Boston Camera Club

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Exhibition room of the Boston Camera Club, 50 Bromfield St., circa 1893.

The Boston Camera Club is the leading amateur photographic organization in Boston, Massachusetts and vicinity. Founded in 1881, it offers activities of interest to amateur photographers, particularly digital photography. It meets weekly from September to June and is open to the public.


Photography was introduced publicly in 1839. For some decades, practice involved laborious daguerreotype followed by wet-plate and other processes. Amateur photography in the United States received its first major impetus in 1880, when the future Eastman Kodak Co. and others introduced dry platesglass plates with chemical emulsion already applied. In 1888 Kodak introduced the first flexible roll photographic medium—first paper and soon film—and third-party processing. These innovations brought photography to the masses. Still, professionals and advanced amateurs typically continued to use glass plates until the early 20th century, when film was finally accepted. Throughout the chemistry-based photography era, third-party processing and printing were typically prohibited in camera clubs, except later in the 20th century for color photographs. Today most photography, including in clubs, is digital.

Boston Society of Amateur Photographers, 1881[edit]

The club known today as the Boston Camera Club was founded October 7, 1881 in Boston, Massachusetts as the Boston Society of Amateur Photographers. It is the oldest continuously extant camera club in the United States founded primarily by amateurs, and the second-oldest camera club in the U.S.[1] Present at the October 7 meeting were F. H. Blair, James M. Codman, W. C. Greenough, A. P. Howard, Lucius L. Hubbard, Frederick Ober, and John H. Thurston, with Thurston having the most active role. At first, temporary officers were elected. The seven men were joined on November 18, 1881 by James F. Babcock, William T. Brigham, Wilfred A. French, William A. Hovey and others, at which time permanent officers were elected—Brigham president, Babcock vice president, and French secretary and treasurer. Initially the club met in the offices of the Boston Sunday Budget. Later it met at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, located at the time in Boston.

Boston Camera Club, 1886[edit]

As amateur photography in the United States became more widespread, in 1886 the club changed its name to Boston Camera Club. On April 6, 1887 it incorporated in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, as the state styles itself, under the new name, stating as its purpose the furthering of "the knowledge of photography in all its branches and the promotion of social intercourse among the amateur photographers of Boston and vicinity."[2] The first president of the incorporated club was George Edward Cabot, who served 1886–1890.

50 Bromfield Street[edit]

In 1886 the Boston Camera Club rented permanent headquarters at 50 Bromfield Street, Boston. It may have been selected by being the place of business of both club founder Thurston and early vice president Charles Henry Currier.[3] It was also conveniently located near downtown photo-supply stores. The club had eight rooms:

"Boston Types — Miss H" by Walter G. Chase, Boston Camera Club, circa 1896. Exhibited in the 1896 Washington Salon and Art Photographic Exhibition, Washington DC.
There is a well-selected library ...; a large exhibition gallery ...; a studio ... fitted with screens, cameras, and 2 of the finest Dallmeyer portrait lenses, also a fine double stereopticon; an enlarging room, with apparatus for making bromide enlargements, enlarged negatives and lantern slides by the use of an electric arc light; dark rooms ...[4]

Apparently the building had an elevator. At 50 Bromfield, the club held public exhibitions of photography featuring works by its members and guest photographers.

Early 20th-century difficulties[edit]

For reasons begging research, in 1913 difficulties arose. Minutes of that year by longtime club secretary Thurston show membership in the club had fallen off, and its uncertain future was under discussion. Business meetings continued, but apparently far fewer regular meetings were held. The club was kept alive by Frank Roy Fraprie (FRAY-pree), Phineas Hubbard (president 1908–1913, possibly longer), Horace A. Latimer, and the aging Thurston. The club, it is believed in 1924, left its longstanding 50 Bromfield Street location, and for some years it met at the Boston Young Men's Christian Union (YMCU). Amateur photography in Boston now seems to have been dominated by three entities: the Boston YMCU Camera Club (a different entity than Boston Camera Club's meetings at YMCU), extant from 1908 to at least the 1920s;[5] Boston Photo-Clan—extant by 1912 and apparently defunct by about 1921—dominated by Boston professional photographer John H. Garo at whose studio it met;[6] and The Society of Arts and Crafts, Boston.

Horace A. Latimer bequest, 1931[edit]

In 1931 a bequest by longtime club member Horace A. Latimer of Boston, an independently wealthy amateur photographer of some renown, for reasons not yet fully understood, profoundly reinvigorated the Boston Camera Club.[7] Membership rebounded, reaching 286 in 1946. With the funds the club would purchase new headquarters. First, however, it moved to 330 Newbury Street, in the Back Bay section of Boston.

351A Newbury Street, 1934–1980[edit]

In 1934, with part of Horace Latimer's bequest the Boston Camera Club purchased and moved into another building, at nearby 351A Newbury Street, Back Bay. The club occupied three floors. There were a large and small exhibition gallery, darkroom, library, and kitchen. Public exhibitions of photography resumed. For tax purposes, in 1946 the club decided to sell no. 351A and remain in the building as a lessee.[8] Growth continued apace, reaching 555 in 1959—492 regular, 51 associate or corresponding,[9] and 4 honorary members—a size maintained for perhaps two decades. Besides post-war prosperity, the growth was attributable to introduction of 35mm film by Kodak in the 1930s, and single lens reflex (SLR) 35mm cameras by Nikon, Pentax and others in the 1960s. In this era, enthusiasts often sought instruction in camera use by joining a camera club.

Brookline, Massachusetts, 1980–present[edit]

Because of the owner's pending sale of the building, in 1980 the Boston Camera Club had to vacate 351A Newbury Street. For the first time the club left Boston, relocating to the adjacent town of Brookline, Mass. In 1997 it had to relocate again, moving across town to its present location, still in Brookline.

Meanwhile, for the second time in its history, in the 1980s to 1990s membership declined dramatically. The trend was attributable to a number of factors—camera automation, for example autofocus and programmed exposure which reduced the need for user training; the advent of consumer video; and changing social mores. Since about 2000, membership has increased again to about 150 today, due in large part to the club's emphasis on digital photography.[10]


The exhibition history of the Boston Camera Club is long and somewhat complex. The club has hosted several species of shows: exhibitions by its members, joint shows with other camera clubs, exhibitions by outside photographers and camera clubs, and salons—judged competitive exhibitions of photography open to the international public.

Member exhibitions, 1880s–1910[edit]

About 1883 the Boston Society of Amateur Photographers, as the club was first known, held its first exhibition at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an unusually large show of some 700 prints. The second exhibition in 1884 was held at the Boston Art Club. The third exhibition, in 1885, included male nudes, which raised eyebrows in conservative Boston.[11] In 1892 the club exhibited in the long-running triennial exhibition of the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association.[12] In 1893, judges in the club's annual exhibition included American painter Edmund C. Tarbell, and major Boston photograph studio owner and club honorary member Frank Rowell.[13] In the club's seventh and tenth member exhibitions in 1895 and 1898, member Emma D. Sewall received the top award.[14] In the 1898 show club members Sarah Jane Eddy, and painter and member of the Photo-Secession Sarah Choate Sears, were prominent.[15]

In 1900 the Boston Camera Club held an exhibition by prominent Boston photographer and member Fred Holland Day. In 1904 it exhibited its members' work at Day's studio in Boston.[16] The same year the club helped organize, and exhibited in, a photograph exhibition at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, the St. Louis World's Fair. The club's annual show of 1910, which photographic journal Photo-Era called the club's "best for many years," had prints by Eddy, Frank R. Fraprie, Horace A. Latimer, and Joseph Prince Loud.[17] The 1910 exhibition is the last known to be held by the club until 1932, when it launched the Boston Salon.

Joint Exhibitions of Photography, 1887–1894[edit]

Meanwhile, Joint Exhibitions of Photography were held, sponsored jointly by the Boston Camera Club, Photographic Society of Philadelphia, and Society of Amateur Photographers of New York,[18] with the venue rotating annually among the three cities. The Boston club participated in the first seven exhibitions, from 1887 to 1894. At first, all three clubs shared in the preparation for each show. In the first Joint Exhibition, held in New York City in 1887, Joseph Prince Loud and Horace A. Latimer received the Boston club's only diplomas. In the third Joint Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1889, Boston was represented by Wilfred A. French; Horace Latimer, the club's only award winner; and William Garrison Reed.[19] Starting with the fourth Joint Exhibition in New York City in 1891, collaborative preparation ended and each club individually ran the exhibition in the city in which it was held. In the 1891 exhibition Latimer exhibited the most prints from the Boston club. The fifth Joint Exhibition, held at the Boston Art Club in 1892, was a large show of 600 objects including 18 prints by Alfred Stieglitz, future founder of the Photo-Secession, and 45 prints by Boston Camera Club member and Bell telephone pioneer Francis Blake, Jr. Of the sixth Joint Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1893, Stieglitz said, "It was, without doubt, the finest exhibition of photographs ever held in the United States, and probably was but once excelled in any country."[20] After the seventh exhibition in 1894, the Boston Camera Club withdrew from the Joint Exhibitions, citing lack of manpower.

First salon series[edit]

The Boston Camera Club has had two series of photographic salons, or competitive exhibitions. The first series was held in the first decade of the 20th century, probably for only a few years. Presently only the second salon, held in 1906, has been identified.[21]

Boston Salon (International Exhibition) of Photography, 1932–1981[edit]

As part of its revival by Horace Latimer's 1931 bequest, in 1932 the club launched an international competition, the Boston Salon of Photography, held almost annually for the better part of the next five decades.[22] In 1953 it was renamed the Boston International Exhibition of Photography, although informally it was often still called the "Boston salon." Also in 1953, the Frank R. Fraprie Memorial Medal was created in recognition of Fraprie's role, along with Horace Latimer, in having kept the club alive in the difficult years of 1913–1930.

At first, the club's competitions were limited to black-and-white prints. Starting in the 1954 International Exhibition, color slides (transparencies) were admitted as well. From 1959 a color print section was added. The 43rd and last exhibition was held in 1981, the club's centenary year. In discontinuing the international exhibitions, again the club cited lack of manpower. Whereas earlier salons typically received hundreds of entries each, the 1981 exhibition required a man-year of labor to process almost 3,300 prints and slides.[23]

Entrants of note in the Boston Salon and International Exhibition over the years included Croatian photographer Tošo Dabac, the 1937 medal winner. Competing by the 9th Salon in 1940 were Eleanor Parke Custis, and lifelong amateur photographer, future U.S. Senator, and presidential candidate Barry Goldwater. Noted pictorialist and longtime Baltimore Sun photographer A. Aubrey Bodine, who was competing by 1944, was awarded the first Fraprie medal in 1953, which he won again in 1955 and 1959. Also competing in this era was 1940s pictorialist Rowena Fruth. There was also longtime competitor Wellington Lee, who competed from 1950 to the last salon in 1981; Hong Kong-American photo prodigy, actor and director Ho Fan (Fan Ho) who first competed in 1954 at age 17; and Mexican cinema director José Lorenzo Zakany Almada, who won the Boston Camera Club Medal in 1968.[24]

Exhibition judges included club members Cecil B. Atwater; Leonard Craske; Custis (1943–1957); John W. Doscher; Adolf Fassbender; Franklin I. Jordan; L. Whitney Standish; John H. Vondell; and Henry F. Weisenburger. Guest judges included Bodine (1964) and etcher Arthur William Heintzelman, first keeper of prints at Boston Public Library.[25]

Guest exhibitors[edit]

From the late 19th to at least the mid-20th century, the Boston Camera Club had exhibitions by prominent outside photographers. About 1890 it exhibited the work of English pioneer photographer Henry Peach Robinson. In 1896 the club showed work by Alfred Stieglitz. Also in 1906, it exhibited 150 photographs by Gertrude Käsebier.[26] In 1899 the club showed work by Frances Benjamin Johnston.[27] That year it also exhibited the work of Clarence White, organized and hung by Fred Holland Day.[28] About this time the club exhibited work by Rudolph Dührkoop. There were other exhibitions by lesser-known photographers.[29]

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, U.S. camera clubs mounted exhibitions of each other's work. In 1908 the Boston club exhibited works from the Buffalo (New York), Capitol (Washington, D.C.), and Portland (Maine) Camera Clubs.

In 1940 the Boston Camera Club exhibited the work of Edward Weston.[30] In 1950 it showed work by Paul Gittings, Sr. In 1953 it exhibited work of the 1840s of Scottish pioneers David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson (Hill and Adamson).

Later exhibitions[edit]

After the Boston Camera Club's revival in 1931, it moved temporarily to 330 Newbury Street, Boston. It is unknown whether this space had an exhibition room. The club's permanent facility at 351A Newbury Street, purchased in 1934, had a large gallery. Public exhibitions of outsiders' work in this period were mentioned; member shows have not been identified. Since 1980 when the club left no. 351A, it has had no gallery space, all member shows being held at other venues in the Boston area. The Boston Camera Club had exhibitions at Boston City Hall in 1993; Griffin Museum of Photography, 1997; Boston's Hynes Convention Center, 2004; art and photo studios;[31] and camera stores in the Boston area.


In discharging the mandate of its 1887 state charter to promulgate "the knowledge of photography," for most of its existence the Boston Camera Club has sponsored lectures, courses and programs by expert members and guests. In 1890 member Francis Blake, Jr. read to the club an important paper on camera shutters, in which he did pioneering work.[32] In 1895 member Owen A. Eames presented his Eames Animatoscope, an early motion picture device (although one source says: "It is unlikely that projection was attempted.")[33] In 1897 Friedrich von Voigtländer, head of the Austrian optical firm of that surname, spoke to the club. In 1904 Fred Holland Day presented a paper for which he was well known, "Is Photography a Fine Art?" There were many other lecturers in the club's early years.[34]

Guest speakers at the club for much of the 20th century have not been identified. In the 1970s and 1980s the Boston Camera Club had presentations by Marie Cosindas and Minor White. In the 1990s it sponsored day-long courses by Lou Jones, Frans Lanting, John Sexton, and others. Boston-area professionals such as staff photographers of The Boston Globe and The Boston Herald, and instructors in Boston's New England School of Photography and other institutions, have long been regular club presenters and competition judges. Since the latter 1990s, the Boston Camera Club regularly has had lectures and field trips in digital photography.

Other activities[edit]

About 1888, a group of photographers, possibly the Boston Camera Club including member William Garrison Reed, undertook the Old Boston project, a "survey of buildings and farms for local archives," whose photographs, owned by the Boston Public Library, were rediscovered in 2007.[35]

During the 1890s members of the club pursued stereo, or 3–D, photography. Lantern slides, the forerunner of 20th-century color slides, were popular at the time as well. In the 1940s the club undertook "entertainment and instruction of disabled veterans of World War II ... sponsor[ing] a camera club at one of the large Army convalescent hospitals nearby."[36] In the 1950s and 1960s the club had a movie group and owned a Bell & Howell movie projector.

Prominent members[edit]

Because the club was founded before amateur photography was widespread, many early members were advanced practitioners, a handful even making a few advances of their own in photo technology. Even after photography became more consumer-friendly in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, club members continued to attract notice. By the early 1890s—the exact year begs research—the Boston Camera Club began awarding honorary life membership on two classes of deserving individuals: its own members giving extraordinary service to the club, and outside personalities in the Boston area for signal achievement in photography.

19th century[edit]

Among the founders of the Boston Society of Amateur Photographers, as the Boston Camera Club was known until 1886, some were noted locally, even nationally. First permanent vice president of the club James F. Babcock was a well-known Boston chemist and science lecturer who held several U.S. patents. First permanent secretary and treasurer Wilfred A. French, son of daguerreotypist Benjamin French, was a Boston photographer and photo supplier; editor and publisher of Photo-Era: The American Journal of Photography, a leading journal in the field; and a founding member of a group called the National Historic Picture Guild.[37] Club co-founder John H. Thurston, whose business was co-located at its 50 Bromfield St. address, was a Boston photo supplier as well.[38] Early vice president Charles Henry Currier was a Boston jeweler and commercial photographer also based at 50 Bromfield.[39]

Prominent in the early club were Emma J. Fitz,[40] Maine photography pioneer Emma D. Sewall,[41] and painter Sarah Jane Eddy.[42] Honorary member George Edward Cabot, first president of the club after its incorporation in 1886, was a partner in the Holtzer-Cabot electric car company, Boston. Another early honorary member was late-19th century traveling lecturer Antonie Stölle, who presented innovative color slide-illustrated lectures on works of art.[43] Boston professional portrait photographer Frank Rowell, an honorary member, was previously mentioned.

The Boston Camera Club counted two astronomers among its members, Percival Lowell and honorary member William Henry Pickering, the latter an astrophotographer who discovered Saturn's moon Phoebe, worked on faster shutters for nighttime work, and furthered the cause of women in astronomy.[44]

Painter, photographer, Boston arts patron and club member Sarah Choate Sears was named a Member of the Photo-Secession by Alfred Stieglitz. In 1899 she had a solo exhibition at the club that included a portrait of Julia Ward Howe. The same year she showed in the second Boston Arts and Crafts Exhibition.[45]

Two collaborators of Alexander Graham Bell were honorary members of the Boston Camera Club. One is the club's earliest (1892) known honorary member, Prof. Charles "Charlie" Robert Cross, believed to have taught the first electrical engineering course in the U.S., at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1882–1883. The other was inventor and club vice president Francis Blake, Jr., believed to have substantially helped the club financially in its early years. Blake's 1877 microphone was apparently the key component enabling Bell's to become the predominant telephone brand in the U.S. As a camera shutter pioneer Blake achieved speeds of 1/2,000 second by 1890.[46]

In 1896 a print by Horace A. Latimer was shown in an exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution. Latimer is the only known Boston Camera Club member published in Camera Notes, the official publication of The Camera Club of New York, of which he was a member as well.[47] The wealthy amateur Boston photographer whose 1931 bequest revived the fortunes of the Boston Camera Club, Latimer is the club's best-remembered early member today. Among his interests were yachting photography and international travel photography.

Boston photographer, publisher, esthete, and Boston Camera Club member Fred Holland Day, once associated with the Photo-Secession, judged at least one exhibition at the Boston Camera Club, in 1906.[48]

20th and 21st centuries[edit]

In the early 20th century three members of the Boston Camera Club were well-known authors and publishers of photography. Wilfred A. French was mentioned. The prolific Frank Roy Fraprie was head of American Photographic Publishing Co. and editor of annuals The American Amateur Photographer and American Annual of Photography. Honorary member Franklin Ingalls "Pop" Jordan was a photographic author and editor. Another personality, Adolf "Papa" Fassbender, the German-born New York City-based educator called a "one-man photographic institution," had a career of 72 years training thousands in photography. Another noted photographer was Lillian Baynes Griffin, an associate, or corresponding, member of the club, who joined in 1906.[49]

The Boston Camera Club had members who were non-photographic artists of note practicing photography secondarily. They include Gloucester Fisherman's Memorial sculptor Leonard Craske (KRASK); prolific Cape Ann, Massachusetts artist, photographer and author Samuel V. Chamberlain, an honorary member who wrote at least 45 photo-illustrated travel books;[50] painter Emil Albert Gruppé; and post-Secessionist photographer and watercolorist Eleanor Parke Custis.[51]

Amateur photographer, photographic author and publisher, and honorary club member Arthur Hammond (1880–1962) won top prize from organizers of the 1939 New York World's Fair for his photo of the fair's icons, the Trylon and Perisphere. Architect, amateur photographer and author L. Whitney "Whit" Standish, president of the club in 1939–1942, was an influential honorary member who helped organize its weekly meetings, competitions, educational courses, and newsletter.[52]

One of the most well-known figures in 20th-century photography, U.S. National Medal of Science (1973) recipient, Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor, and Boston Camera Club honorary member Harold Eugene "Doc" Edgerton greatly advanced the photographic strobe by achieving exposure times of one-millionth of a second, and took the well-known Life magazine photographs of a bullet penetrating an apple, and an impact crown of milk droplets. Lesser known are his night aerial strobe work for the Allied D-Day invasion in World War II, his co-founding of defense contractor EG&G, and his undersea explorations with Jacques Cousteau.[53]

At least five persons named club honorary members in the 1970s–2000s had achievements of note. Henry Bradford Washburn, Jr. was a mountaineer, cartographer, aerial photographer, and longtime first director of the Boston Museum of Science.[54] Photojournalist Arthur Leo Griffin was the best-known photographer of New England scenes in the mid-20th century.[55] Aeronautical engineer Henry F. Weisenburger, club president 1965–1967, who has practiced photography since the 1940s and joined the club in 1954, is arguably the longest-active living exponent of amateur photography in New England, having instructed many in the field. In 1959 Leslie A. Campbell was founder of Massachusetts Camera Naturalists, a nature photography group. Lou Jones is a Boston-based commercial, Olympic Games, and jazz photographer; a photojournalist whose books include Final Exposure: Portraits from Death Row (1996); and a photography educator.[56]


Boston Camera Club members have had connections with outside organizations. Francis Blake, Jr. (1881), William Henry Pickering (1883), Percival Lowell (1892), and Harold Eugene Edgerton (1956) were Fellows of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.[57] Cecil B. Atwater, Eleanor Parke Custis, John W. Doscher, Adolf Fassbender, Rowena Fruth, Barbara Green, Arthur Hammond, Franklin I. Jordan, Charles B. Phelps, Jr., L. Whitney Standish, John H. Vondell, Edmund A. Woodle, and Richard Yee have been Fellows of the Photographic Society of America. Frank R. Fraprie and Allen G. Stimson were Honorary Fellows; many other club members have been Associates. Atwater, Doscher, Fassbender, Green, Hammond, Jordan, and Yee have been Fellows of the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain, Fraprie Honorary Fellow. Roydon (Roy) Burke was, and Henry F. Weisenburger is, a Master Member of the New England Camera Club Council. Professional photographers Arthur Griffin and Lou Jones have belonged to the American Society of Media Photographers (Griffin charter member,[58] Jones board of directors).

Holdings of members' work[edit]

The U.S. Library of Congress has major holdings of the work of at least two Boston Camera Club members. Photographs of Middle Class Life in Boston, 1890s–1910s is a collection of 523 photographs by Charles Henry Currier.[59] The Library also holds the largest number of photographs of Fred Holland Day.[60] There are substantial institutional holdings of the photographs of Francis Blake, Jr.; Eleanor Parke Custis; Harold E. Edgerton; Adolf Fassbender; Arthur Griffin by his Griffin Museum of Photography;[61] Emil Albert Gruppé; Sarah Choate Sears by Harvard University; L. Whitney Standish; H. Bradford Washburn; Henry F. Weisenburger by University of Florida, Gainesville; and others.[62]


As it has for most of its existence, the Boston Camera Club meets weekly. Meetings are held at 1773 Beacon Street, Brookline, Massachusetts every Tuesday evening from September to June. Guests are welcome.

The club's primary emphasis is on digital photography. Activities range from beginner to advanced and comprise education; print competitions and critique;[63] formal, live-model portrait sessions; field trips; and inter-club competitions. Outside speakers and competition judges are regularly invited. The club communicates through its website and newsletter, The Reflector, launched in 1938 and published electronically.

The Boston Camera Club, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational corporation registered in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is a member of New England Camera Club Council and Photographic Society of America.

Early records of the Boston Camera Club, from 1881 to 1942, are held by the Boston Athenaeum and are available to researchers by appointment.

Image gallery[edit]

See also[edit]


BCC denotes Boston Camera Club:

  1. ^ The oldest continuously extant camera club in the U.S. is the Photographic Society of Philadelphia, founded in 1862 and hence 19 years older than BCC. It is said to have comprised mostly professionals at the time of its founding; presumably it had some amateur members. The first-ever amateur photographic organization in the U.S. was the Amateur Photographic Exchange Club, New York City, extant 1861–1863, and revived twice in the later 20th c. Patricia J. Fanning says: "In 1880 there were fewer than 10 photographic clubs in the United States, most of which were populated by professionals." (Through an Uncommon Lens: The Life and Photography of F. Holland Day. Amherst, MA: Univ. Mass. Press, 2008, p.66).
  2. ^ BCC, Notice of First Meeting, Feb. 3, 1887. Commonwealth of Mass, "Religious, etc. Corporations / Certificate of Organization" under Mass. Public Statutes, ch. 115, sec. 4, etc., Feb. 25, 1887. BCC, "Constitution, By-Laws and Rules," 1896.
  3. ^ Boston Almanac and Business Directory, 1891. King's How to See Boston: A Trustworthy Guide Book, 1895. Polito, p.171. From the late 19th to nearly the end of the 20th century, Bromfield Street was Boston's prime camera retail district.
  4. ^ The Photographic Times: An Illustrated Monthly, Feb. 1901.
  5. ^ As of 1920 Boston YMCU Camera Club had 82 members. Photo-Era, v.44, n.4, Apr. 1920, p.214.
  6. ^ American Photography, v.8, n.12, Dec. 1914, p.742, Google Books.
  7. ^ State of Maine. Last Will and Testament of Horace A. Latimer, Oct. 19, 1931. Latimer also bequeathed money to the Portland (Maine) Camera Club, founded in 1899, as a result of which, as with BCC, it prospered and is still extant.
  8. ^ BCC, succession of 5-year leases, June 1, 1946 ff.
  9. ^ Starting probably in the 19th and ending in the early 21st c., the club had regular and associate members—corresponding members living beyond a 25-mile radius of Boston and paying half dues.
  10. ^ The first discussion and vote by the club on whether to allow digital images in its competitions were held in June 1995.
  11. ^ Robinson, p.143.
  12. ^ Mass. Charitable Mechanic Assn., Report of the Eighteenth Triennial Exhibition, Boston, 1893, pp.175–181.
  13. ^ Kimball (see references), 1893, p.192.
  14. ^ "Boston Camera Club," New York Times, Apr. 14, 1895, p.13.
  15. ^ W. Albert Hickman, "A Recent Exhibition: Tenth Annual Composition Exhibition, 1898. Boston Camera Club," Photo-Era, v.1, n.1, May 1898, pp.11–13.
  16. ^ Fanning, p.138.
  17. ^ Photo-Era, v.25, n.1, July 1910, pp.48–49. Highlights from the show in: v.25, n.2, Aug. 1910.
  18. ^ In 1896 subsumed into The Camera Club of New York.
  19. ^ Loud, club president 1897–1901. In 1884 Reed, club treasurer 1886–1890, photographed sites in eastern North Carolina of interest to the 44th Massachusetts Regiment, in which he served in the Civil War. He also participated in the club's Old Boston project of photographing Boston's historic buildings.
  20. ^ Alfred Stieglitz, "The Joint Exhibition at Philadelphia," The American Amateur Photographer, v.5, 1893, p.201.
  21. ^ "Second Salon of the Boston Camera Club," Boston Daily Globe, May 13, 1906, p.41.
  22. ^ Boston Art Club and BCC, Catalogue of the Third (First International) Salon, 1934. The title suggests the salon started in 1932 and had its first overseas competitors in 1934.
  23. ^ For example, in the 1940 9th salon, the club received 1,747 prints from 457 entrants, from which 397 prints by 259 persons were accepted—although the introductory remarks note these figures were far higher than the norm. By contrast, in 1981 3,291 entries were received from 788 entrants, of which 768 entries by 457 persons were accepted. The effort was led by former club president (1976–1979) and honorary member David F. Rodd and then-president (1980–1982) Daniel D. R. Charbonnet.
  24. ^ Bodine. See Fan Ho at IMDb. See José Lorenzo Zakany Almada at IMDb.
  25. ^ Atwater was club president from 1942 to at least 1944.
  26. ^ Anthony's Photographic Bulletin, 1890.
  27. ^ Photo Era, v.2, n.4, Mar. 1899, p.260.
  28. ^ Fanning, p.149.
  29. ^ For example, in 1907 there were exhibitions by C. F. Clarke; Wendell G. Corthell; and Frederick Haven Pratt of Worcester, Mass., a physiologist who, like the club's Sarah Choate Sears, was a Member of the Photo-Secession. See; Fanning, p.150. Also shown in 1907 were Civil War photographs by Capt. D. Eldredge. American Amateur Photographer and Camera & Dark-room, 1907.
  30. ^ American Photography. Jan. 1941, p.73.
  31. ^ "Brookline Arts Center Welcomes the Boston Camera Club in a Member Showcase Exhibition," Brookline HUB, Tuesday, Mar. 22, 2011.
  32. ^ Francis Blake, Jr. "Photographic Shutters." The paper, read before the Boston Camera Club Apr. 14, 1890, is believed to have been Blake's first public description of his achievements in high-speed photography. See Further reading, below.
  33. ^ Who's Who of Victorian Cinema. Eames, BCC treasurer 1894–1896.
  34. ^ Early lecturers at the club included Charles Currier of the Pacific Coast Amateur Photographic Assn. and S. Henry Hooper in 1890, Philip Clarkson in 1906, animal photographer Ernest Harold Baynes in 1908, and H. R. Jackson in 1909. Respectively: "Camera and Dry Plate: Public Entertainment by the Boston Camera Club," Boston Daily Globe, Feb. 17, 1890, p.6; "Boston Camera Club," Boston Daily Globe, Nov. 11, 1890, p.4; "Color Photography: Philip S. Clarkson of New York Gives Interesting Talk and Demonstration at Boston Camera Club," Boston Daily Globe, Dec. 7, 1906, p.2; Photo-era, v.20, 1908;
  35. ^ Marsha Peters and Bernard Mergen, "Doing the Rest: The Uses of Photographs in American Studies," American Quarterl,. v.29, n.3, 1977, p.281. See a description and illustrations by the Boston Public Library of several of the Old Boston photos.
  36. ^ Hillyer; see Further reading.
  37. ^ Wilfred A. French was editor of Photo-Era from no later than 1908 until 1921. Robinson, p.126; Polito, pp.63, 167. In 1899 Photo-Era stated it would be the official organ of both the Boston Camera Club and Harvard University Camera Club. The effort seems to have been short-lived; announcements of BCC activities stopped by 1910. Photo-Era, v.2, n.2, Jan. 1899, p.203.
  38. ^ Polito, pp.171, 176.
  39. ^ Robinson, p.135 claims: "Of all New England's commercial photographers, the most gifted was Charles H. Currier …" See also pp.135–137, 223.
  40. ^ "Miss Emma J. Fitz," Richard Hines, Jr., "Women and Photography," The American Amateur Photographer, v.11, n.3, Mar. 1899, pp.122–123.
  41. ^ Abbie Sewall. Message through Time: The Photographs of Emma D. Sewall, 1836–1919. Gardiner, ME: Harpwell Press, 1989.
  42. ^ "Miss Sarah J. Eddy," Hines, pp.121–122. Eddy, a friend of Susan B. Anthony, painted portraits of her (1901 or 1902) and Frederick Douglass.
  43. ^ "Colored Lantern Slides: Fraulein Stolle's Reproduction of Famous Works of Art: Tones and Colors All Preserved: Process Discovered by Accident after Unavailing Study: Interesting Reminiscences of Work Abroad," New York Times, Nov. 24, 1895, p.A20.
  44. ^ See Lowell in Clark's Boston Blue Book, 1895. For Pickering see Robinson, pp.106–107, 230.
  45. ^ Member was the lowest of three ranks in the Photo-Secession, beneath Associate and Fellow. See also Photo-Era. v.2, n.4, Mar. 1899. pp.260–261.
  46. ^ See a portrait of, and a photograph by, Blake in Polito, facing p.497. See also The Francis Blake Laboratory Collection at Techantiques. Archived 2008-05-15 at the Wayback Machine
  47. ^ Two photos by Latimer appeared in Camera Notes, edited by Alfred Stieglitz—one in Oct. 1901; the other, "Water Carrier, Cuba" was the frontispiece in Oct. 1902.
  48. ^ An interesting artifact is a photograph copy of a circa-1891 receipt for $15 dues for club membership from Fred Holland Day, signed by F. Alcott Pratt. Collection BCC. Frederick Alcott Pratt, treasurer of the club 1891–1893, was a nephew of Louisa May Alcott and trustee of her literary estate. F. Alcott Pratt. "An Experience with Paper Negatives." The American Amateur Photographer, v.1, n.6, Dec. 1889, pp.256–257. See also Fanning, p.157; Polito, p.397.
  49. ^ For Fraprie see Robinson, pp.185, 186. For Fassbender see Christian A. Peterson [et al.?], The Pictorial Artistry of Adolf Fassbender. [Intl. Photography Hall of Fame and Museum?], 1994. BCC minutes, 1906, record Griffin joining the club.
  50. ^ Robinson, pp.193–194, 221.
  51. ^ Jack Wright. "PSA Personalities: Eleanor Parke Custis, FPSA." Journal of the Photographic Soc. of America, v.11, n.10, Dec. 1945, pp.549–550. Eleanor Parke Custis, 1897–1983: Retrospective Exhibition, May 24 – June 21, 1986, Cambridge, MA: James R. Bakker Antiques, c.1986.
  52. ^ Arthur Hammond, "Semi-Lunar," silver gelatin print, circa 1939, collection BCC.
  53. ^ Harold Eugene Edgerton, Engineering and Technology History Wiki. Roger R. Bruce, editor, 'Seeing the Unseen: Dr. Harold E. Edgerton and the Wonders of Strobe Alley, exhibition catalog, Rochester, NY: George Eastman House; Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1994. EG&G, the 'E' in whose name denoted 'E'dgerton, is now URS Federal Services.
  54. ^ Katharine Wroth, "High Art: The Astonishing Life & Work of Brad Washburn," Appalachian Mountain Club Outdoors (AMC Outdoors), Mar. 2004, pp.26–33.
  55. ^ Arthur Griffin had photographs on the cover of Life and Time; had the first color photos in The Boston Globe, The Saturday Evening Post and Yankee; published photograph books on New England in collaboration with well-known authors; and in 1992 opened his Boston-area Griffin Museum of Photography.
  56. ^ Lou Jones, "Final Exposure: Portraits from Death Row," The Museum of The National Center of Afro-American Artists, 2003. Jones website.
  57. ^ Boston Camera Club salon judge, etcher Arthur William Heintzelman, was (1958) a Fellow as well. Amer. Acad. of Arts & Sciences.
  58. ^ Peter Skinner, "A Legend's Legacy: Arthur Griffin Gives $10,000 to ASMP Foundation," Archived 2010-06-15 at the Wayback Machine American Soc. of Media Photographers Bulletin (ASMP Bulletin), Nov. 2000, pp.6–7.
  59. ^ Photographs by Currier at Library of Congress, LCCN 2004-681335.
  60. ^ The Library of Congress catalog has 697 entries on Fred Holland Day, mostly individual photographs.
  61. ^ To view an archive of over 7,800 photographs by Griffin from the 1930s to 1950s of Boston and New England search "Arthur+Griffin" at Massachusetts Collections Online, Digital Commonwealth.
  62. ^ The Massachusetts Historical Society owns photographs by, and the papers of, Francis Blake, Jr. An unknown number of works by Sarah Choate Sears are owned by the New York Public Library.
  63. ^ In gratitude to Horace A. Latimer's 1931 bequest, the club's print critiques are held under the name Horace A. Latimer Print Group.

External link[edit]

Boston Camera Club records & publications[edit]

BCC denotes Boston Camera Club:



  • BCC. Constitution, By-Laws and Rules. 1896.
  • BCC. Notice of First Meeting. Feb. 3, 1887.
  • BCC. Reflector, The. Newsletter. Various issues (club collection incomplete). 1st issue: v.1. Feb. 1938.
  • BCC. Year Book, The. 1900. (Officers, members, club rules, diagram of club rooms.) Smithsonian Institution. Archives of American Art. Microfilm reel 4858, frames 517–525.
  • Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Religious, etc. Corporations / Certificate of Organization under Mass. Public Statutes, ch.115, sec.4, etc. Feb. 25, 1887.


  • BCC. Boston Salon of Photography (from 1953 Boston International Exhibition of Photography). Various catalogs, 9th Salon, 1940 — 43rd and last Exhibition, 1981, inclusive; not complete. Collection BCC.
  • BCC. Catalogue of the Seventh Annual Competitive Exhibition by Members of the Boston Camera Club: At Their Club-rooms, 50 Bromfield Street, Boston, April, 1895. Held by Boston Athenaeum. Find by search described under 'Archive', above.
  • BCC. Catalogue: Photographs: Boston Camera-Club, by the Courtesy of the Boston Art Club at Their Galleries. Circa 1892. (Fifth annual exhibition of Phot. Soc. Phila., Soc. Amat. Photographers of N.Y., BCC.) Harvard Univ. Fine Arts Library.
  • BCC. Exhibition catalog, booklet. 1900.
  • Boston Art Club, BCC. Catalogue of the Third (First International) Salon. 1934.
  • Catalogue of Exhibits at the Fifth Annual Joint Exhibition of the Photographic Society of Philadelphia, Society of Amateur Photographers of New York and the Boston Camera Club at the Boston Camera Club, May 2 to May 7, 1892.
  • Sixth Annual Exhibition. Phot. Soc. Phila., Soc. Amat. Photographers of N.Y., BCC, Penn. Acad. Fine Arts. 1893.
  • Third Annual Joint Exhibition of Photographs. Soc. Amat. Photographers of N.Y., Phot. Soc. Phila., BCC. 1889.

General sources[edit]


  • Clark's Boston Blue Book. Boston: Edward E. Clark, pub. 1878–1937. The 1895–1903 eds. list BCC officers, members, honorary members.
  • Cleveland, Elizabeth F.; Daniel D. R. Charbonnet. "Honoring Camera Clubs, n.14: Boston Camera Club Centennial." Phot. Soc. of Amer. J. (PSA Journal), v.47, n.10, Oct. 1981, p.32.
  • Kimball, Benjamin. "The Boston Camera Club." New England Magazine, 1893. pp.185–205.
  • Polito, Ronald, ed. (Chris Steele & Polito, comp.) A Directory of Massachusetts Photographers, 1839–1900, A. Camden, ME: Picton Pr., 1993.
  • Pollack, Peter. The Picture History of Photography: From the Earliest Beginnings to the Present Day. NYC: Abrams, 1958.
  • Robinson, William F. A Certain Slant of Light: The First Hundred Years of New England Photography. Boston: N.Y. Graphic Soc., 1980.

Further reading[edit]

In chronological order:

  • "New Dark Room for Boston Camera Club." Boston Daily Globe, Oct. 7, 1890, p.4.
  • Blake, Francis, Jr. "Photographic Shutters." Mass. Hist. Soc., Blake papers, v.42. Amer. Amat. Photographer, Feb. 1891, pp.67–73.
  • "Caught from the Sun: Marvellous Work in Photography by the Members of the Boston Camera Club at Their Exhibition." Boston Daily Globe, Jan. 7, 1892. p.10.
  • Barnes, Catherine Weed. "The Boston Fifth Annual Joint Exhibition." Amer. Amateur Photographer, v.4, n.6, June 1892, pp.259–264.
  • "Studies in Classic Poses: Strong Exhibition of Photos Made at the Boston Camera Club Rooms." Boston Daily Globe, Mar. 9, 1898, p.7.
  • "Friends Played Joke: Got at Chief Petty Officer Jackson's Slides and Created Fun for Boston Camera Club." Boston Daily Globe, Apr. 9, 1909, p.6.
  • French, Wilfred A. "The Pictorial Attractions of Boston." Photo-Era, v.25, n.2, Aug. 1910, pp.64–71, 94–95.
  • ————. "Exposure Guides and Experience," Photo-Era, v.55, n.5, May 1920, pp.232–233, 262. An encounter on a club outing with prominent Boston photographer James Wallace Black near his 333 Washington St. studio in the 1880s.
  • "Mr. Latimer Expresses His Views Somewhat at Length." Pictorial Photography in America, 1921, Pictorial Photographers Assn., 1920, pp.12–13.
  • Hillyer, Whit. "Six Prints from Boston: Progressive Schedules Crowded with Events at the Back Bay Clubhouse Add to the Impressive Record of the Boston Camera Club's Sixty-Five Year History." ("American Camera Clubs," n.13). Popular Photography, Mar. 1946, pp.40–41, 154. Incl. photos by club members Harold Elliot, Frank R. Fraprie, Arthur Hammond, H. B. Hills, Franklin I. Jordan, Barbara Standish.
  • Jordan, Franklin I., "Pop Sez —." American Photography, v.44, n.3, Mar. 1950, p.28.
  • Rowan, Roy. "On a Bungled Flight to Nowhere, They Sought a Chinese Mountain High: When a Ballpoint Pen Czar and a Hotshot Pilot Went Looking for the World's Tallest Peak, All They Found Was Trouble." Smithsonian, Mar. 1998. About H. Bradford Washburn, Jr.
  • Davis, Keith F. "The High-Speed Photographs of Francis Blake." Mass. Hist. Review, v.2, 2000, pp.1–26.

Life dates of some persons mentioned[edit]

Cecil B. Atwater (1886–1981); James F. Babcock (1844–1897); Francis Blake, Jr. (1850–1913); A. Aubrey Bodine (1906–1970); Roydon Burke (1901–1993); George Edward Cabot (1861–1946); Samuel V. Chamberlain (1895–1975); Charles Robert Cross (1848–1921); Charles Henry Currier (1851–1938); Eleanor Parke Custis (1897–1983); Fred Holland Day (1864–1933); John W. Doscher (d. after 1971); Rudolph Dührkoop (1848–1918); Sarah Jane Eddy (1851–1945); Harold Eugene Edgerton (1903–1990); Adolf Fassbender (1884–1980); Frank Roy Fraprie (1874–1951); Rowena Fruth (1896–1983); Barry Goldwater (1909–1998); Arthur Leo Griffin (1903–2001); Lillian Baynes Griffin (1871–1916); Emil Albert Gruppé (1896–1978); Arthur William Heintzelman (1891–1965); Fan Ho (b. 1937); Frances Benjamin Johnston (1864–1952); Lou Jones (b. 1945); Franklin Ingalls Jordan (1876–1956); Gertrude Käsebier (1852–1934); Leonard Craske (1882–1950); Horace A. Latimer (1860–1931); Percival Lowell (1855–1916); Charles B. Phelps, Jr. (1891–1949); William Henry Pickering (1858–1938); Frederick Alcott Pratt (1863–1910); Frederick Haven Pratt (1873–1958); Henry Peach Robinson (1830–1901); David F. Rodd (1948–2017); Sarah Choate Sears (1858–1935); Emma D. Sewall (1836–1919); L. Whitney Standish (1919–?); Alfred Stieglitz (1864–1946); Allen G. Stimson (d. 1996); John H. Vondell (d. circa 1967); Henry Bradford Washburn, Jr. (1910–2007); Edward Weston (1886–1958); Henry F. Weisenburger (b. 1924); Clarence White (1871–1925); Edmund A. Woodle (1918–2007).

Coordinates: 42°20′14.59″N 71°8′32.02″W / 42.3373861°N 71.1422278°W / 42.3373861; -71.1422278