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Boston Studio

Local businesses in David City

This photographic collection serves as a great genealogical and historical account of the people and places of Butler County.

The database may be searched and images may be purchased via the Boston Studio website at


In 2004, the David City Area Foundation gifted the negative collection to The Thorpe, Inc.   The negative collection and volunteer headquarters is currently located at the Hruska Memorial Library in David City.   The collection and offices  of the Boston Studio Project will be moved to The Thorpe following completion of the renovation.


Since the initial development of the sight several additional collections have been added.  The negatives from the Barlean studio, the Banner Press and several other private collections are now available on the site.     All the cemeteries in Butler have been cataloged and pictures of each grave stone are now available.

Harvey L. Boston was a professional portrait photographer who established the Boston Studio in David City, Nebraska, in 1893. He photographed people as well as businesses, homes and community events. Following Mr. Boston’s death, in 1927, the Boston family continued to run the Boston Studio until 1973.   At that time, the business was sold to John and Fred McVay, who continued to operate the Boston Studio until 1979.  The building and photographic equipment were then sold at auction but the surviving negatives and business ledgers became the property of the David City Area Foundation.


In 2003, the Boston Studio Project Committee was formed and volunteers began typing the ledger information into a computer database.  The various types of negatives were cleaned, sorted and stored in archival boxes.   Although many negatives deteriorated due to poor storage conditions, more than 68,000 negatives have survived. The ledger database lists the date each photo was taken, the person who purchased the photo, his/her address, remarks about the photo and a negative number ( which was also written on the corresponding negative).   In January, 2005, temporary office space was established in the Hruska Memorial Library and the process of scanning and digital preservation began.




Portrait of Bessie Clark with her two sons, Roy (left) and John in March 1910.
Split image of Harvey L. Boston photographing himself.
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