Some of the glass negatives shot by John B. Capewell are in terrific shape with crisp, sharp images that reproduce beautifully while others are somewhat worse for wear. This is one of the latter sadly. It’s a little blurry which is maddening because there are a lot of details in this shot begging to be discerned and identified.
The faces are hard to read so I’m not sure whether these may be members of Capewell’s family we’ve seen before in earlier posts. The man standing at the barrel or churn resembles Capewell’s father, but it’s hard to say definitively.
I’m not sure where this is shot. It may be Westville, New Jersey where the Capewells resided, but there’s no way of telling. I thought it sort of looked like the back of a shop in a town’s business section. Capewell thought it was important enough to record these people and this place for posterity. Maybe some sharp eyed reader out there can identify the place. Feel free to make comments in the comments section below or at our Facebook page.
The Capewell Glass Negative Collection is a series of about 200 5-inch by 7-inch glass negatives shot early in the 20th Century by John Batt Capewell (1878-1951) of Westville, New Jersey. John passed the negatives down to his son Henry who left them in his wife’s possession upon his passing. Henry’s widow didn’t know what to do with them and didn’t particularly want them so she offered them to my Dad who couldn’t turn down anything. Ultimately I wound up with them and thought I would one day have photographic prints struck from them. That didn’t happen, but I came up with the digital workaround of placing the negatives on a lightbox and rephotographing them with a digital camera. The “processing” was then done on a computer with image editing software. They came out better than I thought they would so I thought I would show them off to the world on this site. Many of these pictures have not been seen in a century, and I’m proud to be presenting them today.
At first, I did not know who the people were in the photographs. I have a box of ephemera that accompanied the negatives and snagged a few clues from that as far as the Capewell name. I did some research on the internet and had a few false starts and wrong turns, but the readers of these posts have provided a remarkable amount of research and detail. I’m amazed at what people have turned up sifting through public records and such!
Last Week: Henry & Young John in Younger Days