- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 19, 2005


Eighty years after the Scopes monkey trial, a trove of about 60 unpublished photos from the landmark case has been found in Smithsonian Institution archives, including a shot of Clarence Darrow’s courtroom sparring with William Jennings Bryan.

“These stunning photographs are the discovery of a lifetime and a spectacular find for the Smithsonian Archives,” Marcel LaFollette, a historian who volunteers at the Smithsonian, said Monday.

The author found the negatives while conducting research for a book.

The photos were taken by Watson Davis, managing editor of Science Service, who covered the 1925 Tennessee trial, which pitted evolution against the biblical story of creation and resulted in the conviction of biology teacher John T. Scopes for teaching evolution.

The photos were among 267 cubic feet of Science Service material given to the Smithsonian Institution Archives in 1971.

Among them is one of Darrow, the most famous defense attorney of his day, interrogating Bryan, the orator and presidential candidate prosecuting the case. The trial had been moved outdoors because of the heat.

Bryan fell ill and died five days after the trial ended.

Another photo shows Scopes with George Washington Rappleyea, widely reported to have encouraged him to challenge the law in court.

Scopes, a Dayton, Tenn., teacher, was convicted of violating a state law that forbade teaching evolution and was fined $100.

The Tennessee Supreme Court reversed the conviction on the narrow ground that only a jury trial could impose a fine of more than $50. It did not rule on the constitutionality of the law.

The state repealed the law more than 40 years later, in 1967.

A year after the repeal, a similar case in Arkansas reached the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled unanimously that the law was unconstitutional because it violated the First Amendment ban on establishing religion.

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