Cover Story » Vol. 43

Worcester Wonderland

By Robyn Conroy
Librarian/Archivist, Worcester Historical Museum

This collage showcases winter scenes from the photograph collection at Worcester Historical Museum. The museum’s research library has many weather-related images, from picturesque scenes to natural disasters such as the Hurricane of 1938, the Tornado of 1953 and the Webster Square Flood of 1955. Specific to winter are also pictures of snow and ice storms, including the Blizzard of 1978 (we continue to collect these) and a major blizzard a century before in 1888, when photographic recording was far less ubiquitous.

But this is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. The museum’s photograph collection contains more than 400,000 images. Calling them all photographs may be a bit misleading; the collection also includes examples of earlier forms of photography such as 1860s daguerreotypes and glass plate negatives from the 1890s, as well as modern digital files.

In accord with the museum’s mission, the collection is especially rich in Worcester-area subjects and people. There are many street scenes, landscapes, views of buildings past and present and pictures of people and organizations. It contains pictures of most city schools, including class pictures and candid scenes, and many photos of Worcester’s firehouses and firemen. There are thousands of pictures of Worcester’s prominent people and families, as well as images of its unsung soldiers, workers and immigrants.

The collection includes work by some of Worcester’s most prominent photographers ~ catalogues of George Cocaine, Marvin Richmond, Sid Plotkin and E.B. Luce, among others.

Don’t be left out in the cold; come and explore it for yourself!

The Worcester Historical Museum research library is open from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday and from 10 a.m.-8:30 p.m. the fourth Thursday of every month. Please call ahead for an appointment at (508) 753-8278. You can also visit to gain access to our Facebook and Tumbler pages, which showcase many images from the collection.

All pictures from the collections of the Worcester Historical Museum, Worcester, Mass.

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