By: Max Fields in 2004
Pa Fields was a photographer and Ma Fields was always at his side doing her part. For some time, Pa and Ma had been going from town to town making pictures and as the demand for their services dwindled down they would continue on to the next town. In August of 1933, in the heart of the depression, Pa, Ma and Max Fields arrived in Cassville, Missouri in their 1929 Model A Ford Coupe pulling a home made camper trailer, made on a Model T Chassis. They first camped on the Old Reunion Grounds on 13th Street but were soon pushed off by the Old Soldiers and Settlers Annual Reunion.

The first location was on the North side of the square upstairs over Floyd Barber's Sanitary Food Market. The demand in Cassville continued to be strong so Fields Photo Shop remained. The first photos produced were 1"x1 1/2" and sold "3 for a dime". After a short time the business was moved East one building and joined Dr. J. S. Ingram, Dentist and Dr. E. E. McDaniel DO. in occupying the second story above Wooten Drug and First National Bank. This location today would be the N.W. corner of 8th & Main.

The next move, to larger and better quarters, was to the southwest corner of the square. Again, the location was upstairs where Fields Photo Shop joined Miss Pauline Amos (piano teacher) and Dr. W. R. McClure with Rowland's Dry Goods located below. The time was during World War II and film was hard to get due to the silver contest and the military demands. Most of the film was saved to photograph wives and children of our boys in service.

Fields Photo Shop moved again in the mid-40s to the East side of the square, occupying the space over the Barry County Bank and Walker's Dry Goods, Other tenants upstairs were Ruby Baker, beautician; and Dr. E. L. Blankenship, dentist. While in this location, Polly Parrot was added and became one of the most frequently remembered things about Fields Photo Shop unless it was the toys with which they were entertained or the yardstick with which Ma poked them in the belly to make them laugh. Business continued to flourish and it was at this location that Max and Margie Fields returned to join Pa and Ma in the operation of the studio in 1952.

Soon afterward the first downstairs location was found across from the Barry County Jail at 104 East 8th Street. At this time the name was changed to Fields' Photo and Camera Shop. A stock of Kodak and Polaroid Cameras and Film, General Electric Bulbs, Eveready Batteries and other supplies were added as well as a wholesale route to the NEW Tablerock Country. It was at this time that Gary (1952) and Eric (1957) were added to the Fields family.

Pa and Ma retired from the studio management in 1957 but continued with the Kodak finishing until 1965. In 1962 the Barry County Bank decided that they wanted the building which was then occupied by Fields' Photo demolished so they could make a drive-up window for the bank.

Determined to NEVER HAVE TO MOVE AGAIN, the building occupied by Nicoll Furniture was purchased and the business was moved to the building located at 903-05 Main Street. Pa served as City Clerk and Police Judge of Cassville for 15 years retiring in 1981. Ma departed this life on Nov. 11, 1984 and was joined by Pa on Aug. 5, 1987.

Some photographs were now being made of the third generation using the same chairs in which their grandparents were photographed as children. In 1985 we purchased an Apple II computer and over the next 7 years the old files of negatives, many from 1933 to the present, were listed and can be found in just a matter of minutes.

In 1988, after over 55 years of serving the photographic needs of Cassville and the surrounding area and having flown in our personal Cherokee 180 to photograph weddings from Brooklyn, NY to Modesto, CA and many places in-between, photographed many thousands of bright and shining faces in all of the area schools Fields' Photo decided to specialize in Large Group photos, School Photos and Sports Photography and drop all retail merchandise and portraiture in the Studio.

In 1995 the business building was sold and the old negative file containing 108,000 envelopes and over a half million different negatives weighing 3900 lbs. was moved to the residence at 1350 East 13th Street along with the processing laboratory. Many people were made happy with pictures of their ancestors for genealogy books, historical photos for their businesses and Security Bank of Southwest Missouri for their yearly calendar for the last 9 years.

The last chapter in the history of Fields’ Photo is short. In December of 2003 Max told Jerry Watley that he didn’t know what to do with the old files as he wanted them to be available to his customers after he was gone. Jerry suggested that the negative files be brought down to his new building at 802-10 Hwy 248. In the next three months plans were made and the move was made on April 15, 2004. It is now known as Fields’ Photo Archives and the files will now be available to the public for a long time. The files are under the care of Able 2 employees. Their new Phone number is (417) 847-1640. Proceeds from this business will be donated to the “Barry County Historical and Genealogical Society”. Fields’ Photo Archives moved to the new Barry County Museum on Hwy 112 South in early 2008."
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