When I was first sorting through the 200 negatives that comprise the Capewell Glass Negative Collection, I assumed that this girl who shows up in a lot of the photos of John Capewell’s immediate family was his daughter. As I published these photos, friends and readers came forth with census information showing that she wasn’t his daughter. My guess is that she was a niece.
Sadly, I don’t have more information on this young lady. I’m hoping that some relative or descendant out there has a print struck from Capewell’s negative a hundred or so years ago. This is probably somebody’s grand or great grandmother.
The niece looks to be celebrating here First Holy Communion.
Regular viewers will recognize the field in the background. Capewell used it as a backdrop in a number of these photographs. It’s probably Westville, New Jersey where the Capewells resided.
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!
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