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Winter is finally upon us and with that I have come across a poem by Dora Fortner, who lived in Strathroy.  The museum has a large collection of her poems written from the 1920s to the 1960s and the one below is most fitting for a day like today. 

Oh! The cold winds blow,
And they tell of snow,
And the leaves go dancing away;
And the clouds pass by,
And the tree-tops sigh,
As so madly about they sway.

All the birds have fled,
And the flowers are dead,
And the earth lies cold and bare;
And the trees are gaunt,
And their limbs they flaunt,
As they toss in the frosty air.

Now, the streams run fast,
For the summer’s past,
And the sky is leaden and drear;
And the snow falls light,
Till the ground is white
And we know that winter is here.
Nov 19, 1938

A photography studio dating back to 1900 was discovered in the third-floor attic space above Bossons Pharmacy in Strathroy late last year, leading to an incredible donation to Museum Strathroy-Caradoc.

Negatives found on the 3rd floor of Bossons

Through the efforts of Louis Haan the contractor who discovered this treasure and building owner Laura Bossons nearly 3,000 glass-plate negatives have been saved ensuring an important piece of history is shared with the community.

The photography studio, run by Roger Sifton Williams, was in operation from 1900 until 1905 above Stepler’s Drug Store on Front Street (present-day Bossons Pharmacy). Williams was born in Strathroy in 1877 and, according to the 1901 Census, lived on Front Street with his wife Marion Maud Lucas.

During his short career as a photographer in Strathroy, R. S. Williams captured images of local residents and outdoor scenes. Many of the photo negatives are identified, making them valuable for genealogical and local history research.

Next steps include organizing, cleaning, cataloguing and storing these treasures so they are accessible to the public. The estimated cost of the project is $5,000, which includes the purchase of cleaning supplies and archival envelopes. A later phase of the project will include digitally reproducing the images so they are available to the public.

Photograph of Jessie Zavitz

Negative on light box

If you are interested in helping preserve these photographs for future generations please consider donating to Museum Strathroy-Caradoc and specify that you’d like the money to go toward the R. S. Williams Collection. All funds raised will go directly to purchasing supplies to clean and store the glass-plate negatives.

About the Museum

Museum Strathroy-Caradoc opened to the public in 1972. As a community museum we strive to preserve and tell the story of Strathroy-Caradoc, and inspire residents to explore and understand the community around them.

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