That was certainly the case when CCHS recently learned of some 19th-century daguerreotypes connected to the Pennock family of London Grove that were available at an auction on the other side of the country, in Bozeman, Mont. The items included an album of photographic cabinet cards and five daguerreotypes.
“While CCHS receives many generous donations to the collections, occasionally something of local significance must be purchased,” Laurent said.
Pam Powell, CCHS’s photo archivist, identified the priorities among what was available. A rare image by a female photographer who worked briefly in West Chester in the 1850s, in what is now called the Lincoln Building, was one of them.
“For us to consider buying something, it has to have strong Chester County history,” said Ellen Endslow, the CCHS’s Director of Collections. “One of the daguerreotypes was taken by Sarah Garrett Hewes of a woman who is believed to be Sara Agnes Pennock. Hewes was the daughter of Thomas Garrett (the prominent abolitionist and Underground Railroad leader) and was one of Pennsylvania’s earliest female photographers.”
CCHS placed online bids with the auctioneer in Montana and was thrilled to learn it was the successful bidder.
“We could pursue the purchase because of CCHS supporters who, over the past 125 years, have contributed specific funds to purchase notable items,” Laurent said. “We deeply appreciate this community’s tradition of generous support for the Society.”