The collection The collection, 1906, 2017, and undated, 1.25 cubic ft. (in 3 boxes) consists mostly of 284 glass-plate negatives mostly documenting building, people, and events in Alger, Michigan, 1906, 1911-1916, 1919 and undated.
The collection, 1906, 2017, and undated, 1.25 cubic ft. (in 3 boxes) includes 284 glass-plate negatives, one of which has two different images on it (#819-820) and two film negatives, mostly documenting building, people, and events in Alger, Michigan, 1906, 1911-1916, 1919 and undated. Most of the images are dated, or if undated date from, 1911 through 1916. There are a few 1906 images of California oil fields and derricks (3), and a man washing a buggy dated 1906, and an undated image of a southwestern Indian village, taken on a train, probably dates from the 1906 California trip. There is only one 1919 image, that of two seated women by a front window/ awning of a store with a dog, another store in background, July 1919.
In Box 3 (.25 cubic foot) there is one folder of notes October 1911-February 1917 by the photographer in various detail of which images were taken when, sometimes specified to days, sometimes not within the month, with names of subjects and some other details, such as Mrs. Allen’s birthday party (copies, 2017). There are images with dates for which there are no notes, for example 1906 and August 1912. There are original notes from the photographer for which there are no specifically identified images, such as September, November-December 1912, June 1914, Feb. 1915, Aug 1916, Feb. 1917. There are dated images for which there are no original notes, for example July 1915, Sept. and Nov. 1916, July 1919. Sometimes the notes and the images have slightly different dates, for example three baseball game images are dated May 6, 1916 but the notes say May 7, 1916. A number of the descriptions are to vague to match with specific images, such as all the names of men and MC [Michigan Central] Depot. There are six images of the depot, but not enough data to decipher which image was taken in which month and year. There are also a number of baby portraits, but again, not enough data to match the write baby image and name.
Another folder includes prints of a sample of the plates, undated. One of the images is of ships in a harbor and that glass-plate negative is not extant in the collection. Notation in pencil by the archivist links the image to the negative.
Also included in Box 3 (.25 cu. ft. box) is a Lewinstein Jewery Company (Midland, Mich.) Jewelry box, rectangular, crushed, purple velvet, cream satin lining, 6.5x4.25x1 inches, undated.
Most of the negatives have a date (written in various ways by the photographer), and/or number, or, more rarely, additional descriptive information, written onto the back of the plate. Some were grouped in paper or sleeves with numbers, dates, or additional information. Descriptive information which was written onto the back of the plate are noted in the Box and Folder Listing in “quotation marks,” while descriptive information that was that was on the original sleeve, papers surrounding a pile of negatives, or on the original paper Notes from the photographer are noted in the Box and Folder Listing in ‘commentary marks’. Some glass-plate negatives have no number, no information, and in a few cases the numbers or dates are obliterated by time or emulsion damage. The span of plate numbers ranges from #1 to 920, and there are many large gaps in the number sequence. The number sequence does not always follow chronological order. If undated images resemble closely other dated images, the same date has been added to the undated image in brackets .
Sometimes the photographer gave different images the same number, in which case the archivist has given one an A and the other a B in the description to tell them apart.
#258A May 1914 large group dressed up seated at laden picnic table, may be ‘Picnic Dunn’s Grove May 1914’ or ‘May 3, 1914 Mrs. Allen’s birthday party’ (see #247-248, 255, 258B)- minor emulsion issues on edges, May 1914 and #258B in May 1914 pile, group or men, women, boys standing, sitting on porch with pillars, mostly wearing hats, sign reads ‘our high grade Indian remedies for sale here,” may be ‘Picnic Dunn’s Grove May 1914’ or ‘May 3, 1914 Mrs. Allen’s birthday party’(see #247-248, 255, 258A), May 1914.
If there is no number, but the image clearly relates to an/other numbered image/s, the archivist has noted the relationship by…. #253 “5/10/14” little girl seated in a child’s wagon, barn and large wagon in background (see no#after253), May 10, 1914 and #253 “5/10/14” little girl seated in a child’s wagon, barn and large wagon in background (see no#after253), May 10, 1914 and No#after#253 “5/10/14” little children, boy holding handle of child’s wagon, little girl seated in wagon, wagon and houses in background, same girl in #253 (see #253), May 10, 1914.
If there is no number, but the image clearly relates to an/other unnumbered image/s, the archivist has noted the relationship by……. No#oil1 ‘California 1906 oil derricks’ – some emulsion damage, 1906 and No#oil2 ‘California oil fields, 1906’ – emulsion damage around edge, 1906 and No#oil3 ‘California oil fields, 1906’ – emulsion loose at top edge, 1906.
If the image has no# and does not directly to another image the archivist has given it a number noting something distinctive, when possible, in the image, like this: No#bicycles man, two boys wearing hats by large, leafy tree, one with scooter, four bicycles – emulsion flaking off on side, bottom edges, undated.
At the time the photographer relied upon good outdoor light and did not use any type of flash bulbs. Therefore most of the images are taken outside on a sunny day in the summer, although there are some images taken on snowy days, and some images taken when the trees are bare, either early spring or late fall. A few outside hunting images were probably taken in early fall.
Only a few inside images exist, two inside a church, one inside a store, and a few of women or children inside a house or studio.
Most of the images involve people, buildings and events, mostly in Alger, Michigan. Individual and group portraits, a picnic, birthday party, a skating party, a baseball game, hunting, and family and neighbor gatherings predominate. Men, women, children, and babies and a railroad section crew of six men are documented. Buildings in Alger include the school, Kern’s store, a drug store, Post Office, Methodist Episcopal Church, now Alger United Methodist Church, land store, and other downtown buildings, houses, and barns. The Michigan Central Railroad tunnel and a bridge are included. Vehicles include horse drawn buggies, wagons, a child’s wagon, a truck, and a REO car, circa 1905-1906. Horses, a dog and a dead dear are documented.
Images probably or definitely not taken in Alger include Southern Pacific train and engine, the oil fields and derricks of California and an image of southwestern Indian village.
Physical condition notes: All the negatives measure 4x5 inches. Most of the glass-plate negatives are in overall good condition, although a number (as noted in their individual description) have some emulsion damage, usually along the edges, and a few have stains. Two have an edge broken off, one edge is missing, the other is in the negative sleeve. One glass plate (#828) is bright yellow in color. The jewelry box has been crushed to close further than designed. It is rectangular, 6.5x4.25x1 inches, covered in purple velvet with a cream satin lining, undated.