Thomas W. and Margaret Tenney Photograph Collection
ca.1966-1978 (Bulk: ca.1966-1972)
12 boxes, oversized (6 linear feet)
Call no.: PH 045

Abstract

A long-time resident of Berkeley, Calif., Thomas W. Tenney and his wife Margaret took up photography in a serious way in the 1950s, eventually becoming professionals. For over a decade beginning the mid-1960s, the Tenneys' summer vacations in New England became the occasion for photographing colonial and early national gravestones, culminating in a public exhibition of their work in 1972 at the Bolles Gallery in San Francisco.

The Tenney collection consists of several hundred scrupulously-documented images of gravestones in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and other New England states taken between 1966 and 1978. Selecting stones for "artistic rather than historical reasons," the Tenney's focused primarily on details of the carving and inscriptions.

Access

The collection is open for research.

Language:

English
Thomas W. and Margaret Tenney Photograph Collection
ca.1966-1978 (Bulk: ca.1966-1972)
12 boxes, oversized (6 linear feet)
Call no.: PH 045

Background on Thomas W. and Margaret Tenney

Submit Gaylord, 1766, Hadley, Mass.

Submit Gaylord, 1766, Hadley, Mass.

Thomas Walker Tenney was born February 13, 1920 in Evanston, Illinois, the son of Jeanette Walker and Horace Kent Tenney, Jr., M.D. He was raised in Madison, Wisconsin and graduated from Williams College in 1941. Following his Navy service in World War II, he worked in New York City, New York, and Springfield, Massachusetts until 1950 when he moved with his young family to Berkeley, California to start a phonograph record and sound equipment store. He closed the store in 1964 to devote full time to photography.

In a brief autobiography for one of his photo shows, he said:

I was given a box camera at about age 10, and then a vest pocket Kodak at about age 12. When I was 15 I started using a Leica which I used continually until 1941. From about 1936 to 1940 I received help from a Madison photographer, Fritz Kaeser, and after graduation in June 1941, I went to work for him as general assistant until entering the Navy. Did darkroom work, portraits, architecture, and also worked on my own doing portraits, works of art, and some efforts at reportage.

After settling in California, I began photography again, after reading the Basic Photo series of Ansel Adams. In 1960 I began trying to arrange my business so my time would be more free for photography.

In September 1962, I was one of eight photographers shown at the San Francisco Museum of Art as the last segment of the summer-long series entitled "The Arts of San Francisco."

During the late 1960s I worked as a West Coast photographer for The New York Times, illustrating several articles for the Sunday Magazine, including articles on Joan Baez, Charles Schultz, and student activities at Cal Berkeley."

Margaret (Maggie) Whitney Klaw Tenney was born May 30, 1922 in New York City, the daughter of Alma Ash and Alonzo Klaw, and granddaughter of Antoinette Morris and Marc Klaw, noted New York theater impresario. She was educated at Friends Seminary in New York and graduated from Bennington College in 1942 with an emphasis on art and music. She married Thomas Tenney on September 2, 1944. After moving to Berkeley in 1950, she began attending graduate school at Mills College in Oakland, California, studying musical composition with Darius Milhaud. Always an inventive and experimental visual artist, she took up photography in the mid-1960s, concentrating on color imagery. After retiring from photography in the early 1980s, she developed an international trade in antiquarian books with an emphasis on cooking, household management, and etiquette. Margaret Tenney died on April 18, 2011.

Thomas and Maggie exhibited their photography work widely on the West Coast during the 1960s and 1970s. Over the course of those two decades, they made trips almost every year to New England to study and photograph gravestones. Together they carefully studied and analyzed the gravestone images they brought home after each of their trips. Thomas did the photography and Maggie did much of the visual analysis, using her skills as a visual artist to make comparisons between stones from various carvers and regions. Hundreds of markers from Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont were catalogued, described, analyzed, and cross-referenced.

For a show of 38 gravestone prints at San Francisco's Bolles Gallery in 1972, Thomas described his work: "These are photographs of gravestones from Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, dated from 1692 to 1808. In this small group of pictures, selected for artistic rather than historical reasons, I have tried to show the great individuality, along with certain traditional aspects, of this vigorous Colonial art form, almost the only sculpture to have survived from that period."

Contents of Collection

The Tenney Collection consists of 12 document boxes containing approximately 1800 black and white 8 x 10 photograph prints, 38 mounted exhibition 11 x 14 black and white prints, negatives, proof sheets, and cross-referenced, descriptive index cards. Although the prints and negatives are solely of gravestones, the proof sheets include other subjects of interest to Tenney -- popular culture, automobiles, advertising signs, etc. across the U.S.

Grave markers photographed are in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Cemetery names were occasionally recorded. Carver names include: Allen, Buckland, Bull, Codner, Collins, Cutler, Dwight, Foster, Geyer, Hempstead, Kimball, Lamson, Stevens, Manning, New, Park, Sikes, Soule, Young, and Zuricher. Death dates range from 1692 to 1808.

If a researcher is interested in certain towns, the 3 x 5 index cards could be used first to find Marker ID numbers, then the corresponding prints could be located using the inventory list. Researchers who are studying carvers would likely want to see the carver index cards first to correlate particular carvers with photographs of their work. Others may want to browse through the prints, then use the index cards to find additional details for certain markers.

The Collection is grouped into four series: Photographic prints (8 x 10), Exhibition prints (11 x 14), Proof Sheets and Negatives, and index cards.

Series descriptions
ca.1966-1978
10 boxes (5 linear feet)

Because the donor had arranged the 8 x 10 prints by grave marker ID numbers, that arrangement was retained. Each print has identifying information written in pencil on the back that can be correlated with the index cards:

  1. Gravestone [Marker] ID number written in red; 801.1, 801.2, etc. if multiple images of the same stone;
  2. State and Town;
  3. Print number, usually a 5 digit number, i.e. 11725. Tenney numbered every print he made and logged exposure and chemistry information about each print in his log book ( not included in this collection);
  4. Roll number - Exposure number, i.e. 935-30;
  5. Deceased's name;
  6. Death date;
  7. Occasionally other information such as cemetery name, possible carver, cross reference to other stones, etc.

The number range shown on the inventory was used by the donor and is not always complete. For example, #1400-1420 may have only 12 prints. These prints are in Boxes 1-9.

ca.1966-1972
1 box (0.5 linear feet)

Mounted 11 x 14" prints with an indication of print, roll, exposure numbers, and brief descriptive information on back. The prints were prepared for a 1972 exhibition at the Bolles Gallery, San Francisco.

ca.1966-1978
1 box (0.5 linear feet)

Proof sheets are mounted front and back, two rolls to a sheet, organized in numerical order with the corresponding Roll ID card photocopies and negatives behind each proof sheet. Roll ID numbers are marked on the proof sheet tabs and negative sleeve headers, i.e. "Roll 751, 752, 753," etc. Although some proof sheets include images of non-gravestone subjects, those negatives and prints are not included in this collection. This series is in Box 11.

ca.1966-1978
1 file

Three different sets of index cards provide a means to cross-reference images with descriptive information:

  1. 3 x 5 index cards arranged by state, then town, then alphabetically by surname of deceased. Each card has deceased's name, death year, stone geologic type (i.e. slate), town, Gravestone [Marker] ID number (usually in red and in the upper right corner), and Roll - Exposure number (e.g. 931-9). When a carver was identified or attributed, the carver name, usually in parenthesis, is included. These cards are in the donor's two drawer metal file box, designated as Box 12.
  2. 4 x 6 index cards totaling 186 filed alphabetically by carver surname. Each card lists town(s) and state(s) where the carver's work was found. If the marker was signed, that is designated; if the carver was attributed, that is indicated by a question mark beside the town/state. Carver death and birth dates are often included and thumbnail size prints are sometimes attached to the index cards with roll and exposure numbers shown below. Unnamed carvers are attributed by style as described by the Tenneys. These cards are in Box 11.
  3. Roll ID index card photocopies include a brief description of the image and usually the town and state where located. Original Roll ID index cards are still in the donor's possession. Photocopies of Roll number ID index cards are in folders with their corresponding contact sheets and negatives in Box 11.
Collection inventory
Series 1. Photographic prints
ca.1960-1979
10 boxes (5 linear feet)
Marker ID #1-30
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 1: 1
Marker ID #31-60
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 1: 2
Marker ID #61-90
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 1: 3
Marker ID #91-120
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 1: 4
Marker ID #121-150
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 1: 5
Marker ID #151-180
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 1: 6
Marker ID #181-210
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 1: 7
Marker ID #211-240
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 2: 1
Marker ID #241-270
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 2: 2
Marker ID #271-300
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 2: 3
Marker ID #301-330
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 2: 4
Marker ID #331-360
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 2: 5
Marker ID #361-390
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 2: 6
Marker ID #391-420
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 2: 7
Marker ID #421-450
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 3: 1
Marker ID #451-480
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 3: 2
Marker ID #481-520
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 3: 3
Marker ID #521-550
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 3: 4
Marker ID #551-580
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 3: 5
Marker ID #581-610
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 3: 6
Marker ID #611-650
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 3: 7
Marker ID #651-670
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 4: 1
Marker ID #671-700
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 4: 2
Marker ID #701-740
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 4: 3
Marker ID #741-770
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 4: 4
Marker ID #771-800
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 4: 5
Marker ID #801-825
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 4: 6
Marker ID #826-850
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 4: 7
Marker ID #851-870
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 5: 1
Marker ID #871-900
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 5: 2
Marker ID #901-930
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 5: 3
Marker ID #931-960
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 5: 4
Marker ID #961-990
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 5: 5
Marker ID #91-1020
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 5: 6
Marker ID #1021-1060
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 5: 7
Marker ID #1061-1090
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 6: 1
Marker ID #1091-1120
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 6: 2
Marker ID #1121-1150
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 6: 3
Marker ID #1151-1180
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 6: 4
Marker ID #1181-1210
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 6: 5
Marker ID #1211-1240
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 6: 6
Marker ID #1241-1270
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 6: 7
Marker ID #1271-1300
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 7: 1
Marker ID #1301-1330
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 7: 2
Marker ID #1331-1360
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 7: 3
Marker ID #1361-1390
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 7: 4
Marker ID #1391-1420
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 7: 5
Marker ID #1421-1450
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 7: 6
Marker ID #1451-1480
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 7: 7
Marker ID #1481-1510
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 8: 1
Marker ID #1511-1540
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 8: 2
Marker ID #1541-1570
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 8: 3
Marker ID #1571-1600
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 8: 4
Marker ID #1601-1630
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 8: 5
Marker ID #1631-1660
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 8: 6
Marker ID #1661-1690
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 8: 7
Marker ID #1691-1720
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 9: 1
Marker ID #1721-1750
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 9: 2
Marker ID #1751-1780
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 9: 3
Marker ID #1781-1816
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 9: 4
Marker ID #1817-1839
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 9: 5
Marker ID #1840-1870
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 9: 6
Marker ID #1871-1891
ca.1966-1978
8 x 10
Box 9: 7
Series 2. Exhibition prints
ca.1960-1979
1 box (0.5 linear feet)
CT: Bloomfield (878 - 29)
ca.1965
Mounted print
Box 10
CT: Bridgeport (1096 - 14)
ca.1965
Mounted print
Box 10
CT: Derby (1107 - 20 )
ca.1965
Mounted print
Box 10
CT: East Hartford (877 - 36)
ca.1965
Mounted print
Box 10
CT: Farmington (1100 - 35)
ca.1965
Mounted print
Box 10
CT: Milford (1094 - 36 )
ca.1965
Mounted print
Box 10
CT: Milford (1094 - 34)
ca.1965
Mounted print
Box 10
CT: Milford (1095 - 26)
ca.1965
Mounted print
Box 10
CT: Putnam (1114 - 36)
ca.1965
Mounted print
Box 10
CT: Roxbury (1099 - 22)
ca.1965
Mounted print
Box 10
CT: Scotland (1113 - 33)
ca.1965
Mounted print
Box 10
CT: Statford (1097 - 8)
ca.1965
Mounted print
Box 10
MA: Ashby (946 - 21)
ca.1965
Mounted print
Box 10
MA: Billerica (935 - 35)
ca.1965
Mounted print
Box 10
MA: Blandford (879 - 34)
ca.1965
Mounted print
Box 10
MA: Boston, The Granary (933 - 10)
ca.1965
Mounted print
Box 10
MA: Cohasset (931 - 15)
ca.1965
Mounted print
Box 10
MA: Cohasset (931 - 6)
ca.1965
Mounted print
Box 10
MA: Concord (934 - 24)
ca.1965
Mounted print
Box 10
MA: Concord (934 - 22)
ca.1965
Mounted print
Box 10
MA: Granby (877 - 5)
ca.1965
Mounted print
Box 10
MA: Groton (945 - 5)
ca.1965
Mounted print
Box 10
MA: Groton (945 - 3)
ca.1965
Mounted print
Box 10
MA: Hadley (874 - 7)
ca.1965
Mounted print
Box 10
MA: Hadley (873 - 27)
ca.1965
Mounted print
Box 10
MA: Harvard (944 - 26)
ca.1965
Mounted print
Box 10
MA: Ipswich (941 - 34)
ca.1965
Mounted print
Box 10
MA: Malden (937 - 4)
ca.1965
Mounted print
Box 10
MA: Palmer Center (871 - 22)
ca.1965
Mounted print
Box 10
MA: Quincy (931 - 24)
ca.1965
Mounted print
Box 10
MA: Sandwich (926 - 15)
ca.1965
Mounted print
Box 10
MA: Scituate (930 - 30)
ca.1965
Mounted print
Box 10
MA: South Newbury (941 - 4)
ca.1965
Mounted print
Box 10
MA: West Bridgewater (929 - 20)
ca.1965
Mounted print
Box 10
MA: Weston (934 - 10)
ca.1965
Mounted print
Box 10
MA: Woburn (936 - 28)
ca.1965
Mounted print
Box 10
MA : Ashley Falls (754 - 36)
ca.1965
Mounted print
Box 10
RI: Newport (865 - 34)
ca.1965
Mounted print
Box 10
Series 3. Proof sheets and negatives
ca.1960-1979
1 box (0.5 linear feet)
Roll #751-876
ca.1965-179

Box 11: 1
Roll #878-935
ca.1965-179

Box 11: 2
Roll #936-948
ca.1965-179

Box 11: 3
Roll #1064-1099
ca.1965-179

Box 11: 4
Roll #1100-1112
ca.1965-179

Box 11: 5
Roll #1113-1135
ca.1965-179

Box 11: 6
Roll #1140-1161
ca.1965-179

Box 11: 7
Roll #1240-1357
ca.1965-179

Box 11: 8
Series 4. Index cards
ca.1960-1979
1 file
Administrative information
Provenance

Acquired from Thomas W. Tenney, August 2011, through the Association for Gravestone Studies.

Processing Information

Processed by Nancy Adgent, August 2011.

The Tenney Collection is part of the Association for Gravestone Studies Collections:

Copyright and Use (More informationConnect to publication information)

Cite as: Thomas W. and Margaret Tenney Photograph Collection (PH 045). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

Search terms
Subjects
  • ?????.
  • Sepulchral monuments--Connecticut.
  • Sepulchral monuments--Massachusetts.
  • Sepulchral monuments--Rhode Island.
  • Sepulchral monuments--Vermont.
Names
  • Tenney, Margaret.
Genre terms
  • Photographs.