The following is a guest post by Gay Colyer, Digital Library Specialist, Prints & Photographs Division.
We need your help to identify 68 photos of historic structures. They’re posted in a Flickr album called “Mystery Houses,” so that it’s easy to add your notes.* The photographer, Frances Benjamin Johnston, did leave a basic clue for each image—the state and county name. So much more could be said, though, about these intriguing buildings.
Losing track of the building names might sound like a big oversight for an architectural photographer. But Miss Johnston took more than 7,000 photos of 1,700 structures for her impressive Carnegie Survey of the Architecture of the South. To complete the valuable work she did in the 1920s-1940s, we’re calling for help from observers “in the field.”
A description of the type of building would be welcome, too! Some of the structures were already abandoned and near collapse when Miss Johnston saw them. A description based on the photo may be all that’s possible.
Every building has a story. Part of the story is the structure itself: where was it built, and for what purpose? And then there are the people who called the building their home. Who were they, and how were they known in the community? Please help us reveal more of the story!
* You’re also welcome to supply identifications through comments on this blog post, if you choose!
- Enjoy all the photos in the Carnegie Survey of the Architecture of the South
- Read more about Frances B. Johnston’s life (1864-1952) in this Biographical Overview and Chronology
- View “Tales Old Houses Tales”—lantern slides from one of Miss Johnston’s favorite lectures
- Learn about Researching Historic Washington, D.C., Buildings