The Roger Pelham Indianapolis 500 digital collection provides online access to photographs, press tickets, parking passes, and programs from Roger Pelham of Muncie, Indiana documenting Indianapolis 500 auto races held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway between circa 1950 and 1981. The collection also contains photographs from a 1939 endurance flight including Eleanor Roosevelt’s meeting with endurance flight pilots, photographs from the dedication of Muncie’s Johnson Field (which featured a speech delivered by Vice President Richard Nixon), aerial photographs of Muncie, and audio and video oral histories with Roger Pelham conducted between 1994 and 1999.
Roger Pelham was born in Shelbyville, Indiana in 1908. He moved to Muncie as a child and remained in the city for most of his life. In addition to his photography, Pelham owned a camera shop in downtown Muncie. In 1950, he began working as a photographer at the Indianapolis 500 using a Leica camera, which he used through most of his career. During the races, Pelham would position himself at one of the turns in order to take action sequence shots of the cars, especially during turns and wrecks. His photographs were frequently published in the Muncie Star Press and the Indianapolis Star newspapers. Roger Pelham died in Dayton, Ohio in 2002.
Archives and Special Collections