Elton H. L. (Henry Lee) Wade was an amateur photographer who lived in the Middlebush area of Franklin Township for most of his life. The collection presented in our Lobby and Circulation display cases, is a small sample of the over 2,000 photographs taken by Mr. Wade during his lifetime. The collection, in the form of photographic negatives, was donated to the Franklin Township Public Library in 2009 by Mr. Wade’s nephew, Robert Zimmermann.
Elton Wade was born on February 11, 1899 in Newton, Sussex County, New Jersey. He lived for most of his life in the Middlebush area of Franklin Township, Somerset County, New Jersey. He married Sarah Totten, nicknamed Jane. Elton worked at the New Brunswick Post Office for 46 years and rose to the position of chief accountant, and later Assistant Postmaster. He died on May 5, 1980 at the age of 81.
Most of the photographs in this collection were taken by Mr. Wade, although some were taken by family and friends. The collection captures images of Mr. Wade’s extended family, as well as life in the Franklin Township area. Mr. Wade also took pictures during vacations and travels around New Jersey and nearby states.
Library staff is working on digitizing the collection, cataloging the photographs, and create exhibits of the photographs for display on the Library’s website. This is a long term project, and additional photographs will periodically be added to the online collections – and to our physical display in the Historical Room.
The Franklin Township Public Library is delighted to be able to share these photographs that document Mr. Wade’s life and that of the Franklin Township community in the early 20th century. Please check our online exhibits frequently as new photos will be added monthly!
Please visit the exhibit online and let us know what you think! Also, if there’s a place, person or object you recognize that we didn’t catch, please let us know!
We also have a Facebook album with some of our favorite Wade photos, so check that out too!
Our thanks to The Fleetwood Museum of Art and Photographica for their loan of three cameras. These cameras are ones Elton may have used, or are very similar to those he would have used to take his thousands of photographs.
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