Some six years ago, it was discovered the photographic negatives of the Talbot Historical Society were rapidly deteriorating, some over one hundred years old. Alarmed, the Board of Directors instructed the staff to seek ways to reverse the decline. Experts recommended scanning the negatives using a computer and digital scanner. The negatives would then be saved and could easily be catalogued and stored. A start-up grant from the Mid-Shore Community Foundation enabled two computer workstations, with scanners, to be built. Also, the grant enabled the hiring of contractors to begin the long process as there were nearly 70,000 negatives.
Additional grants were received from the Ruth and Robert St. John Foundation, the Llandaff Family Foundation, and the Talbot County Government . Led by Board Member Cathy Hill, local resident Gary Rockwell was hired to manage the project; his wife, Patti, became the lead scanner, assisted by Allie Selzler and others.
Through many ups and downs, the scanning continued year and year, even during adverse weather and office moves. Recently, the project has been completed with almost all of the 70,000 negatives scanned successfully. Past President Larry Denton said, “Nothing, absolutely nothing, has been more important for the Society than saving the pictorial history of Talbot County. This is an incredible accomplishment and all involved deserve an enormous ‘job well done’. President Richard Trippe, speaking for the Board of Directors, “These photos are not only preserved, but are now catalogued so researches and others can access them routinely.” General Manager Peggy Morey is overseeing the use of the photo collection in the new Hill Research Center, and says activity has been brisk.
The pictorial history of Talbot County has been saved forever – a truly remarkable event!
Former Executive Director
Talbot Historical Society