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Islip photo exhibit chronicles early 1900s

The Islip Arts Council and the Islip Art Museum are extending an exhibition of photography and color-enhanced landscape photographs chronicling life in the town between 1900 and 1915.

Edgar Van Sicklen, born in 1875, was a professional photographer who, from his photography shop in Islip’s center, produced portraits and postcards and was an important contributor to local newspapers, said Victoria Berger, president of the Historical Society of Islip.

The society recently received hundreds of Van Sicklen’s glass plate negatives, most not seen publicly in almost a century. A collection of some of his black-and-white photographs, together with some of the watercolors by his wife, Margaret, are now on display in the Town of Islip Historical Exhibition Gallery at Brookwood Hall, home to the arts council and museum, at 50 Irish Lane.

The town was a playground for many wealthy Manhattanites at the time and many of the photographs depict its pre-Depression era glory — the parks, commercial storefronts and several private estates, many of which have since been destroyed.

Curatorial administrator Kathy Curran said the exhibit’s popularity had led the museum to extend it through the end of May.

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