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More than 80 photos added to Pfeifer Vintage Photo Collection

By Staff | Oct 18, 2017

Col. Benham and Mrs. Guerin from 1931. PHOTOS PROVIDED

One couple has enhanced the Pfeifer Vintage Photo Collection project with more than 80 photographs due to a find on eBay.

A project came about after 7-time Emmy winner David Carter asked Sanibel Public Library Executive Director Margaret Mohundro if they had any old photographs for a documentary he was filming, “Postcards & Photos from Sanibel,” 1884-1947. He learned that the library had approximately 500 vintage photographs available online, and another 2,000 photographs that had yet to be scanned.

Once Eric Pfeifer, owner and broker of Pfeifer Realty Group, decided to fund the scanning of photographs, the number slowly climbed due to the Pfeifer Vintage Photo Collection project. Carter said they have approximately 152 photographs.

Recently, Carter said an “immeasurable” collection of 82 photographs was added to the collection from 1932, 1933 and 1934.

“It is amazing,” he said, adding that one particular photograph showed a family golfing in knickers and socks on a sand putting green.

The Matthews Hotel from 1931. PHOTOS PROVIDED

Linda and her husband George Toft wanted to share the collection they stumbled upon because “it’s a treasure.”

The couple have been visiting the island since 1982, resulting in Linda collecting Sanibel pottery for years. She said often times she checks eBay for pieces, as well as black and white photography.

“When I find a photograph developed from a certain size film I am drawn to it,” Linda said. “Especially beach scenes from the teens, ’20 and ’30s.”

One day she noticed a photo album, which stated that it had pictures from Sanibel. With no other bids, she bid the $10 and when it arrived, she said “I almost had a heart attack.”

“It was neat to find this old album and add it to my Sanibel pictures,” she said.

Rice at Matthews Hotel in 1931. PHOTOS PROVIDED

The album, Linda said lends one to think that it belonged to a young woman. The first picture is from 1919 before it jumps into the 1920s with a woman’s college. The pictures then shifts to vacations in Florida, particularly Sanibel.

The pictures showed images from such places as the Matthews Hotel, the Community House, Turner’s Pond, Bailey’s Byou and Chadwicks, all taken in the 1930s.

One of the pictures that really blows Linda away is one of Miss Charlotta in front of the tea room.

“It’s kind of neat to look at them and see what things are like a long time ago,” Linda said.

Last spring when the Toft family began packing for their annual trip to Sanibel, George saw an article online sharing the Sanibel Public Library would like to increase their collection with old photographs.

The Sanibel Community House in 1931. PHOTOS PROVIDED

“I stuck it in a bag and brought it with me,” Linda said of the album, which led her to meeting Carter, providing him with the opportunity to scan the photos into the collection. “It was too good not to share with other people. That’s why we didn’t mind at all that David was going to scan them. At least they are scanned and are available for other people to look at and maybe someone someday will recognize a person, or place and mean something to them.”

Those who would like to contribute photographs for the collection are welcome to bring them to the Sanibel Public Library, or mail them to Vintage Photo Collection, Sanibel Public Library, 770 Dunlop Road, Sanibel, FL 33957. Individuals are asked to include the number of items and any identification of persons, places, or dates regarding the image. All photos will be returned once they are scanned.

“You can make a major contribution for photographic history,” Carter said, adding that individuals do not have to contribute a whole collection, a handful is also useful.

Once the Library Reimagined renovation is completed in 2018, individuals will have the opportunity to use the library’s dedicated photo scanner. Carter said it will be as easy as bringing the photograph to the library and following instructions, all while adding to the vast resource of photographs on Sanibel.

Although there are many photographs from the teens, ’20s and ’30s, Carter is looking for photographs from the 1980s, particularly the year 1984.

Alice Sullivan on Sanibel in 1932. PHOTOS PROVIDED

“It’s already history,” Carter said, adding that if individuals do not share that history now, they never will.

The 100 year anniversary of the Sanibel Lighthouse, he said, happened in 1984.

“Postcards & Photos from Sanibel, Part 2,” is underway. Photographs from this scanning project may be used for Carter’s documentary.