Boston Studio Collection

Browse scanned images.

The Boston Studio was a portrait photography studio established in downtown David City, Nebraska, in 1893 by Harvey L. Boston. Following Mr. Boston‘s death in 1927, family members ran the studio until 1973, when it was sold to John and Fred McVay. 

Fred McVay continued to operate the Boston Studio until 1979, at which time the building and contents were sold at auction. The David City Area Foundation salvaged many of the negatives and the business ledgers from the Boston Studio and placed them in storage. In 2003, the collection was moved to the Hruska Memorial Library. In 2004, a committee was formed to clean, restore and catalog the collection. A database was created from information in the business ledgers, the negatives were cleaned and stored in archival boxes and existing images were cross-referenced with entries in the business ledgers. A Boston Studio Volunteer office was created at the Hruska Memorial Library in 2005 and the process of preserving and scanning the negatives began. A generous donation from Tom Morgan (given in memory of his parents, Merle and Helen Morgan, and Aunt, Lucile Gates) provided funds for a computer and scanning equipment. A website was created to facilitate a connection between genealogists seeking information and the sale of images from the collection, which are used to fund the preservation of the collection.

Over 68,000 negatives, including glass plates, nitrate, acetate and color negatives of all sizes are included in the collection. Although the images are mostly portrait photographs, the collection also includes businesses, churches, city landscapes, rural scenes, homes, sporting events, schools, school related activities, churches and social events.  The entire ledgers may be viewed on microfilm at the Hruska Library Heritage Room or a copy of a specific ledger page may be purchased by selecting the “More Information” button option on the “search results” page.

Browse the Boston Studio Collection. Browsing displays all the images that have been scanned to date in this Collection.

One unique aspect of the Boston Studio Collection is that most of the images have been identified.  In 2007, the Boston Studio received a grant from the Nebraska Library Commission. As a result, they contributed 1,000 images and historical data from the Boston Studio Collection to the Nebraska Memories website. The Nebraska Memories website is a valuable resource for all Nebraska genealogists and historians. While the Boston Studio images contained on the Nebraska Memories website are identical, research and historical data has been added to the Nebraska Memories website making it a valuable website for genealogists.

The sale of images does not generate enough funds to adequately preserve the variety of photographic collections and the website being maintained by the Boston Studio Project and the Hruska Memorial Library. Please consider making a contribution, so that this all-volunteer effort can continue to preserve these valuable images for future generations!