Granite State's history for 140 years shown at the State Library

September 03. 2014 7:42PM
More than 150 prints from the Hillsborough Historical Society's Manahan-Phelps-McCulloch Photographic Collection are on exhibit at the New Hampshire State Library in Concord, which opened Monday and continues through Oct. 31. Pictured above is William H. Manahan Jr.'s photo of yoked oxen pulling a carriage. (Courtesy)

CONCORD — A historic exhibit of more than 150 prints of the Granite State spanning 140 years, from portraits of women in their early 20th century finery, to stone bridges to animals, opened Monday at the New Hampshire State Library on Park Street.

The photographs were selected from more than 150,000 negatives in the Hillsborough Historical Society’s Manahan-Phelps-McCulloch Photographic Collection. The negatives were from a photo studio that operated in Hillsborough from the 1860s to 2002. A large portion of the collection, and of the exhibit, is the work of William H. Manahan Jr., the best known of the 10 photographers who operated the studio.

The images on display include the people, places, events, work and lifestyles of Hillsborough as well as of New Hampshire, New England and the Northeast.

In addition to documenting the region and its people, the Manahan collection is unique because it chronicles the entire development of negative photography, ranging from early glass plate copies of daguerreotype photographs to color film. There is no comparable collection in New Hampshire, according to Gilman Shattuck, who curated the exhibit.

For a dozen years, since the collection was donated to the historical society by photographer Donald McCulloch, Shattuck along with volunteers Krista Gallant, Beatrice Jillette, James Smith, Thomas Talpey and Jerry Hanauer have been working to conserve the collection for future generations.

This work was made possible through grants and donations that provided archival storage material, computer equipment and training. A major early grant was from the N.H. State Library’s Conservation License Plate Grant Program.

The public is invited to an opening reception at the state library, 20 Park St., on Wednesday, Sept. 17 from 5 to 7 p.m. The library is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The prints will be on display through Oct. 31.

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