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SPOTLIGHT ON THE LIBRARY
AUGUST 2004

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 Railroad.

This "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 Reporter online

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 boys.

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.

View the Mott collection railroad photographs on the Allegany County Local History Website

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.

David A. Howe Public Library, 155 N. Main St., Wellsville, NY 14895
Phone: 585-593-3410   Fax: 585-593-4176   Email:
wellsville@stls.org