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Exhibit features W.Va. native

Aull Center shows rare photos by Frances Johnston

An exhibit celebrating the work of West Virginia native Frances Benjamin Johnston is on display through the end of October at the Aull Center of the Morgantown Public Library, sponsored by the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia with a grant from the West Virginia Humanities Council.

 The exhibit includes enlargements of roughly 20 rare photographs from the Library of Congress collection that embody Johnston’s career over a span of 60 years.

Johnston, a photo journalist and portrait photographer for high society in Washington, D.C., including Teddy Roosevelt, Booker T. Washington and Mark Twain, transitioned into photographing architecture, especially humble dwellings of colonial times that were falling into ruin without ever having been photographed.

Between 1933 and 1941, Johnston traveled through the South with a grant from the Carnegie Corp., feeling that, according to AmeriCorps member and exhibit curator Ksenia Bradner, “It was her mission to preserve the old buildings of yesterday through photography before they were lost entirely.”

The exhibit is free. The Aull Center,  at 351 Spruce St., is open from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday-Friday and 9 a.m.- 1 p.m. Saturday.

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