Jun 27, 2024 - Sale 2675

Sale 2675 - Lot 376

Price Realized: $ 750
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 800 - $ 1,200
(MEXICO.) Photo album of the launch of a meat-packing plant owned by an eccentric American tycoon. 22 silver-print photographs, 4¾ x 6½ inches, each captioned in negative in English, on original plain 6½ x 10-inch heavy mounts attached to stubs. Oblong 4to cloth original cloth album, minimal wear, with gilt cover title "Some Photographs Taken at Inauguration of the Uruapan Packing Plant, Mexican National Packing Co."; mounts bowed, otherwise minimal wear to contents. Uruapan, Michoacán, 18 January 1908

Additional Details

This factory was launched by American entrepreneur John Wesley De Kay (1872-1938), who moved from South Dakota to Mexico in 1899 and launched the Mexican National Packing Company; he is sometimes called the "Sausage King of Mexico." This album shows his company's refrigerator cars, the inaugural banquet and a band hired for the occasion, the killing room, and more. In one photograph, Mexico's Vice President Ramón Corral presses a ceremonial button to launch the plant's operation, while the rather bohemian-looking De Kay stands behind him (illustrated).

The year after this album was produced, De Kay tried his hand as a playwright. His 1909 Broadway production Judas starred Sarah Bernhardt, but was regarded as blasphemous and bombed. During the chaotic years of the Mexican Revolution, he helped buy weaponry for the Huerta regime, and sold his meat-packing empire to the government in 1914.