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Guide to the Michael T. Benning photograph collection
MS 45  
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Collection Overview
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The Michael T. Benning Photograph Collection includes over 20,000 portraits of various local clubs; social organizations; sports teams; church events such as Portuguese Holy Ghost festas and Catholic first communions and confirmations; structures such as churches, schools, commercial buildings, hotels, domestic residences, and bridges, as well as some excellent views of street scenes of the City of North Sacramento.
Photographer Michael Thomas Benning (1892-1976) was a commercial photographer who specialized in taking portraits of school children, initially in the Sacramento area and later expanding to other schools in the areas east of Sacramento, both in California and Nevada. He was born on April 17, 1892 in Valchid (German Waldhütten), Romania, a village in central Romania with an ethnic German population. He immigrated to the United States in 1909, living first in Detroit, Michigan, before finally moving to Sacramento, California in the 1920s. In Sacramento he became a naturalized citizen and started his career as a commerical photographer focusing on taking class photographs of school in Sacramento and the surrounding area. Later, as his business flourished, Benning purchased land on the north shore of Lake Tahoe at Kings Beach and operated a resort known as Bennings Resort. He also continued his photographic profession at the resort, where he specialized in images of his and others' resorts, Kings Beach and Lake Tahoe City, early casinos, and scenic images of the lake itself. He continued the practice of doing local Sacramento images during the fall, winter and spring months and then transporting his family and business to Lake Tahoe for the summer until his death in 1979.
~20,000 photographs and negatives (3 filing cabinet drawers + 29 boxes + 60 linear feet of artifacts)
All requests to publish or quote from private collections held by the Center for Sacramento History (CSH) must be submitted in writing to csh@cityofsacramento.org. Permission for publication is given on behalf of CSH as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the patron. No permission is necessary to publish or quote from public records.
Collection is open for research use.