Monday, September 21, 2020

Hyde reopens: LG Photographs by J.S. Wooley, with Bolton link

Chronicle Managing Editor Cathy DeDe writes: When the Hyde Collection finally reopens on Saturday, Aug. 1, after more than four months shut-down due to Coronavirus precautions, it will be with a new exhibit that connects past to present, Glens Falls to Lake George and Bolton Landing.

On view: J.S. Wooley, Adirondack Photographer, a planned summer exhibit that also finally opens, with the museum.

The Hyde exhibit is drawn from a 2018 book of the same title, published by Syracuse University Press and edited by Richard Timberlake and Philip Terrie.

The 100 photographs at the Hyde, and many in the book, are from the private collection of Matt Finley. The third-generation Bolton Landing resident is perhaps better known as a trumpeter whose Rio Jazz ensemble played an annual summer concert in Rogers Park for some 25 years.

‘Lake George from the Fort William Henry Hotel, French Mountain’ — Image by J. S. Wooley (American 1867-1943), no date. Vintage negative, contemporary print, from the Collection of Matt Finley of Bolton Landing.

Mr. Finley credits his late father, Gardner Finley, who was the Bolton Town Historian: “He collected the negatives.”

“I have several thousand unpublished negatives,” Mr. Finley says, “but the finest are the spectacular panorama shots that can be blown up into prints several yards long without loss of clarity, even if the original use was for postcards.

“We cannot match this technology now, over one hundred years later,” he observes.

He says the photographs he inherited reflect “the love of my home, Lake George. My role was to finance the (book) project and make sure my father’s vision was realized. Had his health been better, he would have written the book on Wooley.

Mr. Finley says, “as a native and three-season resident of Bolton, I recognize the importance of sharing these magnificent photographs with the public.”

“Yes, I am a professional musician, but anyone can see for themselves the beauty of the photographs and their subject, the lake we love.”

He describes Wooley as “an entrepreneur and showman as well as photographer, giving talks that used the photos as a primary form of entertainment for his age,” including Magic Lantern shows.

He says, “I would love for viewers to develop an even deeper appreciation for the beauty of Lake George and the lifestyle here over 100 years ago. The old steamboats are my favorite photos. The Adirondack camps, in their glory, are next.”

“It is my hope a permanent place will be found to house the collection and elevate Wooley to the level of appreciation he deserves.”

He says, “all credit for this show at The Hyde goes to my friend, Richard Timberlake, the project manager of the J. S. Wooley Project, for his perseverance in finishing a project that took us 11 years.” He also credits Caroline Welsh, former curator at the Adirondack Museum, “whose noted skills…will once again be on display.

Mr. Finley says “the other key player’ was Kathy Conover. She and husband Ron purchased Garner Finley’s house in 2005. She helped sort the collection, Matt said, “and inspired me to act to get a book written.”

How it’ll work, going to the Hyde

Admission will be by advance tickets and timed appointments. The museum is open Thursdays to Sundays with morning hours for seniors and those at high health risk and afternoons for the general public.

Make reservations and find full details, including Coronavirus precautions, at, or call 792-1761.

Copyright © 2020 Lone Oak Publishing Co., Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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