The Vintage Cuteness of Wayne County

By Larry Ann Evans,
Executive Director of the Wayne County Historical Society


Using glass as a negative became popular in 1880 with the advent of pre-coated gelatin dry plates. Although this form of photography went out of style in the early twentieth century, it was used by the professional astronomical community as late as the 1990s. Glass plates were considered superior to film because of their stability and capturing detail.

In 1980 the Wayne County Historical Society received a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts to fund various projects dealing with the society’s large collection of glass plate negatives. The grant allowed the society to print and catalogue over 1,000 glass plate negatives, mount the exhibit, “The Silent Shutters: 1870–1930,” and create a traveling exhibit, “Wayne County, Turning the Century.” The catalogue to this exhibit was very popular but has long since gone out of print. Owing to the interest in that catalogue, the historical society decided to create a handsome coffee table book.

You can buy the book at the Museum of Wayne County History at 21 Butternut St, Lyons, NY 14489, at Dobbins Drugs in Lyons or online at

The Wayne County Historical Society operates the Museum of Wayne County History located in the old Wayne County jail and attached sheriff ’s residence. It is the mission of the Wayne County Historical Society to encourage an appreciation of the history of Wayne County, to disseminate historical information about Wayne County and the surrounding area, to preserve the heritage of the area, and help individuals explore history and its meaning in relation to their lives. For more information visit

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