I am Sacramento History – Rebecca Crowther, photographs archivist


Meet Rebecca Crowther, a photographs archivist with the Center for Sacramento History.  Her life-long passion collided with history archiving when she started as a volunteer at the Center in 2007.

“I can’t remember a time when photographs did not play a key role in my life,” said Rebecca. “My grandfather was an avid amateur photographer and introduced me to cameras and photographs at a very young age.  By chance, the high school I attended had a true photographic darkroom and I learned to develop and handle film.”

Daguerreotype portrait, c. 1860. An example of the earliest type of photography.

A full-time photo archivist since 2012, Rebecca says the best thing about what she does is sharing captured moments of Sacramento’s past with others and hearing their responses.

“I teach the public and they, in turn, teach me,” Rebecca added.

Rebecca is a local product.  Attended Sierra College, UC Davis where she studied photography and art history, and later graduated from Sacramento State in 2003 with a master’s degree in the History of Photography.

A proud moment for Rebecca?  When she created the first solo photo exhibit and speakers series event for the Center for History.

Reviewing the Michael T. Benning Collection, a local photographer who took school group photos around the Sacramento region, from the 1930s through the 1970s. Thousands of original negatives and prints document the young lives of Sacramentans and captures in time the changes in fashion, culture, diversity and socioeconomics of our City.

It looked at communist trial from the 30s that took place in Sacramento. Considered a high-profiled trial, it gained national and international exposure, though it has lost prominence over the years.  That exhibit was a defining flash for Rebecca.

“For me, it was that first professional moment where my years of schooling and education seemed to pay off.”

The Center’s photography archives, like many of their textiles and archives, helps retain history to tell a story about Sacramento’s diverse and interesting past.


More on the Center for Sacramento History can be found here.

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