In the early 1900s, Frank H. DeMars of Winsted CT journeyed throughout the southern Berkshires. He traveled by horse and wagon, and later, a Model T Ford. With his large camera, he skillfully recorded rural life, mills and factories, small towns, and the people who lived in them. He developed his photographs in the basement darkroom of his home with the help of his wife and his oldest daughter. Images on the glass plate negatives were then transferred onto postcards.
By 1904, Mr. DeMars was proprietor of an art and framing store in Winsted. He continued to offer his postcards to small, rural stores in the area. After selling his store in 1914, DeMars continued taking photographs and selling photographic postcards on an itinerant basis.
Several years ago, DeMars’ glass plate negatives were discovered in a Winsted attic. Mr. DeMars’ granddaughter, Peg Giles, recently donated the Berkshire images to the Great Barrington Historical Society. Although this collection extends well beyond the borders of Great Barrington, we believe that for scholarly and educational purposes, the Massachusetts collection should be kept together and intact.
Click on town names to view “thumbnail” photos. Click on thumbnail photos to view larger photos.