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Historic N E W E NG L A N D

FALL 2015

RESTARTING THE HEARTBEAT OF HAVERHILL


Historic N E W E NG L A N D

Fall 2015 Vol. 16, No. 2

Growing Together

Treasures from the Pacific

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Zooming In on Collections Care

Cultivating Community at the Eustis Estate

Mustering Rhode Island’s “Old Soldiers”

Why Here? Why Now?

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Sharing Your Twentieth-century Stories

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A Wartime Education

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Pulleys, Weights, and Window Sashes

Collaboration, Experimentation, and Life Lessons

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Best Practices Take Root at Historic New England

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A Life Committed to Collecting

Restarting the Heartbeat of Haverhill

Gragg’s Wondrous Failure

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FROM THE CHAIR

Autumn has just begun, but at Historic New England we’re already preparing for winter. As you’ll read in this issue, proactive arbor care and landscape work are essential to preventing costly weather-related property damage. While our property care team clears gutters and prunes trees, our collections services team and museum site staff are readying our seasonal museum properties for their quiet winter by cleaning the collections and covering objects to protect them from dust and light exposure. At the Haverhill facility, staff are returning china sets, needlework, jewelry, and more to a newly upgraded, state-of-the-art storage facility that you’ll read about on the next page. Several of our properties welcome visitors year-round, including Phillips House in Salem, Massachusetts, which is home to a world-renowned collection of Oceanic art. Discover

some of the highlights on page 10 and join us on November 14 and 15 for an in-depth look at the collection. Finally, I encourage you to read Bob Ogle’s reflection on why he considers his new role as Historic New England’s team leader for preservation services to be the capstone of an already notable career. I share his pride in being part of Historic New England’s nationally recognized leadership in the preservation field, and I hope that you do, too. Thank you, as always, for your continued support.

—Roger T. Servison, Chair

HISTORIC NEW ENGLAND magazine is a benefit of membership. To become a member, visit HistoricNewEngland.org or call 617-994-5910. Comments? Email Kris Bierfelt, editor, at kbierfelt@HistoricNewEngland.org. ­­­Historic New England is funded in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Executive Editor: Diane Viera Editor: Kris Bierfelt Editorial Review Team: Nancy Carlisle, Senior Curator of Collections; Lorna Condon, Senior Curator of Library and Archives; Jennifer Pustz, Museum Historian; Sally Zimmerman, Senior Preservation Services Manager Design: DeFrancis Carbone

The lunch counter at Woolworth’s in Haverhill, Massachusetts, 1950. ABOVE, LEFT TO RIGHT Garden volunteers at the Lyman Estate, Waltham, Massachusetts. Tapa, or ahu in Tahiti, where this fragment is from, is a type of bark cloth widely used in the Pacific. Shoppers outside Sveca Speare department store, 1951. COVER

Cover and above right courtesy of the Haverhill Public Library, Special Collections Department.

Historic New England 141 Cambridge Street Boston MA 02114-2702 617-227-3956 © 2015 Historic New England. Except where noted, all historic photographs and ephemera are from Historic New England’s Library and Archives.


Zooming In on Collections Care

“Keep calm and move the collections” has been the mantra of the Collections Care Project team for the past fifteen months. We have inventoried and moved more than 22,000 objects to temporary storage so that we can make physical improvements to Historic New England’s collections and conservation facility. New features include updated climate control and state-of-the-art compact storage shelving units, which help ensure the long-term preservation of our decorative arts collection. As we inventory, we are also busy updating collections database records and photographing objects for online access. Digitizing the collections is an important aspect of the Collections Care Project, making thousands of objects accessible to the public online via our Collections Access database. Correcting attributions, adding measurements, and updating donor information are essential improvements that help those seeking to learn about an object. Current, high-resolution photography is one of the greatest benefits to researchers, students, and collectors alike, as an image often reveals much more than even the most descriptive data. With recent upgrades to online Collections Access, funded in part through a matching grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, we can now attach multiple images to each object record. We added a zoom feature that allows you to

see details that previously would have been visible only under magnification during a research visit. Now, from anywhere in the world, you can read the handwritten script on an 1890 note pasted inside a desk and bookcase (accession number 1976.167) that details the piece’s Revolutionary War history, see the small dots and dashes that make up the blue stippled design on a transferware platter, or read the pattern name and manufacturer on the selvedge of a wallpaper sample. Historic New England must raise $400,000 to successfully complete the Collections Care Project, which has received major funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund, Americana Foundation, Ruby W. and LaVon Parker Linn Foundation, and an anonymous foundation. Help us continue this important work by making a donation today at HistoricNewEngland.org/CCF. —Julie Solz Team Leader, Collections Services Collections Care Specialist Erin Malueg uses a tethered capture and strobe lighting photography setup. BELOW Find these transferware patterns online by searching for their accession numbers. Left to right: 1943.274, 1927.307, 1969.610.127. ABOVE

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Photographs courtesy of the author

Mustering Rhode Island’s

“Old Soldiers”

The Westerly Armory, built in 1901–02, now restored and re-crenellated, contrasted with the forlorn de-crenellated appearance that the building endured for more than seventy years. FACING PAGE The Bristol Train of Artillery Armory, a gift from the Rhode Island Legislature in 1842, lovingly maintained by the Bristol Train, who stood for Governor King against Thomas Wilson Dorr. ABOVE

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ike many of you, I have developed a lifelong partnership with a building. Mine is the place where, when I was young, I went to events such as antiques and poultry shows. My father played there as a child and remembered the automobile shows. His father cut granite for the building’s base and crenellated parapets. My place is the Westerly Armory in my hometown of Westerly, Rhode Island. I am hooked. Rhode Island has eighteen surviving historic armories in eleven towns. From wood-framed Neoclassical buildings to granite-and-brick Medieval-style castles, they are among the very best of Rhode Island architecture. Seven are militia armories, home to some of the oldest units in the country including the Artillery Company of Newport (founded in 1741), the Kentish Guards of East Greenwich (1774), and the Pawtuxet Rangers (1774). Four of the armories were gifts from Governor Samuel Ward King and the Rhode Island General Assembly to the militia units who defended them against reformer Thomas Wilson Dorr’s failed 1841–42 attempt to challenge the state’s restrictive electoral rules.


Five of Rhode Island’s historic armories, plus the stable and riding grounds of the Armory of Mounted Commands, were designed by the prolific Providence architectural firm of William R. Walker & Son. The largest of these buildings is Walker’s masterpiece, the great Providence Armory (also known as the Cranston Street Armory). With two headhouses and a 170-by-275-foot drill hall that could easily hold two football fields, the state-owned building has been home to events such as the Governor’s Ball, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, high-school state championship track meets, and National Guard drills so large that part of the parade included trucks. Placed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2011 “Most Endangered Properties” list, the building has been looking for its new mission ever since the National Guard moved out in 1996. Walker also designed my beloved Westerly Armory. Built in 1901–02 for $30,000, it replaced a wood-framed

Woonsocket Armory, 1912 Gloucester Light Infantry Armory (Chepachet), c. 1865

Pawtucket Armory, 1894–95 Armory of Mounted Commands (Providence), 1913–14 and 1923–25 Benefit Street Arsenal (Providence), 1839–40

Providence Armory, 1903–07 Armory of the Pawtuxet Rangers (Warwick), 1843

Armory of the Warren Federal Blues, c. 1865 Warren Artillery Armory, 1842

Warwick Kentish Artillery Armory, 1912

Bristol Naval Reserve Armory, 1896 Bristol Train of Artillery Armory, 1842

Varnum Memorial Armory (East Greenwich), 1913 Armory of the Kentish Guards (East Greenwich), 1843

Newport Armory, 1894 Armory of the Artillery Company of Newport, 1835–36

Rodman Hall Armory-Gymnasium (South Kingstown), 1928

Westerly Armory, 1901–02

Dorr Rebellion armory Militia armory Designed by William R. Walker & Son Other

armory that had burned in an ammunition explosion two years earlier. The brick and granite armory was erected in a new location on a triangle of land with Railroad Avenue and Dixon Street on two sides and West Street in the rear. After college, I moved from Westerly north to Warwick, but returned in the early 1990s as a member of a state committee supporting the Guard and Reserve, then headquartered at the armory. When I entered the building, I could see that it was deteriorating and that its wounds had been treated with mere Band-Aids. The National Guard had no money to properly maintain and renovate the building. It was then that I decided to restore the Westerly Armory. One hundred and fifty volunteers came to assist and we began our work with the Guard still in place. Four years later, in 1997, the Fall 2015 Historic New England

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COMMUNITY PRESERVATION GRANTS

Historic New England awarded a 2014 Community Preservation Grant to Westerly Armory Restoration Inc. to research and mount an exhibition of a Civil War collection including artifacts representing the career of Rhode Island Major General A. Hun Berry. These grants of $1,000 foster collaboration with smaller heritage organizations, raising the visibility and importance of preservation at all levels throughout New England. Read about past grant recipients or apply for funding to support the places you care about most at HistoricNewEngland.org/ CommunityPreservationGrants.

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169th Military Police Company at the armory was divided in half and moved to other Rhode Island towns. The State of Rhode Island chose to abandon all the historic armories and used federal money to build new, easy-tomaintain concrete buildings. The Town of Westerly bought the abandoned armory from the state for one dollar and gave my group, Westerly Armory Restoration Inc., a 100-year lease. We’ve completed much of the restoration since then, including replacing the missing granite-capped crenellations. The upper crenellations had come down prior to 1930 and the others, damaged by the Hurricane of 1938, had been removed entirely, an easier fix at that time. The crenellations were rebuilt in 2004 of brick with Westerly granite caps identical to the originals. Despite these renovations, without the National Guard activities, Westerly Armory needed a new purpose. When the armory first opened in 1902, The Westerly Sun reported, “A perfect mob of people inspected the building from cellar to roof. All were loud in praise of the new building. It is just what Westerly needs.” And so that has been the case. My adopted building has come back to life as a community museum, a center for local events, the largest memorial in Washington County to veterans of all wars and conflicts, and the home of the Westerly Band, America’s oldest active civic band. In 1999 I took sabbatical leave from teaching at the Community College of Rhode Island and coauthored The Historic Armories of Rhode Island with Colonel Howard

Civil War–era Kentish Guards drummers and bugler pose with the armory in the background. LEFT BOTTOM Kentish Guards today in Revolutionary War–style uniforms. General Nathanael Greene, a member of the Guards, was second in command to General George Washington. LEFT TOP


F. Brown. In 2000 we ran Rhode Island Historic Armory Week, nine days of events and tours. Thanks to these efforts, the State Preservation Commission better recognized historic armories. They are now among the 19,000 officially recognized Rhode Island historic sites, most of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Eleven of the historic armories have also been listed. I was delighted. Strong and often imposing, these armories were likely overlooked because they seemed invincible; however there is no invincibility against time. Armories are, perhaps, the most deserving of all historic structures. After all, they represent sacrifices made for our freedom. These buildings have

witnessed young men and women training in them and then leaving to protect the country, some of whom never returned. My story is much like many of yours. You fall in love with a building because of its architecture, its history, and the memories you have shared. How fortunate we are to have these “old soldiers,” our historic armories, still with us to preserve our sense of the collective strengths of our great nation.

The armory of the Artillery Company of Newport, built in 1835–36, was originally one story high. RIGHT The great Providence Armory, largest of the Rhode Island historic armories and William R. Walker's masterpiece, was built over four years, 1903–07. LEFT

—Roberta Mudge Humble President, Westerly Armory Restoration Inc., and professor of English, Community College of Rhode Island

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Growing Together As the caretaker of more than 1,300 acres of gardens and landscapes, Historic New England has no shortage of plants to tend, weeds to pull, and leaves to rake. Our property care team relies on the assistance of a hardworking corps of volunteers to help maintain our historic landscapes. 6

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Volunteers Erik DiGeorgi (left) and Alison Barlow of the Massachusetts Master Gardener Association tend to weeds near the boxwood hedge bordering the historic Peach Wall at the Lyman Estate, Waltham, Massachusetts. Photography by Olivia Gatti


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istoric New England is fortunate to partner with a number of garden clubs in our home communities across the region and with the Massachusetts Master Gardener Association, one of the most highly respected horticultural training programs in New England. Thanks to the efforts and enthusiasm of these skilled gardeners, our landscapes are thriving and our volunteer program is growing. In the Wollaston neighborhood of Quincy, Massachusetts, Pat Artis and her crew of volunteers with the Wollaston Garden Club have tended the Quincy House perennial garden for decades. Each year, the group works with our Metro Boston property care team to develop a four-season work plan that includes cleanup as well as pruning, deadheading, and watering. In 2015 the club secured a grant to fund the reinstallation of the bricklined path and bring the garden back to its c. 1937 appearance. This small garden is a true oasis for the neighborhood and is used by dog walkers, for tai chi practice, and as a contemplative respite. Also in the Metro Boston region, the Cambridge Plant and Garden Club helps tend the landscape at CooperFrost-Austin House. Volunteer members meet weekly at the property on Linnaean Street to weed, prune, and divide plant material. The group was also instrumental in a significant new addition to the property. From 1998 to 2013 the club studied the history and horticulture of the Longfellow linden, one of the oldest surviving trees in Cambridge. They cloned several stem cuttings for the Garden Club of America’s 2013 Centennial Tree Project and two of the successful saplings were recently planted, one at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge and one at Cooper-Frost-Austin House. As a guide at Castle Tucker and researcher at Nickels-Sortwell House, Cathy Messmer knows these Wiscasset,

Maine, properties inside and out. With the guidance of our Northern Region property care team, Messmer leads volunteers from the Garden Club of Wiscasset in carrying out a plan to restore the Nickels-Sortwell House garden to its 1937 appearance. “The Garden Club of Wiscasset has been tending to this garden for more than twenty-five years and everyone has a great spirit about the project,” Messmer says. “Working from the Landscape History Overview and historic photographs, the team has cultivated a greater understanding of the restoration process.” A second volunteer organization is also engaged in Wiscasset. A group of neighborhood volunteers known as the Friends of Castle Tucker, led by Historic New England member and Wiscasset resident Greg Shaw, began clearing growth along the property’s Sheepscot River shoreline last spring. This work supports Historic New England’s multiphase plan to restore the landscape at Castle Tucker to its early twentieth-century appearance, when Mollie and Jennie Tucker used their home’s grounds for income as well as recreation. In 2013 Historic New England forged a new partnership with the Massachusetts Master Gardener Association. The group comprises amateur and professional horticulturalists whose mission is to promote horticultural knowledge to the public through volunteerism. MMGA Master Gardeners become certified through an intensive training program held at the Massachusetts Horticultural Society. Three Wednesdays a month from May through October, Historic New England welcomes the Master Gardeners and trainees to work at three properties: the Lyman Estate in Waltham, the Codman Estate in Lincoln, and Cogswell’s Grant in Essex. Working side-by-side with Historic New England staff, the volunteers care for and learn about historic gardens and land-

scapes. Work includes seasonal tasks such as weeding the gardens and paths, dividing plants, planting new materials, and removing invasive species. Principal Master Gardener Elizabeth Pilcher has been volunteering at the Lyman Estate since 2013. “The place is an Eden,” she says. “Historic New England sites offer volunteer Master Gardeners so much opportunity to learn.” The Weeding Wednesday program welcomes not only skilled gardeners, but also anyone who is excited to get his or her hands dirty in support of Historic New England’s gardens, landscapes, and historic sites. —Melinda Huff Museum Operations Manager

How can you help? In addition to working in the landscape, volunteer opportunities at Historic New England vary from helping at public events, assisting with office work, and greeting visitors and staffing our gift shops, to working with collections staff in the Library and Archives or Haverhill facility. Some volunteers work a regularly scheduled day each week, others just a few times a year. Volunteers receive free admission to all Historic New England properties, a 20 percent discount on merchandise and Historic New England publications, and complimentary membership after one hundred hours worked. To learn more, view a list of our current volunteer opportunities, or get involved with next season’s Weeding Wednesdays, visit HistoricNewEngland.org or email Volunteer@HistoricNewEngland.org.

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Sharing Your

“ ” Twentieth-century Stories

I saw a recent article in The Boston Globe about Historic New England and have been poring over your website ever since. As a history buff, I thought I'd write to offer the items below to your collection… Would you like an electric knife (circa 1970s) to go with the Crock-Pot?… Your interest in same-sex marriage items hit home and we have some things you might be interested in.

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hese are just a few of the many responses we’ve received to media coverage of our twentieth- and twenty-first-century collecting efforts. Members began contacting us after we published “Collecting the Recent Past” (Fall 2014), in which Senior Curator of Collections Nancy Carlisle and Associate Curator Laura Johnson highlighted new acquisitions. They also mentioned several twentieth- and twenty-first-century items we were especially interested in, including memorabilia from a same-sex wedding and psychedelic 1960s apparel. Potential donors have contacted us about everything on our wish list­—except a twentieth-century lunchbox with the story of who owned it.

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The article intrigued not only our members, but also writers Patricia Harris and David Lyons, who featured our collecting efforts in their article for The Boston Globe. This led to even more conversations with readers who were delighted that Historic New England is interested in their stories. One new donor, Diane Madore, was on the baton squad at Salem (Massachusetts) High School from 1962 through 1966 and donated her baton, her bright red and white uniform—including the hat and boots in the original boxes— and a yearbook with pictures of her wearing the uniform. Steve Desroches donated a collection of clothing and knickknacks, including five Christmas stockings and a Santa hat that were used in his family from 1950 to 1980 as well as a 1962 miniature figurine of John F. Kennedy seated


in his rocking chair. He also donated a pair of high-heeled, silver glitter boots purchased at Lady Z’s Clothing, a now-closed drag queen store in Provincetown, Massachusetts, the oldest arts colony in the United States, known for its large LGBT community. Steve wore these at a variety of masquerades, costume and drag balls, parties, and parades. “To me,” he writes, “if any type of shoe were to represent Provincetown it would be a fabulous high-heeled shoe.” Christopher Dean and Corey Spence donated their wedding invitation, which was designed to look like a daguerreotype. They also included wedding photographs and a video of the service with songs sung by the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus. We want to extend our thanks to the many people who have contacted us to share their stories and offer their items. Once upon a time, collecting at a history museum often meant acquiring only the best examples of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century antiques. At Historic New England, we value the stories behind the items we collect as much as we do the items themselves. What better time to focus on the recent past than now, when donors can share first-hand the memories that accompany these important pieces of New England history? Now, if any of you has a great lunchbox you want to talk about…. —Susanna Crampton Public Relations Officer

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Treasures

from the Pacific A look inside the Phillips House Oceanic collection

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he exterior of Historic New England’s Phillips House looks like many of the notable homes on Chestnut Street in Salem, Massachusetts. The interior, however, holds some major surprises. Alongside the fine American furniture and Persian carpets one would expect are many remarkable examples of cultural objects from across the Pacific Islands. The Phillips House Oceanic collection had never been fully researched or catalogued. As an internship project for the museum studies master’s degree program at Harvard Extension School, I embarked on an exciting effort to catalogue the objects, confirm their original meanings and intent, determine who was involved in bringing the objects to Salem, and discover, if possible, why the family amassed the collection. The Phillips family had long connections to the Pacific, beginning with early involvement sailing the ocean as sea captains and shipowners in Salem’s nineteenth-century China Trade. Later, the family developed particular ties to Hawaii when Stephen Henry Phillips became the first Attorney General for the Kingdom of Hawaii under King Kamehameha V in 1866. His son, Stephen Willard Phillips, born in Hawaii in 1873 but residing in Salem most of his life, was devoted to actively collecting Oceanic objects and books. Although supported in his efforts by other members of his family, Stephen Willard is the key player in the story of how and why the collection was built. Phillips pursued Oceanic objects with a passion, hunting out important collections at auction and trying to find individual pieces for sale. Unlike many people with the collecting bug, he didn’t collect for himself or as an investment for future generations of his family. Instead, he worked passionately to establish a comprehensive collection of Oceanic objects and books on behalf of the Peabody Academy of Science, now part of the Peabody Essex Museum of Salem. The Peabody Essex Museum’s collection of Oceanic objects is one of the largest, oldest, and best documented in the world. Phillips helped the museum broaden its collection, fill in gaps, and venture into new Oceanic collecting areas. His knowledge of Pacific cultural objects and his integral involvement in building the museum’s collection earned him an ongoing appointment as the Peabody’s honorary curator of the Pacific collection. Why was Phillips so dedicated to building the Peabody’s collection? Although no direct archival sources were found to confirm this, it is fair to surmise that his Hawaiian birth, his documented love of Salem, and the pride he felt for his family history in that city were all factors. His passion also reflected his interest in the newly developing fields of ethnography and ethnology—the study of human cultures and societies. Phillips cultivated relationships with many of the leaders of the emerging field, including Dr. William T. Brigham of the Bishop Museum in Honolulu, Sir Peter Buck

Tetoanea or Tewinnarei (Shark-tooth sword) Kiribati (Gilbert Islands), 18th or 19th century Coconut wood, plant fiber, sharks’ teeth Swords edged with sharks’ teeth were part of an arsenal of weapons in a Kiribati warrior’s combat ensemble. Wielded in ritual but dangerous dueling, tribal war, and dispute settlements, swords like this one were used to inflict close-quarters injury. The use of sharks’ teeth transforms the weapon into more than just an effective cutting tool, as the power and deadliness of the shark is conferred on the weapon and warrior as well. There is blood residue on some of the teeth.

Hei Tiki (Human figure pendant) New Zealand (Aotearoa), 19th century Greenstone Worn by both men and women of the Maori people of New Zealand, hei tiki like this example are highly valued and are regarded as treasure (taonga) to be passed down from generation to generation. This hei tiki, or human figure pendant, has both eyes rimmed with paua shell, the head tilted to the right, and both hands resting on the thighs. The precise meaning of hei tiki is unclear, though there are many theories, including that they represent the mythical first ancestor, promote fertility, or represent creation in the form of a human embryo and/ or the act of childbirth. The fact that this example exists in the collection speaks to the erosion of traditional Maori practices that resulted from contact with seamen, missionaries, and settlers from Europe and America.

Umeke (Bowl) Hawaii, 19th–20th century Wood Umeke, or bowls of many shapes and sizes, are highly esteemed in Hawaiian society and frequently passed down as valued family heirlooms. Once used only by royalty and the elite, or ali'i class, umeke became more widely used after the abolition of kapu—the strict rules governing Hawaiian society—in 1819. The thick walls of the bowl are cracked and have been repaired using the traditional technique of inserting hourglass-shaped plugs. The cracks have also been coated with a glue-like substance on the interior bowl as part of the repair. This umeke could be quite old as it lacks the extreme shine of later examples, is unfinished on the inside surface, and has thick walls.

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(also known as Te Rangi Hīroa) of New Zealand, and Ernest S. Dodge of the Peabody Museum. Documentation in the Historic New England Library and Archives reveals that Phillips, in addition to purchasing Oceanic objects for the museum, occasionally kept pieces for himself. In some instances, he swapped objects he had already given to the museum for better examples purchased later. There is clear evidence that he even cut samples of the museum’s older pieces of kapa, or bark cloth, and kept them as ethnographic specimens—a common occurrence in the early twentieth century that seems shocking to today’s museum professional. Most of the Oceanic objects in the Phillips House are displayed as the family had them, scattered casually throughout various rooms, some prominently placed and some tucked away in drawers and cupboards. Much of the collection is now stored in Historic New England’s collections and conservation facility in Haverhill, Massachusetts. The collection includes examples of weapons, household items, items used for personal adornment, ceremonial objects, barkcloth and tools associated with making barkcloth, paddles, and early souvenirs. These objects come from many island groups, including Hawaii, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, New Zealand, the Marquesas, and the Cook Islands. Each of the objects contains many layers of meaning, from the mundane to the sacred. All speak to the artistry of their makers. Over the vast space and diverse islands of the Pacific, native artists created objects reflecting a perfect union between form, function, and material. The objects shown here are just a sampling of the extraordinary pieces in the Phillips House Oceanic collection. Please visit the house, open year-round, for an opportunity to see more Pacific treasures in a beautiful and intimate setting. —Susan Baker Leavitt Susan Baker Leavitt received her master’s degree in museum studies in March and is now a member of the exhibition team at the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University.

GO BEHIND THE SCENES Join us for a two-part, behind-the-scenes look at the Phillips Oceanic art collection on Saturday, November 14, at our Haverhill facility, and on Sunday, November 15, at the Phillips House in Salem. $40 for Historic New England members; $60 nonmembers. Registration is required. Please call 978744-0440 or purchase online at HistoricNewEngland.org.

Ceremonial paddle Austral Islands, 19th century Wood This elaborately carved wooden paddle from the Austral Islands is completely covered with incised geometric and circular shapes. There are stylized female figures carved on the pommel of the handle. After contact with the West brought disease and repressive missionary practices, the carvings’ original meanings and the purpose of the paddles were lost, but for a brief period they became highly sought-after trade items by Western mariners. Although generally referred to as a paddle because of its shape, it was never used as such and is strictly ceremonial in nature. Historians believe they were at some point associated with royal activities and were emblems of chiefly authority.

Kapa (Bark cloth) Hawaii, 19th century Plant fiber Kapa is the generic term applied to bark cloth from the Hawaiian Islands. Although made across the Pacific, Hawaiian kapa-making flourished in particular, with different kinds of cloth incorporating a variety of decorative elements. Kapa has many purposes, from clothing and bedding to ceremonial and sacred uses. The inner bark of the tree is peeled, scraped, soaked, and softened, then expanded into flat sheets through a process of beating and rubbing. Colors and decorative elements are added both during and after the beating or rubbing phase. Particularly in Hawaii, decoration is frequently painted or stamped onto the completed, thin sheet of kapa. Made exclusively by women, the design and decoration of kapa have changed and evolved since contact with Europeans. This long and thin fragment of early kapa was cut from a larger piece at some point, leaving an irregular shape.

Povai (Club) Tonga, 19–20th century Wood Tongan warriors carried clubs like this povai as a sign of their rank and status as well as for functional use in battles and skirmishes. This extraordinary example is not only covered with panels filled with incised geometric patterns, but on one end of the povai there appear carved guns, half moons, axes, spearheads, leaf shapes, a man standing with his arms akimbo, and a Western two-masted sailing ship. Tongan artists brilliantly incorporated what they saw in the world around them, using both traditional images and new emblems of contact with Westerners, like guns and ships.

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Fan Hawaii, 20th century Plant fiber Woven mats and containers were important components of every Hawaiian household. Although this whimsical souvenir “aloha” fan was made for the tourist trade, traditional Hawaiian weaving techniques were employed in its construction. Woven in classic check form, the bottom of the fan has wider strips than the top. Folding and twisting the leaves during weaving created the notched edge of the fan. Lighter and slightly darker colored leaves were used in the weaving, highlighting the pattern. There are diamond-shaped openings in two parallel rows running across the middle made by twisting and folding the leaf strips. The letters of “ALOHA” are formed by the insertion of small strips of a shiny brown material.

Lei Hulu (Feathered necklace) Hawaii, 19–20th century Feathers, silk ribbon, plant fiber Feathered leis are part of a larger family of Hawaiian featherwork objects, including capes, helmets, and kahili, or poles topped with feathers that were used to signify royal rank. Feathers, particularly yellow and red, were associated with the ali'i, or noble class. Women of high status were the primary owners of feather lei hulu, and wore them around their necks and heads. This example, one of three in the collection, may be one given to Admiral Hugh Rodman at King Kalakaua’s coronation in 1874. Although this lei hulu was made using traditional techniques, the addition of silk ribbon at either end exemplifies Hawaiian artists’ adoption of commercially produced material.

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Historic New England’s preservation easement on the c. 1792 Daniel Carr House in North Haverhill, New Hampshire, protects significant interior finishes, including wall murals painted by Rufus Porter in 1825. LEFT

Why Here? Why Now?

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uring a recent interview with a prospective employee, the candidate asked my colleagues and me to articulate why we had made the personal career choice to join Historic New England. I had arrived here only a few weeks earlier as the team leader for preservation services, following a diverse and successful career that spanned finance, business, preservation project development, and higher education. But my answer to the candidate was quite simple: it’s a calling. Any student or practitioner in heritage preservation and related disciplines knows the lineage, reputation, and standards of excellence Historic New England has stood for ever since its founding. The organization is the oldest, largest, and most comprehensive heritage organization in America; our staff are nationally recognized

leaders in the field. It is remarkable to me to have the opportunity to personally contribute to Historic New England’s reputation for scholarship and innovation and to the continuous development of best practices in heritage preservation and the interpretation of material culture. At the root of my decision to join Historic New England is the fact that the entire organization is committed to sharing our history, historic sites, and collective expertise with the public. One of our founding principles is to not only collect, document, and conserve our collective history, but also to use these buildings, objects, and archives in our care as textbooks. This holistic approach to communicating our history has proven to be a financially sustainable model as well, attracting the support of a growing number of members and donors. Advances in digital technologies enable

us to share our collections of historic architecture, objects, archives, and stories with more people than ever before, reaching far beyond our home communities. The combination of expertise, commitment, and dedication to excellence by all associated with our organization bodes well for future generations to understand how important a knowledge of our past is to shaping our future. I am proud to be on this team of dedicated professionals and consider this opportunity the capstone in my career: it’s a calling. —Robert W. Ogle Team Leader, Preservation Services

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Restarting

The Woolworth’s lunch counter in May 2014 shortly before the building was demolished. FACING PAGE Woolworth’s construction in 1949. INSET This 1968 postcard view of the corner of Merrimack Street and Route 125 was taken only one year before the Woolworth’s closed, leaving the building vacant for forty-five years. 16

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Courtesy of Michel vanRavestyn, Foto Factory.

the Heartbeat of Haverhill


Courtesy of the Trustees of the Haverhill Public Library, Special Collections Department.

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averhill, Massachusetts, is a quintessential American community in many ways. Once a

bustling industrial city on the Merrimack River, many of its landmarks are known around the world through Haverhill native Bob Montana’s long-running Archie comics. In a story played out across New England and the country, the mid-twentieth century saw the rise of the suburb and the decline of downtown. Unsuccessful urban renewal efforts led to the demolition of many iconic buildings during a time when economic progress was seen to be at odds with historic preservation. Historic New England recognizes the tough decisions communities face in trying to honor their past while stimulating economic growth. Our Everyone’s History initiative is an innovative approach to preserving twentieth-century history across the region through memory and imagery, helping communities use their pasts as beacons to make informed decisions about the future. In Haverhill, the partnership took the form of a documentary film, Woolworth’s: Remembering Haverhill’s Shopping District, produced in

conjunction with community leaders, developers, Haverhill residents, and cultural partners including the Buttonwoods Museum, Haverhill Community Television, and Haverhill Public Library’s Special Collections. The long vacant 1949 Art Deco Woolworth’s building, once the gateway to Haverhill’s downtown shopping district, served as a poignant reminder of an era long gone when Merrimack Street was, as former resident Hugh Johnson describes it, “the heartbeat of Haverhill.” The building was razed in March 2015 after sitting vacant for forty-five years to make way for a large-scale redevelopment project called Harbor Place that will include a multistory structure with office, retail, and restaurant space in addition to a satellite campus for the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Though the building is gone, memories of Woolworth’s and downtown remain. Mary Ellen Chatigny, longtime Haverhill public-school teacher, says, “Woolworth’s was the biggest dime store people had ever seen. It was huge…the lunch counter ran almost the whole length of the store. They had sodas, ice creams…sandwiches at the lunch counter, just like you see in old-time movies.” Suzanne Johnson, whose husband’s family owned Mitchell’s, one of Haverhill’s largest and longest operating department stores, recalls buying her first lipstick at Fall 2015 Historic New England

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Crowds wait to enter Elliott’s home store for a special event in 1954. CENTER Hundreds of people lined Merrimack Street LEFT

Woolworth’s. “I remember the day very clearly. In seventh grade, my best girlfriend and I walked downtown and both bought lipstick but we hid it and didn’t tell our mothers!” For Anita Purcell, former vice president of lending at Haverhill Bank, downtown was a one-stop shopping destination. “You could shop for food, you could shop for men’s clothes, women’s clothes,” she says. “We all got our lipstick or makeup down there. Everything was down there…we had furniture stores, drug stores… Everything downtown.” Downtown was the hub not only for commercial life in many New England towns but also for social life. It was a gathering place for the young and old alike. Jane Murphy recalls her high school days in the 1930s: “You’d meet everybody downtown. We’d go to the beach in the summer and we’d try and see who had the best tan. We’d go down Saturday night…on Merrimack Street and show it off!” Murphy, who attended prom with cartoonist Bob Montana, remembers after-school Cokes and French fries at places like Crown Confections, the Chocolate Shop (recast as The Chok’lit Shoppe in the Archie series), and Tuscarora’s. Kathleen Dacey, whose Haverhill home has been in the family since 1840, remembers her preferred hangout, the TicTock, being “so busy at some times, they’d be shoving people out, they’d make sure as soon as you took your last bite you were out the door.” 18

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during Haverhill’s 1940 Tercentenary parade. RIGHT Old City Hall, shown here during demolition in 1973, was one of many iconic

“My Haverhill involved a lot of the downtown because that was where everything took place,” Purcell says. “[It was] where we gathered in Washington Square at the end of World War II, where all parades were, that’s where, whenever we had a few dollars, [we’d] rush down and buy something.” The golden age of downtown began to fade in the late 1950s, in Haverhill as in many small cities and towns. The reason for the disappearance of New England’s downtowns is complex, but Dr. Robert Forrant, professor of history at UMass Lowell, “blame[s] the car.” The introduction of the interstate highway system allowed people to live farther away from their jobs downtown. And the GI Bill helped many veterans purchase their own homes in new suburban developments. “Over time, developers began to realize you could start to build retail away from downtown and near to suburbs,” says Forrant. You can meld these big changes together—cars, transportation, and home ownership juxtaposed with the growth of shopping malls.” As people’s lives became more oriented toward the suburbs, downtowns were abandoned and left vulnerable to the bulldozers of urban renewal efforts. Urban renewal was a way for cities to clear the increasingly empty retail spaces left by the rise of indoor shopping malls and strip malls in suburban areas in the hopes of attracting investors to build


Photographs courtesy of the Trustees of the Haverhill Public Library, Special Collections Department.

downtown buildings lost to Haverhill’s controversial twentiethcentury urban renewal efforts.

anew. “Sadly that [investment] did not happen in a lot of these communities,” Forrant says. But a renewed focus on downtown is emerging in Haverhill and in similar communities. The change is being driven, in part, by generational trends. Forrant cites research showing that millennials in their twenties and early thirties are often choosing to live in small urban areas rather than suburbs. “Increasingly they’re looking for places like Haverhill…with easy transportation links to jobs in Boston.” Haverhill resident Jean Gaiero echoes the hopes of many of her neighbors in that she is “very excited about the [Harbor Place] project….There’s a revived energy” along with a renewed interest in preserving and sharing Haverhill’s past—something that many felt was missing from earlier urban renewal plans. Ronald Trombley, managing director of the Greater Haverhill Foundation, says he applauds the Harbor Place development team’s desire to weave the history of downtown Haverhill into the fabric of the new multiuse complex. Historic New England is proud to be leading the region in saving and sharing our recent past through recording the first-hand memories of those who lived it.

E V E R Y O N E ’ S H I S T O R Y D O C U M E N T A RY SERI ES

Woolworth’s: Remembering Haverhill’s Shopping District premiered in September at the Buttonwoods Museum in conjunction with its exhibition Going Downtown: Haverhill at Mid-century. View it online, along with other stories of life in New England from the twentieth century and beyond, at YouTube.com/HistoricNewEngland. View more short films about life in New England in our Everyone’s History Documentary Series.

Haymarket: the Soul of the City (2015) and The Haymarket Project (2013–14) Back to School: Lessons from Norwich’s One-Room Schoolhouses (2015)

Connecting the Threads: Overalls to Art at the H. W. Carter and Sons Factory (2013)

At the River’s Edge: An Oral History of Berlin, New Hampshire (2010)

——Sarah Sycz Jaworski Community Engagement Assistant Fall 2015 Historic New England

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Collaboration, Experimentation, and Life Lessons

A Hike through South Berwick History

On a sunny May morning in South Berwick, Maine, hundreds of students from local elementary and middle schools gathered in the center of town to participate in what has become a beloved community tradition.

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his year marks the twenty-first Hike through History, an innovative, student-led public history program in which middle school students research and share town history with students in first, second, and third grades. Historic New England has participated in the Hike since its inception, partnering with the schools and the Old Berwick Historical Society to host and provide resources for student presenters. This year the theme was childhood, and four of the stops were at the Sarah Orne Jewett House Museum and Visitor Center. Though a small and committed group of Marshwood School District staff work on schedules and logistics throughout the spring, Hike through History activities and presentations are researched, written, and performed by eighth-grade students and a select group of third-grade assistants. The students are told where they will be stationed and what story they are charged with interpreting, but it’s up to them to decide how to present their topics. During a break in the activities, I spoke with eighth graders Alicia, Lauren, Caylie, and Colin about their experiences. It was clear from their excitement that all four took the responsibility to share the history of their town with younger students very seriously. All enthusiastically agreed that the program made historical research more fun and memorable than traditional assignments. “I learn best by physically doing something, like hands-on activities,” Lauren says. “So this was very helpful—basically all the information will be locked in my head now.” During the research and presentation of their topics, students are confronted with a wide range of challenging situations to which they must adapt quickly and gracefully, all while keeping their presentations fun and historically accurate. Alicia, Lauren, Colin, and Caylie all recognized their work during Hike through History was valuable for far more than the historical knowledge they gained. The hike was an exercise in working collaboratively and remaining cool under pressure.

Caylie’s group told the story of Jewett’s childhood. “Our information was good; our skit was good. We thought we knew what we were doing,” Caylie recalls, “and then we found out that the space was going to be different [than we expected]. We changed our script four or five times and it wasn’t finished the day the third graders came [to rehearse]. So, instead, our third graders only got their scripts today. I am so proud of them…two performances in and they already had their lines memorized!” Colin agreed with the need to persevere. “Our experience was very similar to that,” he says. “At first we didn’t feel very confident, but as soon as the hikers started arriving I was like, ‘OK, we just have to do this.’ I personally was having some trouble with my lines before today and when the students showed up, I thought I’m just going to have to suck it up and do it—and it worked.” “Being able to teach the little kids gives us life lessons that we’ll need to know as we grow up,” Lauren added. “We had to learn how to teach a kid something, how to adapt, because things can go wrong and you just have to work with it.” Long after the excitement of the day has faded, these students will carry with them a richer and more complex understanding of their hometown. As they begin their high school careers they have already learned to look beyond textbook facts and to use

primary sources and historic sites to explore the lived experience of the people who called this place home before them. “I feel like before I only had a small picture in my mind of what it was like. [Imagining Jewett as a child attending Miss Raynes’s school across the street] I just saw a square room with a teacher in front. I just didn’t know what it was like,” Alicia says. “But then actually getting out here and doing the chores and the lesson… it’s completely different and gives you a whole new perspective of what it was actually like [in the 1850s and ’60s].” Caylie passionately agrees: “This is a house with so much history behind it—I mean, I am playing Sarah Orne Jewett in my skit and being able to be her, being in her garden and teaching the little kids about her life—it’s incredible because it puts you in that space. It really does make you look differently at what you might have thought was just a white house on the side of the road.” —Jessica Graham Education Program Coordinator, Maine, School and Youth Programs

Eighth-graders Lauren, Alicia, Caylie, and Colin. BELOW Colin’s group performs a scene from Sarah Orne Jewett’s short story “Katy’s Birthday.” FACING PAGE, LEFT TO RIGHT

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A Life Committed to Collecting

Photography by Olivia Gatti

Over the past forty years, Maine landscape architect Deane Van Dusen has quietly and thoughtfully assembled one of the country’s most important collections of Maine folk art. He shares how an unexpected teenage encounter with eighteenth-century antiques sparked a lifelong passion for collecting and connoisseurship.

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Formative Years It was the spring of 1971. My family had moved to Harvard, Massachusetts, from Raymond, Maine, and we were setting down roots in this small agricultural town. As I was returning home from junior high school with my brothers, my mother greeted us at the door: the family who had moved into the old Dr. Brown house down the road needed a babysitter that night. My older brothers quickly claimed unavailability and I reluctantly agreed to the job. That evening I arrived at the center-chimney Georgian colonial and met the new owners. Their three daughters showed me around the rest of the house and immediately I was taken with the antiquarian surroundings. Each period room had fielded paneling painted in colonial hues and was filled with antique country furniture and accessories. Wow—this was eighteenth-century living and I loved it! That evening the television stayed off while I explored the material culture of early New England. When the owners returned I mentioned how I admired their décor. The mother took a shine to me and offered to take me antiquing and to a Skinner auction preview in a neighboring town. The antique bug had bitten and I was off on a lifelong journey. During junior high and high school, I purchased $10 ladderback chairs, $15 taper leg stands, and whatever I could find that was old and cheap. I earned money by mowing lawns and I learned to haggle with dealers. Most gave me good deals; I was their youngest client and I think they felt sorry for me. I worked for a couple of older women who had wonderful antique collections. They were generous with their knowledge and actively showed me how to read furniture, diagnose damaged and repaired china, identify handmade textiles with natural dyes, and distinguish good, better, and best. I remember one visit where we crawled under a Queen Anne table to look at the jack plane marks and be sure that the width and depth match on all sections to determine originality. On another occasion, we pulled all the drawers out of a highboy and compared dovetails. Another job was working as a tour guide at Fruitlands Museum in Harvard, Massachusetts, where I learned about folk portraits, Shaker furniture, period furnishings, and room settings. All of these experiences helped me begin to understand and identify pre-industrial handmade objects, decide what I liked, make judgments about quality, and recognize the variety of material that was made during this period in American history. Beginning the Collection In 1979 I graduated from college with a degree in landscape architecture, but continued to pursue my love of antiques. My focus was on understanding American furniture styles and buying pieces from a variety of periods. I was doing some “picking” for local dealers and buying and selling to make a

small profit, putting away some Queen Anne pieces for my own enjoyment. The landmark Roger Bacon sale in 1982 changed everything for me. Bacon was a legendary dealer and collector of early New England artifacts, and his estate sale was a watershed event. His influence had set the tone for a generation of collectors, curators, dealers, and pickers. I was twenty-four at the time of the sale and had recently been introduced to former Winterthur Museum Director Charles Montgomery’s “fourteen points of connoisseurship.” This step-by-step system for educating the eye and appraising the quality of an object made the process of authenticating a piece logical. Armed with this new understanding, after the three-day Bacon sale, I decided that early material was nearly impossible to find unaltered. Surfaces were repainted and prices for all-original pieces were through the roof. How was I going to afford to build a collection of early New England material and furnish a place like the Dr. Brown house? I turned my attention to material, specifically folk art, made during the first two quarters of the nineteenth century. Here I could find unaltered pieces with their original surfaces, which were usually paint-grained, very colorful, and more affordable. As a Maine native with a deep affection for the state, I decided to dedicate my collecting primarily to Mainemade objects. This discovery of folk art revealed objects that were fun to decorate with and live with and gave my collection a unique personality. I quickly built a library of reference books and auction catalogues that I spent endless hours studying. My collecting hobby was becoming more and more of an obsession and I was having the time of my life. Focus on Folk Art I moved back to Maine in 1988, where I’ve been employed by the state ever since. It was still years before I would purchase the ultimate “keeper” a historic home, but I already knew it would be a late-eighteenth-century, center-chimney Cape somewhere in Maine. My strategic planning for the collection was built around scaled floor plans I had drawn with specific core furniture laid out. Collecting was slow to start given financial limitations, but I was committed to purchasing two exceptional pieces a year that would stand on their own. I started off, like

A c. 1850 cobbler trade sign from Rome, New York, hangs in the kitchen. A late nineteenth-century felt penny rug is surrounded by Worcester County, Massachusetts, thumb-back Windsor chairs. Deane Van Dusen leans on a nineteenth-century New England rocker with an unusual applied etching of a stereo view. Late-nineteenth-century hooked rugs made by Lucy Haskell of Sweden, Maine, exemplify the importance of color and texture in the collection. CLOCKWISE FROM UPPER LEFT

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many collectors, purchasing furniture. Surface, condition, and originality were paramount. Finishes had to be strong to vibrant, ideally with outstanding and unusual early- to mid-nineteenth-century paint decoration. Form, I quickly realized, characterized a work of art more than any other attribute. I have always gravitated to the unusual with a preference for one-of-a-kind quirkiness. Materials and craft techniques always play a primary role in authentication. Provenance, or history of ownership, was certainly of interest but I considered it supporting rather than primary data for evaluation. Scale was important as it had to fit my floor plan. Any new addition to the collection had to fill a void. Over the years I have gone through many phases of collecting. Furniture dominated for about a decade until I realized I needed items for cupboards, tabletops, blanket chests, and floors. Textiles were next on my collecting agenda and included colorful hooked rugs, American-made Venetian striped carpets, and rag rugs. Next were treenware (small, functional wooden objects), New England redware, and paint decorated boxes. I am still fascinated by the range of decoration used on boxes during the first half of the nineteenth century. Folk carvings such as decoys, maritime subjects, and trade signs are included in the collection as well as a choice selection of Maine folk portraits, schoolgirl needlework, and family records. Oh, and by the way, I did finally purchase the perfect house in 1999 at the age of forty-two after restoring a couple of lesser period structures. As planned, all the furniture and accessories fit perfectly! Current Interests and Efforts After more than forty years of dedicated collecting, I am still pursuing a few things. I am always open to upgrading and 24

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really enjoy evaluating what a potential new acquisition will add to the collection. Recently, my focus has been on education and outreach. This includes giving tours of the house to groups like the American Folk Art Society, Decorative Arts Trust, and historical societies. Also, I am pleased to make loans to museum exhibitions fostering public education. I am working on building relationships with local colleges and opening my home to students of the arts. I have been a member of the American Folk Art Society since 2007, which has given me lasting friendships with fellow collectors and exposed me to wonderful private collections and museum archives. My advice to budding collectors is to not buy right away. Instead, study reference books, go to museums and auction previews, and get to know what you like. Auctions are a great opportunity to handle a cross section of period material, to inspect and learn. Don’t be shy—ask lots of questions and make new friends. Spend your time looking, looking, and looking some more…and remember what you have seen. ——Deane Van Dusen

Nineteenth- and twentieth-century pincushions complement the top of an early nineteenth-century paint decorated Farmington, Maine, sewing stand. An important family record from Buxton, Maine, of itinerant portrait painter Royall Brewster Smith’s family, is signed “By R. B. Smith, April 1830.” A young lady from Maine, signed by deaf itinerant artist John Brewster Jr. and dated May 20, 1814, watches over the eighteenthcentury treenware filling adjacent shelves. LEFT TO RIGHT


GIVE A GIF T OF

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Tufts University dorm room, c. 1909, Mary H. Northend.

We’re making it even easier to introduce full-time students to all that Historic New England has to offer. • Unlimited free admission to all of our historic sites, including the Library and Archives • Free, members-only programs and events, plus discounted admission and advance registration for public programs • 10% discount on museum shop and online purchases • Members-only publications including Historic New England magazine and our quarterly events calendar Join or give a gift membership today. Visit HistoricNewEngland.org or call our membership office at 617-994-5910. Proof of full-time enrollment required when activating or renewing a student membership.


Cultivating Community at the Eustis Estate

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rookwood Community Farm (BCF) was founded in 2006 with a simple premise: to bring underutilized farmland back into production and to help our neighbors in need. Our beginnings were humble. We had a one-year trial lease at Brookwood Farm in Canton, Massachusetts (on land that had been in agricultural production from the 1700s until the 1970s), eight members who committed themselves to our mission, and a great deal of hope. With food security central to its mission, BCF was one of the co-founders of a vibrant farmers’ market in the neighboring, low-income Boston neighborhood of Mattapan, a community with little access to fresh food at that time. When production took off, we began to build strong relationships with a number of food pantries and shelters to feed more food-insecure families.

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We currently help serve six area food pantries and donate close to 15 percent of our produce to the community. Reinvigorating the Greater Boston area with agricultural production can help preserve the environmental quality of the land and improve access to the fresh foods needed for a healthy life. With community support, the farm has flourished. Brookwood Community Farm is committed to sustainable farming and all crops are grown using organic practices that promote a healthy soil and balanced ecosystem to maintain populations of “good bugs,” soil microorganisms, and disease-fighting mechanisms in the field. We manage our soil to grow nutritious, healthy, vigorous, delicious food without the use of synthetic chemicals. Our fields are safe for visitors to explore and learn more about where their food comes from.

Over time, we expanded our acreage at Brookwood and at the Bradley Estate, also in Canton, but we looked to our neighbors to help us find more farmland. In 2011 our co-founder Mark Smith met with Frederic Eustis to discuss the possibility of bringing farming back to his family’s estate in nearby Milton. Mr. Eustis was excited about the opportunity to put the land to use again and BCF began farming on 3.5 acres of the estate soon after. The relationship that we began with the Eustises, and that we are thrilled will continue with Historic New England, allows us to more than double the amount of food we produce. —Susan DeMinico Executive Director, Brookwood Community Farm

Historic New England leases land on the Eustis Estate to Brookwood Community Farm. Cassandra Pastorelle, center, was a farm apprentice in 2014.


The Lyman copper beech, with its deep purple spring foliage, was only twelve inches in diameter when it was planted in 1933.

Best Practices Take Root at

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he magnificent copper beech trees that once adorned the Lyman Estate landscape were among the first of their species to be imported from Europe in the 1820s. Today, a century-old descendant of those original trees shades the Camellia House at the Lyman Estate Greenhouses in Waltham, Massachusetts. With proper care, a copper beech tree can live for 150 years. The Lyman copper beech is prized as an excellent specimen, displaying all of the hallmarks that made European beech trees much sought after in nineteenthcentury landscape design. Accordingly, our beech is tended to with the same care we apply to our historic properties and collections. It is pruned on a five-year cycle and treated for bleeding canker, a disease potentially lethal to mature European beech trees, and for

winter moths, whose caterpillars can decimate foliage in the tree’s canopy. Arbor care is a critical part of our commitment to excellence in stewarding and preserving our more than 1,300 acres of historic landscapes, ornamental gardens, lawns, fields, and woods. We follow a five-part program in caring for our trees, which includes regular pruning to remove dead and rotted limbs; treatments for disease and pests; removal of trees when age, sickness, or damage warrant; replacement in-kind with descendant stock when available; and emergency response in case of weather-based damage. In all of our work, we take a careful and thoughtful approach, in keeping with our nationally respected preservation philosophy. We practice sustainable landscaping methods and refrain from the use of inorganic pesticides and fertilizers.

Our proactive arbor care program not only identifies potential threats to the trees themselves, but also serves to protect our historic buildings from the danger of fallen trees and tree limbs. In the summer of 2014, a microburst hit the Lyman Estate and brought down nine trees. Because of regular maintenance and pruning of the trees, damage to the surrounding buildings was minimal. Without our arbor care program in place, the impact of the storm could have been much worse. Historic New England’s arbor care program costs an average of $45,000 per year. Help us preserve our historic trees by making a gift to the Preservation Maintenance Fund online at HistoricNewEngland.org/PMF or using the enclosed envelope. For more information on preserving and maintaining your historic trees, visit our collection of white papers on arbor care at HistoricNewEngland.org/ preservation. —Janet K. Zwolinski, Senior Manager of Development, with Anthony DeAngelis, Supervising Landscape Manager

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Dr. Place sent a record of his initial expenses to the Codmans as well as a snapshot in which he posed wearing his Volunteer American Motor Ambulance Corps uniform. BELOW The American Fund for French Wounded provided medical supplies needed in France. LEFT

A Wartime Education

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arly 1916: the First World War had been raging in Europe for a year and a half. While the United States remained officially neutral, many New England families, including the Codmans of Lincoln, Massachusetts, were not. As ardent Francophiles, the Codmans were deeply affected by the war, and they gave time and money to war charities. Then, in February 1916, their former chauffeur, Dr. Philip Place, gave them an opportunity to send a very personal form of support to France. Place met the Codmans in 1907 when he was twenty-four. A student at Tufts Medical School, he drove for the family to earn tuition money. Sarah Codman found him “a very respectable young man…he isn’t handsome, and such a twang!!” Taking him to be outfitted for his uniform, she believed he was the first polite chauffeur ever seen in the chauffeurs’ clothing department at Jordan Marsh. As a sign of their esteem, the Codmans invited Place to sleep in their home, unlike their previous chauffeurs, who boarded near the Lincoln train station. After he graduated, Place continued to drive for the family when he was between medical residencies. In late 1915 he told the Codmans about Richard Norton’s Volunteer American Motor Ambulance Corps. Norton, an archaeologist and son of Harvard professor Charles Eliot Norton, organized his ambulance company shortly after war was declared. By 1916 it was attached to the French army. Calls for volunteers, including one written by Henry James, targeted “university men.” Volunteers had to pay their own expenses, including buying a uniform and all necessary supplies, as well as $50 monthly dues.

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Place was, Sarah wrote to her son Ogden Jr., “terribly anxious to go.” As a doctor, chauffeur, and mechanic, he was a natural fit for the work of an ambulance driver, but the cost was a hurdle for him. “I said I would pay his expenses,” Sarah told Ogden Jr. “He is just the person to go & to be very useful there…I feel now as if I was really doing something to help.” To finance Place, Sarah used a $500 Christmas present from her sister. Place sailed in late February 1916. By midMarch he was at the front, transporting wounded soldiers from the battlefield. Almost immediately, he witnessed German planes dropping bombs and shrapnel; by May, he had experienced a gas attack. Tom Codman, Sarah’s son, corresponded with Place and was keen that he share his observations about the war, a task Place found difficult. “You asked in one of your letters for my impressions,” he wrote to Tom. “One is constantly getting them but just how they are crystalizing I don’t know. I suppose I am not analytical enough to know just what is taking place in my own case.” Unlike other volunteer ambulance services, Norton Corps drivers operated with two men per vehicle. Place thought this

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rule “a very wise thing.” A driver alone might suffer an attack of nerves, but those who were scared often “could work with someone to steady them.” Place’s partner was twenty-sixyear-old Marcellus Edward Wild of Rochester, New York. Together they ran a Hudson car converted into an ambulance. Place and Wild were stationed at Verdun, the site of a ten-month battle that lasted for most of 1916, resulting in more than 300,000 French casualties. Heading toward the front, Place wrote, “It makes me a little sad when I think of the soldiers, for some will not come back with us. It gets to be more of a personal thing when you have made friends with many men in the ranks who you may greet, almost daily.” Wild, a former scout master, earned a stellar war record. While an ambulance driver, he was recognized by the French for his exceptional devotion to duty. In 1917 he joined the French Air Service as a member of the Lafayette Flying Corps, and was awarded the Croix de Guerre. Twenty years after the war, in 1938, Wild committed suicide. His relatives believed that he suffered from shell shock, a condition first identified during World War I that shares symptoms with today’s post-traumatic stress disorder.


Tom Codman, far left, at work at the American Fund for French Wounded headquarters in Boston. CENTER Place, left, and fellow volunteers en route to France on the Lafayette in February 1916. BELOW Place and a friend dressed as “L’Oncle Sam et un Bretagne” pose at the ambulance corps camp. LEFT

Although under extreme conditions, Place tried to make the most of his experience in France. “Some of our volunteers play cards…or sleep during the day when there is nothing to do,” he wrote Tom, “but I am reluctant to waste a single minute in a similar way and one can usually find me walking around looking at the country, or talking to soldiers or the natives…. One of the finest things about our stay in France is that one can actually live with the French people.” Charlie Thorndike, a Codman family friend and ambulance volunteer, befriended Place. On leave together, Thorndike showed Place bohemian Paris, including taking coffee at Le Lapin Agile in Montmartre, where Place saw real Parisian “long haired poets and artists.” In December, after serving an additional three months beyond his initial tour, Place decided to return home. Thanking the Codmans for their sponsorship, he explained his decision. “When I leave France I shall do so with sadness and with regrets for deserting, in a sense, the French before the war is finished. If my future were assured, I would not leave until the war was finished. Unfortunately such is not

the case and I have already reached an age, (I shall be 34 in a few days) which many of my friends fear is so advanced that I will never settle down and amount to anything at all!” Place returned to France in 1917 as a captain in the United States Army Medical Corps, serving in an ambulance company attached to the Second Division. After the war, he married and settled in Lincoln. He continued his relationship with the Codmans, often working on the estate. When Place died in 1955, he was buried in his hometown, Francestown, New Hampshire. His small headstone has room for very little detail, but it does include his war service, a reflection of its importance in his life. As he wrote Tom Codman in 1916, “Your good mother has given me an opportunity which has been an education in itself.” —Camille Arbogast Camille Arbogast is a historian currently researching the Codman family.

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Octagonal lead weight, Wentworth-Gardner House, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, c. 1760. The plain-laid cord may be original and contrasts with later braided sash cords. RIGHT Rectangular lead weight, Sparhawk Hall, Kittery Point, Maine, c. 1742. The wooden sheave turns on a hand-forged nail. LEFT

Pulleys, Weights, and

Window Sashes

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indows are architectural details that are easy to take for granted in modern homes, but the familiar double-hung or counterbalanced sash window uses technology that took more than a century to make its way from wealthy English homes into common usage throughout New England. Many older New England houses, even those built well into the nineteenth century, have window sashes that were held open with a stick, a swiveling wooden catch in the window jamb, or one of many patented window “springs.� But in the early eighteenth century, a few New England houses began to be constructed with wooden window sashes counterbalanced by metal weights attached to cords that pass up and over pulleys. These weights descend unseen in pockets in the wall and make it possible to raise or lower the sash with little effort, or to leave it open at any height without a prop. How early were sash weights used in New England? Sliding wooden sashes holding rectangular panes of glass arrived, first in Boston, around 1700, having been introduced in the grander houses of England during the 1670s. These began to replace the hinged casement windows that had been universal in seventeenth-century New England homes. The idea of counterbalancing window sashes with weights appears to have arrived in New England almost as soon as sliding sashes were first introduced here. The reason that so few examples survive, or that there are so few references to sash weights, seems to be that counterbalanced windows were restricted to the homes of the very wealthy or to large public buildings. Many of those buildings have been lost; among the survivors, the original windows have often been replaced. One of the earliest documented uses of counterweighted windows occurred in the 1716 Macpheadris-Warner House in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Construction of the house is documented through a detailed bill that was rendered by John Drew, the builder. Drew was an immigrant from Deptford, a London neighborhood near the Royal Dockyards, and would

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Historic New England Fall 2015


with later editions), includes a list that gives prices for singleand double-hung sashes with both lead and iron weights. Window weights are mentioned in several of the American carpenters’ price books published at the end of the eighteenth century, including The Rules of Work of the Carpenter’s Company of the City and County of Philadelphia (1786). This book also includes an engraving that shows cross sections of two window casings “boxed for weights” with wood strips to keep the weights apart and prevent them from jamming or tangling. The Rules of Work of the Carpenters, in the Town of Boston (1800) lists a price for “Hanging double sashes with 4 laths and 4 weights per window.” The “laths” would have been wooden strips placed between adjacent weights to separate them. The Housewrights’ Rules of Work for the Town of Portland (1805) gives prices for several types of window frames, saying “if boxed for weights, add per frame” 35 cents. By 1806 Asher Benjamin illustrated the use of weights in the first and subsequent editions of The American Builder’s Companion, indicating weights that were Courtesy of the Warner House Association circular in cross section, possibly representing castiron weights of the more modern have been completely familiar with British building traditions type. The widespread use of Benand resources in the early 1700s. jamin’s pattern books across New Drew’s bill includes “776 Sq: of Sashes” (enumerating England ensured that by the early the total number of openings for glass) and “42 window nineteenth century, the technology of frames.” Drew further itemizes “casting 700 of sash leads,” the counterbalanced sash was known apparently meaning 700 pounds of lead sash weights. to the everyday housewright and on Another house known to have had counterweighted its way to ubiquity. windows was Sparhawk Hall (c. 1742) at Kittery Point, Maine, part of the greater Piscataqua architectural tradition —James L. Garvin and probably the work of joiners who had been associated James L. Garvin is a curator and with John Drew. This house was gradually stripped of its historian who served as the State interiors in the twentieth century and became derelict, but Architectural Historian of New at least two lead window weights were salvaged from the Hampshire for twenty-four years. building before it was destroyed. These weights are unusual in having wooden sheaves at their tops, held by hand-forged rose-headed nails that are clinched. The facade of the 1760 Wentworth-Gardner House in Portsmouth was opened to the frame for structural repairs UPPER LEFT A view of the Georgianin 1989. The wall cavities were found to contain broken style Macpheadris-Warner House wooden sheaves or pulleys (which had been replaced over in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, time by cast-iron pulleys) and a half-dozen cast-lead weights 1716–18. INSET Detail of a contemthat had dropped within the walls when their cords broke. porary copy of John Drew’s bill Rare in New England during most of the eighteenth cento Archibald Macpheadris, c. 1718. tury, counterweighted sashes became more common with the RIGHT Rectangular lead weight, Macapproach of the nineteenth century. At least one British book pheadris-Warner House, c. 1716. that was popular in America, Pain’s British Palladio (1786, Fall 2015 Historic New England

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A C Q U I S I T I O N S

Gragg’s Wondrous Failure

E

arly nineteenth-century chair maker Samuel Gragg’s reputation is due entirely to one creation: his patented Elastic Chair. Virtually every significant collection of American decorative arts has one. However, as timelessly wondrous as this chair is, it was a business failure. Gragg threw himself into designing, patenting, and producing what he usually referred to as his “Patent” chair and did everything he could to make the project a success—to no avail. Longtime Yale University Art Gallery curator Patricia Kane published the seminal essay

on Gragg in 1971. Since then the story has unfolded in three chapters: a 2003 exhibition at Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library included Gragg’s personal copy of his patent; a major trove of his personal and business records was discovered in the unlikely location of the Arkansas state archives; and a cache of personal papers recently acquired by Historic New England has added critical new information. These papers include reference to the dissolution of Gragg’s business partnership just prior to the launch of the Elastic Chair, confirmation of prominent Boston painter John Penniman’s intimate in-

volvement with the origin of the chair, and a document demonstrating that Gragg shipped his chairs as far as Sierra Leone in an effort to establish markets. Gragg sold the rights to a New York chair maker only a few short years after the Elastic Chair’s inception. —Michael S. Podmaniczky Craftsman and conservator Mike Podmaniczky can be found at mikepod.org. Our Gragg papers include a receipt showing that artist John Penniman painted what are currently interpreted to be a scale model and a showroom sample of the Elastic Chair.

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Historic New England Fall 2015  

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