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Jean Davidson's Harley-Davidson Family Album is a great gift for anyone who wants to know more about Harley-Davidsons. While most books about these wonderful motorcycles focus on the bikes and their impact on the culture, the Family Album describes the effect of the motorcycle on the founders and their families . . . and vice versa. It's a dimension of Harley-Davidson that I knew nothing about . . . and found to be fascinating.
Jean Davidson is the granddaughter of Walter Davidson, the first president of the company, and her father was Gordon Davidson, a company vice president. She is a former dealer. She teams up with Sara Ann Harley-O'Hearn to add comments about both families. About half of the photographs were new to me, and the captions were priceless.
The book opens with family trees of Davidsons and Harleys who are in the book so you can keep track of who's who.
Then the book turns to how the families emigrated from Europe to Wisconsin in the late 1800s. Within five pages of photographs, you begin to see motorcycle images. The first classic is of Arthur Davidson with a friend holding up the fish they caught while sitting on a motorcycle and in a sidecar. The original idea behind the motorcycle was to help make it easier to go fishing. Go figure!
The text is also interesting . . . including an explanation of why the company is called Harley-Davidson rather than Davidson-Harley.
The family connections are interesting. The model called "Silent Grey Fellow" in 1914 employed the nickname for William Sylvester Harley. There's also a nice page on the first motorcycle and what happened to it through 1912.
It wasn't all easy. In 1904 a household maid raided the company's cash jar, and left the company broke. The Davidson brothers' uncle, James McLay, came to the rescue. His photograph is included.
Interspaced with the family materials are examples of motorcycles, advertisements and motion picture stills featuring motorcycles.
One of my favorite family photographs shows the chauffeur who was used to drive the founder's wives around in a sidecar. Even though the family was prospering, they preferred their bikes!
There are also photographs of the male founders working on bikes and even testing them.
The book also describes the company's attitude toward having women work at the company (single women only in the early days).
Just after I finished this book, I happened to see an advertisement for S.C. Johnson where the fourth generation and fifth generation members talked about how the company is the family and vice versa. I couldn't help but think that this observation is equally true of Harley-Davidson after enjoying this fine album.
Photography fans should be warned, however, that like most family albums, these images are often not professional grade. They are often just like the snaps that your grandparents and parents took when they were young. To me, that aspect just added to the charm of the book.
I was encouraged to take out our family album after looking at this one. I hope you will do the same.
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on 5 October 2012
This is a must buy for any person who knows and loves their Harley Davidsons!I brought this as a present for my mums biker boyfriend and he loved it,great photos and some intresting facts from and about the Davidson family themselves.Would highly recommend as a present for a biker that's difficult to buy for haha x
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on 12 April 2011
Bought this for my husband - and even I enjoyed it, and I don't know one end of a motorcycle from the other.
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on 6 July 2011
Harley-Davidson Family Album: 100 Years of the World's Greatest Motorcycle in Rare Photos This product is just what i wanted for my friends anniversay. It arrived today. Thank You so much for your fabulous fast service, i know it will be greatly appreciated.
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on 23 November 2015
This was an excellent follow up to her Growing up Harley Davidson, fills in all the gaps in most other HD history books. Her next book is even better!
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on 25 May 2014
Bought for a Christmas present, found it very interesting and so could not put it down. Recipient was pleased aswell
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on 23 June 2013
So useful and mu daughters partner can dream as he once owned one and now never looses his keys super
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on 6 November 2015
Ideal gift for Harley-Davidson enthusiast.
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on 28 March 2015
Motor bike mad brother loved this.
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on 31 July 2014
very good if you are a harley fan
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