Photos of Boston and Around

Just coming online and available for everyone to view is the mesmerizing photographic collection done by Leslie Jones, who worked as a camera man for the Boston Herald-Traveler newspaper from 1917 to 1956.  He amassed some 34,000 images of everyday life in the Boston, Massachusetts and surrounding areas for decades.  He documented all types of events, from auto accidents to the aviator Charles Lindbergh to sports events and the everyday citizen on the street. His family donated this collection to the Boston Public Library and they have now been made in digital format and available online.

The library site has the Leslie Jones Collection photos organized by topics such as animals, seaplanes, accidents, floods, airships, art and artifacts, along with so many more topics. There is also a keyword search box to assist.

Even if you did not have any ancestors in the Boston area during the first half of the 20th century you will find viewing these images of real events and people fascinating. Those who are knowledgably of places across Boston will enjoy looking at some of the architectural structures the Jones photographed over the years.

With many of the aviation photos he did not confine himself to the ground.  He was up in the planes taking aerial shots of other aircraft as well as scenes on the ground.

Check out the many images of auto accidents, some in rather very poor condition after being wrapped around a tree.

One of the major events in Boston history was the massive molasses spill that wiped out homes and businesses. Even local firehouse #31 suffered tremendous damage to tons of molasses flowing through the streets, several feet thick in January 1919. This is shown in one of Jones’ photos at the top of this page.

The actual Jones photo collection with negatives including countless glass negatives are carefully stored on the 5th floor of the Boston Public Library. They are cataloged and archived, but not all are made digital for the online site yet. Jones had already identified each image, so there is not question what is being viewed.

This makes what is available most interesting to glance at and to come back later to see what has been added.

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