Portraits of a City takes an intimate look at turn of the century New Bedford

New Bedford Whaling Museum exhibition features photos from Standard-Times Collection

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. – A new exhibition at the New Bedford Whaling Museum gives viewers an intimate look at turn of the century New Bedford – a city in the midst of momentous change. Portraits of a City draws on images from the Museum’s Standard-Times Collection, a spectacular archive of photographs and glass plate negatives that captures many facets of the whaling industry, the city, and its history. Portraits of a City is on view now through December 2019 in the Museum’s San Francisco Room and Harbor View Gallery. For more information visit www.whalingmuseum.org or call 508-997-0046. The Whaling Museum is located at 18 Johnny Cake Hill in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

Curator of Social History Akeia Benard said, “The pictures invite you on a journey through the neighborhoods, vibrant ethnic enclaves, wharves, and establishments that marked New Bedford in the early 20th century. The exhibition provides a personal glimpse of individuals, legendary stories, and communities that made New Bedford what it is today.”

Turn of the century New Bedford was changing rapidly. The whaling industry was declining, the textile industry was now the city’s mainstay, and the city was expanding outward and building upward in the form of triple-decker homes to support an ever-increasing working class population. Along with the changing landscape, there were vast social and economic changes taking place and new waves of immigrants—not associated with whaling—coming into the city, establishing enclaves, and weaving their languages, cuisines, and cultures into the fabric of New Bedford.

The Standard-Times Collection images were originally used to illustrate stories in the New Bedford Standard, forerunner to the city’s current main daily newspaper, The Standard-Times. The earliest of these negatives were used as part of the nascent halftone printing process, which newspapers used to bring photographs to an increasingly image-hungry readership. The collection came to the Whaling Museum through gifts from The Standard-Times newspaper, Everett S. Allen, and John D. Wilson.

Gayle Hargreaves
Marketing Manager
New Bedford Whaling Museum
508-997-0046 Ext. 139


About the New Bedford Whaling Museum
The New Bedford Whaling Museum is the world's most comprehensive museum devoted to the global story of human interaction with whales in the world’s oceans, and the history and culture of the SouthCoast region. The cornerstone of New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, the Museum is located at 18 Johnny Cake Hill in the heart of the city's historic downtown. Museum hours: January through March, Tuesday – Saturday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.; April through December, daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Museum is open until 8 p.m. every second Thursday of the month. Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.  Admission is free for Museum members and children ages three and under; adults $17, seniors (65+) $15, students (19+) $10, child and youth $7. For more information, visit www.whalingmuseum.org.


For high resolution images contact Gayle Hargreaves. (Image thumbnails below)

Caption (below): Roger Fay’s beer truck, 1912. Reproduction from glass plate negative

Roger Fay's beer truck


Caption (below): Mrs. Mannizpdow [sic], last occupant of the John Howland House, 1905. Reproduction from glass plate negative

Marguret A. Mannizpdow [sic], referred to as Mrs. Mann, was the last occupant of the John Howland House at 119 South Water St, New Bedford.  She is shown here with the last of her household effects on the day the building was demolished.


Caption (below): Three sail makers seated at work at Briggs & Beckmans’ Sail Loft, ca. 1915. Reproduction from glass plate negative

  three sail makers