Quercus sargentiana Massachusetts, 1925
Photograph by Ernest Henry Wilson
November 28, 1925
Digital Commonwealth is a non-profit collaborative organization, founded in 2006, that provides resources and services to support the creation, management, and dissemination of cultural heritage materials (in a variety of formats) held by Massachusetts libraries, museums, historical societies, and archives. Digital Commonwealth currently has over 160 member institutions from across Massachusetts.
In 2014, The Archive Collection of Arnold Arboretum partnered with Digital Commonwealth for an ambitious digitization project, our first since Botanical and Cultural Images of Eastern Asia, 1907-1927, our Library Digital Initiative (LDI) Harvard Library-funded project of 2003.
During the mid-1920s, Wilson began to photograph what he considered to be noteworthy trees in the Boston area, central Massachusetts, the Mohawk Trail, southern New Hampshire, Maine, and Rhode Island. Again making use of his Sanderson camera, he captured nearly one hundred photographs of elms, more than fifty of various oak species, and numerous genera of conifers. These digital images are reproduced from the original glass plate negatives, which though fragile, retain a stunning amount of detail and contrast after nearly a century. Available for the first time, the photographs provide literal snapshots of early 20th century New England landscapes and architecture.
Massachusetts cultural institutions may also sign up for free digitization services from the Boston Public Library as part of the Library for the Commonwealth program (Massachusetts state budget line item 7000-9401).
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