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Historic NEW ENGLAND

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From the president

Historic N E W E NG L A N D Spring 2012 Vol. 12, No. 3

Jack Hagan

Years ago, we surveyed people about what the term history meant to them. The prevailing answer remains in my mind twentyfive years later because it was remarkably concise—“history is everything before me.” This simple statement confirms my own sense that we need to connect any discussion of history to our visitors’ own experiences. Their lives provide them with the reference points for understanding the past. Where the Vietnam War may have been experienced by some of them, for others, it is just textbook history. The election of John Kennedy as president was a pivotal moment for some generations; the election of Barack Obama is the memorable point of change for others. History may be “before me” to all, but the march of history is inexorable, and thus the need to collect, study, and interpret does not stop anywhere short of the present. This issue encapsulates Historic New England’s commitment to telling the many and diverse stories of New England life of all periods, from an abolitionist quilt of the Civil War era to twentieth-century architectural archives, from early nineteenth-century silhouettes to the preservation of Modernist houses. It is all history to someone, and knowing about it enriches our lives.

Tad Stahl’s Urbanism 16

Shades of Truth 26 1

Looking F O rwar d

Considering the Future of Preservation 2

Object Lesson

Comfort for a Cause Stewar d ship 4

Protecting Two Modern Houses On view

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Fancy Footwork

—Carl R. Nold President and CEO

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1 0 0 Year s, 1 0 0 C ommunities

Tourism in the Age of Segregation ed ucation coor d inator 14

A Day in the Life

S erving the R eg ion

Focus on Rhode Island

Historic New England 141 Cambridge Street Boston MA 02114-2702 617-227-3956

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P ort f o lio 2 2

Inventing a Career Making Fun o f History

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Stereoscopes and Stereo Views

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

Positive-cut silhouette of William Henry Harrison by William H. Brown, pasted onto Kellogg lithographed background.

cover

P r eservation

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Structural Issues in Old Buidlings per spective

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From an English Point of View acquisitions

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A Suburban Ideal

Except where noted, all historic photographs and ephemera are from Historic New England’s Library and Archives.

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l o o k i n g

f o r w a r d

Papers presented

Mark Walker. Courtesy Cape Cod Modern House Trust

Postwar Neighborhoods Caitlin Corkins argues that postWorld War II neighborhoods should be assessed primarily for their planning significance, not whether they still retain original materials. Image below right. “Rusty,” the Steel House Douglas Royalty discusses the preservation of a 1933 prefabricated house manufactured by General Houses, Inc., in Connecticut. Image below left. Modern Seashore Kaity Ryan considers the many factors that went into the unique setting and ethos of Cape Cod’s Modern summer houses and their preservation. Image at left.

Considering the Future of Preservation

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hat’s a good way for a hundred-year-old heritage organization to think about preservation at the start of its second century? Ask some young preservationists what they think the region’s priorities should be in the years ahead. Last October, Historic New England hosted a day-long symposium, Looking Forward: Preservation in New England in the Twenty-first Century, to showcase young preservation professionals and their ideas about future directions. Cosponsored by Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island, the event brought together more than 120 preservationists to hear keynote speaker, Dr. Ned Kaufman, and nine students and recent graduates of preservation programs from Boston University, Columbia University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Vermont. Asked “What place will New England be?” the next generation of preservationists presented case histories and novel solutions to challenges they anticipate the field will face in the future. We invite you to read their papers online at HistoricNewEngland.org/lookingforward.

The Beacon Hill Historic District George Born explores the genesis of Boston’s Beacon Hill Historic District, the first historic district in Massachusetts, and its lessons for today’s preservationists. Preservation Planning for the Recent Past Kristin Hagar proposes using Geographic Information Systems (GPS) and user interviews to target Modern buildings for preservation. Invoking Memory in the Reuse of Campus Buildings Neela Wickremesinghe discusses the adaptive reuse of the Smith College Alumnae Gym and how historic use can enrich the interpretation of gendered spaces. Mobile Information Technology and the Preservationist Elizabeth Sherva and Barbara Kurze examine the potential of mobile information technology to engage heritage tourism and assist preservation planning. Brick and Concrete in Twentiethcentury Boston Mary Nastasi looks at the modern use of brick and concrete in Boston’s downtown buildings as expressions of the city’s development.

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o b j e c t

less o n

Comfort for a Cause

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his quilt represents growing antislavery sentiment in New England in the years leading up to the Civil War. It was one of the treasures of the 1836 Anti-Slavery Fair, the third annual fair organized by the Boston Female AntiSlavery Society. Anti-Slavery Fairs helped raise awareness of the abolitionist cause and eventually became astonishingly successful fund raisers. The organizers of the third fair, where this quilt was sold, boasted that they had brought in over $500. In 1854, Boston’s Anti-Slavery Fair brought in more than $5,000. The Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society, founded early in the 1830s, was made up of black and white women, some well-to-do, others middle class. Congregationalists, Unitarians, Baptists, and Quakers worked side by side to advance their cause. Many had little experience as activists, while others had worked for social welfare improvements through their churches. The goal of the society was uncompromising, calling in its constitution to work for “immediate emancipation.” The society brought in speakers and circulated pamphlets that were sent to Congress condemning legislation that supported slavery. Society funds paid for the establishment of a primary school for young black girls and helped found an asylum for black orphans. In addition to its success at rallying support for abolition, the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society had the unintended effect of radically changing the lives of its members. Before joining, many of the women’s lives had centered on home and family. In the early years, society members met in sewing circles, innocuous gatherings that many had attended for years, as had their mothers and their mothers’ mothers before them. Yet while making articles to sell at the annual fairs, they were also learning to articulate their beliefs among like-minded women. In time, some were going on speak-

ing engagements around the state and across the country. As the society grew, its members became adept at running a complex and financially successful bazaar and managing the finances of a large charitable organization. They corresponded with leading abolitionists all over the world, wrote articles for publication, and became involved in legal battles and national legislation. Not surprisingly, the members of the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society were the targets of vitriolic attacks, for theirs was a subversive agenda that cut at the very underpinnings of the national and local economy.

Opponents reviled their message and denounced the women, suggesting they would do better to attend to their household affairs. These accusations did not sit well with women who believed they were fighting for the most important cause in their country’s history. Instead of taking their detractors’ advice and returning to lives centered on domesticity, they began to question conventional assumptions about the role of women in America. There can be no doubt that women’s involvement in abolitionism laid the foundation for the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848, traditionally viewed as the birthplace of the women’s rights movement. Many male abolitionists, William

Lloyd Garrison and Frederic Douglass among them, clearly saw the connection between the fight for the freedom of slaves and the fight for women’s rights. Francis Jackson was another. Jackson served as president of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society and as vice-president of the American Anti-Slavery Society. His support of the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society grew into support for women’s rights. In his will, written in 1861, he left $5,000 “to secure the passage of laws granting Women, whether married or unmarried, the right to vote, to hold office, manage and devise property, and all other civil rights enjoyed by men.” Jackson passed on his radical values to his daughter Eliza Francis Eddy. Like her father, she served as an officer of one of Boston’s antislavery societies, and upon her death left more than $20,000 each to Susan B. Anthony and Lucy Stone with the request that they use the money “to further what is called the Woman’s Rights cause.” This quilt was donated to Historic New England by one of Eddy’s children, who may well have slept beneath it while growing up in one of Boston’s most activist households. —Nancy Carlisle Senior Curator of Collections

Cradle quilt. Probably Boston, 1836, Gift of Mrs. Edward M. Harris

facing page and above

To view other quilts in Historic New England’s collection, visit our website, click on Collections Access and type in quilts.

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Photograph © Pedro E. Guerrero

s t ewa r ds h i p

Protecting Two Modern Houses

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odernism was more than an architectural style; it was a movement. Beginning in the 1930s, émigrés fleeing turmoil in Europe came to this country, bringing with them concepts of design that rejected historical precedents and experimented with new shapes, forms, and materials. One of the most notable newcomers was Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus school in Germany. Bauhaus teaching emphasized the totality of design, including craft, fine art, and architecture within one creative idiom. Followers of the Bauhaus and Modernism believed that form should follow function, that commonplace objects could be beautiful, and that good design should be available to the masses.

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Several of these Modernists, including Gropius and his protégé, Marcel Breuer, designed and built homes in New England. While the preservation of major examples like the Gropius House in Lincoln, Massachusetts, is assured, lesser known Modern houses remain threatened despite growing appreciation for the domestic architecture of that period. Historic New England, through its Stewardship Program, was able recently to ensure the future protection of two important examples of Modern architecture, the Breuer-Robeck house in New Canaan, Connecticut, and the Flansburgh house in Lincoln, Massachusetts. Breuer, a Hungarian-born architect and furniture designer, studied and taught at the Bauhaus in the 1920s. In 1937, he came to the United States at

Gropius’s invitation, became an associate professor at Harvard’s School of Architecture, and established a joint architectural practice with Gropius. In 1946, he moved to New York City to open his own architectural practice. In 1947, Breuer purchased land in New Canaan and designed a home as a weekend retreat. (This was the first of two houses he built for his family in New Canaan, a town that boasts one of the country’s most significant collections of Modern houses. The second Breuer home has been demolished.) Breuer’s design was daring. As described in the October 1948 issue of Architectural Record, it featured the “irresistible appeal of the cantilever … here developed to the ultimate degree. What Breuer has done, in effect, is to build a small basement story above

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David Bohl

tear down Modern buildings. Wanting to ensure future preservation of this important property, he worked with Historic New England to protect it through the Stewardship Program. Historic New England’s Stewardship Program is one of the oldest and most recognized preservation easement programs in the country. A preservation easement is a legal agreement that

Marcel Breuer’s first New Canaan house as it was originally built. Above The Breuer-Robeck house in 2011. The fieldstone walls were installed to address structural issues with the original cantilevered building. Below The flagstone flooring and fireplace in the living room are among the features protected by Historic New England’s easement. The room opens onto a sun porch, which must also be preserved. Facing Page

David Bohl

ground, and then balance a full-size one-story house nearly atop it, cantilevered on all sides.” Breuer loved to experiment with material and design and used his own home as a testing ground. Soon after the house was built, however, first the porch and then the corner of the living block began to sag, forcing him to install fieldstone walls and steel columns for support. The Breuers occupied this house for six years before selling it. In 1985, Peter and Gertrude Robeck, who had purchased the house in 1964, hired architect Herbert Beckhard (an associate and partner of Breuer) to enlarge it with an addition and to replace the exterior support columns with additional fieldstone walls. Despite the alterations, the structure retains the force of its original design. The current owner, John P. Horgan, grew concerned about the trend to

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David Bohl

is recorded with local land records and used to protect in perpetuity a historic property’s significant building and landscape features. Easements protect historic homes while keeping them in private ownership. Features commonly protected by Historic New England’s preservation easements include: exterior features like façades and elevations, roofs, chimneys, and foundations; interior structural members and framing, space configuration, flooring, plaster walls and ceilings, woodwork, fireplaces, hardware, and lighting fixtures; and landscape elements like gardens, stone walls, fences, and open space. Features protected in the BreuerRobeck house include the exterior elevations of the main house and addition, the fireplace, flagstone flooring, and wood ceilings, and the driveway. The easement also prevents subdivision of the existing parcel and limits new additions and additional structures. Similar protection was recently placed on another important Modern building, the Flansburgh house in 6

Lincoln, Massachusetts, designed by the late architect Earl R. Flansburgh, FAIA, for his family and completed in 1963. Flansburgh grew up in Ithaca, New York, received his bachelor’s degree from the Architecture School at Cornell University in 1953, and went on to earn a master’s degree in architecture from MIT in 1957. He founded the Boston firm of Earl R. Flansburgh + Associates in 1963 and practiced architecture in the Boston area for more than forty-five years, focusing primarily on the planning and design of educational facilities. During his career, he completed over two hundred public, private, and charter schools and college and university projects. In addition, Flansburgh also managed to design one or two private homes a year, selectively picking his clients and the sites on which to build. His designs received more than eighty regional and national design awards. He served as president of the Boston Society of Architects (BSA) in 1981 and received the BSA Award of Honor in 1999.

The Flansburgh home, which is planned around an interior garden courtyard, illustrates the architect’s approach to Modern residential design. Set on a triangular lot of sloping wooded land and surrounded by tall pine trees and stone walls, the white house forms a dramatic contrast with its site. A windowless façade gives way to large expanses of glass at the back. Glass walls line the open courtyard, flooding the home with natural light and bringing the outdoors in. Flansburgh also designed colorful yellow vertical “fins” for the house, structural ventilation panels fixed between large areas of glass. The house was featured in Architectural Record in September 1965 and in Better Homes and Gardens in November 1966. Flansburgh’s widow, Polly, felt strongly about preserving this important legacy of her husband’s career. The preservation easement she and Historic New England developed ensures that this architecturally significant building will be protected from future demoli-

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The windowless façade of the Flansburgh house belies its open sunfilled interior. The site among tall trees was hand-picked by the architect. below The interior courtyard at the Flansburgh house sits at the center of the nearly square home, creating views across the public rooms and spaces that open onto it, including the living room, entry hall, dining room, and playroom. facing page

—Caitlin Corkins Stewardship Manager

David Bohl

Historic New England actively seeks additional twentieth-century resources for protection and to fill architectural and geographic program gaps. For more information about the Stewardship Program, call 617-994-6642 or visit HistoricNewEngland.org.

David Bohl

David Bohl

tion, neglect, or insensitive alterations and will continue to serve its intended use as a residence. “This program has been an answer to a question Earl and I both had about what to do with the house,” says Mrs. Flansburgh. “To think that generations are now going to be enjoying this house is thrilling. Earl would be pleased.”

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On

V i ew

Fancy Footwork 8

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ast October, Historic New England presented a small display of women’s shoes from its collections at Bloomingdale’s in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Shoppers were intrigued to find footwear from the late eighteenth to the mid-twentieth century (some of which look remarkably up-to-date) and took the time to examine the shoes and read about them. While exhibiting in a store was unconventional—in fact, this was only the second time Historic New England has shown its collections in a retail establishment—the opportunity allowed us to engage audiences and share historic artifacts in new ways.

D av

id C arm

ack

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Shoes are saved

for a variety of reasons—as mementos of childhood or a special occasion, or sometimes because they represent a momentary indulgence when their owner was captivated by their color or shape or the optimism of their design. Of the more than five hundred pairs of shoes and boots in Historic New England’s collection, the vast majority are of these types—saved because they were special in some way to their owner. Most of them are also women’s shoes. A few men’s boots survive, and even fewer men’s shoes. Historic New England’s footwear collection ranges in date from the 1730s to the 1990s. The earliest pair are leather and cloth fancy shoes made in England that were intended to be worn only on special occasions. A few pairs indicate the measures that were taken to protect women’s feet from snow and mud: leather clogs that were slipped over shoes in the 1760s; an early pair of rubber shoes of the 1840s; a variety of leather boots from the 1820s to the 1890s. In the last twenty years Historic New England has collected shoes of a more ordinary sort—Dr. Scholl’s sandals of the 1970s; boots worn by a worker on Boston’s Big Dig; and a boy’s baseball cleats from the 1990s. It wasn’t easy to represent Historic New England’s shoe collection for an exhibition at Bloomingdale’s where there was room for only six pairs. We wanted to suggest something of the history of women’s footwear while at the same time showcasing the depth of Historic New England’s collections. The ones we selected span the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries. They include shoes made in England, France, Massachusetts and California. And they all suggest their owners had an eye for fashion and a certain playfulness apparent to anyone who looked at their feet. What more could we ask of our shoes

The colorful pointed toes of these shoes would have peeked out from beneath the long hems of the high-waisted cotton dresses popular around 1800. Although the pointed toes soon went out of fashion, the taste for low heels and even flat shoes lasted for the next half century. Gift of Miss Caroline M. Smith and Estate of Miss Frances Greely Stevenson.

Fancy footwork

?

—Nancy Carlisle Senior Curator of Collections

d 10

In terms of quality and output, the American shoe industry caught up with shoe manufacturing in England and France by the end of the nineteenth century. Even so, these mules ornamented with steel cut beads, purchased in Paris in 1890, carried an extra measure of cachet. Gift of Miss Margaret H. Jewell.

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In the years leading up to the Revolution in Boston, fashionable women wore up-to-date apparel like these London-made shoes. Gift of Albert C. Frothingham. The buckles that held the shoes’ long tabs in place could be transferred from one pair of shoes to another. Their original owner, Prudence Jenkins, wore them at her wedding in 1778. Gift of Miss Frances L. Chace.

By the middle of the 1920s, most women were wearing shorter skirts, which placed a greater emphasis on the stylishness of their shoes. These Oxford-style shoes, with their gold and red straps and red heels, were made to be noticed. Gift of Sara G. Withington.

By the 1850s, a distinct type of women’s shoe known as a boudoir slipper was developed for wearing in private at home. This well-worn pair came from Paris. The original paper label boasts: “English spoken” suggesting the shop where they were purchased catered to the tourist trade. Gift of Miss Mary Wheelwright

Beginning in the 1930s, designers were looking west to California for new styles. The influence of Hollywood movies is credited with popularizing open-toe sandals. The daughter of the owner of this pair called them her mother’s Carmen Miranda shoes after the flamboyant Hollywood actress. Gift of Sara G. Withington.

fashion statements from three centuries

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1 0 0

Y ea r s ,

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C o m m u n i t i es

Tourism in the Age of Segregation

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very summer, Harriet Evans used to load her children into her car and travel to the family’s summer cottage in Oak Bluffs, on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. Because Mr. Evans was a minister, the family moved frequently, but no matter whether they resided in Chicago, Washington D.C., or New York, Harriet always felt their real home was the one in Oak Bluffs. As a black American in the midtwentieth century, Mrs. Evans and others like her faced particular challenges when going on vacation. African Americans were unwelcome in most mainstream hotels, restaurants, and resorts, so black members of the middle class found ways to establish vacation communities of their own. A few of them managed to make their liveli-

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hoods by opening tourist businesses catering to other black customers. Through creativity, perseverance, and entrepreneurship, they overcame social and economic barriers to enjoy a few weeks of leisure each summer. Most black vacationers stayed at inns or guesthouses owned and staffed by other African Americans serving an exclusively African American clientele. In Oak Bluffs in 1912, Charles and Henrietta Shearer, who had previously run a laundry business, opened an inn called Shearer Cottage. Over the years, the cottage hosted luminaries like Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., Paul Robeson, and Lionel Richie and the Commodores. In Kittery, Maine, in 1948, Hazel and Clayton Sinclair, Sr., established a guesthouse called Rock Rest. They had first come to Maine with white families as

cook and chauffeur and had decided to stay and go into business on their own. At establishments like these, guests could expect the highest level of comfort and service as well as meals that rivaled any hotel kitchen. African American vacationers often found out about these vacation spots by word of mouth, as information spread rapidly through tight-knit urban black communities. Cee-Jay Jones, who began visiting Oak Bluffs in 1949, recalled, “There was a guy that worked at a bar across the street from where I lived [in Harlem]. His name was Oliver Lessane—we called him ‘Frenchie’—and he said he was going on vacation. I said ‘Where?’ He said, ‘Martha’s Vineyard.’ I said, ‘Well, where is that?’ I’d never been—so I came up with him, and I’ve been com-

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ing ever since.” Other establishments, like the Cummings Guest House in Old Orchard Beach, Maine, advertised in the Negro Motorist Green Book, a tourist guide listing businesses that catered to African Americans. Once they arrived at their destinations, black vacationers enjoyed many of the quintessential activities of a New England vacation. Valerie Cunningham, founder and former director of the Portsmouth Black History Trail and a member of the Historic New England Council, worked as a maid at Rock Rest as a teenager. She remembers that guests “would visit the historic houses in Portsmouth—and of course go shopping—they didn’t have the malls at that time, but they would be out looking for something to take home as a souvenir. York Beach was fun in the evening and the daytime, too.” Tennis and golf were popular; the annual Oak Bluffs Labor Day Tennis Tournament drew African Americans from up and down the East Coast. Children relished freedom unavailable to them at home, riding their bicycles and playing with friends all day, largely unsupervised. “It was just a carefree living,” remembers Gretchen Coleman-Thomas, who

grew up spending every summer in Oak Bluffs. The social life was vibrant but casual, as visitors made friends with peers from throughout the eastern United States. Although African Americans visiting New England did not encounter the outright hostility they experienced in the South, the region was not without prejudice. Discrimination in New England tended to be subtle. African Americans in Oak Bluffs congregated at the Town Beach (nicknamed The Inkwell) because they were not allowed at the adjacent beach. Visitors at Rock Rest sometimes had difficulty finding meals during day trips to the White Mountains, where upscale restaurants would suggest that African American patrons be served in the kitchen instead of the dining room. Incidents like these were deeply offensive. At places like Rock Rest, Oak Bluffs, or the Cummings Guest House, black vacationers found release from the pressures of everyday life. Lee Van Allen, who spent her summers in Oak Bluffs, said, “Once you cross the waters, you leave your troubles and worries behind.” Despite pervasive racism and segregation, African Americans found

communities that accepted them and claimed the middle-class privilege of a summer vacation for themselves. —Jacob Barry Jacob Barry is a master’s candidate in Museum Studies at the Cooperstown Graduate Program, State University of New York at Oneonta. Facing page left A postcard depicting Rock Rest, Kittery, Maine. Facing page right Guests at Rock Rest. Facing Page BELOW Business card of Doris Pope Jackson, current proprietor of Shearer Cottage in Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts, and granddaughter of Charles and Henrietta Shearer. below left Guests at Rock Rest. below right Dinner in at Rock Rest.

Visit HistoricNewEngland.org/AmericanDream to see an extensive exhibition featuring photographs, archival material, and interviews assembled by Mr. Barry in partnership with the Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail as part of Historic New England’s 100 Years, 100 Communities initiative to preserve and share twentieth-century history.

Photographs courtesy Milne Special Collections and Archives Department, University of New Hampshire Library, Durham, N. H.

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E d u c at i o n

C o o r d i na t o r

A Day in the Life

In which we follow a staff member on a typical day at work—

I

have been an educator for over fifteen years and before that a professional meteorologist, a career path that explains my interdisciplinary approach to education. At Historic New England, I run programs at two of our four Rhode Island sites, the majority of them at Casey Farm in Saunderstown. At Casey Farm, spring is our busiest season because that’s when we offer Project chick, which places incubators with fertilized eggs in classrooms so children can watch the chicks hatch. We also host school groups for educational programs on the farm and along the shore. On Project chick

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days, I arrive early to assemble materials—incubators, heat lamps, waterers, feeders, egg candlers, chick feed, scales, transformers, and surge protectors. I set up brooder boxes with shavings for the chicks, along with plain brown eggs from Casey Farm Dominique hens and speckled dark brown eggs from the Welsummer hens at Watson Farm across the bay in Jamestown. The eggs must be handled very gently, washed, and kept at room temperature until they are placed in the incubator. Today there are six sets of Project chick materials to get ready for four schools. When the sun is up and the farm staff begins working in the fields, I meet

with the museum teachers who will be taking the Project chick program into the schools. We load their cars and then go off to the chicken coop to catch two hens for the presentations. After a brief scuffle, the hens are safely stowed in pet carriers and on their way with the materials to the schools. After the teachers leave, I go to the farmhouse office to prepare for the school groups coming to the farm that day. Two preschool classes are due at 9 a.m., one elementary school class at 10:30, and one Boy Scout troop at 3:45 p.m.—a total of almost one hundred students. The breeze is picking up. The rest

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of the teaching staff arrive, and I hurry to review schedules, assign chores, and help set up teaching materials. Just before 9 a.m., one bus and a small herd of cars arrive. I greet everyone, confirm program details, and collect registrations. As the children begin their program, the second group arrives, and the process is repeated. The third group comes on time, and by 11 a.m., I am back upstairs in the office to write receipts and answer emails. Several schools are interested in booking visits in May; our schedule is almost full, but I manage to squeeze them in. In the spring season alone, we serve 8,000 students from over two hundred schools. Outside, the sun is warming the spring air. I open a window, the breeze gives me an invigorating lift, and I go back out to oversee lunch and chat with visiting teachers. All is going well today; the teachers and parents tell me that the students are having a great time and learning a lot. I hand out evaluation forms to the adults, stressing the importance of honest feedback. Afternoon brings a strong breeze from the west. I retreat to the office

to prepare schedules and materials for tomorrow. As the third group departs, the off-site teaching staff return from their Project chick presentations, and I help put the chickens away. A frantic call comes in from a teacher in Providence—the incubator’s egg turner has stopped functioning, and they need a replacement incubator as soon as possible. I arrange to have it dropped off at the school today. We are still wrapping up when the Boy Scout troop arrives to complete their Naturalist badges. While the boys head to the barn, a teacher drives up with a box containing fifteen four-day-old chicks. I put the chicks in the brooder stall in the barn, where they quickly blend in with the six dozen already in the stall. The boys are impressed. The sun is getting low by the time the scouts leave. Two other teachers have dropped off chicks, and I’ve just spent an hour cleaning incubators, restocking Project chick supplies, and collecting eggs for the next day’s programs. Spring days are exhausting but always rewarding: I have the satisfac-

tion of watching children get excited by good solid science and the privilege of working close to nature. —Adam Lowe Education Coordinator facing page Adam Lowe with friend, a young Rhode Island Red. This page The expressions on the faces of these Project chick students reveal their excitement and delight in the experience.

For more information on Project chick and other educational programs in Rhode Island, please contact Adam Lowe at 401295-1030 or alowe@ historicnewengland.org.

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Concrete Solutions:

Ted Dully

Tad Stahl’s Urbanism 29824.indd 16

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Tad Stahl in his office in the renovated attic of Boston’s Grain Exchange, with a model of the originally proposed Boston/British office tower, c. 1968. right Boston’s State Street Bank during construction, as pre-cast concrete window units are installed on the steel skeleton, 1964.

Phokion Karas

facing page

H

Ted Dully

alf a century ago, downtown Boston was—in the phrasing of historian Sam Bass Warner, Jr.—“old and full of monuments to the past…a dowdy repository for some of the nation’s early memories.” Decades of gridlock between Brahmin business leaders and Irish politicians had stifled development. But when John Hynes defeated James M. Curley to become mayor in 1949, Boston began to change, culminating in the Central Artery and urban renewal. Then the election of 1960 ushered in both the New Frontier of President John F. Kennedy and the New Boston of Mayor John Collins. The nation looked to Boston for ideas and solutions for its challenges. A key player in the city’s rejuvenation in the 1960s was architect Frederick A. (Tad) Stahl, who reintroduced the skyscraper to downtown Boston in 1965 with his State Street Bank. Stahl had earned his master’s degree in architecture from MIT in 1955 and worked and studied in London, where he saw how English cities embraced Modernism. Stahl particularly admired the Swiss architect Le Corbusier and made pilgrimages to see his buildings in Paris, his chapel at Ronchamp, and the Unité d’Habitation in Marseilles. Stahl recalls that he “was thoroughly indoctrinated in the Le Corbusier canon and was convinced that concrete

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The State Street Bank, 1965. right 70 Federal Street (at left) was Stahl’s first office building with a concrete, rather than steel, structure. Its design innovations made it more flexible and economical than a standard building on the site would have been.

construction would be the medium of architecture I would value.” In Le Corbusier’s work, Stahl’s generation saw that architectural concrete could be “a complete building system.” Returning to Boston, Stahl found colleagues who valued architectural concrete as well. He worked as a draftsman for Paul Rudolph, who initiated what would be called “Heroic Modernism” in Boston. Rudolph’s 1957 Blue Cross Blue Shield Building brought concrete-framed construction to downtown Boston. Stahl appreciated I. M. Pei’s work (such as the 1962-65 Green Center for Earth Sciences at MIT), which demonstrated to Stahl that “cast-in-place concrete could be a truly noble material.” Stahl’s first major work in Boston, the thirty-four-story State Street Bank building, had a dramatic impact. It was the first privately financed office tower erected downtown since the 1930s, and to build it, he had to secure the backing of British investors. It epitomized a new era of optimism and confidence, and Bostonians particularly marveled at its views of the harbor. A Boston Herald columnist, dining with a bank vice president on its penthouse “bridge,” reported, “The sea is all around the building.” The banker joked that he “could fish from his office window if given a long enough line.”

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Phokion Karas

Phokion Karas

Below

To carry the design through, Stahl formed Pearl Street Associates, partnering with his frequent collaborator, engineer William LeMessurier, and fellow architect Hugh Stubbins. In 1963 when the bank demanded that the tower have a steel skeleton, LeMessurier and Stahl rented computer time at MIT to recalibrate the design, certainly one of the earliest examples of computer-aided architectural design. The building was clad in five thousand interlocking pre-cast concrete modular window frames. Its reentrant, or indented, corners and cantilevered lower floors showed that concrete could be a dynamic and sculptural cladding material. In 1968, Stahl completed a concrete-framed office building nearby at 70 Federal Street. By reusing an existing foundation, Stahl and LeMessurier broke records for economical construction. Closely spaced columns in its exterior walls reduced the number of interior columns to five. This openness and flexibility also provided an efficient plan for the 1972 brick-clad concrete Ministries Building next to Park Street Church. A pair of buildings at Government Center shows the breadth of Stahl’s designs. In their 1967 City Bank and Trust, Stahl and his partner John Bennett used four-story precast concrete window panels to quickly enclose the building shell

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The concrete structure of Stahl’s 1972 Park Street Church Ministries building allowed the church to fully utilize a small space. Bottom Right The lines of Stahl’s 1967 City Bank and Trust (right) echo the 1848 Sears Block next door, which Stahl rehabilitated along with its Steaming Teakettle.

and support its cast-in-place floor slabs. Stahl was able to rehabilitate the diminutive 1848 Sears Block next door by tying it to a shared stair tower. Besides reusing a building admired by Modernists for its severe granite frame, the project restored another Scollay Square landmark, the Steaming Teakettle. The Sears Block is just one of more than a hundred Stahl-designed rehabilitations of historic buildings. Stahl became a preservation advocate in his hometown of Danbury, Connecticut, in the late 1950s when he tried to prevent demolition of Danbury neighborhoods by Interstate 84. Moving to Boston, Stahl restored Harbridge House on the edge of the Public Garden in 1960. Relishing Bea-

con Hill’s busy street life, he and his wife bought and renovated an Egyptian Revival townhouse there. Stahl joined the boards of the Beacon Hill Civic Association and Historic New England, two groups working to slow the destruction of historic Boston neighborhoods. In 1963, Stahl and his Beacon Hill neighbors advocated for the 1847 Thayer townhouses by Richard Upjohn and the 1917 Boston University Chapel by William Aldrich, both threatened with demolition for a new apartment block. The proposal split the preservation community; Brahmin historian Walter Muir Whitehill supported demolition, but Stahl and others successfully argued that these later buildings were historically authentic and could be renovated appropriately while satisfying the developer’s business plan. Adaptive reuse became a Boston reality. The most important preservation project in which Stahl was involved—the 1826 Quincy Market—revitalized an entire neighborhood. By the early 1960s, the market had suffered a century of neglect and alteration. Stahl recognized that the district was a marvel of civic planning, a “much-abused and greatly disfigured urban work of art.” He believed that its plan and surviving buildings constituted a public space comparable to the great plazas of European cities and “deserved to be recognized and restored.” In 1966 Stahl and developer Roger Webb approached the Boston Redevelopment Authority and proposed to planner Edward J. Logue that they conduct a rehabilita-

Phokion Karas

Jack Hagan

Below

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Jack Hagan

tion study. Stahl brought the support of Abbott Lowell Cummings and the rest of the Historic New England board, and Webb matched Redevelopment Authority funding through his Architectural Heritage Foundation. The resulting study, a model for historic structure reports, documented the Market’s historic character. Stahl, Webb, and their colleagues then rehabilitated the complex, “getting the tide out of the basement,” retrofitting the buildings for seismic stability, removing later additions, and restoring facades and roof lines. Within that shell, developer James Rouse and architect Benjamin Thompson completed a redevelopment in 1978. Faneuil Hall Marketplace became a national model for the reinvention of commercial neighborhoods. Stahl studied Boston’s Old City Hall and other cityowned landmarks, eventually repairing or rehabilitating Faneuil Hall, Parkman House, the Old State House, and Beacon Hill’s Abiel Smith School. Always concerned with the larger context, he completed a primer for city staff on how to care for these buildings. At the request of the National Park Service, Stahl wrote A Guide to the Maintenance, Repair, and Alteration of Historic Buildings (1984), which became 20

a standard text in historic preservation practice. Stahl and his firm rehabilitated dozens of historic structures around New England, particularly libraries, and such Boston landmarks as the Hotel Vendome, Old South Meeting House, and the Talbot Building at Boston University Medical Center. Stahl’s contributions to architecture and preservation continue. While maintaining his architectural practice (now part of the international firm Stantec), Stahl has donated his drawings and office files to Historic New England, where they join a growing archive of Modernist architecture in the region. —Timothy Orwig  Timothy Orwig is an architectural historian who has been processing the Stahl archival collection for Historic New England. Stahl’s initial concept for rehabilitating Faneuil Hall Marketplace included recreating the 1825 Hammond and Faxon stores (center), which had been demolished in 1933. above

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S e r v i ng

t h e

Reg i o n

Hands-on learning in Project chick and Colonial Times. left and below

Focus on Rhode Island

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t its historic properties in Rhode Island, Historic New England has developed a range of programs to serve the state’s diverse audiences. One example is our educational program Colonial Times at the 1693 Arnold House in Lincoln, in which students learn seventeenth-century history through role-playing. The experience involves many disciplines, including history, math, language arts, and science and relates to classroom curricula. Programs at our two eighteenthcentury farms teach students and adults about sustainable agriculture. At the c. 1750 Casey Farm in Saunderstown, Project chick (Chickens Hatching in Classrooms) uses our flock of heritagebreed Dominique chickens to teach about bird life cycles. Last year, 8,673

students from 107 schools participated, with incubators in the classrooms for watching the chicks hatch and bus trips to the farm where the children visited the chicks and other animals. At the 1796 Watson Farm, a working family farm in Jamestown, visitors follow trails through 285 acres of fields, pastures, and woodland, see the sheep and heritage breed Red Devon cattle, and admire the handsome 2,000-foot long stone walls bordering the property. These historic walls are being repaired and cleared of the overgrowth and brush, opening views out onto the farmland. We are grateful to generous supporters like the Rhode Island Foundation and Mrs. Dorrance H. Hamilton, who have supplied funds to build new shelters for the Dominique

chickens, ducks, and two pigs used in Casey Farm’s educational programs. Grants from the 1772 Foundation and individual donors support Project chick and subsidize transportation and program fees for low-income students to participate in field trips to the farm. The Champlin Foundations provided funding for the major preservation work on the buildings and grounds at Casey Farm. At Watson Farm, Jamestown residents are supporting the rehabilitation of the historic stone walls. These foundations and individuals have shown their belief in our programs and the benefits they bring to Rhode Island students and communities. We continue to seek funds to support our properties and programs. There are many funding opportunities available for foundations and individuals who are interested in helping sustain Historic New England’s activities in the state. To support these and other similar projects, please contact the development team at 617-994-5951 or email development@HistoricNewEngland. org. —Kimberlea Tracey Vice President for Advancement

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P o r t f o l i o

Inventing a Career In an interview for the Boston Herald in 1912, Mary Harrod Northend commented, “How many miles I travel over the country photographing and writing, I can’t even estimate. But the work never grows uninteresting. I love every bit of it.”

below

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Mary Harrod Northend, c. 1924.

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t the age of fifty-four, Northend embarked upon a career as author, photographer, and lecturer. By the end of her life, she had published eleven books on historic buildings, gardens, and furnishings, written several hundred articles for popular magazines on lifestyle and other topics, and assembled a collection of thirty thousand glass-plate negatives. Northend began writing for magazines in 1904. As she wrote in the preface to her first book, Colonial Homes and Their Furnishings, “The work was commenced at first through ill health and the desire for occupation…and has met with such good results that I have to-day one of the most valuable collections of photographs to be found in New England.” Though she had little training in journalism or photography, she managed to build a successful career by dint of resourcefulness and determination, plus a little help from her friends. As a lifelong resident of Salem, Massachusetts, Northend knew many of the owners of the estates along Boston’s fashionable North Shore. Using these connections, she began to document their homes, gardens, and lifestyles in articles for submission to newspapers and magazines. Publishers preferred articles accompanied by photographs, so she took up photography and later hired photographers to work

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with her. A typical photo shoot would begin at the home’s gate and gardens and finish in the attic, capturing everything from the grand hall to the bathroom, door knockers to fireplaces, cupboards, closets, and even the household’s children and pets. Northend’s articles were featured in national magazines like Country Life, House and Garden, Harper’s Bazaar, and Good Housekeeping, and her books promoting the Colonial Revival lifestyle were sought after by a public eager to emulate the refined taste she depicted. While the popularity of the Colonial Revival launched her career, she branched out to cover other subjects­—affordable housing, education, health and nutrition, and community improvement societies. She profiled best-selling authors, artists, and politicians and wrote about entertainment, travel, and recreational activities. She continued working and traveling right up until her death in 1926, aged seventy-six, as a result of injuries sustained in an accident. Historic New England’s founder, William Sumner Appleton was aware of Northend’s negative and photograph collection and actively pursued acquiring it, but it wasn’t until 1959, twelve years after his death, that a portion of the collection came to Historic New England in a much reduced state. The more than six thousand negatives and several thousand prints that remain continue to be a rich resource for studying the material culture of the early twentieth century. —Jeanne Gamble Library and Archives Specialist

Facing Page Top Publications by Mary H. Northend, including an issue of The American Woman magazine in which her article “Different Ways to Serve Fruit” appeared. above The Tudor-style home of Dr. J. H. Lancashire in Manchester, Massachusetts, showing what Northend termed a “modern” use of glass, c. 1919. right The iris garden and pergola at Iristhorp, the estate of Mr. and Mrs. Homer Gage in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, c. 1917.

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Children’s sanatorium, possibly at Children’s Island off Marblehead, Massachusetts, which provided fresh air and meals for city children, many of whom suffered from rickets and other diseases of malnutrition. right Child on gymnastic rings. bottom The living hall at Mostly Hall, the Proctor family summer house, Ipswich, Massachusetts.

below left

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Young woman painting a vase at the Paul Revere Pottery in Boston. In 1914, Northend wrote an article on the pottery for House Beautiful, although this image was not used.

below left

below right Camp Wampanoag, probably Buzzard’s Bay, Massachusetts, advertised as “beautifully located, well equipped and splendidly managed” for boys aged eight to fifteen.

Colonial-style furnishings inside the Cook-Oliver House, Salem, Massachusetts. above Carpentry class, possibly at the Esther C. Mack Industrial School, in Salem, Massachusetts. left

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CO L L E CTIO N S

Shades of Truth

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n his Natural History, written around 70 A.D., Pliny the Elder recounted the story of the origin of painting— a Corinthian maid, wishing to preserve the likeness of her beloved, traced the shadow that a candle cast on the wall behind him. The legend was a popular subject during the neoclassical era; Josiah Wedgwood, whose jasperware imitated ancient relief carving, commissioned perhaps the most famous version of the tale from painter Joseph Wright. In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the classical world inspired everything from couches and dresses to architecture and forms of government. Having one’s portrait done in the style of an antique medallion soon became quite fashionable. Like the image traced by the Corinthian maid, silhouette portraits, or shades, as they were then called, were made by tracing a sitter’s shadow. They enjoyed widespread

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popularity from the late eighteenth century into the first four decades of the nineteenth century. They not only appealed to neoclassical taste but were relatively easy to produce, hence affordable. Some artists executed them freehand with paint or scissors; others used a mechanical device called a physiognotrace, which had been invented in France in the mid-1780s. The painter Charles Willson Peale owned a version of this machine and gave demonstrations of it at his museum in Philadelphia. As part of the attraction, Peale even allowed visitors to trace their own silhouettes with the device. The resulting portraits could be cut like paper dolls from folded sheets of paper to produce multiple originals. Before photography, silhouettes offered the chance to create, keep, and trade likenesses with friends and family. They could be tucked into albums, framed and displayed

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facing page top Handbill used by Moses Chapman, a typical traveling profile cutter, to attract customers. FACING PAGE BELOW Hollow cut by William King of Captain Stephen Phillips, who made

his fortune trading in Asia. above Positive cut with ink wash by Master Hubard depicting a lady with her cockatoo.

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left Painted silhouette of Elizabeth Livermore Brown, daughter and sister of United States senators, c. 1795, attributed to William Massey Stroud Doyle. center Margaret Byron Doyle’s

on walls, or mounted in gold lockets. One silhouettist, J. H. Gillespie, offered six different styles, including a simple black profile for twenty-five cents, one highlighted in gold for a dollar, and a painted version in watercolor that could run as much as four dollars. Boston artist William Massey Stroud Doyle offered cut silhouettes at the same rates, but charged up to fifty dollars for a finished portrait. Most artists offered a simple cut profile and would add painted details for a few cents more. As the cheapest option was the most popular, everyone from portrait painters to museum proprietors picked up the art of tracing a profile to earn a few pennies. Profile cutters traveled widely, setting up shop in hotel rooms and boarding houses, placing advertisements in local papers, and circulating handbills to generate customers. They also sold frames and would mount the image while the customer waited. These itinerants ranged from well-known portraitists like Raphaelle Peale to more obscure cutters such as James Holsey Whitcomb and William Chamberlain. Some, like Doyle and Henry Williams, even offered to make silhouettes of deceased loved ones. Choosing a silhouette over a painted portrait was not always a matter of thrift. Physiognomy, the pseudoscience that argued that a person’s essential nature was revealed 28

cut and painted portrait of Sybil Moseley Bingham, who traveled with her missionary husband and helped develop a written version of the Hawaiian language. right This unusual silhouette of

by the shapes of the skull, nose, and chin, was popular in America during this period. Its followers believed that a silhouette, because it omitted extraneous information like color and dimension, revealed the true character of the sitter. That an image could be created by a machine, apparently without artistic intervention, actually heightened belief in its truthfulness. Furthermore, because a silhouette lacked status markers like the fine fabrics and jewels that feature prominently in painted portraits, it was considered a quintessentially democratic form of representation, which appealed to many in the new United States. One of the earliest silhouettes in Historic New England’s collection is a painted image of Elizabeth Livermore Brown attributed to Doyle. The delicate rendering of hair and lace fichu is very much in the manner of John Miers and John Field, two of the best English silhouette painters at that time. Only a handful of known silhouette artists in America produced portraits in paint or ink, and of those only Doyle advertised that he offered silhouettes in the style of Miers. Doyle even replicated the swooping curve at the base of the silhouette that Miers preferred. (Scholars sometimes use the base line—or bust line as in a sculpted bust—as the trait that distinguishes the work of one artist from another’s.)

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Anna Woodbury of Hooksett, New Hampshire, includes a chained lock of her hair. below John and Jane Rundlet of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

The silhouette is not signed, but it, and a very similar image of Elizabeth’s father, are attributed to Doyle based on similar cut paper examples with signatures and a consistent style. In 1803 Doyle introduced a “profile machine” at his Columbian Museum in Boston, placing an advertisement in the local papers announcing its display and offering to cut profiles gratis for visitors. Doyle continued to cut and paint silhouettes as well as draw portraits in pastel until his death in 1828. In his last two decades, his daughter, Margaret Byron Doyle, joined him in the business. One of her few known works is a portrait of Mrs. Hiram Bingham, signed “MB Doyle” in a hand very similar to her father’s. Like her father, Margaret Doyle used ink and a fine brush to paint Mrs. Bingham’s hair and frilled collar. Most American silhouette artists produced cut profiles, either freehand with scissors or with a physiognotrace. Cut silhouettes were placed on contrasting backgrounds. When the artist cuts out the center of the paper and removes it, the negative space is called a hollow cut, while the removed section is known as a positive cut or blockhead. After mounting the silhouette on contrasting silk or paper, the artist could

embellish it with penciled or painted details. Some of the most celebrated English cutters toured America in the nineteenth century, giving demonstrations of their art. The teenaged Master Hubard drew crowds of visitors to his exhibition of cut paper images, called Papyrotamia, when he visited America in 1825. A freehand genius with scissors, he could cut a full-length rendering in under a minute. Hubard was particularly proud of his animal portraits, like the ones in the silhouettes of a gentleman with his chubby spaniel and a lady training her cockatoo. Traveling silhouette cutters frequently attracted crowds of onlookers to their exhibitions, but few artists could compete with Saunders Ken Grems Nellis. Born without arms, Nellis used his toes to cut silhouettes and paper pictures, play the cello, wind a watch, and even shoot with a bow and arrow. Nellis toured the world from the 1830s to the 1860s, but few of his works have survived. As silhouettes rose in popularity, American artists developed exuberant free-form interpretations of this somewhat rigid art form. Cutters such as the Puffy Sleeve Artist (so named for the distinctive, flat paintings of women wearing dresses with exaggerated sleeves), Everet Howard, Justin Salisbury, and James Holsey Whitcomb added color and personal verve to their work. Howard embellished his silhouette of sixteen-year-old Anna Woodbury with distinctive cuts in the bust line that typify his style. William Bache and William King, two skillful American profile cutters, spent time in northern New England. Bache, who stamped his works “Bache’s Patent,” visited Salem, Massachusetts, at least twice, where he made cuttings of Captain Stephen Phillips and two young children. He embellished both works with delicate details in China white, an opaque pigment that he occasionally used to enhance his silhouettes. William King, who traveled extensively in the region, boasted he had cut more than 20,000 silhouettes in less than two years. He set up shop in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Portland; Maine, and other regional centers. Auguste Edouart, a French artist who traveled along America’s eastern seaboard, produced thousands of silhouettes between 1839 and 1845. Credited with being the first to apply the term silhouette to this type of portraiture, Edouart specialized in family and conversational groupings. He usually cut full-length figures, unlike the bust-length silhouettes favored by most artists, often placing them against a lightly sketched interior or landscape rendered in three dimensions. Today Edouart’s works are highly prized by scholars for the precise documentary evidence they contain about the sitter’s home. Edouart was not the only artist to produce full-length silhouettes set in customized backgrounds. Charleston-born Spring 2012 Historic New England

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Composite picture cut by S.K.G. Nellis. right Group portrait of Boston merchant Samuel Appleton and his family by Auguste Edouart. below

William Brown produced an entire series of portrait profiles of famous Americans, including several presidents and other political leaders. Brown’s silhouetted figures, placed in appropriate settings, were reproduced lithographically by the firm of E. B. and E. C. Kellogg in Hartford, Connecticut, and published in 1846 in a volume entitled Portrait Gallery of Distinguished American Citizens. A fire destroyed most of the only printing, making the book one of the rarest groups of American silhouettes. In the 1840s and ‘50s the emergence of daguerreotypes and other photographic processes effectively eclipsed silhouettes as a medium of inexpensive portraiture. By the end of the nineteenth century, however, interest revived, spurred by the Colonial Revival movement. Artist Sarah Wyman Whitman, best known for her stained glass and book cover designs, cut a life-size portrait of her friend author Sarah Orne Jewett (illustrated facing page 1). Interest in all things early American drove a market in authentic pieces, whether American or English. Historic New England’s founder, William Sumner Appleton, and interior designer Henry Davis Sleeper, were both enthusiastic collectors. There was a market for high-quality replica silhouettes as well. Olive Percival used money she earned as a secretary to purchase silhouettes from local antique dealers. Among the most interesting pieces she collected were several copies executed in the late 1920s by Pasadena artist Carmen Edgar Denton of works by well-known cutters like Bache and the Revolutionary War hero (and amateur cutter) Colonel André. 30

Denton even pasted advertising labels onto the backs of her pieces, a practice favored by some early nineteenth-century artists. Across the continent, Boston-based Foster Brothers offered mass-produced copies of works by Bache, Peale, and other silhouettists to feed a growing market in Americana. Silhouettes have been with us for centuries, yet their spare, graphic strength makes them equally attractive to modern viewers. Sometimes dismissed as merely nostalgic, they nonetheless forge an intimate connection with the past that contributes to their popularity and esteem among scholars and collectors. In his 1814 advertisement one profile cutter harnessed that power to attract customers by quoting a popular poem “The Joy of Grief” by James Montgomery, Pensive memory then retraces, Scenes of bliss forever fled, Lives in former times and places, Holds communion with the dead. Talismans for absent friends and loved ones, silhouettes maintain their evocative power for us today. —Laura Johnson Associate Curator

Silhouettes were not even known by that name until the mid-nineteenth century. Early terms included shade, profile, shadow picture, skiagram, scissortype, shadow graph, and likeness. The term silhouette is said to derive from Etienne de Silhouette, Controller-General of Finances to Louis XV, whose fiscal conservatism drove him out of office in eight months. His monetary policies were so strict that inexpensive items or miserly actions were described as “à la silhouette.” Auguste Edouart, a French profile cutter who worked for several years in the United States, popularized the term silhouette in order to distinguish himself from other cutters.

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Ma k i ng

f u n

o f

h i s t o ry

u u Stereoscopes and Stereo Views Human beings see with two eyes facing forward, which allows us to perceive depth. In the mid-nineteenth century, photographers developed cameras with two lenses spaced about two-and-a-half inches apart, just like our eyes. The images taken with these cameras, when pasted side by side and seen through a viewer, look completely three-dimensional, just like a 3-D movie.

uu

Around 1860, Boston author Oliver Wendell Holmes invented a hand-held stereoscope that made stereo viewing easy and affordable. Hugely popular, stereo views delighted all ages with their realistic detail and the illusion of depth. Stereoscopes and stereo views were available inexpensively from photography studios, traveling salesmen, or by mail order from the Montgomery Ward Company. Scenes of faraway places gave people a taste of travel to exotic loca-

tions. Other subjects included humorous scenes, disasters, pets, and natural wonders. Eventually, radio and movies replaced stereo viewing as popular entertainment, but the double images still have the power to fascinate. Here are a few of the many stereo views in Historic New England’s collection. —Katy Matsuzaki Education Program Coordinator

u

Using a digital camera, you can even make stereo views of your own. For instructions, visit HistoricNewEngland.org/ stereoview

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P r e s e r v at i o n

Structural repairs at Barrett House, New Ipswich, New Hampshire (left) and Roseland Cottage, Woodstock, Connecticut (above).

Structural Issues in Old Buildings

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ny centuries-old building inevitably will have sustained some sort of structural damage. Some problems may have existed for hundreds of years, especially if green wood was used in the original construction, which can cause surface cracks or settling. Those issues usually appear soon after a building is built, but the structure itself is stable. On the other hand, a problem that appears gradually and grows in intensity may signal something that needs to be investigated. With wood buildings, the biggest cause of structural damage is moisture; water will always find a way to get in and seep into a building’s bones. Sometimes a deteriorated section of a sill or post can be fixed by simply splic-

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ing in a new piece. But when we find an issue that gives us pause, we call in a structural engineer. Assessing the structural engineering of an old building requires balancing many factors. A structural engineer with extensive experience with historic structures can help us review the challenges present in a building. He or she can bridge the gap between historic construction materials and methodologies and the requirements of building codes that deal mostly with modern construction techniques. Over the past three years, we have undertaken a number of structural studies—at Castle Tucker in Wiscasset, Maine; Barrett House barn in New Ipswich, New Hampshire; Gilman Garrison House in Exeter,

New Hampshire; Browne House barn in Watertown, Massachusetts; and Stekionis House at Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm in Newbury, Massachusetts, and also implemented major repairs at Barrett barn and Stekionis House. These investigations were supported by the Preservation Maintenance Fund, dedicated to preserving our collection of historic buildings, all of them important examples of our architectural heritage. The repairs protect the structures as well as the collections they contain and also enhance their presentation to the public. Long-term improvements like these have the effect of reducing future maintenance and operating costs. Historic New England’s commitment to caring for its properties is ongoing, and seeking support for the Preservation Maintenance Fund will continue to be a priority for the organization. —Ben Haavik Team Leader, Property Care We invite you to visit the Preservation News section of our website for updates on recent preservation projects. To donate to the Preservation Maintenance Fund, visit HistoricNewEngland.org/PMF, or call 617994-5951.

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Pe r s p e c t i v e

officers, and unauthorized work on a listed building is a criminal offense that can lead to imprisonment and a fine, essentially we rely on people playing by the rules. The concept of preservation easements and Historic New England’s Stewardship Program were therefore new to me. I must confess that I envied your more manageable property portfolio of eighty-one properties! Historic New England’s Program in New England Studies is an outstanding achievement, younger than the Attingham Trust Summer School but equally deserving of an international reputation. There is a constant flow of Americans to England (please keep coming, we like to see you) but perhaps we English are missing out on New England. It’s high time to reverse the flow! I’ve spent two wonderful summers in New England now, and I’m already wondering: what shall I do for my third?

From an English Point of View

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first encountered American preservation practices in 2010, when I attended the Victorian Society in America’s summer school in Newport, Rhode Island. Eager to learn more, I was delighted the following year to win a scholarship to Historic New England’s Program in New England Studies. The breadth of the program appealed to me because it covered such an extensive period­—colonial to early twentieth century—and included so much splendid eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century material. I greatly enjoyed the chronological journey through New England’s history and architecture. The remarkable sixday schedule of lectures, workshops, tours, and receptions was impeccably organized. Our speakers included some

of the finest experts in their fields, and we visited many fascinating historic houses. Champagne on the terrace at Beauport, that remarkably idiosyncratic house overlooking the water, on a fine New England summer evening, was a fitting end to a perfect week. I was particularly interested to observe the similarities and differences between historic building preservation in America and the UK. In London, I am responsible for the preservation of over 4,500 listed buildings and tens of thousands of conservation area buildings. In the UK, where we are more willing to restrict private property rights, the interiors as well as the exteriors of listed buildings are protected—this is by no means an easy task. Although we have enforcement

—Kristian Kaminski Mr. Kaminski is Conservation Officer for The London Borough of Islington. He may be reached at kristiankaminski@hotmail.com.

top Curator Emeritus Richard Nylander leads the group through the Otis House Museum, Boston. above Kristian Kaminski.

For information on this year’s Program in New England Studies, June 18–23, visit HistoricNewEngland.org.

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Non-Profit Organization U.S. Postage PAID Boston, Massachusetts Permit No. 58621

141 Cambridge Street Boston MA 02114-2702

aC q u i s i t i o ns

A Suburban Ideal

right Rangeley Hall, a kindergarten and social center, designed by George Rand and built in 1877. above Lesley Bangs. Gift of Lesley Anderson.

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n the years around 1889, a teen-aged Lesley Bangs (1873–1919) carried a camera through her neighborhood in Winchester, Massachusetts, capturing its settings for posterity. She photographed houses, a stable, and a social hall along with landscapes. The world that she documented was populated by affluent women and children who had the leisure time to tend a garden, play croquet, or swing in a hammock. A short walk away was the center of Winchester, where businessmen caught the train to Boston. Lesley’s

father, Elisha Bangs, was a banker and stockbroker who became president of the Boston Stock Exchange. Lesley’s pictures illustrate an ideal suburban community, a residential park called Rangeley Place. It was developed in the 1870s by Lesley’s grandfather, David Nelson Skillings, in collaboration with his architect, George Dutton Rand, and was featured twice in the American Architect and Building News. With rolling terrain and a winding road, Rangeley Place preserved the natural topography, reflecting the influ-

ence of Andrew Jackson Downing, whom Rand admired. In 1881, the Boston Herald ran a lengthy article on the development, promoting it as a model at a time when the suburbs were burgeoning. —Maureen Meister, Ph.D. Ms. Meister is an architectural historian and a trustee of Historic New England.

The award-winning Historic New England magazine is a benefit of membership. To join, please visit HistoricNewEngland.org

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Historic New England Spring 2012  

Tad Stahl's Urbanism, photographer Mary Northend, and New England cut-paper silhouettes in the spring 2012 issue of Historic New England mag...

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