Over many years, the Clinton County Historical Association has acquired thousands of historical images. Most of them are photo negatives created by professional photographers. The subjects of the photos are varied. Very varied. Most are of scenes, people and events in Clinton County and most center on Plattsburgh, the largest metropolitan area in Clinton County. But there are certainly plenty from outside Plattsburgh.
The time frame for when the photos were taken is probably between 1895 and 1941. A few from before that time and a few from after but the bulk are probably from between 1900 and 1930.
We generally divide the images into two categories: historical scenes and portraits. We estimate that there are about 7,000 historic scenes and about 17,000 portraits. And that is just counting the negatives. We haven’t even begun to count the photo prints.
The museum credits most of the photo negatives of historical scenes to contributions from George Brewer of Cliff Haven. He made contributions from his personal collection in the 1990s. CCHA also received a large donation of glass negatives from Frank Pardy of Rouses Point.
The negatives of the photo portraits were acquired in the 1970s when a professional photography studio on Clinton Street in Plattsburgh went out of business and their inventory of negatives was rescued by the Clinton County Historical Association. It was the practice at that time that when a professional photography studio went out of business, its inventory would be acquired by another professional photography studio. That continued in Plattsburgh until there were no studios left willing to acquire the glass and celluloid negative plates. That was when CCHA acquired the portrait negatives from their previous owners: Brush Studio and Bigelow Studio, both of Plattsburgh.