A huge thank you goes out to the National Archives for making their main collection of lighthouse photos available online! Over 1100 folders of lighthouse images taken between 1855 and 1933 can now be viewed and downloaded from the National Archives digital catalog. A project started several years ago appears to be complete.
According to the catalog’s description:
Photographs show views of the structures, surrounding areas, shorelines, and depict the living conditions of keepers, their families and of maintenance personnel. There are views showing construction of the buildings and installation of lights; . . . light structures at forts, . . . memorial lights, lightships; and portraits of keepers (box 69). Most of the photographs are black and white and cyanotypes scattered throughout. They vary in size and most are mounted on cards. . . . Photographs of miscellaneous and foreign lighthouses are in boxes 69 through 71A.
Those who have worked with 26-LG at the Still Pictures Branch at Archives II, College Park, Maryland, may remember that the condition of the photos prevented scanning of the prints or taking them out of their protective mylar, so having them available online is a real boon to lighthouse researchers. It also protects the originals from continued handling and exposure to harmful light.
The images are organized geographically so the first box starts with Maine in the 1st Lighthouse District and goes through each district, ending with Alaska and Hawaii in the 19th Lighthouse District. After that there are a number of boxes of miscellaneous photos that include unidentified lighthouses, some of which, our Facebook fans have been helping to identify. Finally a number of foreign lighthouses are filed at the end of the collection.
Submitted by Candace Clifford, February 22, 2017
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U.S. Lighthouse Society News is produced by the U.S. Lighthouse Society to support lighthouse preservation, history, education and research. Please consider joining the U.S. Lighthouse Society if you are not already a member. If you have items of interest to the lighthouse community and its supporters, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Candace was the US Lighthouse Society historian from 2016 until she passed away in August 2018. She worked for 30 years with lighthouse history. She also worked with the National Parks System, and the Council of American Maritime Museums. She was a noted historical author and the most knowledgable person on lighthouse historical information at the National Archives. Books by Candace Clifford include: Women who Kept the Lights, Mind the Light Katie, a History of Thirty-eight Female Lighthouse Keepers and Maine Lighthouses, Documentation of their Past.