About the Elton H. L. Wade Photograph CollectionView the Exhibit
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 here 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. Mr. Wade 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.
Mr. Wade's most notable photograph was undoubtedly the picture he took on a summer day of his three nephews fishing and reclining on the banks of the Delaware & Raritan Canal. He entered that photograph in an Eastman Kodak international photo contest. Mr. Wade won the first prize of $100, representing New Jersey. His photograph appeared in a full-page ad on the back cover of the Saturday Evening Post July 2, 1932 issue.
Mr. and Mrs. Wade lived near many other members of the Wade and Totten families. Elton's older brother G. Harold Wade was married to Sarah's sister Marian Totten Wade. They were also residents of the Middlebush area of Franklin Township. The three boys in Elton's prize-winning photograph were Harold and Marian's children: George H. Wade, Jr., Alan T. Wade, and E. Leslie Wade.
Over time, Library staff will digitize the collection, catalog the photographs, and create exhibits of the photographs for display on the Library's website. Mr. Wade kept meticulous records about most of the photographs he took. He recorded information about the date of the photograph, the subjects, the lighting conditions, and more, and that information will be included in the Library's online exhibit. As additional photographs are added to the online collections, the Library will also provide genealogical information whenever possible to help document the extended family.
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 back frequently as new photographs will be added monthly!View the Exhibit