Skip to content

Search Collections

Emma Lewis Coleman photographic collection, 1880s

PC021 (RS17304)


The Emma Lewis Coleman Photographic Collection consists of nearly 300 glass plate negatives, from which study prints have been made.

Coleman's work covers many of the same subjects as the Frederick B. Quimby Photographic Collection but with the marked difference that she was concerned with achieving artistic effects which expressed the timelessness and universality of rural life, after the fashion of Jean-François Millet and other Barbizon school painters. Like Quimby, she worked extensively in York, Maine, where she often posed her city friends in costume to impersonate the rhythms and traditions of farming routines.

In addition to the photographs that are strongly reminiscent of the Barbizon school, there are several studies of persons carrying out traditional handicrafts; views of historic buildings in York and Deerfield, Massachusetts; landscapes; and a small collection of 41 original prints, largely portraiture.

Coleman's images are among the few examples of art photography in the collections of the Library and Archives.

Sources: Guide to the Library and Archives, 10; Memorial Hall Museum website, 2009-11-25.


Collection Name
Emma Lewis Coleman photographic collection, 1880s
Collection Code
Physical Description
ca. 300 glass plate negatives : black-and-white
ca. 300 photographic prints : black-and-white
Collection Type
Description Level
Reference Code

Historical/Biographical Note

Emma Lewis Coleman was a talented amateur photographer, active in the 1880s in York, Maine, Deerfield, Massachusetts, and in rural and shorefront communities in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. She was a resident of Deerfield and Cambridge and was a researcher and author, who, with her fellow historian Charlotte Alice Baker (1833-1909), made journeys to Canada to gather information about Deerfield children taken captive in February 1704 and wrote a book based on their findings.

Sources: Guide to the Library and Archives, 10; Memorial Hall Museum website, 2009-11-25.

Material in other collections

Related materials are in the possession of the Old Gaol Museum at York, Maine.

Record details

Coleman, Emma L., Miss (Photographer)
Descriptive Terms
Barbizon School
coastal towns
crafts (art genres)
glass (material)
historic buildings
landscapes (representations)
rural areas
staged photographs
Material Type
black-and-white negatives
black-and-white prints (photographs)
photographic plates
York (Me.)
Deerfield (Franklin county, Massachusetts)
Rhode Island (United States)

Browse Collection

Use the links below to browse up and down the collection hierarchy from the current record.

  • Emma Lewis Coleman photographic collection, 1880s (current record)