SHARON -- Jerry West and John Misskelley describe themselves as "two guys who like really old stuff."
Last week, Misskelley, who collects just about everything relating to local history, donated a large collection of historic photography to West, director of the Museum of Western York County in Sharon.
"It does no good for this to be in my closet," Misskelley said. "It needs to get out to the public."
The pictures are mid-to-late 19th century photographs taken by one of America's, and certainly one of York County's, earliest photographers, John Schorb.
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Schorb was born in Germany in 1818 and immigrated to America in 1834. He moved to South Carolina around 1850, and settled in what was then Yorkville in 1853. Schorb taught at both the Yorkville Female College and Kings Mountain Military School.
"I have not seen a collection this big," West said as he flipped through the folder of 19 images. "Winthrop has a large collection in their archives, but this is the biggest collection of Schorb's photos I've ever seen."
Most of the photos are portraits of York County residents, but the collection also includes a portrait of Schorb himself.
"I've never seen one before," Misskelley said. "This will be the first time a photo of Schorb has ever been published."
While all of the donated photos are on paper, Schorb also learned the processes of daguerreotyping and ambrotyping, early photographic processes that involved exposing silver-coated copper or glass plates to light, then exposing them to vapors such as mercury fumes to bring out negative images.
The daguerreotype was one of the first two photographic processes, invented in France in the 1830s.
"It's why it's so interesting -- because this is local photography," Misskelley said. "We know him and his history."
Misskelley said he has spent much of the last 12 years collecting anything relating to York County history through estate sales and friends who have come upon interesting artifacts. He also has furniture, artwork, and even letters written between people dating back to the 19th century.
"My family has been in western York County since 1767," Misskelley said. "I have an interest in sharing history. ... but I do have a conscience about this stuff. I just want to keep local history in the county."
That's what brought him to West and the museum.
"Everything I have relating to western York County, the museum will end up getting it," Misskelley said.
West said he was excited when Misskelley called him about the photos.
"Since we have a new museum, this gives us new credibility," West said.
West said donations, both monetary and historic artifacts, are what keep the museum running.
The museum, which has been open since 2003, includes York County artifacts ranging from agricultural equipment to kitchen appliances to war memorabilia dating back to the Civil War.
"The Museum of Western York County is a hidden gem in York County," Misskelley said. "People need to come see what's out here. It's remarkable what (West) has been able to accomplish. He deserves a gold medal."