In the early decades of the 20th century Charles L. Hildreth photographed the people and places of Westford and beyond, primarily on 4×5″ glass plates. Over 900 of these have recently been digitized, allowing us to fully appreciate the remarkable detail that large format photography is able to capture.
Dan Lacroix and Marilyn Day will highlight the finer, generally unseen details within a selection of Westford images, shedding light on life in our town over a century ago.
Charles Lewis Hildreth (1879-1968) a local lawyer, and served as Town Clerk from 1915 to 1966. Thanks to the meticulous documentation of Charles L. Hildreth, who served as Westford’s town clerk for 52 years, most of the images had been labeled and dated. “The paper envelopes [the slides were in] were frayed but information was still written there,” Day said.
The Charles L. Hildreth collection of glass plate negatives, is on permanent loan to the
Westford Historical Society by the Paul MacMillan family
Dan Lacroix has been a member of the Westford Historical Society’s Board of Directors since 2000. He has a great interest in all things 18th century, but also in photography, which led to his desire to digitally archive this priceless collection of Westford photographs.
Marilyn (Green) Day is a former director of the Westford Museum and member of the Westford Historical Society’s Board of Directors. Marilyn says she credits, or blames, her eighth-grade history teacher, Miss Bertha Piper, for igniting her interest in local history. Later it would be those intriguing pages in the middle of the big, old family bibles from her Stearns and Davis maternal side with their handwritten records of past generations that really ignited her genealogical interest, and later still, Day family diaries, glass plate negatives, and other memorabilia. She says, I have been so fortunate to have had access to so much family history and town history and to have been able to share it with others.