Ervin S. Hubbard glass plate negative collection
Scope and Contents
This collection includes glass plate negatives that range in date from 1893-1901, though much of the material is undated. Ervin S. Hubbard, an architect, photographed these images. These images' subjects primarily cover geographic locations—including New England, the greater Washington, D.C. area, and New Brunswick, Canada—and portraits.
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
Many materials in this collection are in the public domain due to the expiration of the term of copyright. Researchers need not seek or secure permission to re-use or reproduce materials in the public domain. Please contact Special Collections if the copyright status of the materials you wish to reuse is unclear. Staff will provide additional information.
Biographical / Historical
This collection was photographed by Ervin S. Hubbard (1850-1921). As an architect, he worked in St. John, New Brunswick, Canada; Washington, D.C.; Cleveland, Ohio; and back to Washington where he lived until his death. While in Washington, he worked within the Office of the Supervising Architect for the United States Treasury and later the Office of the Quartermaster General of the United States Army. Photography was a passion of his, and his photographs primarily document his home and street scenes in Washington, trips to New England and New Brunswick, and family members.
Mr. Hubbard was born in Holden, Massachusetts on the Hubbard’s family farm. Throughout his childhood Mr. Hubbard grew up in Massachusetts between Westboro, Boston, and the farm before entering the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) two-year special course in architecture at age twenty-two. He was a detail-oriented person who drew accomplished, precise drawings.
In either 1877 or 1878 while employed by a Boston architect after attending MIT, Mr. Hubbard traveled to the city of St. John, New Brunswick after a fire destroyed a large area of the city. The building activity in St. John was very active after the fire, and Mr. Hubbard was responsible for taking charge of an office in which the architect was interested. In May 1885, he secured a position within the Office of the Supervising Architect for the United States Treasury. A change in leadership occurred three years later, prompting him to retire and secure a new position in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1891, he moved back to Washington to join the Office of the Quartermaster General of the United States Army, where he worked for at least nineteen years thereafter.
While working in St. John, Mr. Hubbard met Sarah E. Prescott, whom he later married. They had two children, Helen and Laurence. Soon after moving to Washington, Mr. Hubbard took up photography as an extension of his artistic pursuits, and he photographed elements of his other hobbies, including gardening, raising pigeons, and traveling. He raised exotic plants at the Hubbard home on 704 20th Street in Washington’s Northwest quadrant. He was particularly proud of his prized exotic Amorphophallus plant that he grew in the backyard every summer. The plant’s rank stalk reached over six feet tall. Additionally, he raised homing pigeons in an elaborate pigeon house in the backyard. Raising pigeons was a very popular hobby where he grew up in Massachusetts. Lastly, his desire to see the world took him on adventures to Florida, New England, Alaska, Canada, Europe, and Cuba.
In 1906, Helen married J. Edwin Lawton. Subsequently, the Hubbards and Lawtons lived as a three generation family within the Hubbard home at 704 20th Street. The Lawton family was in the wagon and carriage business, but quickly adapted as automobiles became a viable means of transportation. They sold and customized automobiles for Senators, Congressmen, and other Washingtonians. The Hubbards and Lawtons embraced automobile travel. Mr. Hubbard’s earliest recorded automobile adventure recorded was a ten day camping trip from Washington to Maine and then New Brunswick to visit Mrs. Hubbard’s Prescott relatives. The family traveled in a 1916 Buick seven passenger touring car, which Mr. Lawton outfitted with a custom trailer fitted to have a tent set up over the wagon bed. Mr. Hubbard photographed their camps throughout the journey. Afterwards, the family traveled to New England or Canada almost yearly. He kept detailed diaries of these trips, including sights seen along the way.
9 Linear Feet
Language of Materials
This collection includes glass plate negatives that range in date from 1893-1901, though much of the material is undated. These images' subjects primarily cover geographic locations—including New England, the greater Washington, D.C. area, and New Brunswick, Canada—and portraits.
Organized into two series: Geographic Locations and Portraits.
Materials are stored off-site, and will require additional retrieval time. Please contact the Special Collections Research Center for more information.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift of Mollie Rideout, 2018(2018.013).
Reparative Description Projects
This finding aid was revised in March 2023 to address harmful descriptive language. During that revision, staff edited the Biographical/Historical note, as well as the Scope and Contents note of Series 1 Subseries 3 Maryland, Virginia, and Washington D.C. To see the description prior to revisions, please view the previous version of Ervin S. Hubbard glass plate negative collection.
- Negatives (photographic) Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Photography Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Ridout, Mollie (Person)
- Guide to the Ervin S. Hubbard glass plate negative collection, 1895-1901
- Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English
Part of the Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University Repository
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Washington 20052 United States of America