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Photograph Album of the town of Albion, Orleans County, New York, dated circa 1890s-1910s

Small quarto album, containing 114 black and white photographs, mainly silver prints, the album is bound in original half leather, marbled paper boards, the photographs are mounted onto sheets of paper in album; the paper stock of these leaves is of poor quality, all sheets are browned, and brittle, chipped at margins, and loose in album; several photos loose, not pasted to sheets; photos vary in size from 5” x 3 ¾” to 6” x 4” to 7 ½” x 4 ½”; images not dated, circa 1890s to 1910s. The images themselves are in good condition, clean and clear, however the album and the leaves the images are mounted on have condition issues.

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The album is not signed, nor labeled, but several clues within the album and images of the photos, appear to place the album as being a collection of images of buildings in the town of Albion, New York, in Orleans County. Several images are of buildings under construction – perhaps the album was compiled by a builder.

The album contains a newspaper clipping of an Albion, New York newspaper dated 1911, however none of streetscapes show any automobiles, rather horse and buggy, or people on horses, thus the mages likely date from the late 19th Century, or first decade of the 20th Century.

    Some of the photographs of the churches in the album, when compared to the architecture of the historic churches of present day Albion, shows that they are indeed photos of Albion churches, in particular the  First Presbyterian Church and the Christ Episcopal Church, thus confirming the images are buildings in Albion, Orleans County, New York.

   Albion is a village in Orleans County, New York. The village is centrally located in the county. The village is partly within the towns of both Albion and Gaines. Albion is the county seat of Orleans County and is about 30 miles (48 km) west/northwest of the City of Rochester.

   There are no written inscriptions identifying the photos, however some have images provide some information. One is the A.V. Clark tombstone, which may be a clue to the origins of the album. Another is a Cole tombstone, again possibly a clue to the ownership of the album.

    A couple of the photos have “Aristotype” or “Drop Shutter” written on the bottom margins, indications of the photographer detailing the method he took taking the photograph. An “Aristotype” is a high-symmetry structure type that can be viewed as an idealized version of a lower-symmetry structure.  “Drop Shutter” is an early form of camera shutter consisting of a plate which when released falls vertically and carries an aperture in its center past the opening of the lens.

    One photo shows the “Andre Monument, Tarrytown, NY.”  Another image shows “Our Unknown Dead –May 30, 1890” – and has a photo of a monument. One image is a portrait of an older man with the inscription: “Dr. Marsh, Albany Medical School,” written in pencil next to it.

    A couple of newspaper clippings, laid into the album, mention President Grant’s death, which would place them in 1885, perhaps dating the album as early as 1885.

    The First Presbyterian Church of Albion at 29 East State St. was built in 1874 - with its 175-foot high spire was the tallest structure in Orleans County, New York. Photographs of it in the album show it to be complete, thus dating the photo album post 1875, and with the Grant obituary mentions in the newspaper clippings, puts it at about 1885, but the album also shows a church built in the 1890s, and a newspaper clipping of 1911, thus a good date for the album is likely 1890s-1910s and before the automobile, as only horses and horse and buggies are shown in the photos when streetscapes or properties are shown.

    The images consist mainly of architectural views such as houses, churches, cemetery monuments, small local bridges,  buildings under construction, several interior views of homes, several landscape views showing gardens, fountains, and the grounds of properties, some animals, a couple of water scenes showing small boats and houses on the shore of a lake, or pond, and several photos of people (men and women, children), some on horses.