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On Fri May 3, 5-7PM, the Hunt Library in Falls Village CT will host a closing celebration for the exhibition From the Great Falls to the Hilltops: Early 20th Century Photography from the Mabel Hallaway Collection. A joint project of the library and the Falls Village-Canaan Historical Society, the exhibition allows a vivid peek into Falls Village’s past and people of 100 years ago. The event will feature a slideshow focusing on Mabel Hallaway and some of the people in her portraits including her brother Harry Edmund Dean, and community members Catherine Woodin and Grace Silvernale.  Curator Garth Kobal will talk about his personal experience working on the project, how the team brought it all together.  A brief panel discussion will follow with Kobal joined by Simon’s Rock photography professor Daniel Karp, and historical society members Midge Cortesi and Cheryl Aeschliman. Refreshments will follow. Purchasers of exhibition prints may take them home at the end of the evening.

The source of the photographs are glass slide and silver nitrate film negatives from the estate of Mabel Hallaway (1893-1991) that were donated to the historical society.  Mabel, a native villager, and a member of the Dean family was a lifelong photographer and avid collector. In a Lakeville Journal profile of Mabel in the July 4, 1990 edition, her birthday, Andrew Shaffer wrote, “Mrs. Hallaway has recorded family events, local happenings, and people in a personal collection of journals and photo albums that date from the first decade of this century to the present.  One of her favorite past times (sic) is taking photographs.”

The Mabel Hallaway Collection at the Falls Village-Canaan Historical Society is a powerful document of the town’s history and the exhibition, an example of what can be accomplished when local nonprofits work together in presenting local history to their communities.

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