Lumber Heritage Region

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Wood On Glass Exhibit

19th Century Lumbering Photos by

William T. Clarke

The Lumber Heritage Region has acquired this exhibit from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission in order to make it available to the people of the Region.

"Wood on Glass,” was an exhibit on display at the State Museum of Pennsylvania in the Spring of 2011, consists of photographs by little known and long forgotten itinerant photographer William T. Clarke (1859-1930), a Rochester, NY native who chronicled the lumber industry and its dramatic impact on north central Pennsylvania during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Clarke’s evocative legacy is showcased in “Wood on Glass” with custom prints made from glass plate negatives, most now housed at the Pennsylvania State Archives and others in private hands.

Clarke’s images graphically illustrate the epic transformation of the Commonwealth’s forests and ways of life between ca. 1890 and 1917 in Potter, McKean and Clinton Counties.

Produced in-house by The State Museum, the “Wood on Glass” exhibit was co-curated by Archivist Linda Ries with photo historians Ronald E. Ostman and Harry Littell who served as Scholars-in-Residence at the State Archives in 2005 to document Clarke’s photography.  Since discovering a cache of Clarke’s original glass plate negatives in upstate New York, Ostman and Littell – whose work on Clarke has been featured in the magazine Smithsonian – have collaborated to draw attention to the photographer’s collections and are authoring a book to interpret the photographer’s vast visual legacy.

The Lumber Heritage Region of Pennsylvania has purchased the exhibit from PHMC and plans to exhibit it around the 15 counties over the next couple of years.

The LHR plans to tour the exhibit around the region over the next several years. It is currently on display at the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum and is scheduled to be at the Sinnemahoning Wildlife Center over winter and at the Punxsutawney Historical Society in time for Ground Hog Day Festivities.

     
 

 

Self portrait - Clarke

Crew in the woods

 Typical Log Camp

 

 

A Shay Locomotive at work

Millions of Board Feet of Lumber

Dragging logs from the woods

 

 

 
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