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
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.
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)
Follow the links below to explore related topics.
If you need help figuring out when a photograph was taken, try using Dating Historic Photographs on the UVM Landscape Change Program website.
Copy and paste this citation to show where you did your research.
Vermont Historical Society. "Photographs." Vermont History Explorer. Accessed December 4, 2023. https://blog.vermonthistoryexplorer.org/photographs