Paesiello Emerson photograph collection, 1902-1927

66 boxes

On Depot Road (Emerson Street)

Background Note
Emerson was born in Hopkinton, MA on February 10, 1832, the oldest child of William Goddard Emerson and Susan (Perkins) Emerson. He began work as a boot maker in Ashland; a nearby town to Hopkinton with many boot and shoe shops.

In 1863, at age 31, Paesiello enlisted as a private in the 5th Independent Battery, Massachusetts Light Artillery. While his unit was in action on June 8, 1864 at Rappahannock Wilderness, Spottsylvania near Bottoms Bridge, Paesiello was wounded by a ten pound parrott shell. He recovered and saw further action until his unit returned home after the surrender in 1865. His father, stepmother, and their three young children, William, Annie, and Henry moved to Longmeadow in 1872. They purchased the home of Captain Luther Colton at 476 Longmeadow Street — now known as the Cooley-Emerson house as it was built by a Cooley in 1760. Paesiello moved to Longmeadow to live with his half-brothers and half-sister shortly after 1900.

Paesiello’s interest in photography began soon after reaching his 70th birthday in 1902. Not only are there extensive photographic images of Longmeadow a century ago, but the collection includes images of Paesiello’s hometown of Hopkintown, his later town of Spencer, and many other communities.

In August 1925, Paesiello was presented with the gold-headed ebony cane as the oldest resident in Longmeadow. At his death on December 28, 1927, he bequeathed his photographic collection to his half-sister Annie, who later gifted the entire collection to the Longmeadow Historical Society.

Scope and Content Note
There are 66 boxes of glass plate negatives, dating from early 20th century, taken by local photographer Paesiello Emerson.  As part of the Digital Commonwealth project our large collection of Emerson glass plate negatives were scanned at high resolution by the Boston Public Library.  The large majority of these photos were taken in Longmeadow but some of them were taken in other Massachusetts communities including Spencer, Holyoke, Springfield, Framingham, and East Brookfield.  The entire collection of 1,500+ photos are online on the Digital Commonwealth project website. 

  • Longmeadow (Mass.)--History
  • Longmeadow (Mass.)--Pictorial works
  • Emerson, Paesiello (1832-1927)
Types of material
  • Glass plate negatives
  • Photographs