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.
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.