Sometimes, glimpses into the past are just that -- small glances in a history book or a story handed down by grandparents.
At other times, like the Vault to View presentation held by the Wayne County Public Library Saturday morning, the visual history comes en masse, with a near-overwhelming amount of information and history to sift through all at once.
Saturday's presentation, the result of a collaboration between the library, Wayne County Museum and the Goldsboro News-Argus, featured photos taken by photographer A.O. Clement at his photo studio in Goldsboro between 1906 and 1936, focusing mostly on those taken in the 1930s.
The photos, originally discovered at the News-Argus office, were set to be disposed of until Marty Tschetter, local history librarian at the library, offered to instead digitize them to preserve them for future generations.
What followed were long hours of work for Tschetter.
"We started digitizing the Clement Collection in early January," he said. "We are scanning alphabetically by surname, recently started into the 'G's'."
Tschetter and Wayne County Museum Director Jennifer Kuykendall gave the presentation itself, discussing the historical context of the photos as well as the work that went into digitizing them. While some of the photos depicted landscape details or pieces of jewelry, the vast majority of the images presented were portraits, which Kuykendall used to explore the evolution of fashion and culture trends during the 1930s.
For instance, she said, as movies began to have a major cultural impact during the Great Depression, the image of Joan Crawford dressed in the famous "Letty Lynton dress" in the movie of the same name inspired a Macy's replica which sold 50,000 dresses across the country. One of the portraits Kuykendall showed happened to have that same dress in it.
Other portraits carried some familiar names. Farfour, Bryan and other names common to Wayne County were all represented, in some cases with direct descendants of the photo's subjects sitting in the audience.
As with any project of this magnitude, the library needs assistance in getting the rest of the photos scanned and filed, as well as with researching more information about the people depicted in the photos. Anyone interested in doing so can contact Tschetter at 919-735-1824, Ext. 6, or email@example.com, and he will filter through the applications for people who are a good fit.
The process is time consuming, Tschetter said.
"Not to convolute this, but the sleeve we scan in color and the negative is black and white, those are two different settings. And then you add all this information and you transfer it to the sleeve, it takes time," he said. "But we're making headway. We've probably done 400 so far, and there's probably 1,500 overall."