Mary Grace Canfield takes a drive with her camera

Photo by Mary Grace Canfield
Think you can find this spot today? At least there are a few clues.

Here’s what we do know. The photo above was likely taken in Guilford County by Mary Grace Canfield in the 1920s. Canfield (1864-1946) was born in the Connecticut Western Reserve (territory that is now a part of Ohio) and educated at the University of Akron. She was the wife of Rev. Harry Lee Canfield, a Universalist minister.

In 1922 the Canfields moved to North Carolina, where Rev. Canfield served congregations in Kinston and then in Greensboro. The couple was active in social causes, with Mary Grace Canfield campaigning for women’s suffrage and then supporting the League of Women Voters and Harry Lee Canfield serving as president of the Anti-Capital Punishment League. Mary Grace Canfield, a mother of two, also spent time photographing the state, documenting historic homes, farm buildings, churches, street scenes, Confederate veterans, gristmills, and monuments.

The Canfields left North Carolina in 1937 and moved to Vermont. In Vermont Mary Grace Canfield turned her attention to LaFayette and wrote a book about the famed French general’s visit to that state in 1825. Canfield also appears to have returned to North Carolina on several occasions to work on a history of Universalism in the Tar Heel state.

Staff with the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archive recently completed a finding aid to the Mary Grace Canfield Collection and have scanned several of the images. Other new finding aids, some with digital scans, include:

P55:Frank A. Daniels Collection of Photographs
P61: Edwin Martin Photographic Collection
P67: Alfred Eric Stepney Photographic Collection
P90: Jerome Friar Photographic Collection
P57: Rufus Morgan Photographic Collection. They’ll be adding some special viewing features to this collection in the coming weeks, so it will get even better. We’ll let you know when they’ve completed that work.

Finally, they’ve also done a lot more work on P31: UNC Photographic Laboratory Collection. If you haven’t looked at that collection in a while, take another look.

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