Library on a mission to identify old photos

Who is this boy? And furthermore, who is this dog?

Unidentified photos: most families have boxes of them, handed down from one generation to the next with the knowledge of the circumstances and identities of those in the photos often passing away with time.

The clerks at the Saugerties Public Library are having the same problem. A large box of photos was discovered in the basement of the library during the recent renovation and expansion.


Ariel Dedolph and KellyAnn McGuire, who run the Local History section, are scanning more than 100 photographs and posting them on the library’s website in the form of an old-time wanted poster and asking residents to help identify the people in the photos. They’re not up yet, but they will be soon.

The Southeastern New York Library Resources Council (SENYLRC) has provided equipment and training for the scanning project and are covering the cost. A link to the Saugerties photos will be on this site as well.

“Many of the photos are just loose snapshots that over the years families have donated to the library,” explained Dedolph. There are also two old tintypes that date back to well over 100 years ago.

“Some are Cabinet Cards from local studios now long gone,” added McGuire.

Cabinet Cards are kind of like baseball cards; local families would have pictures taken by the local photographer and then give them out to friends and family and the studio would put its name on the bottom of the card.

“This will be a great resource for those looking to research their heritage and their ancestors,” Dedolph said.

“We just need to know who is in the photos,” McGuire added.

Dedolph and McGuire are hoping to hear from those whose families have been in the area for more than 100 years, local historians, and anyone else with an interest in old photographs. As the information comes in, and the mysteries are solved, they’ll add identification info to the site.



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