Amos Avery Photographic Collection

Datura Workers at CSH, 1927 (Avery is seated on the left)

Amos Avery was an associate in plant breeding for the Carnegie Institution of Washington Department of Genetics (predecessor of the CSHL). Mr. Avery was in charge of the gardens and greenhouses under Dr. Albert Blakeslee (center in the photo above) from 1926-42. He left Cold Spring Harbor in 1943. During this time Mr. Avery and his wife Ruth took hundreds of photographs in and around the Carnegie campus at Cold Spring Harbor, NY. This collection, now housed in the CSHL Archives, includes 129 unsorted photographs, approximately 75 negatives, and 3 scrapbooks.

The photos were given to the Archives by Mr. Avery’s daughter, Nancy Avery in April 1999, shortly after his death. It was accessioned and processed by Clare Clark and Brian Soldo, by a grant provided by the New York State’s Documentary Heritage Program (DHP), a statewide program ensures the survival of New York's documentary heritage by providing financial support and guidance to the not-for-profit organizations that hold, collect and make available the state's historical records. 

A page from an Avery scrapbook -- the "Carnegie" building in the top right photograph is now the CSHL Library.

The majority of the Avery’ photos are from the 1930s, and the collection gives a view of the scientific and personal lives of scientists within the early days of the Department of Genetics of the Carnegie Institution of Washington at Cold Spring Harbor. It will also be of interest to anyone interested in Long Island history of that era, and includes images of the Roosevelt Field airfield, Otto Kahn’s Oheka estate, and Walt Whitman’s birthplace. The scrapbooks contain detailed captions. An interesting photograph caption says “Charles Lindberg comes to visit…", however, the image is so small it’s virtually unrecognizable. 

- Brian Soldo, DHP Grant Intern

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