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NORTHWEST HISTORY ROOM
 



The Eastman Company introduced the Kodak box camera and roll film in 1889, making photography more easily available to amateur photographers. But some families bitten by the photography bug were already taking pictures using glass plate negatives, most working in the 4” x 5” or 5” x 7” format, and they continued to use these cameras well into the early 1900s. One popular camera that filmed on glass was the folding Rochester, introduced in 1892.

By the time Everett’s first families arrived in the early 1890s, the most prosperous among them had cameras. They began documenting their new Pacific Northwest adventures, taking pictures of family, friends, their homes, their town, their vacations and special events. When the Kodak postcard camera was introduced in 1903, family photos were often processed as postcards and mailed to friends and relatives.

These images were frequently saved in scrapbooks which are now prized by families, libraries and museums. They add significantly to our understanding of daily life in years past. While professional photographers were skilled in their trade, their subjects were chosen by the marketplace. They took pictures of what they were paid to shoot. Family photos tell a different story. While many are poorly exposed and often strangely composed, the subjects they present are often ones rarely seen in commercial views. They leave us a glimpse of daily life and show us what these people found important enough to document, remember and share.

We begin our “Family Photos” online collection with two groups of images scanned from 4” x 5” glass negatives, and one photo album. In the 1980s, Everett Public Library purchased glass plate negatives taken by an unknown photographer from antique dealer Bill Skinner. These appear to have been taken in the first decade of the 20th century. A second group of 4” x 5” glass negatives was given to the library, and most likely were taken by ship’s carpenter Severin Pettersen and/or his wife Anna. They date ca. 1900, although a few were taken as early as the 1890s. A small number of Pettersen 4” x 5”s are in the Blackman Museum in Snohomish, Washington. A photo album from the Spriestersbach family was loaned to us long enough to scan its pages, adding to our WWI-vintage era photos.

Collections soon to be added include images from the Rudd, Metzger and Gemmer families.
Margaret Riddle, September 1, 2006
 

 

David Dilgard
History Specialist
2702 Hoyt Ave.
Everett, WA 98201
T: 425-257-8005
F: 425-257-8016
E:

 

Lisa Labovitch
History Specialist
2702 Hoyt Ave.
Everett, WA 98201
T: 425-257-8005
F: 425-257-8016
E: