Learn about his legacy as one of South Carolina’s most dedicated history-keepers
A young Harriet Lawrence photographs an American Staffordshire terrier, owned by her uncle, photographer Morton Brailsford Paine, in this 1903 image titled A Young Amateur. Born in Charleston in 1883, Paine lived at 47 Meeting Street with his sister, May, and devoted much of his time to documenting Lowcountry life in the early 1900s, capturing a wide variety of moments from flower vendors milling about Broad Street to picnics at Drayton Hall. He had an adventurous spirit and enjoyed automobile racing and speed boating, as well as taking aerial landscapes of the city while flying his Curtiss HS seaplane. Obsessed with speed, he became one of the first photographers on the East Coast to use a motion-picture camera. Paine passed away in 1940, three days after a Category 2 hurricane flooded the ground floor of his home, destroying countless negatives. Fifteen years later, Harriet donated what remained of her uncle’s photography collection to research institutions across the US, including the Atlanta History Center and The Charleston Museum, where his work remains on view today, establishing Paine as one of South Carolina’s most dedicated history-keepers.