After Rachel explained that recently the Historical Society completed a project that started in the 1980s, to archive and make accessible records and photos of the buildings in Bridgetown and environs with the designation "historic" by the Town or Province. We all agreed that a link in the Ribbon website to this archive would contribute to its accessibility. Then she remarked that the James House Museum is custodian of a large collection of photographs including about 600 glass negatives, possibly a precious historical record of the town but very difficult to access.
We decided that we should investigate this source further and I made an appointment with Frances Lourie, director of the museum for 21 November. The museum is closed during winter but she graciously opened the place and even turned on the heat so we could have our conversation in comfort. She showed me samples of printed photography that was very interesting but when I asked about the glass negatives she told me a surprising story about Georgia Cunningham. At age 18 she opened a photographic studio in Bridgetown and continued working for almost 50 years documenting the town. Most of the glass negatives are hers.
I did a little research and found that in that period about 8 photographers practiced in several towns in the Valley but they were all men and none as long as Cunningham. To think that today we can have a visual impression of life in Bridgetown as a result of this women's work is just amazing. We decided to leave Frances with an idea to first of all scan the glass negatives and then in 2013 have some form of retrospective of Cunningham's work in Bridgetown to celebrate her 125th birth year. We are looking forward to her reaction early in 2012. Obviously, reference to the digital photography produced from these glass negatives can be made through the Ribbon website thus increasing their accesibility.