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Help us reunite photos with their families

A Joint project with the Portland Camera Club

The Ethel Wight Photography Project - Do we have photos of your relatives?

Ethel Wight was a professional photographer who worked in the 1930s to the 1950s, with a studio at 548 1/2 Congress Street, Portland and one in the Old Orchard Beach area. In addition to her portrait work, she was a highly respected fine arts photographer. She is thought to be the first woman to join the Portland Camera Club. Her photograph of Charles Lindbergh standing in front of “The Spirit of St. Louis” on the beach at Old Orchard in 1927 was the highlight of the club’s Centennial Exhibition at the Portland Museum of Art in 1999.

After Wight’s death, her archive of negatives was donated to the Maine Historical Society. After MHS selected what it could use, the remaining pictures were donated to the Saco Museum, as Wight’s studio was in that area. The Saco Museum passed the remainder to the Portland Camera Club. This was mostly studio portraits; some 820 poses of children, teen-agers, graduating nurses, servicemen, family groups, and adults.

The Portland Camera Club, together with the Greater Portland Chapter of the Maine Genealogical Society, would like to offer genealogists worldwide a chance to find a professional photo of a long-lost relative. Unfortunately, the subjects in these negatives are not identified, but each negative is associated with the name and address of the person who paid for it. Our assumption is that the person in the photo would be related to the person paying for the photo, if not actually that person. We have compiled a list of available photos in order to offer you a chance to search for your relatives.

Please click here to view the database in .pdf format, which is arranged in alphabetical order based on the last name of the person who ordered the photo in the 1920s-1950s.

Please click here if you prefer to view the database in Excel format so that you may use the "Find" function. Please note you must have Excel software installed on your computer to view this second option.

If you find someone you are interested in, please click here to view an order form. Copies of photos are available as a printed 8x10 for $15.00 each or in digital form for $4.00 each.

Please allow up to four weeks for delivery. Thank you.

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