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Bell Glass Plate Photograph Collection

Identifier: M1988-20-##5fz

Scope and Contents

This collection of some 23,000 glass plates have been digitized and placed online at


  &nnsp; The Bell Collection was acquired from the Pensacola Historical Society on January 27, 1989.  Dean DeBolt and Katrina King transported the wooden photo-graphic crates (Hammer Dry Plate Company, St Louis, Mo.) of glass plate negatives from the historical society to UWF Special Collections by van.The collection was given the accession number of 88-20. Acid-free boxes and sleeves were ordered in preparation for the cleaning and preservation of the collection.The history of the collection is being pieced together by by Laura Lee Scott, with the aid of Sandy Johnson. From 1905-1909, Turton and Bell, were listed in the city directories as photographers at 116 1/2 S. Palafox Street. The photographer, George Turton, arrived in Pensacola c. 1870s, he located at W. Chase Street 1897-1900.  His work was often in the Bliss Quarterly, 1897.    Henry Lee Bell was a photographer in Pensacola as early as 1893, but the city directory does not list him as having a gallery of his own until 1911.  H. Lee Bell maintained a studio at 14 1/2 South Palafox Street from 1911 through 1948-49.In the early 1950s, Cornelia (Connie) Brown Carpenter and Frank Hardy, Sr. located a collection of glass plate negatives in a warehouse on Tarragona Street. They purchased the glass plates, Mr. Hardy was interested in scenic views while Mrs. Carpenter was more interested in selling reprints to the families of the subjects depicted.  Mrs. Carpenter spent a great deal of time alphabetizing, bagging and writing commentaries on the subjects.  She did show the plates and sold a few but the business was probably not successful. In 1974, the plates were moved to the Pensacola Historical Society, where they remained until they were transfered to the John C. Pace Library, Special Collections at the University of West Florida, in 1989. As much information as possible about the subjects of the photographs has been preserved.  The information on the original envelopes has been copied to the new acid-free envelopes as nearly identical as possible considering the handwriting.  Mrs. Carpenter had previously recopied from orignial envelopes, plus some original envelopes had two different sets of handwriting as if clerk may have filled out the original and the photographer may have rectified any presumed misspellings. The city directories have been used to help clarify name spellings. The information may be considered fourth hand.  When using the index, allow for a very broad interpretation of the spellings of the given names and the surnames.  The numbers on the envelopes have been retained, in hopes that they may some day help to date photographs. The names on the envelopes may not be the name of the subject, but rather the person contracting for the photographic work.  The contractor may be a parent, relative or family friend.


  • Created: 1911-1948



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Language of Materials


Bell Glass Plate Photograph Collection
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Repository Details

Part of the UWF University Archives and West Florida History Center Repository

11000 University Parkway
Pensacola FL 32514 US
(850) 474-2213
(850) 474-3338 (Fax)