Portraits from Ipswich at the turn of the 20th Century

Portraits from Ipswich a century ago

In the winter of 2016, Robert Cronin and Bill Barton shared with me their collections of glass plate negatives taken by George Dexter (1862-1927) and Edward Darling (1874 – 1962), two of the earliest Ipswich photographers. The glass plates had been stored away for almost a century, but I was able to develop the negatives into high resolution black and white photos. Jeanne Langmaid Engel’s collection of Darling negatives were donated to the Ipswich Museum, processed by David Stone. Portraits from that collection are included in this slideshow.

Photographs by George Dexter

Photographs by Edward Darling

Edward Darling photos from the Ipswich Museum collection

9 thoughts on “Portraits from Ipswich a century ago”

  1. Does the name Pearce Johnson artist familiar?? Story goes he was a street artist in Ipswich then Boston. 1940’s .

  2. These are amazing! Really enjoyed seeing these. I own an original hand colored photograph, View from Bayberry Hill by George Dexter. It is in its original frame. I enjoy looking at it every day. Perhaps it was used to make the postcards. It would be wonderful if the Ipswich Museum organized a show with all these wonderful photographs documenting Ipswich. I would love to view them all together. Thank you for your blog and keeping Ipswich’s history alive and well!

    1. Thanks, these photos weren’t labeled. George Dexter and Edward Darling had photography studios, and families would come in for portraits. They saved the glass plates to make further prints. Both men left their glass plate negatives with other people to take care of. Dexter’s glass plates were stored in a barn, then stored at an antiques shop, but many of them received water damage when the shop caught on fire.

  3. I worked in Ipswich for nearly 30 years , but lived in Newburyport. I was born, raised and lived all my life in Newburyport , but learned to love Ipswich and, in some ways, I felt. closer to Ipswich than I did to my hometown. For reasons I won’t go into I followed politics in Ipswich and Newburyport quite closely. The selectmen of Ipswich cared for their community much, much more than the councilmen of Newburyport cared for theirs. The citizens of Ipswich felt that this town was their home where-as the citizens of Newburyport felt their community, their home, was a way to make money. If I were able, when I retired, I would have a retired to Ipswich. It is a wonderful town. When ever possible keep it just the way it is. L

    1. Hey George, I’m doing some ancestry research here and came across this site while I was researching the Woundy family from up there. Woundy, Strangman, Perry, Rynolds….any of those ringing any bells?

      Would love to chat if so.

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