Curtis Cecil Duncan was borned March 26, 1922 in Franklin
County, Spruce Pine, Alabama. The oldest of four children.
I lived in several places since we were sharecroppers and
moved often. Summers were spent helping with crops plus many
days spent in the woods fishing and the general things a
child would do. I attended school at Belgreen, Alabama and
at that time the school districts charged tuition.
Unable to pay the tuition in cash, I walked 5 to 7 miles to
Belgreen schools to work out the tuition by cleaning the school
rooms and other related activities.
In the fall of 1937, we moved to Deering, Missouri, to pick
cotton for Deering Farms, Inc. Which we did, but this was the
year of the 1937 flood, so we loaded in the back of a bob truck
with a tarpaulin covered bed and headed back to Alabama. This
was in December so you can say we almost froze to death. We
returned to Deering, Missouri, after the flood passed. In order
to get into the Deering Schools, I had to take an entrance exam
to enter the school. On the entrance examination, I checked out
at two grades below my present level, and had to retake two
grades. This made me older than the average student in the class.
On the other hand, it maded me more competitive in sports because of
My father worked for Deering Farms, Inc. driving mules, pulling
cultivators and we children chopped cotton. Mother got a job in
Kennett, Missouri, working in a shirt factory, so we moved to
Kennett in the fall of 1938. I attended Kennett Schools, playing
football, baseball, running track and basketball. To help out,
I had paper routes, worked at Blakemore Drug Store part time. Later,
I worked in the shirt factory during the summer.
World War II came along in 1941, and in the fall of 1942, I enlisted
in the US Navy since I was draft age. After boot camp at Great
Lakes Training Station north of Chicago, I was sent to Northwestern
University, Evanston, Illinois for radio training. I failed the
code portion of the radio school and was sent to North Africa in
the 8th Amphibious Command stationed at Neumours, Morrcco
and then transferred to Birzite, Tunisa. This was the headquarters
of the 8th Amphibious Command. Then I was transferred to the
operational status and was on the ships working in communications
department and made the Italy and Southern France invasions. When
the war was about over in Europe, I was transferred back to the
United States and assigned to Casco Bay Naval Station, Portland,
Maine and discharged in 1945.
After being discharged from the Navy, I returned to Kennett and
entered Arkansas State College, Jonesboro, Arkansas in the fall of
1946. I think the school had an enrollment of 800 in 1945 and
about 600 GI's enrolled fall of 1946. The school was hard pressed
for space with such an increase in enrollment. I graduated from
Arkansas State University, August 1950 with a Bachelor of Science
Degree with a Business Major in Accounting.
While in College, I met my wife, Emma Irene Magers and was married
June 27, 1947 at Dell, Arkansas. After college, we moved to Dell
where I worked at Farmers Gin Co. of Dell, Inc., first as a
weigher and later as manager of the cotton gin for fifteen years
plus. During this management period, I farmed 300 acres. I left
the cotton gin in 1972 and opened a Photography Studio that operated
for 14 years.
A Kiwanis Club was formed in Dell and held the offices of Secretary
Treasurer, Vice President and President. plus being a board member.
Later I served as Lt. Governor of Division 16 in the Missouri-Arkansas
district. Then served on the International Agriculture Committee.
The Kiwanis Club sponsored the
Dell Boy Scout Troop 255 serving as
Scoutmaster for some five years plus and had several of the boys win
top honors in scouting including Order of the Arrow.
Photography has always been one of my major activities. With a Kodak
box camera, I took my first picture. This was magic to me. to think
that one could record something that would last forever. During the
World War II, I used a Kodak folding camera to record many of the
places and activities. With the help of some others, we did some
printing using V-Mail Stock. This turned out alright, but lacked the
right paper to really make a good print.
After Irene and I married, I purchased an 8mm movie camera and used
it to make films of the children, plus vacations. In 1962, joined
the Photographic Society of America with Movie Division as my focus.
The PSA was an International Organization offering study groups,
competitions, workshops, instructional slide sets and conventions
where lectures were given on photography. Through this, I decided to
take up 35mm photography and Irene gave me my first 35mm camera, Exacta.
From the Exacta, I have used and owned Kodak Retina, Nikons, Mamiya
Twin Lens Reflex, Rolleiflex, Hasselblad, Speed Graphics, Leica
Rangefinder and Nikon Rangefinder. My darkroom equipment is a Bessler
4 x 5 motorized enlarger with condenser light head, negative film holders
from 4 x 5 to 35mm, Nikkor lens, Gralab timers, 20-print 8 x 10 washer.
The Photographic Society of American International Convention in
St. Louis, Missouri, was my first convention and exposure to the many
aids the organization offered. Many of the members helped me with
information about how to make better photographs. This information
enabled me to compete in the PSA sponsored salons or competitions.
Needless to say, I really got involved with the Photographic Society of
He has donated many of his prints to the
Museum at Arkansas State University. Click here for ASU Exhibit. [rcd]
Dad passed away on Sunday, September 25, 2005.