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  About the Paul Ronald Jenkins Photograph Collection
Paul Ronald Jenkins Photograph Collection

The Paul Ronald Jenkins Photograph Collection documents the Murfreesboro, North Carolina area between the years of 1870 and 1960.  Mr. Jenkins, a local pharmacist and amateur photographer, regularly printed vintage negatives and copied "old photographs" for customers and friends.  His collection of historic images represents a "collective visual memory" of more than a hundred years of life in rural Northeastern North Carolina.  Most of the original photographs copied by Mr. Jenkins have since been lost to history, and the images exist only through the prints in this collection.  The collection is owned by the Murfreesboro Historical Association and was placed on permanent loan to the Elizabeth Sewell Parker Memorial Library in 2000.   The Historical Association agreed to have the collection digitized and published on the web, thereby making this important collection available to a greater audience. 
Preservation and Access
To insure their long-term preservation, the photographs and negatives in the Paul Ronald Jenkins Photograph Collection were re-housed in 2001.  At that time, the photographic prints were transferred from old acidic cardboard boxes to archivally approved buffered acid/lingnin free (pH 8.50, drop front, flat storage boxes.  The negatives were re-housed in individual non-buffered archival envelopes.  The seams of the envelopes are on the outside and sealed with a neutral pH adhesive.  The re-housed collection is stored in a locked, metal file cabinet.  The collection is housed at Elizabeth Sewell Parker Memorial Library in Murfreesboro, North Carolina in a climate controlled environment.

The photographic prints in the Paul Ronald Jenkins Photograph Collection are arranged according to a consecutive numbering system, assigned by Mr. Jenkins as each image was acquired.  Corresponding negatives are arranged in the same numerical order.

Paper copy finding aids are available to access the collection.  An item level inventory (container list) includes addresses, subjects, and dates documented on the original negative envelopes.  Users can browse this finding aid in numerical order.  Murfreesboro Historical Association staff prepared a card file as a subject index to further assist researchers in locating specific images.

Fifty photographs from the collection can be accessed from the Albemarle Regional Library web site at The collection is under the heading "Special Collections".  The collection is arranged by subject areas and may be browsed.  Thumbnail images are supplied with a link to an access image with additional detail on the image.  Dublin core metadata is attached to each image file.

The collection is cataloged in our online card catalog which can be accessed from the Albemarle Regional Library web site at The card catalog is under the heading "Card Catalog".  The collection can be searched by standard card catalog searches including subjects, titles, dates, etc. 

The Paul Ronald Jenkins Photograph Collection consists of 557 photographs and negatives documenting life and change in Northeastern North Carolina - from horse drawn carriages to automobiles, from farm to industry, from private academies to public schools, and from slave cabins to Victorian mansions.  This collection is recognized as the most comprehensive collection of photographic images available to researchers documenting the rich architectural and social history of Murfreesboro, North Carolina.  These images add to our historical knowledge, recording often overlooked details.

The prints and negatives vary in size, however the core of the collection is comprised of 150 exhibition prints measuring 11 x 14 inches each.  

A wide range of individuals use the collection.  Images from the collection have recently been reproduced in books and historical publications about North Carolina, as well as in numerous family histories and genealogies.  Several recent temporary exhibitions, drawn exclusively from the Paul Ronald Jenkins Photograph Collection, attracted regional attention and promoted the importance of the preservation of materials.  Elizabeth Sewell Parker has reprinted some of the images on postcards that are available for purchase at the library.

The project is made possible by an EZ Digitization Starter Grant Program ("Starter Grant").  This grant is a component of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) project North Carolina ECHO ("Exploring Cultural Heritage Online").  North Carolina ECHO's goal is to use digital technologies to broaden access to the unique collections housed in North Carolina's libraries, archives, museums, and historical societies.  The grant funded 100% of the project's hardware costs. 
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