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Historical Society displays exhibit of photos chronicling local events

With yesterday's opening of "Practical Photographers: The Rose Family Studio," the Historical Society of Princeton welcomed visitors to its newest exhibit at 158 Nassau Street.

The show features more than 150 photographs from the Rose family commercial studio. The pictures chronicle events in Princeton history from the 1870s to the mid-20th century, according to a Historical Society press release.


Maureen Smyth, Historical Society curator and co-curator of the exhibit, said she felt the pieces were an "immediate way to engage an interest in history."

The historical society acquired the Rose Collection from the University in 1992. For the last 40 years, the more than 9,000 glass plate negatives have been stored in Firestone Library, according to the press release.

In order to reduce the cost of the exhibit, the society primarily displays modern prints of the original negatives, rather than vintage prints, Smyth said.

The exhibition photographs are arranged thematically, with particular areas designated for portraits, sports, architecture, and community events pictures, Smyth said.

University images

The exhibit displays numerous University-related shots, including photos of hockey legend Hobey Baker '17, members of the Triangle Club during performances and the construction of Palmer Stadium.

Smyth said there is no single image that serves as a centerpiece for the exhibit because "everyone would pick something different" as a favorite image, she added.


"It's part of the fun of this show that there's something for everyone," Smyth said.

Some of the figures and buildings in the photos remain unidentified. Smyth added that she encourages visitors to share any information they might have as to the identity of mystery subjects.

The Rose family operated a commercial photography studio on Nassau Street for three generations, from 1873 to 1951.

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