Marion Stark Gaines Photograph Collection Complete

Marion Stark Gaines

Over the last year, Archivist Mona K. Vance has been reprocessing the Marion Stark Gaines Photograph Collection and it is now reopen for research! 

Vance reorganized the collection allowing for greater ease of access and added to the description of the materials.  For example, rather than an image simply containing the label “Flower” it is now described with the exact name of the flower such as “Crape Myrtle”.  Also, she identified the people in the photographs whenever possible.

Vance said, “I am thrilled to be able to reopen this collection to the public with a much more detailed description of the materials which allows for a greater understanding of Gaines importance not only to photography, but to Mississippi as well.”

The collection consists of over 130 photographic prints, 99 glass-plate negatives, Kodak safety film, journals and magazines that published Gaines photographs, documents relating to both the Gaines and Stark families, and much more! 

While the materials cover the 1780s all the way up to the 2000’s, the bulk of the photographs date from the 1890s through the 1910s.

The Gaines photographs represent an early female photographers viewpoint of southern Mississippi’s people, animals, and flowers. She also captured images of African Americans, Native Americans, and rural life.

Gaines published her photos in many popular magazines of the time including Photo-Era and Ladies Home Journal.  She even wrote an article titled “By the West Window” (Photo-Era Magazine, 1901) where she discussed both the mental and physical processes she went through when capturing floral images.

Vance looks forward to the next step.  She said, “Now, I would like to take Marion to the digital world.  I hope to add many of her images to the Mississippi Digital Library where the world will be able to view her amazing work.”

Marion Stark Gaines (1850-1942) was born in Columbus, Mississippi but soon moved with her family to Mobile, Alabama.  She married Abner Strother Gaines in 1879 and moved to State Line, Mississippi where his family owned a plantation and nursery known as Peachwood.  There, she had four children George Stark (1879-1962),  Abner Strother, Jr. (1883-died in infancy), Marion Viola (1885-1970), and Edmund Pendleton (1889-1949). It was during this time that she began taking photographs.

Peachwood Plantation and Nursery

The collection was donated to the Billups-Garth Archives by Marion’s granddaughter and former Director of the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library, Chebie Bateman.

To see the Marion Stark Gaines Photograph Collection visit the Billups-Garth Archives at the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library.  To find out more information call 662-329-5304 or email mvance@lowndes.lib.ms.us.

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Published in: on November 5, 2010 at 3:12 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. […] in the Marion Stark Gaines Photograph Collection in the Billups-Garth Archives at the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library, Columbus, Mississippi. […]


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