The Boynton Collection offers a view of early Claremont through the eyes of an amateur photographer. This collection of glass plate negatives captures aspects of life in Claremont and at Pomona College around the turn of the twentieth century. As well as documenting local buildings and landscape, they present a candid glimpse of Pomona College student life, including athletic events, theatrical productions, college outings, and residence halls.
The collection, which is housed in Special Collections, is believed to have come to Pomona College included with the papers of Charles Luther Boynton, a Pomona College alumnus and missionary to China. Boynton family photographs and pictures of the church that they attended are interspersed throughout the collection with images of Pomona College and the greater Los Angeles region.
Most of the photographs in the Boynton Collection were taken between about 1900 and 1905. While the photographer is seldom identified, it is likely that many of the photographs were taken by Morrill Graves Boynton, Charles Boynton’s younger brother, a graduate of the Pomona College class of 1904. Several images show Morrill Boynton in his darkroom. Another photographer in the family was the eldest brother, Edmund Clark Boynton. Photographs attributed to both men are found in the Pomona College photo archive. A number of images in the Boynton Collection were also used in The Metate, the Pomona College student yearbook.
The glass plate negatives, which are stored in wooden boxes, come in two main formats: 4¼ x 3¼ inches and 7 x 5 inches. Each negative is covered by a paper sleeve with a title (probably in the hand of one of the Boynton brothers) scrawled across the front. These short, cryptic titles often provide the best identifying information that we have about the subjects of these photographs.