Main Street Businesses, 1916. Hartford Parks Glass Negatives Collection, Hartford History Center, Hartford Public Library.

This exhibition is a first look at a major project to digitize, and make available online, more than 1,000 historical images of Hartford. Made on glass-plate negatives, these images are held in the collections of the Library’s Hartford History Center.

Taken primarily by unidentified photographers, the pictures show a now-vanished Hartford era – one with horse-drawn carriages, trolleys, and Model T automobiles. Some of the businesses and buildings shown in these photographs are gone, but history never really goes away, not when we have records like these.

These negatives came to the Hartford Public Library during the second half of the 20th century, and were taken by city employees. And because the mission of the History Center is to tell the story of Hartford in all its many forms and over time, these carefully archived glass plates are being transformed into images we can see, appreciate and learn from today.

Work for this project was made possible, in part, through funding from the Greater Hartford Art Council’s Heritage Advancement Award, and the Society of the Descendants of the Founders of Hartford. The exhibition is on view in the Hartford History Center and in the 3rd floor gallery space Dec. 7 through Feb. 8, 2013.