, 1985. Films and photographic prints (61) purchased from Yesteryear Books, March 25, 1991.

Online Access

The Lane Brothers Commercial Photographers Photographic Collection consists of around 250,000 medium and large format negatives in over 40,000 assignment envelopes. Digitized images and envelope inventories are available online. See


  • Dinwiddie, Robert C. "The Lane Brothers Photographic Archive: Its Provenance, Scope, and Arrangement." Provenance 6, no.2 (1988): 20-34.
  • Lane, Jack D., Jr. Family genealogy and history of Luke Lane, born 1782, England, and his son Luke Cox Lane, born 1819: and his Alabama wife Martha Tippins, and his Georgia wife Martha Lenora Harris, and their descendants. Stone Mountain, Ga.: Jack D. Lane, 2007.

Processing Information

Starting in 1986, photographic materials were sorted, classified, and housed by Special Collections staff under the direction of Robert Dinwiddie; final inventories created under the direction of Peter Roberts, circa 1998-2000. Films digitized by CinePost, November 2009. Prints processed by Stephen Zietz, 2009-2011, and William W. Hardesty, 2014. Artifacts and business records processed by Abiola Akamo, circa 2013. Finding aid created by William W. Hardesty, 2017.

Lane Brothers Commercial Photographers:
A Guide to Their Records at Georgia State University Library
Bill Hardesty
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

100 Decatur St., S.E.
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
404-413-2881 (Fax)