The Hometown History column is presented by the Fenton History Center and The Post-Journal. Each Friday, a distinct item from the Fenton History Center collections or archival special collections will be featured. Learn about your hometown history through parts of its past.
If one of the items featured brings back some memories or brings up a question, please contact the Fenton History Center at 664-6256 or firstname.lastname@example.org to share your memory or get an answer to your question.
Within the collections at the Fenton History Center, there are a number of photograph albums. These, like scrapbooks, vary greatly.
Of course the time period covered by each album can differ. The types of photographs contained in each album vary from the small carte-de-visit, popular at the time of the Civil War, to larger cabinet cards portraits of the late 1880s and 1890s through snapshots in black and white, color and even a few born- digital photos of recent times.
The actual albums are different through the years. We have the fancy albums from the late 1890s that were made to be left out as decorative items and for the viewing by friends and family and had specially constructed pages to hold the popular styles of photographs at the time. More recent ones have those black pages of more acidic paper and snapshots adhered by photo corners. Even more recent are the binders with the sticky pages with plastic cover sheets to eliminate the bother of photo corners.
Most of the albums are from a family or from a person who kept an album of photographs of friends and family, events in their lives or of trips taken. Many times the people, places and events are not identified. We can recognize some places around the area such as Celoron Park or some of the streetscapes in Jamestown, but not the front porch of a single house where a group had assembled.
We received an album that looked to be a very plain brown, leather-covered album from the late 1800s. It was made to hold cabinet cards. The first photograph was of professor Samuel G. Love. The next two pages had Mrs. R. R. Rogers and professor R. R. Rogers. Throughout the album there were identified photographs, as well as those with no names written under them. Calista Jones, Mary Rosina Willard and Vesta Willard are among the teachers included.
The album had belonged to one or both of two sisters, Carrie Evelyn Aiken and Corrie June Aiken. Both were teachers in the Jamestown schools in the late 1800s, and photographs of them were included. As we looked through the album, other familiar names turned up, as well as some unknown to us but with the year 1885 written by the portrait.
Checking the Jamestown Union School and Collegiate Institute Catalogue of Officers and Students for the years 1884-1885 and 1885-1886 many of the named people were either students who graduated in 1885 or were teachers that year.
Undoubtedly the unidentified photographs are of students and teachers of that year, but without other identified photographs for comparison, we will not know who the others are. The identified teachers include: Samuel G. Love, Rovillus R. Rogers, Calista Jones, Mary Rosina Willard, Vesta May Willard, Lotta Scott, Corrie Jane Aiken and Carrie Evelyn Aiken. The students include: Lillian O. Branch, Gertrude Breed, Lizzie M. Thomas, Abbie Herrick, Kathro Jeffords, Lotta Scott (in 1884, a teacher in 1885), Saidee Hazzard, J. Alex Lindquist, Clara Stoneman Harris, Geo. F. Danforth, Berta Stoneman, and Eva M. Grier.
Others who are included but have not been found as a teacher or a student of that time are Mrs. R. R. Rogers, Mrs. Bucklin, Elizabeth McElroy (Mrs. Alfred Hall), Harriet Leet?, Mrs. Goulding?, Harriet Jones, Mrs. Kent, Minnie Monroe, professor Gilbert Harris, and Mae Love (Mrs. W. S. Gifford). This was a time before school yearbooks, so it nice to have photographs of at least some of the teachers and students from the earlier Jamestown schools.
The purpose of the Fenton History Center is to gather and teach about southern Chautauqua County's history through artifacts, ephemeral and oral histories, and other pieces of the past.
Visit www.fentonhistorycenter.org for more information on upcoming events.
If you would like to donate to the collections or support the work of the Fenton History Center, call 664-6256 or visit the center at 67 Washington St., just south of the Washington Street Bridge.