Photo of the Week
FROM THE SCHS LIBRARY ARCHIVES
“How shall we know it is us without our past?”
— John Steinbeck
Summertime, 1916 / Autochrome Glass Plate
by Wendy Polhemus-Annibell, Head Librarian
Eleanor Fullerton at Blooming Roses on Arbors, LIRR Experimental Farm, Medford, circa June 1916, by Hal B. Fullerton [Autochrome glass plate]. (Image from Harry T. Tuthill Fullerton Collection of the Suffolk County Historical Society Library Archives. Copyright (c) Suffolk County Historical Society. All rights reserved.) [Ed — To view the Fullerton photograph, please visit the Suffolk County Historical Society’s website @ www.suffolkcountyhistoricalsociety.org.]
As John Steinbeck once said, “What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness?” The first day of summer is only nine days away, and this week’s SCHS photo brings us back in full “Autochrome” color to summertime in Medford in June of 1916. We can pinpoint the month because the rambling roses are in peak bloom in the image.
Digitally restored from the original Autochrome glass plate, this image features photographer Hal Fullerton’s daughter Eleanor standing by a series of rose arbors made from tree limbs. Autochrome Lumière, an early color photography process created by the Lumière brothers in France in the early 1900s, was the primary color photography process in use before the advent of color film in the 1930s. The Autochrome process used a glass plate covered with grains of potato starch dyed to act as primary-color filters and black dust that blocked all unfiltered light. It was then coated with a thin film of panchromatic emulsion, resulting in a positive color transparency.
AMERICA IN PRINT Now in our Staas Gallery!
Before the 1800s, art was largely reserved for the wealthy, but with the invention of lithography in 1796 – and particularly color lithography in 1837 – printers were able to mass-produce beautiful color prints that were cheap enough for anyone to buy. Suddenly, art was available to all–from such notable printers as Louis Prang, Napoleon Sarony, and Currier and Ives. Featuring themes of nineteenth-century life in landscapes, cityscapes, seascapes, and more, as well as rare examples of “lithographic Long Island,” this exhibit captures the evolution of an American art form.
Our newly renovated Grand Staas Gallery includes a new ceiling and paint, upgraded climate control, and “green energy-efficiency” lighting, earning us the recognition of a PSEG “Certified Green Energy Business”!