Thinking Tuesday – Tips for Researchers

WashGAMktSqPostcard image (cropped) of Market Square, Washington, Georgia, 1880s, printed later and published by Slaton-Green Drug Co.; collection of Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, LC-DIG-ppmsca-12322 

 Another of my shorter posts with some (I hope) good, useful ideas. You will find a bit of the old (nineteenth century) and more of the new (mid-twentieth century) below, for you to check out. These sources for images give you a look at “the way it was,” and all relate to photography and photographers in some way, in Georgia as well as other places. All are interesting and could be useful for your own research on many other topics.

Regarding my two prior posts on “Camera Clubs and Some Amateur Activity in Georgia,” a very fun, short, and easy to understand video was recently posted on YouTube. I think you will enjoy and learn from this film on George Eastman and how he revolutionized photography with the introduction of his Kodak Camera.

Historian and genealogist Ken Thomas pointed me to the list of “101 best websites” in the September issue of  Family Tree Magazine, which I subscribe to, but had not yet read. A site he mentioned for “What Was There,” led me to the image of the market square I have used above. Although I go to the LC site to do searches quite often, I have never specifically sought out Washington, Georgia.

This nice image above turned up on when I did a simple search on “Georgia” and checked out a few sites (links) on the resulting map. Because the source of the image is the Library of Congress, I was free to use it, with the correct citation. It is fun to explore this site, and you never know what you will find.

You are probably aware of similar sites, like History Pin, developed in the U.K., which also links images to various places around the world on a Google map. I always intend to submit photographs to these sites and have yet to do so. I have several images in my collection that would be interesting to others seeking photographs of a particular building, city or town. I need to get down to it, don’t I?

I do like the way the site works. It was developed in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and not only is it easy to see the source of the photo, but by moving your cursor over the photo, you can see the details quite clearly. In many cases you will be able to download the image. Another image I located via this website, which is also in the collection of the LC, is below.

 HancockCoutyCourthouseHancock County Courthouse, Town Square, Sparta, GA, mid-20th century;  Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS GA,71-SPART,4–1), Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

You may have heard that only a few days ago the historic Hancock County Courthouse was completely destroyed by fire. This is something we never expect in the 21st century, do we? Sadly, it has happened before.  Lost were “Property deeds, birth and marriage certificates and many other vital records dating back to 1795”  when most of the Courthouse burned down early Monday (Aug. 11). Luckily, many of these records exist on microfilm at the Georgia Archives.

Speaking of courthouses, when I read an article about an Australian photographer of some note, Greg Newington, now living here in Georgia, I took a look at his website and found there a series of his photographs of Georgia Courthouses. You can see the way the Hancock County Courthouse looked before it was so recently destroyed. These photographs were commissioned by the state of Georgia, and they are beautiful. Each courthouse is captioned with the county name and the city in which is is located. They are not in alphabetical order, and you will notice that some courthouses have more than one photograph in Newington’s gallery. Going through all these courthouse photos to get to one you want to see will be a delight, I promise you.

The New York Public Library has been updating their database of images online. Of course, they are recognized for the many photographs of New York city and state, but there is so much more to be found there. Here are the results of a simple search for “Georgia”

You will notice there are a few images listed for Georgia in the former Soviet Union. In order to eliminate these, go to the menu on the left side of the screen and click Places. Now you can see which are and which are not photographs taken in, or related to the state of Georgia in the United States. Click on any image, and scroll down for details on the photo location, photographer, if known, and source.

The 21st Century Digital Collection is housed at the Seattle Public Library. Here is a link to a review of that digital collection The review will give you the pros and cons of using this collection, which is “comprised of material related to the Century 21 Exposition, which took place in Seattle from April 21 to October 21, 1962.”  There are over 1200 photos on this site by an amateur photographer named Werner Lenggenhager. If you are doing research on 1960s material, this could be a gold mine for you.

A final interesting source for photographic and other images, but in the United Kingdom, is the National Portrait Gallery, located in London.  Founded in 1856, the NPG “houses the largest portraiture collection in the world, with over 300,000 portraits of notable persons in British history.”

You say you have no reason to look for British portraits? Bah humbug, as (maybe) Charles Dickens would say! I adore the image below of photographer Julia Margaret Cameron and her two children. I did a search on “photographs” and clicked “Image on Website,” under Subjects & Themes, and there she is and here they are.

NPG P148; Julia Margaret Cameron with her two children, Henry Herschel Hay and Charlie Hay by Unknown photographerUnknown photographer, Julia Margaret Cameron with her two children, Henry Herschel Hay and Charlie Hay,
albumen print, 1857-58; collection of the National Portrait Gallery # P148

There are over 195,000 records in the NPG database, and many images can be downloaded for personal, non-commercial use (click on Use This Image, and follow directions).  One can search by sitter, artist, family, place, profession, and even by gender. There are actually multiple ways to search these images.

This is an excellent site that other image collections would do well to imitate. Here is (again) a review of the NPG site giving you much more detail on how it can be searched, as well as a link to the site.

Let me tell you about one last source, for books, that you may not have thought to try. The Reanimation Library, which is in Brooklyn, New York, documents “relics of the rapidly receding 20th century.” A number of their collection of  books are digitized and online. Here is a link to a page that tells you more about them.

Click “Catalog” on the links you see above, under the heading for the site, and you can get to the images and the various ways to search them.  Below is a fun photograph from a book in their collection, which is also in mine.

Pigeons Newhall book

From “Airborne Camera” by Beaumont Newhall, page 48 (published by Hastings House, with George Eastman House; New York, 1969) TR810 .N48 

I will get back to a post on one or more photographers sometime soon. Meanwhile, I love getting your questions and comments on the characters mentioned in these posts. Recently I have shared information on the Rome’s J.C. Warner and his wife Elizabeth, on the partnership of Savannah’s Wilson & Havens, and on photographers who did landscapes in North Georgia. And just today someone shared with me some fascinating data on the Atlanta optometrist and camera dealer A. K. Hawkes. More on that gentleman to come!

© E. Lee Eltzroth and Hunting & Gathering, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without  written permission from this blog’s author is prohibited. The piece can be re-blogged, and excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to E. Lee Eltzroth and Hunting & Gathering, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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