Stereographs of Thomasville Scenes
GHS recently acquired three stereographs of places in Thomasville, Georgia, to add to the GHS stereograph collection. Created to compile stereographs from different sources into a single place, the GHS stereograph collection offers researchers insight into the daily lives of individuals in the mid to late 19th century. Although these three stereographs are now available for research, at the time of purchase, the locations in each stereograph were unidentified.
“All three stereographs depicted scenes that would have at one time been recognizable to local residents—a river, a bridge, a cemetery—but none of the locations were labeled,” said Nate Pedersen, GHS Manager of the Archival and Reference Team. “We did not know exactly what was depicted in each scene. Further, there have been substantial changes to the area in the last 140 years, making it difficult for us to research based solely on the visual cues in the photographs.
“Temporarily stumped, I reached out to a friend in Thomasville, Reverend George Wilcox Brown III, rector of All Saint’s Episcopal Church to ask for help. I thought perhaps he, or someone he knew, might be able to identify the locations more specifically in the photos.
“Sure enough, Rev. Brown, alongside several of his older parishioners, offered extremely helpful clues to further identify the locations. We were then able to add a lot more detail to our descriptions of the photographs. We are exceedingly grateful to Rev. Brown and the All Saint’s Episcopal Church parish for their help in solving these photographic mysteries.”
The updated photograph descriptions have now become even more useful to researchers:
- The vaguely titled “Bridge over river, near Thomasville” became the “Jones Bridge over Ochlockonee River, Thomasville, Georgia.”
- The photograph of a body of water was titled “Ramp for rolling logs near water mill, Thomasville, Georgia,” connecting the scene to a specific element of the 19thcentury timber industry in Thomas County.
- Lastly, the description for “Cemetery and building, Thomasville, Georgia” became “Old Cemetery and Freedmen’s Bureau School, Thomasville, Georgia.” The previously nondescript 19thcentury building has been identified as the Thomasville Freedmen’s School, established by the Freedmen’s Bureau after the Civil War to educate Black residents in the area. While the school has long since been demolished, the photograph is a poignant reminder of Reconstruction Era Georgia.
Frederick F. Thompson Amateur Photography. Old Cemetery and Freedmen's Bureau School, Thomasville, Georgia. Circa 1880. GHS 1361 Georgia Historical Society Stereograph collection. GHS 1361-SG-04-01-10. Georgia Historical Society, Savannah, Georgia. Learn more.
Frederick F. Thompson Amateur Photography. "Jones Bridge" over Ochlockonee River, Thomasville, Georgia. Circa 1880. GHS 1361 Georgia Historical Society Stereograph collection. GHS 1361-SG-04-01-11. Georgia Historical Society, Savannah, Georgia. Learn more.
Frederick F. Thompson Amateur Photography. Ramp for rolling logs near a water mill, Thomasville, Georgia. Circa 1880. GHS 1361 Georgia Historical Society Stereograph collection. GHS 1361-SG-04-01-12. Georgia Historical Society, Savannah, Georgia. Learn more.