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Edgar Sutton Dorr Photograph Collection

Call Number: MS.SC.0009

Scope and Contents

The Edgar Sutton Dorr Photograph Collection includes photographs created by photographer Edgar Sutton Dorr as well as his own collected photographs created by others. This collection of photographs includes pictures of Dorr's family and friends, images documenting the Stony Brook improvement and suppression project, as well as additional images reflecting Dorr's professional interests as an engineer.


  • 1880 - 1930


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Items in this collection may be subject to copyright restrictions. In most cases, the Boston Public Library does not hold the copyright to the items in our collections. It is the sole responsibility of the user to make their own determination about what types of usage might be permissible under U.S. and international copyright law.

Edgar Sutton Dorr (1854-1937)

Edgar Sutton Dorr (1854-1937) was a Boston engineer who worked for the Boston Sewer Department in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, eventually becoming the chief engineer of the sewer department in 1891. Dorr was born on June 30, 1854 in Boston, Massachusetts to tailor Edward Reed Dorr, of Boston, and Eliza Ann Pitman, of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Dorr attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and graduated in 1875. In 1892, he married Nettie E. Wyer (1869-1943), of Hyannis, Massachusetts, and they had three daughters Hazel, Dorothy, and Phyllis and one son, Henry George, who died at birth (1899).

Historical note

In the late nineteenth century, the Boston Sewer Department embarked on a project to improve, and eventually suppress, the Stony Brook, a stream running through Jamaica Plain. As development in the areas surrounding the stream increased, periodic flooding of the stream became a significant nuisance. In an effort to stop the flooding, the city began work on a project to deepen and straiten the channel. When this work failed to stop the flooding, the brook was buried completely and integrated into the city's sewer system.


2.00 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The collection is divided into 6 series: Glass plate negatives, Positive prints, and a Scrapbook. The first series is of glass plate negatives. These negatives are divided between personal subjects and professional subjects. The second series is primarily albumen prints that are organized identically to the glass negatives. These photographs contain pictures of the Stony Brook improvement and suppression and show the tools and working conditions of the time. The third series is a scrapbook of photographs of similar subject matter.  The scrapbook and the unmatted photographs that were included are unsorted.  The professional photographs date primarily from the 1890’s.  The personal photographs occupy a much wider range from the 1880’s to the 1920’s.  The last three series are small amounts of tangentially related or unrelated material that were found with the collection when it was processed. These series are unsorted.

Processing Information

This electronic finding aid is transcribed from legacy data. In many cases, transcriptions were not verified against collection materials at the time of transcription. As a result, this finding aid could be incomplete and might only reflect a partial understanding of the material.

Statement on harmful description

Archival description reflects the biases of time periods and cultures in which it was created and may include direct quotations or descriptions that use inappropriate or harmful language. Creator provided descriptions may be maintained in order to preserve the context in which the collection was created and/or used. Legacy description and potentially offensive content may be made available online until a collection can be reprocessed because the access that they provide to primary source materials is uniquely valuable to the research community at large. Our efforts to repair outdated descriptions and to describe our collections more equitably are iterative and ongoing.

Edgar Sutton Dorr Photograph Collection
Jacob Sadow
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

About this library

Part of the Boston Public Library Archives & Special Collections Repository

700 Boylston Street
Boston MA 02116 United States