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Directory of Pennsylvania Photographers, 1839-1900

Author: Linda Ries and Jay W. Ruby

Description: Pennsylvania Historical And Museum Commission Publications 359 pages $29.95 ISBN 0-89271-084-5

The first statewide directory of nineteenth-century photographers active in Pennsylvania, Directory of Pennsylvania Photographers, 1839-1900 is a welcome addition to the growing number of state and regional directories of historic photographers. The directory was compiled and edited by the able and recognized photography historians Linda A. Ries, of the Pennsylvania State Archives and Dr. Jay W. Ruby, of the Temple University. The directory opens with a thoughtful foreword by Kenneth E. Finkel, director of the Atwater Kent Museum, an authority on Philadelphia photographers. The directory is actually a list of lists, compiled from individuals and historical institutions around the state that generously shared their information, as well as entries gleaned from period state and city directories.

This directory is helpful for anyone interested in researching historic images. The genealogist can approximate the date for an undated family image by knowing when a given photographer worked. Alternatively, they may follow family migrations by putting the locations where the photographer worked in sequence. Those with a family relationship to a photographer will find this book very helpful in providing details of the migrations and career for a historic photographer. Photography historians can use the directory, to achieve a better understanding of the patterns of migration and succession in the photography business. Moreover, through the directory activity dates, they can investigate the careers of specific historic photographers.

Containing over 6400 alphabetical listings of the nineteenth-century men and women who practiced photography in the Keystone State, the directory is a handy reference. Photographers are arranged in alphabetical order by surname, making it easy to find a particular individual (good news for the genealogist). In addition, there is an index of photographers by city.

Pennsylvania was a leading player in the artistic and technical development of photography, and photographers were an integral part of the nineteenth century community. This directory is a step toward better understanding the contributions of Pennsylvania Photographers. Perhaps such projects will encourage a wider recognition of these men and women who made a record of their neighbors and communities. Moreover, it may encourage researchers, collectors and genealogists to take a second look at the person behind the imprint.

The Directory of Pennsylvania Photographers, 1839-1900 is available for $29.95 through local bookstores, or from the Publications Program of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, P.O. Box 11466, Harrisburg, PA 17108, or call (800) 747-7790 for Visa and MasterCard orders. Please add $3.50 for shipping and handling. Pennsylvania residents add 6 percent state sales tax.. A complete catalog of PHMC publications is available at our Web site: www.phmc.state.pa.us

Steve Knoblock is the editor of City Gallery.

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