Death, Crime, and Legal Cases
As was the custom of the day, Appleton took what are called “postmorten photographs” showing deceased people in their coffins, in beds, or other settings, often surrounded by floral tributes that must have been a mainstay of the local florist trade. A number of these are dead children and infants.
Appleton made a specialty of photography for legal cases, as he noted in an advertisement included in a 1903 booklet commemorating the unveiling of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument on the Delaware County Court House lawn. Some of these photographs are clearly denoted by the words “case” or “accident” in the title. Others that are possibly legal work—such as photos of trolley tracks, rutted roads and gullies, and other odd scenes—have been so noted in the photograph descriptions.
As part of his legal work—and probably also for use in his newspaper—Appleton photographed crime scenes, crime reenactments, and various murderers who were incarcerated at the Delaware County Jail in Media.