New England Photographic Archive is the Photographic Preservation Center's virtual archive of images from glass plate negatives.  The photographs are presented as an introduction to the institutions that physically house the glass plates.  Please visit the museums, libraries and historical societies that safeguard these historic images that document our cultural heritage. All items within The New England Photographic Archive are copyrighted.

This collection of glass plate negatives was discovered in an attic in a house in Provincetown, Massachusetts.  The collection, 88, 4X5 glass plate negatives, documents the life of one family in Provincetown and their connection with Arlington Heights and Wrentham Massachusetts.  The images are examples of a growing genre of photography, family snap shots, brought about by improvements in cameras, faster emulsions and readily available photographic supplies. The faster emulsion enabled the “hand snap” photograph, allowing photographers the freedom of taking photographs without using a tripod.   

The dates of the collection, 1889-1908 was determined by several factors; one the Provincetown skyline is without the Plymouth Monument (, and the boxes that held the undeveloped glass plates are from the Stanley Dry Plate Company of Newton MA and the Hammer Dry Plate Compan, St. Louis MO.  Both companies ceased manufacturing glass plates by 1906 when Kodak bought them out.

The collection serves as basis for a living history as we discover more about the life of this family, where they lived, played, worked and their ancestry.