59 School Street, Box 1310, Edgartown MA 02539 - 508.627.4441
Martha's Vineyard Museum MV Museum

Introduction to the Richard G. Shute Exhibit

Introduction Biography Shute's Place in History The Exhibit
Richard Shute

Richard G. Shute partnered with his father Charles in 1867 to form the Charles H. Shute & Son photographic studio in Edgartown. In a brief period of time, the Shutes witnessed the advancement of photographic methods, styles, and popular tastes, which allowed them to become the leading photographers of the Island.

The Shutes' photography nicely reflects late nineteenth-century consumer tastes, local trends, patterns of consumption, and shifts in the leisure culture, offering insights into the social, economic, and cultural changes experienced on the Island. Their photographs also reveal transformations in the Island's physical environment, documenting buildings and streets now gone and landscapes that have all but faded away.

These commercial photographers captured nineteenth-century Island events and experiences for a variety of individuals and organizations. Moreover, during Richard's career at Oak Bluffs, he had the distinction of photographing more notable men, such as Presidents and Governors, than any other photographer on the Island.

Most of the images in this exhibit date between 1872 and 1899 and provide a visual narrative of the Island. However, they are just a sampling of the Museum's collection of Richard G. Shute's photographs. The overall collection contains approximately 500 images and glass plate negatives and positives made between 1870 and the turn of the twentieth century.