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It can sometimes be a challenge to see ourselves in images of the past--the dated clothing and hairstyles, the sometimes stiff and stuffy posing. With the advent of the popular and affordable Kodak Brownie camera, however, candid photographs capturing moments large and small was easy for most everyone.
We used the "Getting a Lift" photo (right) in our exhibit because even though the clothing and hairstyles are not modern, these young women are really not so much different from us. They wanted to capture a happy moment with their friends--and had social media been around then, this would have surely been one "for the 'gram!"
This collection of photos from 1924 shows a group of classmates from the Danbury Normal School (the teaching college that would become today's WCSU) during their final months in school. There are great photos of Miry Brook school where perhaps they taught, images that record their hike to the "Mine at Long Hill," and wonderfully candid shots showing a group of friends that could be any of us today.
What makes this collection even more special is that every photograph is labeled extensively on the back with a date, names, and generally a place too.
Enjoy some of these special photos below!
FF (It is unclear whether he was Felix Fred or Fred Felix) Lampron was a Danbury photographer for many years at the beginning of the 20th century. City directories of the time show his studio being at 197 Main Street and 248 Main Street at various points. In 1912-13 he photographed the construction of the Danbury Armory on West Street. They are wonderful photos on their own, but it's rare in our collection to have images from that era showing the construction of a building.
FF Lampron died on November 27, 1928, and was buried in his hometown of Nashua, NH.
Researching FF Lampron we came upon this rather surprising find--a photo taken by Lampron in the collection of the Getty Museum. And even more surprising? The subjects of the photo, the fabulous Banjo Girls at Danbury's Taylor Opera House (current site of the Pershing Building).
Read the Getty's full catalogue info here.
Ruth H Mallory was born on July 8, 1908. A member of two prominent Danbury families at birth--the Mallorys and the Cowperthwaites--Ruth would be educated at the Low-Heywood School in Stamford, Connecticut, and then study at the Clarence H White School of Photography in New York City.
Clarence H White (1871–1925) was a self-taught photographer from rural Ohio, who first became famous for his delicate, idealized images of rural family life. As you peruse Ruth Mallory's mostly pastoral images, it's not difficult to see where White's school would have influenced her work. Mallory had a very skilled eye and was clearly devoted to her art and to capturing scenes around greater Danbury.
In June of 1941 Ruth H Mallory married William Webb Sunderland, part of another celebrated Danbury family and a talented architect. As their wedding announcement in the Danbury News-Times read: "The wedding unites two of Danbury's oldest and most prominent families. The bride is a granddaughter of the late Charles Mallory . . .the groom is the third member of a family prominently identified with the building trade."
Ruth H Mallory Sunderland lived to be 95 years old, dying in December of 2003. Her obituary notes that she was a well-known photographer and member of the Bridgeport Camera Club as well being a lifetime member of the Danbury Garden Club and the First Congregational Church.
Enjoy the above sampling of Ruth Mallory's work, these images are part of a collection of of photographs that were printed in conjunction with local calendars.