Column sent to Frederick Leader and Frederick Press
October 1, 2009
Davidson Threshing Machine 1921
This unnamed wheat threshing crew worked near Davidson in 1921.
Photos Capture Life in Early Tillman County
Photos of early Tillman County are fascinating because many of them picture a different way of life. Many of the old photos show familiar landmarks, but with unfamiliar surroundings.
The fascinating pictures with this week’s column, for instance, show numerous pieces of the area’s past.
The Tillman County Historical Society is always looking for old photos that show life in the area “the way it was.”
If you have historic photos that we can scan for archive at the museum, bring your old photos by the Pioneer Townsite any weekday between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. and leave them with Frances Goodknight. Make sure that your name and contact information is with the photos, and when they have been scanned we will get them back to you or call you to pick them up.
Of course, we will also accept photos for donation.
We will not scan regular family photos or snapshots, but we do have an interest in scanning historic photos that capture pieces of the area’s history. That could include sites or buildings, events, farm scenes, school activities, church or club activities, etc.
Or, if you have already scanned digital copies of historic photos, we would like to have copies. Load your digital copies of historic photos onto a CD and leave them at the Townsite.
I often scan old photos for historical society archives, and the most frustrating thing about that process is finding great photos that are not labeled. Too often there is no way to know the location of great old buildings, the context of historic scenes, or the names of people in pictures.
My advice to everyone is to write photo descriptions, dates, and names of individuals on the back of photos using a good, non-smearing pen (such as a fine-point Sharpie) or pencil. It’s an important project. Do not put off doing it.
With the wide availability of scanners, many people are scanning their own pictures and it is a great way to preserve and distribute them to family and friends. Too often, though, the pictures are scanned without context.
For that reason, I keep a photo key and I suggest that others do that, too. I assign a number in the name of every photo along with a one- or two-word name. I then keep a written key in a separate computer text file (or it could be on written paper form) that corresponds with the photo number and name, and which contains all of my notes about the photo, including anything that was written on back of the original. It’s an easy way to maintain context for the scanned photos.
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Joe Wynn is a member of the Tillman County Historical Society Board. He can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com.