Branford Carnivals

Branford Carnival Photographs
James Blackstone Memorial Library

The James Blackstone Memorial Library has four albums of photographs taken during the Branford Carnivals of the early 20th century. The Branford Agricultural Fair was started in 1895 and included a parade and displays held on the Branford Green. Later the fair moved to the Driving Park, also known as Hippodrome Park, and bicycle and trotting races were added. The event was reorganized by the Branford Businessmen Association in 1905 and became known as the Branford Carnival. The fair was abandoned in 1907 and 1908 but resumed in 1909. The last record I have for the carnival is 1910, however, newspapers should be consulted for later dates.

John H. Morton of Branford was a pharmacist and manager of the Peckham Drug Store across from the Branford Green. He was also a professional photographer and took the photographs for three of the four carnival albums. Many of the views were made into photo postcards and sold to the public. The Branford Historical Society has over one hundred proofs of Branford neighborhoods photographed by Morton that were made into postcards.

One of the 1905 albums is clearly by a different photographer. The initials L. H. T. can be found in the lower right corner of the photographs. This is without question Laura Hammer Tenney. The members of the Hammer family were avid photographers and supporters of the library.

The albums are in good condition, however, suffer from warping, and have been scanned to better view the images. Many of the views are labeled in pencil which has grown faint over the years. All the photographs have been labeled below since much of the pencil is barely legible. The photographs have been given a year and photograph number.

Other Branford Carnival photographs have been added. Seventeen scans of photo postcards taken by John H. Morton were scanned from my private postcard collection. These are identified and numbered as Bouley. Additionally, the Branford Historical Society has a large collection of carnival photographs in their collection.

Jane Peterson Bouley
May 2006

To see a description of a photograph, simply click on it.