Frederick Venton Curtiss was an innovative freelance photographer who documented people, places and events in the Morristown, New Jersey area from 1903 to 1938. This collection of photographs provides images of social and historical events as well as glimpses into everyday life in the Morris County region.
The Frederick Venton Curtiss Collection is a photographic archive consisting of (approximately) 10,000 photographic prints, 6000 glass plate negatives, an index of the collection, and the photographer's business records.
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About Frederick Curtiss
Frederick Venton Curtiss was born in 1863, probably in Newark. He moved with his family to Morristown, and later to Morris Plains, where he died in 1938. Before becoming a photographer, Curtiss was the head bookkeeper for the Morris Aqueduct Company. When the company became the Morristown Water Company, Curtiss left his position to start his own photography studio. Some of his freelance photography included work for the Daily Record Newspaper, and the Morristown Police and Fire departments. He also worked for the Parker Brothers photographers, a well known Morristown studio. Curtiss's studies of everyday subjects show his ability to transform the mundane into intriguing and evocative images of people, places and events of his era. Most of the prints in this collection are made from Curtiss's glass plate negatives, and their clarity and detail is unexcelled.
Curtiss kept detailed notes of his photographs in a series of logbooks. These notes often provide information such as the names of his subjects, camera settings, locations and times, client names, and other details.