Woman photographing all 50 states for Library of Congress stops in Beaumont

A Washington, D.C. based photographer taking on an enormous adventure with historical significance was in Beaumont Wednesday as part of her journey around America.

Carol Highsmith is about 3 years into a roughly 20-year project for the Library of Congress, for which she will be visiting all 50 states, taking thousands of photos in each state in an effort to put together a time capsule of America in the 21st Century.

"The Library of Congress is all about preservation, a lot of what I am photographing will be gone over time... that's the importance of this collection... it's important that we see our history and have it recorded, just in case it goes away," Highsmith told 12News Wednesday.

Accompanied by her husband Ted, Highsmith has already photographed Washington, D.C., Alabama, California, and Connecticut, and has been traveling through Texas for the past 5 weeks, and arrived in Beaumont a few days ago. She said she has thoroughly enjoyed her trip to Beaumont, taking photos at places like Spindletop and the McFaddin-Ward House, to name a few.

"Beaumont has a lot to be proud of... I've photographed a tremendous amount of historical properties... and I don't know one I've seen quite so well done as the McFaddin-Ward House... it's incredible inside," she said.

Highsmith says the project is one of the top 6 featured collections at the Library of Congress... out of the more than 15 million photos in the library's collection.

"I don't think there's anything like it in the world," she said.

Highsmith hopes to visit 3 states a year, and estimates she has up to 20 more years of work left on the project, and at 67 years old, with 46 more states to go, time is of the essence.

"Very feasibly, this project will have enough traction by the time I head to Heaven that someone would continue on," she said.

Another important thing to mention is that Highsmith holds no rights to the pictures she's taking. The hundreds of thousands of digital photos that will be uploaded to the Library of Congress online catalog will be available to anyone to download for free.

Highsmith says the photos from her Beaumont trip should be available for viewing on the Library of Congress web site in about 4 months.


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