John Adamson talks about Hugh Morrison, Jr. during a 2011 interview on ShenandoahValley.com.
In 1988 the Morrison family closed the photography studio that had served Shenandoah County for so long. James Morrison, grandson of Hugh Morrison Jr., rescued the collection of negatives and later sold it to local collector Charles D. Bauserman. Bauserman's family later donated the entire collection to the Shenandoah County Historical Society.
In 1999 more than two tons of negatives arrived at the Shenandoah County Historical Society's storage room in the old stone courthouse at Woodstock, Virginia. Some of the plates were broken. Others were damaged by water or light, and all were dusty. There was no index, and very few of the negatives were labeled.
The Historical Society assumed the challenge of preserving the entire collection for the community whose story it tells. During the past decade volunteers have scanned, sleeved, and cataloged this amazing body of work. They have now created digital images from nearly 25,000 glass-plate negatives. Even so, much remains to be done to conserve the collection. More negatives, on both glass and film, are yet to be explored. Further research to determine the identities of the sitters is needed. In addition, the development of a database is underway to make the collection more accessible. The work continues, and as Morrison's legacy is further revealed, the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley is honored to play a role.
Andrew Thayer scans a glass plate negative.
Morrison Project volunteers (left to right): Nancye Bowman, C. F. Wagniere, John Adamson, Diane Ferguson, Dennis Atwood, Barbara Adamson, Andrew Thayer, Joanne Lockhart, Harry Lockhart, and Phyllis Wright.
Nancye Bowman prepares archival sleeves to house Morrison negatives.