Historical Society members are looking for some help to do that.
Spurred in part simply by looking for things for volunteers to do during a time of social distancing, VAHS president Jesse Charles said the goal is to get as many names and as much information as they can – while they can – from a growing pile of photographs the society has collected.
“There are still people around who remember some of these faces, and if we can catch them now, then we’ve brought so much more value to these old pictures and records and archives,” he told the Press last week. “The difference between an artifact and a piece of garbage is a story, and if we can give stories to these things, they have so much more meaning.”
The society has a constantly growing collection of photographs – old and recent – that people have donated over the years. Charles and a group of volunteers started going through them in 2016, loosely organizing them by decade or subject. Many are black-and-white photos dating back to the 1800s, he said – some with fading names, some with none at all.
It all gave him an idea.
“I thought, we’ve gotta do something,” he said. “And then COVID hit, and all our meetings are canceled and I started thinking of things people could do from home, things that we really need to do.”
So Charles scanned several hundred photos, and said there are “many, many more” yet to go.
“We will never run out of photographs,” he said.
He urged people to send the society their old photos -- or copies -- and label it with any details they can.
“Every photo is about two generations away from going in the garbage, unless there’s more information,” he said. “It’s about keeping them out of the garbage if they are relevant to telling Verona’s story.”
Charles said while it’s something the society should have done years ago, there’s no better time to start than the present, for history’s sake.
“It's so much more meaningful – especially for people in the future in geneology when they try to hunt down their relatives – if they can find this old black-and-white photo and see, this is my great, great grandpa,” he said. “Getting the word out is going to pay off in so many ways we can’t predict right now.”
To contribute to identifying these photos or to contribute old photos of people and places around Verona, email Charles at email@example.com.