A recent acquisition of some old Academy images brought up some thorny problems. The photographs, taken by Edwin L. Cunningham in the early 1900s, were in very rough shape, with prints exhibiting extensive waterstaining, thick layers of surface grime, and in some cases, obvious mold growth, and glass plate negatives which were either broken or rendered entirely useless by having been stuck together for decades. While we accepted many of the images for scanning, once completed, they were returned to the donor as they were pretty much at the point where physically restoring them would have been either been prohibitively expensive, or in most cases, an act of futility.
Once we had good “master” scans of the images (meaning that no editing is done besides rotating and cropping), we set about making “user” copies, where we employed some fairly basic Photoshop techniques to make the images usable again for possible online publication and/or physical printing. Deciding exactly how much editing to do can be a tricky business, but we tended to be a bit conservative on this project. Basically, we simply tried to minimize the most visually damaged elements, rather than attempting to bring the images back to a pristine state.
Click the images below to see large versions, and a read a terrific Q&A on how to handle some of your own photograph/document collections here.
Using a new slideshow feature that WordPress recently introduced, we thought we would share some images of the Third Academy Building from the Archives. Before it was lost to fire in 1914, it occupied the same space as today’s Academy Building, but was built from far more flammable materials. While not much survived the conflagration, we have images to remind us how lovely it was.
Come by the library to see our current exhibit honoring the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s visit to his son at Exeter in March 1860. On display are a selection of books and photographs illustrating a few of the many facets of Lincoln’s life: the frontiersman, the family man, the inventor, the politician, the Commander-in-Chief, champion and defender of the vulnerable and oppressed.
Included in the exhibit is a letter from Robert Todd Lincoln to his mother, written December 2, 1860, shortly after his father’s election as U.S. President. On a visit back to Exeter during his first year at Harvard, Robert wrote, “Dear Mother – You see I am back at Exeter and I feel very much at home…..Tonight we are out to tea which will wind up our fun, as we have to commence study again tomorrow.” He fills her in on other general news and continues, “I have a couple of friends from St. Louis who are going to the inauguration after vacation is over and I have invited them to stop at our house on their road.”
Balancing studies and social life, inviting classmates home for a visit – in some ways life at Exeter has changed very little over the past 150 years!
Also on display are commemorative postage stamps and coins on loan from members of the Academy community and photographs of Exeter-born Daniel Chester French and his work, which included the famous seated statue in the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. One of French’s first public commissions was the Minute Man Statue in Concord, Massachusetts; later in his career he sculpted others whose names are well-known locally including entrepreneur and philanthropist Ambrose Swasey, lawyer and politician Amos Tuck, and lawyer and statesman Daniel Webster (PEA Class of 1796).
The Lincoln exhibit will be on display through the month of April.