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Blackington, Alton H.

Alton H. Blackington Photograph Collection
1898-1943
15 boxes (4 linear feet)
Call no.: PH 061
Image of Fortune teller, ca.1930
Fortune teller, ca.1930

A native of Rockland, Maine, Alton H. “Blackie” Blackington (1893-1963) was a writer, photojournalist, and radio personality associated with New England “lore and legend.” After returning from naval service in the First World War, Blackington joined the staff of the Boston Herald, covering a range of current events, but becoming well known for his human interest features on New England people and customs. He was successful enough by the mid-1920s to establish his own photo service, and although his work remained centered on New England and was based in Boston, he photographed and handled images from across the country. Capitalizing on the trove of New England stories he accumulated as a photojournalist, Blackington became a popular lecturer and from 1933-1953, a radio and later television host on the NBC network, Yankee Yarns, which yielded the books Yankee Yarns (1954) and More Yankee Yarns (1956).

This collection of glass plate negatives was purchased by Robb Sagendorf of Yankee Publishing around the time of Blackington’s death. Reflecting Blackington’s photojournalistic interests, the collection covers a terrain stretching from news of public officials and civic events to local personalities, but the heart of the collection is the dozens of images of typically eccentric New England characters and human interest stories. Most of the images were taken by Blackington on 4×5″ dry plate negatives, however many of the later images are made on flexible acetate stock and the collection includes several images by other (unidentified) photographers distributed by the Blackington News Service.

Gift of Yankee Publishing, Mar. 2012
Subjects
  • Coolidge, Calvin, 1872-1933--Photographs
  • Earhart, Amelia, 1897-1937--Photographs
  • Maine--Social life and customs--Photographs
  • Massachusetts--Social life and customs--Photographs
  • New England--Social life and customs--Photographs
  • New Hampshire--Social life and customs--Photographs
  • Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945--Photographs
  • Sacco-Vanzetti Trial, Dedham, Mass., 1921--Photographs
Types of material
  • Photographs

Blake, Ella Dot Martin

Ella Dot Martin Blake Sheet Music Collection
1902-1941
3 boxes (3.0 linear feet)
Call no.: RB 015
Image of I'm forever blowing bubbles
I'm forever blowing bubbles

A native of Waterloo, Quebec, Ella Dot Martin Blake emigrated to Worcester County, Mass., in about 1927. She and her husband Sydney farmed and raised two sons. Ella Blake died in 1987.

Assembled by Ella Dot Martin Blake, this collection consists of eighty pieces of sheet music, more than half with illustrated covers. Dating from the early 1900s, the collection covers both World Wars as well as the rise of Broadway and Hollywood’s golden age. Selections include military sheet music, “Good-Bye, Little Girl, Good-Bye” (1904) and music from Hollywood films, such as “Daddy Long Legs” dedicated to Mary Pickford (1919), and “By a Waterfall” from Footlight Parade (1933).

Gift of Janice Blake, Oct. 2012
Subjects
  • Motion picture actors and actresses--Photographs
  • World War, 1939-1945--Songs and music
Types of material
  • Sheet music

Blanchard Family

Blanchard-Means Family Papers
ca.1770-1970
48 boxes (67 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 830
Image of Abby Blanchard (later Mrs. Oliver W. Means) at Jacquard punching machine, ca.1890
Abby Blanchard (later Mrs. Oliver W. Means) at Jacquard punching machine, ca.1890

The seat of seven generations of the Blanchard and Means families, Elm Hill Farm was established prior to 1797, when the joiner Amasa Blanchard began acquiring property in Brookfield, Mass., as he looked forward to his marriage. The success he enjoyed in farming was a spark for his family’s prosperity. Amasa’s son Albert Cheney Blanchard left Brookfield in the 1830s to pursue commercial opportunities out west as a partner in the Richmond Trading Co., in Richmond, Ind., and by the time he returned home to take over operations after his father’s death in 1857, Albert had earned a fortune. In the years after the Civil War, Elm Hill grew to 1,300 acres crowned by a mansion built in 1870 that became the center of a compound of eight buildings. Each subsequent generation at Elm Hill has left its own distinctive mark. Albert’s son Charles P. Blanchard, a minister and talented amateur photographer, developed a renowned herd of Morgan horses, and Charles’ daughter Abby and her husband, the minister Oliver W. Means, added a herd of Jersey cattle that included a prize-winning bull, Xenia’s Sultan, imported in 1923, and the cow, You’ll Do Lobelia, better known as the original, real-life Elsie the Cow. Abby’s daughter-in-law, Louise Rich Means, laid acres of spectacular gardens on the estate. Following Louise’s death in 2009, Elm Hill left family ownership.

Consisting of nearly two centuries of papers that accumulated on the Elm Hill estate, the Blanchard-Means collection stretches from a handful of documents from the late eighteenth century relating to landholdings and Amasa ‘s work Blanchard as a joiner, to a blossoming of correspondence, photographs, ephemera, and realia dating from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Well-educated, well-traveled, and well-informed, the Blanchards and Means were prolific letter writers, and their papers provide wonderful insights into the lives of a religiously-devoted family from the New England elite. Among the highlights of the collection are the extensive records from the Richmond Trading Company and from the farm’s livestock and gardening operations (both Morgans and Jerseys) and a remarkable photographic record that document the family, the evolving landscape of Elm Hill, and the town of Brookfield, as well as hundreds of images from C.P. Blanchard’s world tours in the 1890s.

Subjects
  • Agriculture--Massachusetts--Brookfield
  • Asia--Description and travel
  • Brookfield (Mass.)--History
  • Cabinetmakers--Massachusetts--Brookfield
  • Congregational Church--Clergy--Connecticut
  • Congregational Church--Clergy--Massachusetts
  • Europe--Description and travel
  • Jersey cattle--Massachusetts
  • Morgan horse--Massachusetts
  • Yale University--Students
Contributors
  • Richmond Trading Company
Types of material
  • Ephemera
  • Photographs

Boston & Albany Railroad Company. Engineering Department

Boston & Albany Railroad Engineering Department Map Collection
1833-1920
19 v.
Call no.: MS 130

The Boston and Albany Railroad was formed between 1867 and 1870 from the merger of three existing lines, the Boston and Worcester (chartered 1831), the Western (1833), and the Castleton and West Stockbridge (1834). The corporation was a primary east-west transit through the Commonwealth, with branches connecting towns including Athol, Ware, North Adams, and Hudson, N.Y.

The nineteen atlases comprising this collection include detailed plans documenting the location and ownership of rights of way, land-takings, and other land transfers to or from the railroad company. Dating from the early years of operation for the corporation to just after the turn of the century, the atlases include maps of predecessor lines (Boston and Worcester Railroad Corporation and Western Rail-Road), as well as the Grand Junction Railway Company (Charlestown, Somerville, Everett, and Chelsea), the Ware River Railroad, and the Chester and Becket Railroad.

Subjects
  • Boston and Albany Railroad Co.--Maps
  • Boston and Worcester Railroad Corporation--Maps
  • Chester and Becket Railroad--Maps
  • Grand Junction Railway Company--Maps
  • Railroads--Massachusetts--Maps
  • Real property--Massachusetts--Maps
  • Ware River Railroad--Maps
  • Western Rail-Road Corporation--Maps
Contributors
  • Boston & Albany Railroad Company. Engineering Department
Types of material
  • Maps

Breck, John

John Breck Account Book
1801-1810
1 vol. (0.1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 196 bd

A prominent storekeeper in Northampton, Mass., at the turn of the nineteenth century, John Breck was born on April 20, 1770. Starting in business with his father as Robert Breck and Son from their store at the corner of Main and King Streets, Breck thrived dealing in “English and Hardware Goods” and “crockery and Glass ware.” According to historian Nancy Goyne Evans, he was recorded working with blacksmith Seth Pomeroy in 1800 supplying chair makers with imported and domestic turning tools.

Labeled on the cover “Petty debts B, Iron Accounts,” this volume of accounts includes records of a substantial business in selling iron and steel at the turn of the nineteenth century. Although the owner of the book is nowhere recorded, it has very tentatively been assigned to John Breck based on his signature on p. 101 (and p. 49), settling an account with the clockmaker Nathan Storrs. Most of the entries are brief, often for petty sums and often cryptic in nature, however a significant number note the sale of iron or occasionally steel.

Subjects
  • Iron industry and trade--Massachusetts--Northampton
  • Northampton (Mass.)--History
Types of material
  • Daybooks

Briggs, Benjamin, 1760-1834

Benjamin Briggs Account Book
1805-1820
1 vol. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 173 bd

Ship’s captain and cobbler from Scituate, Massachusetts. Includes list of ship expenses (harbor master’s fees, wages, wharf fees, provisions, carpenter and blacksmith bills, and bills for loading labor, rigging, and mending the sails), debt accounts with individuals, and accounts for making and mending shoes and boots.

Subjects
  • Barter--Massachusetts--Scituate--19th century
  • Brown, Jonathan
  • Cook, Ichabod
  • Debtor and creditor--Massachusetts--Scituate--19th century
  • Litchfield, Nathaniel
  • Ozbon, Absalom
  • Scituate (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Ship captains--Massachusetts--Scituate--19th century
  • Shipping--Massachusetts--Scituate--19th century
  • Shoemakers--Massachusetts--Scituate--19th century
  • Talon, Lewis
  • Wilcott, Daniel
Contributors
  • Briggs, Benjamin, 1760-1834
Types of material
  • Account books

Brinley Family

Brinley Family Papers
1643-1950
(4.75 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 161
Image of Deborah Brinley and infant son Francis, 1729<br />Copy by Charles U. Bond (1830)<br />after John Smibert
Deborah Brinley and infant son Francis, 1729
Copy by Charles U. Bond (1830)
after John Smibert

A prosperous family of merchants and landowners, the Brinleys were well ensconced among the social and political elite of colonial New England. Connected by marriage to other elite families in Rhode Island and Massachusetts — the Auchmutys, Craddocks, and Tyngs among them — the Brinleys were refined, highly educated, public spirited, and most often business-minded. Although many members of the family remained loyal to the British cause during the Revolution, the family retained their high social standing in the years following.

The Brinley collection includes business letters, legal and business records, wills, a fragment of a diary, documents relating to slaves, newspaper clippings, and a small number of paintings and artifacts. A descendent, Nancy Brinley, contributed a quantity of genealogical research notes and photocopies of Brinley family documents from other repositories. Of particular note in the collection is a fine nineteenth century copy of a John Smibert portrait of Deborah Brinley (1719), an elegant silver tray passed through the generations, and is a 1713 list of the library of Francis Brinley, which offers a foreshadowing of the remarkable book collection put together in the later nineteenth century by his descendant George Brinley.

Subjects
  • American loyalists--Massachusetts
  • Book collectors--United States--History--19th century
  • Brinley family
  • Brinley, George, 1817-1875--Library
  • Businessmen--Massachusetts--History
  • Businessmen--Rhode Island--History
  • Craddock family
  • Landowners--Massachusetts--History
  • Landowners--Rhode Island--History
  • Libraries--Rhode Island--18th century
  • Massachusetts--Economic conditions--18th century
  • Massachusetts--Politics and government--19th century
  • Rhode Island--Economic conditions--18th century
  • Rhode Island--Genealogy
  • Rhode Island--Politics and government--19th century
  • Slavery--United States--History
  • Tyng family
  • United Empire Loyalists
Types of material
  • Deeds
  • Realia

Broadside Press

Broadside Press Collection
1965-1984
1 box, 110 vols. (3.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 571
Image of Broadside 6
Broadside 6

A significant African American poet of the generation of the 1960s, Dudley Randall was an even more significant publisher of emerging African American poets and writers. Publishing works by important writers from Gwendolyn Brooks to Haki Madhubuti, Alice Walker, Etheridge Knight, Audre Lorde, Amiri Baraka, Nikki Giovanni, and Sonia Sanchez, his Broadside Press in Detroit became an important contributor to the Black Arts Movement.

The Broadside Press Collection includes approximately 200 titles published by Randall’s press during its first decade of operation, the period of its most profound cultural influence. The printed works are divided into five series, Broadside poets (including chapbooks, books of poetry, and posters), anthologies, children’s books, the Broadside Critics Series (works of literary criticism by African American authors), and the Broadsides Series. . The collection also includes a selection of items used in promoting Broadside Press publications, including a broken run of the irregularly published Broadside News, press releases, catalogs, and fliers and advertising cards.

Gift of the Friends of the W.E.B. Du Bois Libraries, Aug. 2008
Subjects
  • African American poets
  • African American writers
  • Black Arts Movement
  • Poetry
Contributors
  • Broadside Press
  • Brooks, Gwendolyn, 1917-2000
  • Emanuel, James A
  • Giovanni, Nikki
  • Knight, Etheridge
  • Madhubuti, Haki R., 1942-
  • Randall, Dudley, 1914-
  • Sanchez, Sonia, 1934-
Types of material
  • Broadsides
  • Ephemera
  • Posters

Brooks, Burt V.

Burt V. Brooks Photograph Collection
1889-1934
3 boxes (1.5 linear feet)
Call no.: PH 060
Image of

The artist Burt Vernon Brooks was one of the outstanding chroniclers of daily life in the Swift River Valley before it was inundated to create the Quabbin Reservoir. Born in Brimfield, Mass., in 1849 and raised in Monson, Brooks moved to Greenwich with his family in the 1870s, where he worked on the family farm. At some unclear point before he turned 40, Brooks became active as an artist, painting local homes and scenery and taking photographs of the landscape, residents, and daily life in the Quabbin region. A prolific photographer, he was, in the words of historian Donald W. Howe, “hardly ever seen without his camera strapped to his back,” remaining active for decades. Three years after following his second wife to the west, Brooks died in Los Angeles in 1934.

The great majority of the 92 photographs in this collection are 5×7″ dry plate glass negatives taken by Brooks in the earliest years of the twentieth century, documenting the houses and people of Greenwich. Brooks’ work includes landscapes, houses, and a significant series of images of the Hillside School, but some of his best works are studio portraits, images of people at home or with their carriages, and posed scenes of children at play or at work. The collection also includes eight images by Brooks at Enfield, Greenwich, and Dana that are the property of the Swift River Valley Historical Society, and six images taken by Chetwynd and Pike in the Quabbin region to document properties slated for removal.

Gift of Friends of Quabbin through Gene Theroux, Paul Godfrey, and Les Campbell, June 2014
Subjects
  • Agriculture--Massachusetts--Greenwich--Photographs
  • Carriages and carts--Massachusetts--Greenwich--Photographs
  • Children--Massachusetts--Greenwich--Photographs
  • Dana (Mass.)--Photographs
  • Dwellings--Massachusetts--Greenwich--Photographs
  • Enfield (Mass.)--Photographs
  • Greenwich (Mass.)--Photographs
  • Hillside School (Marlborough, Mass.)
  • Horses--Massachusetts--Greenwich--Photographs
  • New Salem (Mass.)--Photographs
  • Plowing--Massachusetts--Greenwich--Photographs
  • Prescott (Mass.)--Photographs
Types of material
  • Dry plate gelatin negatives
  • Gelatin silver negatives
  • Photographs

Brown & Brothers Livery Stable

Brown and Brothers Account Book
1862-1873
1 vol. (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 092

Freight haulers from Dana, Massachusetts. Includes information about products that were hauled (such as palm leaf hats, mats, lumber, railroad ties, and waste) and the companies for which they were carried. Also contains information about how Brown was paid (cash, barter, manure, chopped wood, stone) and the names of many people and places with whom Brown and Brothers conducted business.

Subjects
  • Dana (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Freight and freightage--Massachusetts
  • Furniture industry and trade--Massachusetts
  • Panama hat industry--Massachusetts
  • Swift River Valley (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
Contributors
  • Brown and Brothers
  • Brown, Harry
Types of material
  • Account books
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