PHSNE’s June Zoom meeting presentation is “Cataloging the Gabriel Cromer Collection” with Edith Cuerrier, curator, archivist, RCAF photographer, and cataloguer of the historic George Eastman Museum’s collection, on Sunday, June 6, 2021, at 7:30 PM EDT. Apart from her technical and organizational credentials, Ms. Cuerrier had one more essential skill—fluent French!
In 2016, the Institute of Museums and Library Services awarded the George Eastman Museum, in Rochester, NY, a grant to achieve the following: “The George Eastman Museum will catalog, digitize, and provide online access to the Gabriel Cromer Collection of early photography, which includes photographs, prints, albums, books, cameras, lenses, and early motion studies. The collection is of renown in both the area of early photography as well as early French photographic materials. Completion of this project will allow the museum to achieve physical and intellectual control over this important collection, while serving the public by providing free online access for both scholarly research and recreational inquiry.”
The IMLS grant provided the funds to hire a cataloguer and a photographer to fully digitize, document, and inventory the collection in preparation for an exhibition originally scheduled for 2022. The cataloguer would have to be fluent in French due to the Parisian origins of much of Cromer’s materials as well as his handwritten notes.
Collector Gabriel Cromer (1873-1934) was a Frenchman living near Paris during the first 30 years of the 20th century. In that time, he amassed a remarkably comprehensive collection of photographic material related to every aspect of the early history of the medium, including its inventors and earliest practitioners (i.e. Daguerre’s 1844 portrait, and 1839 Giroux camera). Through an interesting set of circumstances, this collection made its way to Rochester, NY, in 1939.
In 2017, Edith Cuerrier was hired by the George Eastman Museum as the cataloguer for the Gabriel Cromer Collection Project. She relocated to Rochester, NY where she immersed herself in the world of Gabriel Cromer and his collection for the next two years. In her presentation, Edith will share some of what she learned and experienced while working on this fascinating project.
She is a French Canadian who grew up near Montreal and has been living in Newfoundland for almost two decades. She served in the Royal Canadian Air Force for 22 years as a military photographer before earning a Bachelor of Arts in Archaeology from Memorial University of Newfoundland in 2006. In 2009, Edith completed a Master’s in Photo Preservation and Collection Management from Ryerson University. She has been working as an archives technician at the Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador, on and off, since 2009. In 2016, she founded the Photographic Historical Society of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Additional background information can be found at https://collections.eastman.org/search/Cromer. Courtesy of the Eastman Museum.