PHSNE: From the Beginning

The Photographic Historical Society of New England was founded April 8, 1973, at a meeting attended by some 75 interested collectors at the Old Edgell Library, Framingham Centre, Massachusetts. By early 1974 the organizing founders, other board members, and the general members had created a fully functioning society, operating much as it does today.

The meeting was organized by Richard Bolt, Bryon Owens, Lawrence Rochette, and Richard Sanford.

PHSNE Group Photo, June 3, 1973. (Thirty-eight of the Charter Members.) Photo by Charles DeBois Hodges. 1Image scan courtesy Dick Bolt.

An interim Board2, chaired by Mr. Rochette, and consisting of the other three founders, plus John S. Craig, Valerie P. Craig, Matthew Isenberg, Sharon Isenberg, and Luana Rochette was approved. Luana Rochette was designated Treasurer and Valerie Craig Secretary. Mr. Ben Corning was also added to the interim Board as a Member-at-Large. Mr. Robert Pratt, the editor of the newsletter, was added to the interim Board as a nonvoting member.

Robert Platt started publication of the Newsletter with Issue #1 reporting on the April 8, 1973 meeting. Publication continued regularly in 1973. In January 1974, Craig Volmer became the editor and the Newsletter was renamed Photo~Nostalgia with the publication of issue #7.

One of the motivations for forming a New England society was to avoid the trips to New York to attend trade shows.3 Thus, planning for a trade show began immediately and the first PHSNE Trade Show was held on September 22 & 23, 1973 at Hotel 128, Dedham MA.4

Under the direction of the interim Board, a set of by-laws for the Society was drafted. These first by-laws were approved by the general membership in January, 1974.5 Under the by-laws, the first official slate of officers and Board members were elected to serve until June, 1974. The officers elected were: John S. Craig, President; Matthew Isenberg, Vice President; Richard Sanford, Secretary; and Bryon Owens, Treasurer. Board Members-at-Large were Richard Bolt, Robert Pratt, Lawrence Rochette, Richard Russack, and Paul Wing. The by-laws provided for annual elections to commence in May with one year terms starting in June.6

Meeting of PHSNE Interim Board (1973). Left to right: Bryon Owens, Lu Rochette, Larry Rochette, Matthew Isenberg, Sharon Isenberg, Richard Bolt, John Craig, Valerie Craig. Photo by Dick Sanford, also a board member. 7Image scan courtesy Matthew Isenberg.

After discussion at the November 1973 interim Board meeting, a membership directory was started. It was published in 1974, after the election of the new officers. The PHSNE 1974 Directory lists 96 memberships, 60 of which were Charter Memberships. Charter Members joined by, or during, the June 3, 1973 meeting.

The aims and goals of the Photographic Historical Society of New England include:

    • To promote an interest in, and knowledge of, our photographic history and heritage, including the invention and advancement of apparatus and processes, and the related literature; and
    • To promote friendship among those interested in the collection and history of photography and to provide an atmosphere within which those persons can share their knowledge and benefit from the knowledge of others.

The Society, for nearly 50 years, has continued to operate under these aims and goals, using trade shows, publications, educational exhibits, monthly presentations, and the World Wide Web to preserve and promote the history of photography.

~This summary was updated and enlarged by Joe Walters from the history in the PHSNE 1974 Directory.

An Oral History

Amanda Smith and the Journal Committee interviewed the founders of PHSNE for the 2013 40th anniversary issue of the Journal and published:

First Forty Years

Early Documents

These documents provide a contemporaneous, published history of the founding, operations, and early activities of PHSNE.

1973 Announcing a new club
1973 Newsletter #1
1973 Newsletter #2
1973 Newsletter #3 (n/a)
1973 Newsletter #4 (n/a)
1973 Newsletter #5
1973 Newsletter #6
Photo~Nostalgia #7 (n/a)
Articles of Organization (n/a)
First Show Flyer (n/a)
PHSNE 1974 Directory (abridged) 8

• Announcing a New Club and Newsletter 1,2, & 6 scans courtesy Dick Bolt. From his Web site PHSNE History.
• Issues of Newsletter 3, 4; Photo~Nostalgia 7, and First Show Flyer provided by Ruth Thomasian and Ed Shaw.
• Articles of Organization from Corporations Division, Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
• Scans of Newsletter 3, 4; Articles of Organization, Photo~Nostalgia #7, First Show Flyer, and PHSNE 1974 Directory by Joe Walters.

1. [Credit: Charles DeBois Hodges. Image scan courtesy Dick Bolt, from his web site PHSNE History. Published in The Journal, 20th Anniversary Issue, Numbers 138 & 139, 1993, cover.]
2. [Early documents use the terms “temporary Board,” “Board,” “Executive Board” and “Board of Directors” when referring to the Board elected at the April 1973 meeting (e.g. see, Newsletter #1, #2, #3, #4, and #5, PHSNE 1974 Directory). This author has chosen to use the term “interim Board” in this online history for the board elected at the April 8, 1973 meeting. The later Boards, starting in January 1974 and constituted under the Bylaws of PHSNE are referred to simply as “Board” with no “interim” qualifier.]
3. [The flyer for the first Show identifies the site as Hotel 128. “PHSNE’s First Ten Years, 1973 – 1982,” by Henry Weiseinburger, The Journal Number 164 (Spring 2005) identifies the location as Hotel 128. However, Newsletter #3 identifies Motel 128 as the site of the Show.]
4. [According to the PHSNE 1974 Directory, history inside front cover, the By-laws were approved by the membership at the January 1974 meeting. The first by-laws state they were approved on February 10, 1974. Approval from the January vote was delayed for legal review (see Photo~Nostalgia #7). These first by-laws are presented in the PHSNE 1974 Directory.]
5. [Elections are now held in November, with two year terms starting in January.]
6. [Credit: Charles DeBois Hodges. Image scan courtesy Dick Bolt, from his web site PHSNE History. Published in The Journal, 20th Anniversary Issue, Numbers 138 & 139, 1993, cover.]
7. [Left to right: Bryon Owens, Luana Rochette, Larry Rochette, Matthew Isenberg, Sharon Isenberg, Richard Bolt, John Craig, Valerie Craig. Photo by Dick Sanford, also a Board member. Image courtesy of Matt Isenberg. This photo appears on back cover of The Journal, 20th Anniversary Issue, combined Numbers 138 & 139, 1993.]
8. [The PHSNE 1974 Directory presented here has been abridged to remove address and contact information for the members out of privacy concerns. However, a reformated list of members names has been included with Charter Members identified. The remainder of the directory was scanned and presented in it’s entirety.]

From Steve Dunwell's "The World of Work"

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Our members bring their curiosity, enthusiasm, and knowledge to bear on every aspect of photo history, from the earliest experiments to the present day—and tomorrow.
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