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Howes Brothers Photographic Collection, ca.1882-1907
1 box (0.5 linear ft.)
Collection number: MS 313

Abstract:
Alvah, Walter, and George Howes brothers traveled the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts in the last two decades of the 19th century, taking photographs of the residents and documenting the customs, fashions, architecture, industry, technology, and economic conditions of rural New England.

The Howes collection includes 200 study prints selected from 20,000 negatives held by the Ashfield Historical Society.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

The collection is open for research.

Restrictions on use:

Copies of these study prints in whatever form can be obtained only by permission of the Howes Brothers Project, Ashfield Historical Society, Ashfield, Mass.

Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Historical Note

Alvah Howes (1853-1919) took up photography as a profession in the 1880s and in the years that followed, convinced his brothers Walter and later George to join him. Residents of Ashfield, Mass., the brothers were remarkably persistent and productive photographers, traveling throughout Western Massachusetts to photograph a panoply of daily life, work, and leisure over a career that spanned two decades.

In 1888, the Howes established a studio in Turners Falls, Mass., which Alvah operated until the business foundered following the Depression of 1893. The brothers resumed work in 1896, however they ceased touring in about 1902 and their production tailed off until they quit photography in about 1906. During their career, the Howes took over 20,000 dry plate images, creating one of the most extensive and important visual archives for the region.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Howes brothers, Alvah, Walter, and George, traveled the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts taking photographs of the residents, documenting pictorially the customs, fashions, architecture, industry, technology, and economic conditions of rural New England at the turn of the century. This collection consists of 200 study prints selected from 20,000 negatives on microfilm in the W.E.B. Du Bois Library (name and town index available with the microfilm). The original glass plates are housed in the Ashfield Historical Society, Ashfield, Massachusetts.


Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

The collection is open for research.

Restrictions on use:

Copies of these study prints in whatever form can be obtained only by permission of the Howes Brothers Project, Ashfield Historical Society, Ashfield, Mass.

Preferred Citation

Cite as: Howes Brothers Photographic Collection (MS 313). Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Additional Formats

A microfilm set (number 5121, reels 1-29) in the Du Bois Library's Microforms Area, includes all of the more than 20,000 Howes photographs in the Ashfield Historical Society's collection.

History of the Collection

Acquired from Ashfield Historical Society, 1980

Location of originals:

The images in this collection were printed from originals held by the Ashfield Historical Society, Ashfield, Mass.

Processing Information

Processed by SCUA staff.


Additional Information
Contact Information
Special Collections and University Archives
W.E.B. Du Bois Library
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Amherst, MA 01003-9275

Phone: (413) 545-2780
Fax: (413) 577-1399
Language
English.
Bibliography

An article describing the collection is filed in Folder I of the box of study prints in the Archives:

Flint, Linda J., "Preserving Photos as a Historical Resource: the Howes Brothers' Photography," U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service, 11593: Information Related to Responsibilities of the Secretary of Interior, vol. 5 no. 2 (June 1980), pp. 11-13.

See also: Alan Newman, ed., New England Reflections, 1882-1907: Photographs by the Howes Brothers (Pantheon Books, 1981)