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The Leader-Herald Time Machine
September 3, 2008 - Bill Ackerbauer
Okay, we don't actually have a time machine here at The Leader-Herald. I think if we did have one, either the paper would never have a single typographical error (unlimited time to proofread) or it would never get published at all (reporters too busy fleeing from dinosaurs or fighting Viking warriors to cover Common Council meetings).
We do, however, have a lot of history here in the form of old newspaper clippings and photographs. This summer, I've spent a lot of hours wading through this old stuff to gather material for an upcoming publication about the history of Johnstown. Any day now, you'll start seeing things in the paper and here on the Web site promoting this project.
It's unfortunate that much of the old material we have is falling apart -- paper and film don't last for ever. The good news is that all of the newspapers published here in Fulton County and throughout New York State have been preserved on microfilm. They are available for viewing at the Gloversville and Johnstown libraries.
Many of the old photos I've dug up have been interesting to look at, but because they have not been filed or labeled in any systematic way, they're not terribly informative. Lately I've seen lots of portraits of Victorian-era babies dressed up in frilly clothing, and let me tell you, when you've seen one such chubby cherub, you've seen them all.
Herewith I'm posting a couple of photos I recently scanned from old negatives. The quality of the images is poor -- partly because of deterioration of the negatives, partly because I don't have any formal training in the digitization of ancient photographs. I wish I had more time to delve into these little enigmas of local history and link names to the faces ...
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This photograph was inscribed with the words, "Jas. Hibbard, 12 post cards," indicating the name of the person who paid for the portrait to be taken and how he wanted it printed.