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Historical Center to display photography of Walter J. Hussey

July 29, 2012
Times Leader

The Mount Pleasant Home and Garden Tour will be held this year on Aug. 4 and 5. The Mount Pleasant Historical Center, which is on the tour, will feature a new exhibit highlighting the photography of Walter J. Hussey, who was born and spent most of his life in Mount Pleasant. The photographs in this exhibit are representative of images created by Walter Hussey in the 1890s and early 1900s on 5" x 8" glass-plate negatives.

As a young man, Hussey was a photographer and a painter and, in the 1890s, had a studio in Deland, Fla., but later returned to the family farm adjacent to Mount Pleasant where he resided the rest of his life. The farm was acquired by this grandfather, Penrose Hussey (1800-1872), in 1848 from Edwin C. Stanton, Secretary of State in President Abraham Lincoln's cabinet. Penrose's son, Asahel Hussey (1833-1917), remained on the farm where he and his wife raised Walter (1865-1959) and two daughters. Walter married Bess Dickey in 1898 and they raised their five children on the farm.

A collection of the glass-plate negatives created by Hussey was retained by his descendants. This collection contains a diverse group of interesting images of families and friends in and around Mount Pleasant, people on outings in the woods, studio portraits of babies, children and adults, farm animals, and scenes from Washington, D.C. and Florida.

Article Photos

Photo provided
Photographer Walter Hussey takes a self-portrait with a wood camera.

In an effort to permanently preserve these unique glass-plate negatives, a collection of 84 glass-plate negatives was donated by Richard Hussey to the National Museum of American History of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. By donating the glass negatives to the National Museum of American History, the glass negatives are stored under archival conditions and their digitized images are a permanent record in the database of the National Museum's Photographic History Collection under the accession number 2010.0080 and identified as the Walter J. Hussey Negative Collection. These interesting images are available for public use by historians, scholars, authors, or anyone who is interested in a glimpse of early American life.

The Walter J. Hussey Collection in the National Museum now consists of 215 glass-plate negatives with the additional donations of negatives from John Hussey and the Historical Society of Mount Pleasant. The Walter Hussey photographic exhibit in the Mount Pleasant Historical Center includes framed prints, books with prints of most of the images in the Walter J. Hussey Negative Collection, examples of his glass-plate negatives, and one of the antique wood box cameras he used to create the glass-plate negatives. The Historical Center will be open during the tour.



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