, Salem, MA


November 15, 2013

Peabody library shows off stereoscopic images

Long before 3-D movies, there were stereoscopic postcards, 11 of which are now on display at the Peabody Institute Library website.

“In the mid-19th century, photographers figured out a way to make a camera with two lenses, 21/2 inches apart, about the distance of a pair of human eyes,” said Erik Bauer, the library’s archivist. “Pictures would be taken simultaneously and matted on a board or other material.

“When they were put in a stereoscope and moved at certain angles, it would give an illusion of depth.”

Some of the images Bauer posted online depict Peabody Square and the Miles Osborn House, both of which were photographed in 1870.

There are also images of George Peabody’s remains riding in a funeral train in 1869, when his body was returned from England for burial.

A second set of images show Peabody lying in state at the Peabody Institute Library, where he remained from Feb. 1 to 8.

“According to Mr. Fitch Poole’s diary, 6,617 people passed though on February 5th,” a caption reads. “On the 8th of February, his body was removed from the library and buried at Harmony Grove Cemetery in Salem.”

The images don’t appear three-dimensional when viewed online, but Bauer felt people would appreciate seeing the views and learning how they were made.

Stereoscopy was all the rage in Victorian times and regained popularity when it was rediscovered in the 1920s, Bauer said, before radio and TV made them permanently obsolete.

Bauer has been at the library since 2010 and has worked as an archivist since January. He discovered the images while familiarizing himself with the library’s collection.

Much of his work involves helping patrons do research on genealogy or academic subjects, but he also tries to exhibit interesting materials in the library’s holdings.

“We have a strong collection,” Bauer said. “We have holdings I wouldn’t expect to find in other places, such as church records relating to Peabody history. City archives are not a place where you find those records, and they do illuminate a part of the culture of Peabody’s past.”

To view “Double Vision: Stereoviews of Peabody and George Peabody,” click the link in the Library Announcements rotating display at

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • This weekend's Best Bets Best Bets for Saturday, July 26

    Looking for something to do today? Check out The Salem News' Best Bets:

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • North Shore religion news in brief Congregation Shirat Hayam is offering a free, five-week Hebrew Reading Crash Course on Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. from Sept. 2 through Oct. 7, at the synagogue, 55 Atlantic Ave., Swampscott. Led by Nancy Miller, the course is open to the community and is

    July 26, 2014

  • North Shore religion calendar Wednesday, July 30 Book Club, 7 p.m., Aviv Centers for Living, 240 Lynnfield St., Peabody. Women of all ages are invited to a free book group with conversations about Jewish identity. Group will discuss "The Harem Midwife" by Roberta Rich. RSVP to Sh

    July 26, 2014

  • Dear Abby: Teen is looking for direction after high school graduation Dear Abby: I am an 18-year-old high school senior who is scared about what's going to happen after graduation. For the past three years I have known exactly where I'll be and what I will be doing in the general sense. Now that I have one more year to

    July 26, 2014

  • macaws Vet Connection: Pet birds need training, social interaction and time out of the cage People are fascinated with the big colorful birds on display at Animal Kingdom and wild bird sanctuaries. It's always fascinating to see someone walking down the street with a big-beaked bird on his or her shoulder as a companion. We are all drawn to

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ask Dog Lady: Her little dog is obsessed with food Dear Dog Lady: I have a 3-year-old, long-coated Chihuahua named Mexipep (after a brand of hot sauce). She has many fine attributes -- she's very sweet, not nervous and barky like the short-coated Chihuahuas can be. On the subject of food, however, th

    July 25, 2014

  • howe Book Notes: Local novelist sees ‘conversion’ syndrome in witch trials The parallels between 1692 and today are so close, they're frightening. That's one conclusion you could draw from reading "Conversion," Marblehead resident Katherine Howe's new novel, which compares the world of the Salem Witch Trials to the life of

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • vehicles Quick pick: Festival of vehicles

    Festival of vehicles Take a ride over to the Hamilton-Wenham Public Library for the 16th annual Vehicle Night on Wednesday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The festival of fire trucks, emergency vehicles, cruisers and snow plows takes place in the library park

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Friday's Best Bets Best Bets for Friday, July 25

    Looking for something to do today? Here are The Salem News' Best Bets:

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dear Abby: Tyke becomes a terror when mom takes back her cellphone Dear Abby: When my friend "Fran" and I get together with our kids, they often play games on her cellphone until the battery dies. If she tries to take the phone from her 6-year-old to make a call or recharge the phone, he starts yelling at her, pushe

    July 25, 2014

NDN Video
Comments Tracker