Along the Shore, Nantucket

Along the Shore, Nantucket

Henry Sherman Wyer: 1847-1920

Over 650 photographs of Nantucket by Henry Wyer can be viewed online at the Nantucket Historical Association website.

“Photographer Henry S. Wyer, born in Nantucket on January 21, 1847, son of Charles S. Wyer, mariner, and Mary J. Coleman. His early interest in photography was encouraged by William Summerhayes [Nantucket’s first resident to produce Daguerrotypes and Ambrotypes], but he apparently decided to work on the mainland, as in 1880 he had a studio in Yonkers, New York. His interest in Nantucket, which was to guide his career, never wavered and in 1881 he began his work of photographing the streets, houses, and waterfront of his island home. This collection has since become an invaluable study of Nantucket – historically, architecturally and artistically. Henry S. Wyer was an artist and a writer, as well as photographer, as his work so often demonstrated. As one of the founders of the Nantucket Historical Association in 1894, he worked diligently for the advancement of our cultural heritage. From 1886, when he returned to the island to reside here the rest of his life until his death in 1920 at the age of 73, he was one of the important personalities in the life of the town. His little shop on Federal Street — Wyer’s Art Store — as well as his shop in ‘Sconset brought him in association with artists, musicians and writers, and his writings continued along with his excellent photography. ” [from Early Photography on Nantucket by Edward Stackpole. Historic Nantucket, October 1987, Vol. 35, No. 2; pp. 12-15] His publications are treasured and his photographs command significant prices at auction. His publications include: Poems of Nantucket (1888) ; The Relic Auction (1899) ; Olde Nantucket, ‘Sconset and along Shore (1889) ; Nantucket characters indelible photographs (1892) ; Nantucket in Picture and Verse (1892) ; Nantucket: Old and New (1895) ; My Isle of Dreams (1899) ; Nantucket: Picturesque and Historic (1901) ; Sea-Girt Nantucket — A Hand-Book of Historical and Contemporaneous Information for Visitors (1902) ; and Spun-yarn from Old Nantucket (1914). ⎯ biography: The Antiquarian Book Shop , Washington, D.C.

Editorial Comment for this plate:


“The far sea-line is hushed and still;
   The nearer sea has life and voice;
    Each soul may take his fondest choice-
  The silence, or the restless thrill.

“O blue of heaven, and bluer sea,

   And green of wave, and gold of sky,
   And white of sand that stretches by,
  Toward east and west, away from me!
“O shell-strewn shore, that silent hears
  The legend of the mighty main,

And tells to none the lore again

We catch one utterance only: ‘Years!'”

The lines of Rose Hawthorne Lathrop peculiarly apply to the refreshing surf picture which adorns these pages this week. It is from a negative by Mr. H. S. Wyer, of Nantucket, Mass. The picture itself was photographed from the south shore of that picturesque island, and is a characteristic marine view. It is one of a large collection of local views which Mr. Wyer has photographed, and which we believe he has for sale.

“Along the Shore” was made on a “Seed” plate, and developed in the usual manner with pyrogallol. Of course, the exposure was instantaneous. (p. 467)

Along the Shore, Nantucket

Image Dimensions11.5 x 19.5 cm Published as frontis plate for September 20, 1889 issue

Support Dimensions20.5 x 28.6 cm