Harold Mason Photograph Collection

This is a guest post from Fall 2013 intern, Jessica Lemieux.  Jessica is currently in the MLIS program at Simmons College in Boston.  

Recently processed and now available in the Rhode Island Collection - The Harold Mason Photograph Collection!

Very little is known about Mr. Harold Mason but we do know he took extensive photographs recording colonial doorways in Rhode Island. In addition, he documented a wide range of buildings, door knockers, and architectural details related to entryways.  He photographed all types of buildings but most of them were homes. Some of the buildings and homes in this collection are no longer standing making these photographs invaluable to the history of Rhode Island. Architectural historians (or even current building owners) will find this collection fascinating. 

The Harold Mason Photograph Collection is unique to the Providence Public Library.  Research into Harold Mason has not turned up any evidence that any other repositories currently hold any of his photographs. We know that he marketed and sold his collections in the late 1910s as there is evidence that The Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities collected Mason photographs of Bristol and Warren in 1914 and there was a 1917 Providence Magazine article about Mason’s work.  We believe that our collection of images were acquired by the PPL as part of the Nickerson Architectural Collection. 

Below are just three samples from this collection of over 500 photographs.

The Robert Taft House, 154 Hope Street in Providence. It is now part of Brown University. [Image 74]

The R.I. College of Pharmacy and Allied Sciences on North Main Street in Providence. This was a precursor to the current URI College of Pharmacy. [Image 106]

21 Market Street in Warren, RI. Not only does it capture the doorway but also a cute little girl!

You are welcome to come in and view the images included in the Collection and do your own research.   If you'd like to know in advance what the Collection includes, take a look at our full finding aid. 

 
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Kate Wells

As the Rhode Island Collection librarian at Providence Public Library, Kate Wells helps bring Rhode Island history to light by increasing access to the collection and providing research assistance to patrons. In the “Rhode Island Red” blog, Kate showcases interesting materials from the collection, provides research tip & techniques, and highlights local history. Feel free to contact her if you have any Rhode Island related questions; she is always happy to help. Email: kwells@provlib.org.


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