In 2006, Earle G. Shettleworth Jr., Director of the Maine Historic Preservation Commission and State Historian, made a generous gift to MHS of nearly 200 cased photographs. Named The Vickery-Shettleworth Collection of Early Maine Photography, many of the items belonged to collector and historian James B. Vickery of Bangor.
Included in the gift, made over a period of time, were daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, and tintypes all of Maine subjects, or taken by Maine photographers. This extraordinary donation of significant materials document a period from around 1840 through 1860, when photography was newly introduced in Maine and the United States. Most of the images are portraits and record the faces of governors, statesmen, artists, historians, and everyday people of the state.
In 2020, Kathy Amoroso, our Manager of Information Technology, found a random, undated cassette in the AV room in the back of our Shettleworth Lecture Hall. It was labelled “Earle’s presentation of Early Photos.” After sharing this with Jamie Rice, MHS Deputy Director, she authorized us to buy equipment so we could digitize this cassette and others in the future.
With a bit of research in past program brochures, Kathy discovered that the audio recording was from a slide presentation given by Earle about the historic photographs back in 2006. Over nearly a year, Kathy was able to recreate a PowerPoint file based on what he said in the recording — reaching back into the original image scans — and editing the image to match the audio. Soon after, with the help of Nancy Noble, MHS Archivist and Cataloger, we discovered that the talk was a lecture Earle gave shortly after he promised the collection to MHS back in 2006. Nancy discovered it was given on November 15, 2006, and Kathy was able to view her email archive to confirm that it was indeed a lecture for 60 people who were in the “Friends of Collections” group at MHS.
After completing the editing of the video version, she collaborated with Earle to confirm that the images correctly lined up with his talk. Earle actually had his original notes from that lecture!
Finally, we now have the 2006 presentation in video form. Enjoy Earle Shettleworth, Jr. talk about the great Vickery-Shettleworth Early Maine Photography Collection. You can also view other talks by Earle and numerous state, regional, and national speakers on our “On Demand” programs and podcasts 24/7 from your device, or via MHS’ YouTube Channel.