Photographs capture a moment in time. Historians look at photographs to see buildings that have been torn down or places that have changed. But beware, photographers sometimes make changes to the scene or the photograph. So historians think carefully about what they see.

Vermont State House, c. 1850

This is a daguerreotype(an early type of photograph - pronounced da-gare-e-o-type) of the second Vermont State House from about 1850. The State House burned down in 1857, so this image lets us know what the building looked like.

Explore More Vermont Government Finds a Home (PDF)

Phineas Gage, c. 1855

This daguerreotype(an early type of photograph - pronounced da-gare-e-o-type) of Phineas Gage shows a mirror image. His accident damaged his left eye, not his right eye.

Explore more Phineas Gage

Eliza Leach Gale, c. 1860

Historians think this is Eliza Leach Gale, but the image is not labeled. This ambrotype(another early type of photograph) has a special case to keep it safe.

Did you see the colors that were painted on the glass?

Old Constitution House, 1887

There are two versions of this photograph. One shows a sign on the front of the building and the other does not. Why do you think the photographer erased the sign from the picture of a historic building?

Explore More: The Vermont Constitution

Berlin School Children, c. 1875

This photograph shows students in front of a one-room schoolhouse in Berlin, Vermont. Historians know the names of some of the students. Gertie Brooks and Eugenia Selina are the first two students in the middle row. Eugene Smith and Eldon Clogston are standing in the doorway in front of the teacher.

Peacham School Children, 1902

The students in Peacham Corner school are sitting at their desks. In a one-room schoolhouse, the younger children sat in the front. The older children sat in the back.

Explore More: No Busses, No Electricity, No School Lunch! (PDF)

Montpelier School Children, c. 1905

These are students from the East State Street School in Montpelier. They are ready to do a Maypole dance. By looking at the children's clothing, we can tell this photograph is from the early 1900s.

Bosworth Children, 1908

A picture of Raymond and Edward Bosworth playing in the snow in 1908. Their names and the year are written on the back of the original photograph so we can identify them.

Explore More: George Bosworth's Photographs

Automobile, 1913

What happened? We know this car was stuck in the mud on the East Proctor Road in 1913. Write a story about the car in the picture.

Morris Levine, 1916

Lewis Hine took this photograph of Morris Levine in Burlington in 1916. The National Child Labor Committee paid Hine to take photographs of children at work to help fight against child labor.

See this image and more photographs by Lewis Hine at the Library of Congress

Suffragist, c. 1918

This photograph shows a woman standing on a chair to make a speech. She is standing in front of the Vermont and New Hampshire Equal Suffrage(the right to vote) Association tent at the Vermont State Fair in White River Junction. Women gained the right to vote in all elections in 1920.

Wilson "Snowflake" Bentley, c. 1920s

Snowflake Bentley figured out how to take photographs of very small snowflakes with this large camera!

Explore More: Winter's Icy Jewels (PDF)

Winooski River, 1927

This photograph shows a flooded house in Bolton. The flood of 1927 destroyed many houses and roads in Vermont. 

Explore More: Rain, Rain, and Still More Rain (PDF)

Child with Chick, 1937

In the 1930s and 1940s, photographers from the Farm Security Administration took pictures of Vermonters across the state.

See this photograph and others from the collection at the Library of Congress.

Ben & Jerry's, c. 1980

Here's a picture of Ben & Jerry's first ice cream shop. The building used to be a gas station. Then it was an ice cream shop. Then the building was torn down. Now there is a parking lot at this location. How have buildings in your town changed over time?

Copy and paste this citation to show where you did your research.

Vermont Historical Society. "Photographs." Vermont History Explorer. Accessed July 20, 2024.

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