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Alfred W. Mueller

What began as a childhood pastime became a lifelong pursuit for this Galena native. For over 90 years, Mueller amassed a collection of historic images of his hometown and the surrounding area. At last count, the collection numbered in excess of 10,000 items—all available for


 public use, thanks to Mueller's generosity. The oldest pieces in the collection are a series of 1840s daguerreotypes, an early form of photography.


Postcards and photos from Mueller’s collection were a primary source for The Building of Galena (1977), a publication that documented the city’s architectural history. Countless researchers, residents, and visitors to Galena have benefited from Mueller’s careful stewardship of these items. In choosing this award, the jury noted how “rare it is in this country to find an individual archivist dedicated to the conservation of such an extensive collection.”









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