"Such a library as ours would not only contain books and current periodicals,
but there would be...articles of historic, scientific, and artistic interest."
~ Frank C. Patten, Head Librarian of Rosenberg Library, 1904 - 1934
The Library accepted its first museum piece shortly after it opened in 1904. Since then, thousands of rare and interesting objects from around the world have been added to the collection. Displayed in these pages are the Library's "Treasures of the Month."
March 2010 "Treasure of the Month"
The Rosenberg Library Museum featured a Novelette Triplex Camera from E. & H. T. Anthony Company as the March Treasure of the Month. Novelette cameras, manufactured from 1886 until 1894, were the first cameras to include the Prosch triplex shutter and assisted in the advancement of photography in the field. These cameras, along with their cases, sold for $40 each in 1890 and were deemed the most portable cameras on the market. If they were still sold on the shelves today, the cameras would cost nearly $1,000.00 each. This month’s featured artifact was donated by Mr. Floyd J. Kavanaugh in 1936.
Until the 1880s, most cameras were designed for studio use and were mounted on stationary carts and stands. Their design was large, bulky, and awkward. The innovative design of the Anthony Novelette Camera in 1886 allowed the entire frame and bellows to revolve, making the transition from portrait images to landscape view immensely more convenient. The camera’s compact build led to artistic advancements in field and studio photography as well as the budding art of the action shot.
The 1886 Novelette camera on display is made of mahogany with brass trimmings. Known to camera enthusiasts as one of the more unique Anthony designs, the Novelette has a stereoscopic round wooden face and was sold as a stereoscopic camera. Known for its lightweight but sturdy build, the Novelette camera was the preferred camera for action sequences. Relatively rare today, the Novelette brought photography out of the studios and into the field.
The Treasure of the Month is located on the library’s historic second floor near the East Entrance. It can be viewed during regular library hours, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, please contact the Museum Office at 409-763-8854 x 125.