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Historic images of Rugby now online

By Staff | Jul 22, 2011

A treasure of historic photographic images from the Rugby, N.D., area is now available for public viewing. The Strand Studio photograph collection from 1948 to 1988 has been posted online by the NDSU Institute for Regional Studies and University Archives.

During four decades, Curtis and Maxine Strand took thousands of pictures of all types: portraits, newsworthy events and scenes from everyday life. The studio’s slogan, “Today’s Photographs – Tomorrow’s Best Memories,” certainly captures the essence of the collection, because it also includes confirmations, graduations, baby pictures and school or church activities in Rugby and north-central North Dakota.

“The work of North Dakota town photographers is incredibly important in documenting the history of North Dakota. The institute is indeed fortunate to have the opportunity to make Rugby’s Strand Studio collection available to the public,” said John Bye, director and university archivist, noting the collection is an excellent resource for photo researchers and person looking for photographs of family members.

A sampling of the collection can be seen at library.ndsu.edu/digital/strand/. The sampling currently holds 113 black and white images, with additional photographs expected on a regular basis. They include such diverse titles as “1953 Pierce County Commissioners,” “Changing a Street Light,” “Company D, 164th Infantry Division departing Rugby,” “Little Leaguers Boarding Great Northern Train for Chicago,” “Republican Political Rally” and “Shoveling Snow”.

A listing of the collection is available at hdl.handle.net/10365/17200/, where you can browse an alphabetical listing by year and name or a term search can be conducted. The collection has been sorted into a number of folders, including “Chronological Series,” “Rugby School Activities,” “Topical Series,” “Aerials Series,” “Bicentennial Series” and “International Peace Garden Series.”

The collection of original negatives was donated in 2009 by the Strand’s sons, Mark and Todd. Mark Strand is a one-time photographer for NDSU and describes the online materials as “first-rate.” Todd Strand, the former photo archivist at the State Historical Society of North Dakota, said the images “look terrific,” and he praised the institute’s staff for “a fabulous job.”

Bye said high quality digital copies can be produced from the original negative, showing details that could not be captured in the printed photograph. “This is the first complete photo studio collection preserved at the institute, and we are excited at having the opportunity to document through photographs the north-central region of North Dakota,” he said.

For more information on the Strand’s Studio collection, contact Bye at (701) 231-8877 or john.bye@ndsu.edu.

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