by Rebecca Taylor
In working to catalog and organize the pictures we’ve collected here at the History Center, I’ve been reminded again of the wonderfully rich resource we have access to at the click of a mouse button.
Owned and published on the web by the New Hanover County Public Library are the Dr. Robert Fales “A History of Wilmington in Pictures Collection” and the L. T. Moore “Wilmington in Pictures Collection.”
Dr. Robert M. Fales M.D. was a long time area physician who spent his retirement years collecting well over 1000 images of the Lower Cape Fear area.
He originally intended to collect only photos of area physicians who had practiced in Wilmington during the early part of the twentieth century. But as news got out that Dr. Fales was collecting old pictures, people began to loan and give him all kinds of “old photos.” Originally Dr. Fales made slides of the pictures and spend a good deal of time doing slide shows throughout the community.
Louis T Moore, a descendant of THE Moore Family, was the secretary of the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce from 1921 to 1941 He was a tenacious promoter of his hometown and the area surrounding it. His daughter, Peggy, recalls: “It was a ritual every Sunday afternoon. Daddy had this great big box camera and every Sunday we would drive out and take pictures.”
Moore wrote numerous articles for such magazines as The World Traveler, and the Nautical Gazette promoting tourism to the Wilmington and New Hanover County. His most famous literary effort was the publication in 1956 of Stories Old And New of the Cape Fear Region.
The photograph collection contains almost 1000 pictures and in 1982 the Friends of the Library funded a project to copy all the silver nitrate negatives and make contact prints of the entire collection. The effort to digitize the collection was a joint project of the New Hanover Public Library and the Lower Cape Fear Historical Society.
Though Wilmington is the historic entity that appears in the title of both collections they each contain a large number of images of our own “Federal Point.” They provide a wealth of information for anyone doing research on the area as well as being just plain fun to look at.
To find these wonderful resources and many more image collections start here – for a description (and link) to all of the New Hanover image collections.
To find the Fales photograph collections scroll down this list to find either the “Dr. Robert M. Fales MD Collection” or the “Louis T. Moore Collection.” Both are searchable by subject, the Fales collection can also be searched by date. The Fales photos can be printed on your printer or by right clicking you can “copy” them to a file or into a document. The Moore Pics are a bit more complicated to copy but you can do it if you are proficient with a program that can edit pictures.