Sumner County Archives

E.M. Stark glass plate negatives

March 19, 2021
The Sumner County Archives has acquired John Garrott’s collection of renowned photographer E.M. Stark’s glass negatives.

John Garrott donated the collection of an estimated 7,000 negatives to the Archives for historical preservation. 

Photographer Earnest Merle Stark began his career in the early 1900’s traveling a 300 mile circuit through Nebraska and Kansas.  Mr. Stark moved from town to town by mule drawn wagon, setting up his studio for several weeks before moving to the next town.  Families were eager to capture loved ones in photographs and Mr. Stark’s business flourished.

While visiting in Tennessee Mr. Stark heard of a studio for sale in Gallatin, Tennessee and by 1906 Stark’s Photographic Studio was open for business. For over 65 years Mr. Stark’s photos of high school graduates, families, babies, children and local citizens graced the homes of Sumner County. “Starkey” as he was affectionately called, received many awards and accolades for his outstanding photography.

The Archives has preserved over 4,000 glass plate negatives converting negatives to positive images.  The charming photographs of Sumner County family’s date from 1905 through the 1920’s.  The project is ongoing  and available for public viewing. Your family may be part of the collection, several patrons have discovered great grandparents and other relatives.

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365 North Belvedere Drive
Gallatin, TN 37066



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