Case in point is this picture from March of this year. The Hyde Park Branch Library and its Friends group hosted an illustrated historical lecture given by Margaret R. Sullivan, Archivist for the Boston Police Department, about Horatio Homer, Boston's first African-American police officer. Ms. Sullivan's presentation offered not only a glimpse of Sergeant Homer's life on the police force, but also insight on the African-American community and the changing politics and attitudes of whites towards blacks in the late 19th century. Also attending the lecture were 3 reenactors from the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, Company A, including ranking officer Benny White--a founding member, in full costume. This photo captures a delightful afternoon of learning, first about Sgt. Homer who served in the late 19th century and afterwards as the 54th reenactors circulated and spoke of the African-American soldiers who lived in the middle of that same century.
Photographs illustrate our lives and those of our ancestors. Whether posed or candid, we catch a quick view of not only the moment itself but also information about the people, place and time of that moment. What they wear, where they are, and what photo medium is used can help date and place the photo's subject.
Be sure to
- Store your photographs well away from damp, heat and light;
- Have your photos digitally scanned if the photo is not too fragile and the opportunity presents itself so that the image is preserved;
- Consult an expert on how best to preserve early photographs on glass and metal if you're lucky enough to have these as heirlooms--NEVER use water or chemical cleaners on them!
- Make back-up copies of your digital photos onto an external hard drive or a CD-ROM, and put these in a safe place away from water and heat--don't leave the single copy in your camera which could be lost or stolen.