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F. H. DeMars
F. DeMars
Frank DeMars
American, 1872 - 1942
Biography: Frank H. DeMars was a photographer and a business owner, a gardener and an active community member. Born in 1872 in Robertsville, Connecticut, he spent most of his adult life in Colebrook and Winsted, where he owned an art store from 1904 to 1914. It was during this time that he began taking pictures of Winsted and nearby towns. He used glass plate negatives, the smallest of which are 4x5”, which required a large format camera. DeMars photographed many aspects of life in small-town Connecticut in the early twentieth century, from portraits of local residents to businesses like the Gilbert Clock Company to area views of the Litchfield hills. He also purchased negatives from other photographers in northwestern Connecticut and amassed a collection of over 4500 images that represents over 40 towns in the area, as well as several towns in Massachusetts and elsewhere. With these negatives, he had postcards made, some of them colorized, which he then sold in his art store and other businesses in northwestern Connecticut. In 1913, he married Martha Ruth Harrison. They had three children, Martha Ruth, born in 1914, Frank Harrison, born in 1918, and Cynthia Holcomb, born in 1921. DeMars sold his store in 1914 and moved on to try his hand at farming, and later, owning a small plant nursery. Hewas very active in the Winsted community, serving on the Planning and Zoning Committee; starting the Laurel Festival, complete with a Laurel Queen; petitioning the state to accept “Laurel City” as Winsted’s nickname; and serving as president of the Laurel City Horticultural Society. In 1942, DeMars died at the age of 69.