The Bernard and Elizabeth Way Photograph Collection is primarily composed of studio portraits taken by the Bernard Way Studio in the 1930s and 1940s. Bernard Maxwell Way was born in Georgia on October 13, 1891. He developed an interest in photography early on, and at age 18, moved to Washington, D.C to study the art. For a time, he worked for Harris & Ewing, Inc., which focused on taking photos of important people and events in the District of Columbia. Harris & Ewing's photos are now archived by the Library of Congress.
By 1920, Way had moved to Newark, Ohio, where he met Elizabeth East, born circa 1902. He moved to Beaumont in 1921 to establish his studio, returned to Newark in 1922 to marry Elizabeth, and then brought her with him to Beaumont. His studio was first located in the Longe Building, and then in the Goodhue Building. Way built an international reputation, exhibiting across the United States and abroad, and he won high honors in the National Photographic exhibit.
Way died on October 23, 1938, and is buried in the Flemington Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Flemington, Georgia. His wife, Elizabeth, continued his photography business after his death. She married Harry Robert Woodside (1902-1988) in approximately 1946. She died on June 24, 1980, and is buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Beaumont.
The collection holds a large number of negatives of the studio portraits taken by Bernard and Elizabeth. It also includes some personal family photographs taken by the Ways prior to Bernard's death.