Public may get look at old Sun Valley photos

FRIDAY, FEB. 27, 2009

Pictures were taken between 1890, 1936

KETCHUM, Idaho – A collection of photographs of the resort area of central Idaho dating back more than 100 years could be put into digital form and made available online.

The photos taken by Martyn Mallory between 1890 and 1936 show automobiles on a dusty Main Street in Hailey, a view of Ketchum with no vehicles, and the construction of the Sun Valley Lodge.

He also photographed parades and other events of the era.

“I am happy to see this is happening,” Rose Mallory, daughter-in-law of Martyn Mallory, told the Idaho Mountain Express. “I would like to see the photographs made available to the public.”

The collection of 3,000 prints and about 1,500 original cellulose-nitrate and glass negatives has been stored at the Hailey Public Library for the past 12 years.

The Hailey Historic Preservation Commission has applied for a grant to assess the status of the collection.

“A huge amount of work has been done by the library in terms of cataloguing the collection,” said commission Chairman Rob Lonning. “We are hoping to take up where the library left off.”

He recently attended a two-day workshop in Bellevue, Wash., put on by the Society of American Archivists that gave tips on how to identify the type of process used to make old photos.

“The celluloid negatives in the Mallory collection tend to disintegrate and can become flammable,” Lonning said.

Mallory was born in 1880 in Kelton, Utah, and moved to Hailey when he was 3 when his family started a merchandise store on Main Street.

At age 9, he photographed the Women’s Temperance League burning gambling tables on Main Street.

He worked as a ranger for the Sawtooth National Forest, and was a businessman and county assessor.

“Mallory got out quite a bit,” said Rick Ardinger, executive director of the Idaho Council on the Humanities, who called the collection “quite a find.”

The council in the 1990s gave grants to preserve and catalog the collection. Archivist Claudia Walsworth spent four years as director of the project.

“He also photographed many of the people and events of his day, like bands and parades on Main Street,” Walsworth said. “This collection is an important part of the social and economic history of the time.”

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