MANKATO — A quirky old photo of a Mankato doctor and a photographer was singled out to be part of the promotional launch for a new national online digital library.
The Blue Earth County Historical Society image is that of G.A. Dahl, posed and peering at a photographer at work under his black camera hood.It was the only Minnesota Digital Library photo to be included in the recent public unveiling of the Digital Public Library of America and its 1.2 million-image cache.Why was this photo solely selected from among the Minnesota library’s 120,000-photo inventory?“That’s a fantastic question,” said Heather Harren of the Blue Earth County Historical Society. She said the society received an email from the Minnesota Digital Library that said only that the Dahl photo would be prominently displayed in the national library’s publicity launch.One supposition is that a photographer’s photo of a man being photographed by another photographer was a novel, eye-catching visual for the early 1900s. According to the Historical Society, Dahl was photographed in Keene Studios in Mankato, which operated from 1885 to 1929. Dahl practiced medicine in Mankato from 1897 to 1946.The Digital Public Library of America project began in 2010 under the auspices of Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society.Its goal is to provide a free central location for America’s cultural and scientific history.It can be visited online at dp.la/.