The two-dimensional collections of the Newport Historical Society include photographs in all historical formats, postcards, prints, architectural plans and drawings, and maps. Of these, the photograph collection is by far the largest, comprising over 200,000 images dating from the 1840s to the present.
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All historic photographic formats are represented in the Society’s holdings: daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes, lantern slides, stereopticon views, cyanotypes, albumen prints, and paper prints produced through a variety of printing techniques. The Society also holds thousands of negatives, both glass and film, many of which have never been printed.
Major subject headings include:
Photograph Special Collections
The Society’s reputation as a repository for historic images has compelled many individuals to donate or bequeath substantial collections over the years. These special collections include:
Joshua Appleby Williams
The Charles Follen McKim Portfolio
The Clarence Stanhope Collection
The Stanhope/Covell Collection
The Jonas Bergner Collection
The Mabel Norman Cerio Collection
The Henry O. Havemeyer Collection
The Hugh Willoughby Collection
The Samuel Kerschner/Gilbert Harrington Collection
The Newport Daily News Collection
The Newport Daily News glass plates collection is comprised of nearly 20,000 images of Newport activities, structures, and individuals from the turn of the century to the 1940s. In 1998, it was augmented by the gift of Newport Daily News photo tiles, bringing the collection up to the late 1980s. Typically, of the many exposures made at an event, only one or two were actually published. The Society’s holdings include those that were published, and many more that never appeared in the newspaper. From the historian’s perspective, it is often the latter that carries important information. The library’s collection of the Daily News on microfilm helps to identify and interpret many of these extraordinary images. Subjects include:
The Wanton-Lyman-Hazard House and Great Friends Meeting House Restorations
These collections provide invaluable documentation of the restoration of the Wanton-Lyman-Hazard House by Norman Isham in 1929 and the Great Friends Meeting House by Orin Bullock in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Both collections have been instrumental in the Society’s stewardship and preservation of these important properties. The Friends Meeting House collection has recently been enlarged by the addition of material from the office of the late Donald Dodge, a Jamestown architect and builder who worked with Bullock on the restoration.
The Henry Curtis Collection
Henry Curtis was a professional photographer from the 1940s until the mid-1960s. An early member of the Newport Camera Club, in the late ’40s he ran the former Newport Photo, a Sunday newspaper that later became the Newport Post, a daily newspaper. Upon his death in 1995, the Society acquired over 25,000 images, most of his own creation, the remainder taken by family and friends.
Graphics materials of other types include prints, post cards, architectural plans and drawings, and maps.