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Floyd Ingraham's Springwater - The story behind the book



I have been holding this story in for a year, but it began long before. To start at the beginning I'd have to take you back 220 years.



Photo courtesy of Paul Holbrook. Used with permission.


Somehow - and I have my suspicions how - Floyd Ingraham, the son of a farmer in the small agricultural community of Springwater, New York, picked up a camera and decided to start taking pictures. It was a wooden box camera, most likely a Reko model with a Bausch and Lomb lens. Glass plates were slid into the back of the camera and an image in Floyd Ingraham's world was captured forever.



Photo courtesy of Paul Holbrook. Used with permission.


Ingraham also had a studio camera and used Kodak dry plates. He developed his images onto postcards. A few were reproduced onto larger cabinet cards.



Picture courtesy of the Ingraham family. Used with permission.


Ingraham kept each glass plate... hundreds of them. He also kept a copy of many of his prints. After his death, his widow Anna and later, his son, Kenneth, kept the prints and the glass plates in boxes. I purchased the glass plate below. It is also the cover image for my book, Floyd Ingraham's Springwater: A Finger Lakes Hamlet.





In the 1970's Floyd Ingraham's son discovered the glass plates in an old shed on his parent's property. Because they had prints of many of the photographs the family didn't see the need to keep the negatives and sold them. Miraculously, over almost five decades, the bulk of the collection stayed together.


The story of the journey of these glass plates is a rabbit trail I cannot wait to take you on. But I will save that for a later post.


In 2019 the glass plates were sold on eBay in lots and then as singles. One of the early purchasers and, by all accounts, the largest holder of original glass plates from the Floyd Ingraham collection was Paul Holbrook. Holbrook has purchased hundreds of glass plates and his collection is one of the finest examples of Americana I've ever seen. Holbrook is a glass plate collector. His restored images are beautiful, sharp and clear. History comes to life in Paul Holbrook's capable hands and I am honored to know him. I am inspired daily by his posts on his Facebook page, Camera Americana.


Paul and I had met online just a year earlier and had worked on a couple other projects together. He had these beautiful old pictures and I had a nose for research. I was like a hound on the hunt and I loved it! I was able to uncover the stories behind several of Paul's glass negatives and when he messaged me about a "special collection" that he had purchased from a "single photographer in the Finger Lakes" I was all in.


This is the very first Floyd Ingraham images Paul sent me in April, 2019.



Photo courtesy of Paul Holbrook. Used with permission.


As Paul began to scan the glass plates, he sent me the raw scans (before his restoration process.)



Photo courtesy of Paul Holbrook. Used with permission.


Photo courtesy of Paul Holbrook. Used with permission.


Photo courtesy of Paul Holbrook. Used with permission.

Photo courtesy of Paul Holbrook. Used with permission.


Photo courtesy of Paul Holbrook. Used with permission.


Photo courtesy of Paul Holbrook. Used with permission.



What I didn't know then, but do now, is the adventure these images would take me on.


Floyd Ingraham's Springwater: A Finger Lakes Hamlet was recently published by Arcadia Publishing and you can purchase it at JulieManwarren.com


I want to give you a behind the scenes look at the birth of my book and the history detective adventures that I took as I researched Floyd Ingraham and his photographs. I hope you will join me for future blog posts. My goal is to let you see what I saw and have a taste of what I experienced as this project unfolded.


It has been, and continues to be, an amazing journey!



Photo courtesy of Paul Holbrook. Used with permission.



#historydetective #FloydIngrahamsSpringwater #FloydIngraham

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