ON THE LIBRARY
Have you ever had a casual conversation or received a bit of
information that made a significant difference in your life? For the
library, one perfectly timed letter saved valuable local history
materials. In January 1939, Library Director Helena LeFevre received
information about an estate, which contained hundreds of photographic
glass negatives depicting railroad and area scenes. She wrote to the
executor of the estate. The executor’s written reply said, "I am
selling the entire lot for glass next week, having no other market for
them. As far as I am concerned, they are marketable as glass immediately
as I am getting the final account and discharge as administrator right
away. I was about to take the negatives from their boxes and pack them
for shipment by rail, but if your library is interested in them, I think
we can leave them as they are in numbered and identified boxes."
For ten dollars, the price of salvageable glass, the library
purchased an invaluable slice of local history, which we named the Mott
Collection. George Edward Mott was born in Camden, New Jersey on October
4, 1854. For many years he had a printing business. He moved to Angelica
in 1906. He was a pictorial photographer from 1906 to 1933. In 1913, he
was the official photographer for the Pittsburg Shawmut and Northern
"Spotlight on the Library" article was written by Mary Jacobs,
the David A. Howe Public Library director. Articles are written and published monthly in the
Wellsville Daily Reporter.
Click on a
date below to read an article from the archive.
Click here to
read the Wellsville Daily
|A few months ago,
Donald Baldwin, Jr. borrowed all the glass negatives and printed
photographs. For the first time, the public is now able to view the
whole collection. The photographs show early twentieth century life in
and around Angelica. There are photographs of historic buildings,
floods, early automobiles, machinery and bridges. There are shots of
people farming, logging, hunting, building roads and cutting ice blocks
out of the river. I particularly like the photo of a woman in a long
dress with a pitchfork in her hand working in a hay field with two young
For railroad buffs, the photos of the Pittsburg Shawmut and Northern
Railroad are one of a kind treasure. There are photos of various train
wrecks, railroad stations, viaducts, the railroad yard and shops in
Angelica, engines and cars.
Ron Taylor recently asked the library for permission to place the
railroad photos on his website. He hosts the Allegany County, NY Local
History and Genealogy Site, which can be viewed through a link on the
library’s website (www.davidahowelibrary.org). The historical photos
are now available to everyone on the Internet.
the Mott collection railroad photographs on the Allegany County Local
|For a hundred-year old view of
people and places in Allegany County, ask for the print copies at the main
desk. You may use these photos and all local history reference resources
in the library only.
This page was last updated
December 22, 2005.