Collections - HVHS Collections - Frisbie Collection - HVHS Newsetter
One of the very first and most important collections donated to the Hopewell Valley Historical Society was a large group of photographic glass negatives.
There was a time in the third quarter of the 19th century when professional photographers emerged from their studios and ventured out to capture the world around them. Soon professionals lost their exclusivity and "making pictures" became a hobby for many amateurs. One early enthusiast was George Frisbie of Pennington. His family operated a small dry goods store on Main Street, so young George watched the 20th century arrive through the eyes of a successful merchant family.
This vast collection numbering nearly seven-hundred images taken between 1890-1920 captured life as he saw it. He was interested in his community's architecture, transportation, recreation, and took many portraits of his friends and neighbors.
George's grandfather Augustus Frisbie had come to Pennington from Connecticut in the early 1840's. He established a store on South Main Street that he later operated with his son Joseph. At his passing, Joseph became the owner of the store where he had worked since boyhood. In turn, at Joseph's death in 1881, his son George took over operation of the dry goods and grocery business. He continued on for several more years before becoming a financial officer at a large Trenton wholesale food business.
George married Clara Mangan and together they lived near the center of Pennington. Their son Edgar was born in 1893 and is the subject of many of the photographs. Unfortunately, Edgar died tragically while serving in France during World War I. George's brother Walter Frisbie was active in the life of the community and served as Mayor of Pennington from 1914 -1917.
In 1986, Walter's daughter-in-law Alice Frisbie and Alice's daughter Mary Thornton generously donated the entire collection of glass plate negatives to the Hopewell Valley Historical Society. The community is extremely fortunate to have this wonderful photographic record of its past saved for future generations.