John Addison Stryker was born in Rockford, Illinois, on September 1, 1883. He graduated from Franklin Academy and Zanerian Art College of Penmanship, and became an expert in Spencerian handwriting. He took up photography to aid in the publicity of the Kearney Normal Schools, where he served as Supervisor of Penmanship. Stryker married one of his students, Elsie Johnson, in 1919. His love of the outdoors led him to hone his photography skills, and he quickly learned to use the small Eastman box camera in 1917 and eventually a Graflex camera to capture rodeo photographs. Stryker entered and won a contest for the best rodeo photograph, which inspired him to work full-time in the rodeo, as a photographer, announcer, and producer. In 1928, he worked for Ringling Brothers circus for a year as an announcer. In 1940, he and his wife moved to Fort Worth, Texas, and he continued to photograph in the area. Stryker died in 1973. The Wittliff Collections are proud to hold over 400 photographs and over 600 negatives by John A. Stryker, which were donated by Bill and Sally Wittliff.
The Rodeo of John Addison Stryker, an Encino Press publication(1977) is available from the Wittliff Collections giftshop.