When I was first examining the glass negatives that comprised the Capewell Collection, I wasn’t sure what or who I was looking at. The sheer number of them was overwhelming at first, and it wasn’t until I photographed them and started to “process” the images on my computer that I started to be able to pick out individuals and make guesses as to who was related to whom. Of course, the research of this site’s fantastic readership helped a great deal giving me names to go with the faces.
I didn’t recognize the man in the above picture during my first pass, but after a while, I came to realize that this was a somewhat older John B. Capewell posing in front of something he built with a couple of children.
I’m not sure who the kids are. John and Ella did not have grandchildren.
They all look to be dressed in a period later than the majority of the pictures. Maybe it’s the 1930s. John probably decided to pull out the old camera equipment and see if it would still work. It did.
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!
Like us on Facebook!
Last Week: Another Equestrian Monument