Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Photographs of Legislators

Did you know that the State Library has a collection of over 3,200 photographs of legislators?

The earliest photographs are from 1855 and the collection continues into the early 1900s. The photographs range in size from tiny tin type to oversize collages. All are housed in the climate-controlled library vault and are available for the public to view in the Special Collections department.

The collection is currently being digitized by a library intern and once complete, the images will be posted in the library's digital repository, DSpace. At left is one of the digitized images - Charles Dillingham (1821-1902). Mr. Dillingham was in the state Senate in 1861 and 1862, then in the state House of Representatives in 1886 and 1887, representing Sandwich during those periods. As you can see at the bottom of the image, this photograph was taken during his tenure in the Senate.

Images of legislators can also be found in several publications that the library has already digitized and are available online. Each book is listed on the Public Officers of the Commonwealth page of the library's web site. Click on any year and the digital version will open through the Internet Archive web site.

- Lacy Crews Stoneburner, Preservation Librarian