The new photographic history book “All That is Lovely: George Brainerd’s Images of the North Fork, 1878-1879” reveals a visual part of North Fork history. The book features local photographs taken by noted Brooklyn photographer, George Brainerd (1845-1887) and authored by former Southold Historical Society director Geoffrey K. Fleming. The book is published by The Southold Historical Society. It is the 18th book written or co-written by Fleming with most centered on East End history.
Though primarily associated with Brooklyn, Brainerd found time to travel up in the Hudson River Valley as well as out on Long Island, where he captured sleepy little towns and extremely rural landscapes similar to those he had known in his native Connecticut. His images on Long Island captured and form a record of what the island was like prior to its suburban development.
Brainerd came out to eastern Long Island in 1878 and again in 1879 to photograph the rural townships of Southampton, East Hampton, Shelter Island, and Southold. He was in Southold in autumn of 1878 (some images noting the month of October), probably the winter of 1878-79 (when a small group of winter images were taken), and then again in the spring and/or summer of 1879 (several of which are dated). In all, over 80 images are included in the book that depict various places in Southold Town.
“Many of his photographs are precious because they depict landscapes and building that no longer exist and in some cases are recorded nowhere else,” stated Geoffrey K. Fleming, the author of the book and former Director of the Southold Historical Society. “We were very pleased to work with the Brooklyn Museum of Art which graciously allowed us to use their holdings of Brainerd’s images in the creation of this book,” he continued.
A case in point are two images Brainerd took of the Barnabas Horton House which was once located in Southold hamlet. Completed in 1659, only sketches and primitive paintings of the building were known to exist until these two photographs were discovered amongst the more than two thousand photographs Brainerd created. Even more important is the fact that he photographed the house on the eve of its demolition – a few weeks later he would have been too late to capture it – making these images a treasure indeed.
"All That is Lovely" is the 18th book written or co-written by Fleming since 2003. All the books are concerned with Long Island history--many of them revealing artists connected to the North Fork or East End. Books include "A Shared Aesthetic: Artists of Long Island's North Fork"; "Irving Ramsay Wiles, N.A. 1861-1948, Portraits and Pictures, 1899-1948"; "The Versatile Reverend: The Photographs of Loren A. Rowland"; "Bridgehampton (NY) (Images of America)" and others.
BASIC FACTS: "All That is Lovely: George Brainerd’s Images of the North Fork, 1878-1879” by Geoffrey K. Fleming is available at the Southold Historical Society's museum gift shop at a cost of $30. For details, call the museum at 631- 765-5500.
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