Remembering Cooperstown: Photographs by Smith and Telfer

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Putt Telfer at Kingfisher Tower, Otsego Lake Ca. 1910 Smith and Telfer Photographic Collection, New York State Historical Association, Cooperstown, N.Y.
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Launching the Steamboat Mohican, Thursday, June 29, 1905 Smith and Telfer Photographic Collection, New York State Historical Association, Cooperstown, N.Y.

This exhibition, culled from the museum’s permanent collection, features seventeen familiar and rarely seen photographs drawn from the Smith and Telfer Photographic Collection. Cooperstown photographers ‘Wash” Smith and “Putt” Telfer compiled an exceptional record of Cooperstown’s people and places for almost a century. The Smith and Telfer Photograph Collection, donated to the museum in 1951, numbers nearly 55,000 glass plate negatives. Smith and Telfer’s legacy is rich, and includes not only standard studio work, but also a vast number of images of people and activities recorded outside of the studio. Their familiarity with Cooperstown’s people and places gave their images a natural, unposed quality, which captures the spirit and sensibility of small town life. Through their lens Cooperstown is remembered as the quintessential American rural village.