For as long as there have been portable cameras, University of Georgia Extension agents and Extension photographers have used them to help identify crop diseases, demonstrate best farming practices and document community events. With at least one agent in most of Georgia’s counties, UGA Extension agents and their photographers have produced a collection of more than 60,000 sleeves of negatives. For the first time, some of these photos are available to the public online through the Digital Library of Georgia.
The first 1,292 photos of the collection were released this month and are available at http://dlg.galileo.usg.edu/CollectionsA-Z/caes_search.html. This first set of photos contains numerous shots of grain crops, livestock shows and forage fields from across the state. The bulk of the prints date from the 1930s to the 1960s, but some are from as early as the 1900s.
Archivists are busy scanning and cataloging the rest of the negatives and documents that are in the UGA Extension collection. Each negative sleeve contains between one and 20 negatives. The size and scope of the collection provides an excellent photographic record of Georgia folk life and farm life, said UGA archivist Caroline Killens, who is managing the project.
“What makes this collection so valuable is that many of the photos came with some type of documentation,” Killens said. “Many of these negatives came with notes about the event and subject of the photos and often with the place where they were taken and the photographer’s name.”
Since many of the sleeves of negatives contain images covering a broad subject area, archivist started by grouping the sleeves by subject and assigned them a file header. The descriptions have helped immensely as the library staff starts to scan and catalog the photos, Killens said.
“I think many people will enjoy these, not just those who are interested in agriculture,” Killens said. “There are a lot of photos in this collection that people have never seen before. People researching their genealogy or the history of their town or county will find a lot of information in this collection.”