historic NEw england SUMMER 2021
ON A ROLL Reproduction Wallpaper Refreshes Hamilton House
Dimensions of Diversity AT OTIS HOUSE
VISIT OUR NEW MAINE PROPERTY
SUMMER 2021 • Vol. 22 • No. 1
historic NEw england
Contents 1 Lessons Learned from the Pandemic 4 Restorative House Work 6 On a Roll 11 Rescuing “The Ruins” 13 A Path to Partnership 16 Gathering and Giving at Casey Farm 19 Displaying Awareness 23 Home Makeover Reveals War of 1812 Burials
26 Honorable and Ancient: Stone Walls 30 Welcome to Bowman House 33 Passion for the Past Funds Plan for
From the President
Our recently adopted Strategic Agenda for 2021-2025 sets in motion an ambitious work plan, with five strategic directions defining exciting forward movement for Historic New England: 1. Reach higher to be the leading voice for the full New England experience through authentic, inclusive, bold, and innovative storytelling, leveraging our museums, sites, collections, archives, easement program, and new opportunities that span the region. 2. Build a powerful network of historic preservation and community stakeholders by ambitiously pursuing new avenues for engagement, membership, and partnership. 3. Become a visible center of excellence in urgent advocacy and policy initiatives in support of preservation, sustainability, and livability, particularly in our site communities. 4. Expand deep and meaningful engagement in our historic landscapes and farms to promote the region’s landscape heritage and spirit and motivate sustainability practice. 5. Share the transformative impact of our education programs with youth regionally to reach more students, their families, and communities, building lifelong connections. Our new agenda is based on an intensive planning process anchored by the core tenets of inclusion, sustainability, and innovation. We began our planning with task forces—led by staff and board leadership—to identify new mandates and actions for inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility. While it will take time to fulfill the promise of our strategic priorities, so much is already underway. Scholars are joining our staff to deepen and expand the stories we share, we are taking public positions to support historic preservation in the face of development, our landscapes are becoming increasingly activated, and new education programs are being launched. It’s a fiercely innovative and dynamic time at Historic New England, with a growing membership throughout the region. When I began my tenure one year ago, the COVID-19 pandemic had us fully in its grip, but the organization never lost its hold on serving its members and the public. With an extraordinary, diverse, and robust range of virtual programs, we reached thousands and we found a way to be together in person through opening our landscapes and offering outdoor tours, including in the snow and rain. This issue of the magazine brims with optimism as we carry our work forward through a number of inspiring domains—from the brilliant restoration at Hamilton House in South Berwick, Maine; and new partnerships that forge together conservation, job training, and opportunity; to a story of innovation as we build on lessons learned from the pandemic. Thank you for your support of our work and your passion for historic preservation and its critical place in today’s world.
34 Old Chest Restored to Quincy House
Vin Cipolla President and CEO
HISTORIC NEW ENGLAND magazine is a benefit of membership. To become a member, visit HistoricNewEngland.org or call 617-994-5910. Comments? Email Info@HistoricNewEngland.org. Historic New England is funded in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council. President and CEO: Vin Cipolla Executive Editor: Diane Viera Editor: Dorothy A. Clark Editorial Review Team: Nancy Carlisle, Senior Curator of Collections; Lorna Condon, Senior Curator of Library and Archives; Leigh Schoberth, Senior Preservation Services Manager Design: Julie Kelly Design Corrections: “An Overlooked History: Slavery in New England” (Winter 2021) stated that Tisquantum (Squanto) was subsequently kidnapped after brokering peaceful relations for the Pilgrims. Tisquantum was initially captured, made his way back to New England several years later, then aided the Pilgrims. “Art In Memoriam” (Winter 2021) Charlotte Davenport is misidentified as the grandniece of Trinity Church rector Phillip Brooks. She was the grandniece of Addington Davenport, the church’s first rector, who served from 1740-1746. Also, Sarah Wyman Whitman designed the Prescott family gravestones and the Revolutionary War monument dedicated to Battle of Bunker Hill commander Colonel William Prescott in Pepperell, Massachusetts, in 1898, not 1895. COVER A section of the reproduction pillar and arch pattern wallpaper recently installed at Hamilton House in South Berwick, Maine.
Historic New England 141 Cambridge Street Boston MA 02114-2702 617-227-3956
© 2021 Historic New England. Except where noted, all historic photographs and ephemera are from Historic New England’s Library and Archives.
from the Pandemic by PETER GITTLEMAN Team Leader for Visitor Experience
A child makes a magical find during a fairy house scavenger hunt on the grounds of the Eustis Estate in Milton, Massachusetts.
s we begin to see light at the end of the long tunnel in which we have been trapped since March of last year, Historic New England welcomes you back this summer to many more historic sites and increased opportunities for personal interaction. The past year was filled with uncertainty and constant change, and throughout we tried to remain nimble and adapt to an ever-changing set of rules and precautions designed to keep staff, members, and visitors safe. During the long months of the COVID-19 pandemic we experimented with new ways of serving the public that allowed us to safely keep some of our sites open, encourage use of our landscapes,
and connect with visitors in cyberspace. As we get back to normal, many of our new outreach efforts were so successful that we are carrying them forward this year and beyond.
Virtual lectures, workshops, and performances
In spring 2020, when it became impossible to hold any type of public program in person, Historic New England began offering programs online for a modest fee. We quickly discovered that geography no longer played a role in people’s decisions to attend a lecture, workshop, or concert. Where once program space was filled with people from within a twenty-mile radius, our virtual programs attracted people from
across the country, and even some from beyond the United States. No longer was room capacity an issue since the virtual auditorium has a vast number of seats. To expand our audience further, we used a flexible fee model that encouraged participants to pay what they could afford. This model covered program costs and attracted a more diverse audience than we ever would have seen at museum events.
Virtual school programs
By March, our museums were closed and the schools we partnered with for years were teaching students remotely. To help, Historic New England’s education staff created virtual versions of many of our school programs that we HistoricNewEngland.org
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PAGE 2 TOP Micro-weddings were a successful alternative to larger nuptials during the pandemic. Crisp October foliage at the Codman Estate Carriage House in Lincoln, Massachusetts, provided the perfect backdrop for this couple’s Halloweeninspired ceremony. BOTTOM This traditional Jewish ceremony in the parlor at the Eustis Estate in Milton, Massachusetts, was a memorable micro-wedding to end our winter season this past March. LEFT Historic New England President and CEO Vin Cipolla (center) with visitors in September 2020 on the “Breath of Fresh Air” landscape tour at Beauport, the Sleeper-McCann House, in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Photograph by Bill McQueen.
could present live, sometimes from staff members’ homes and other times while walking through empty museums. As word spread that we had offerings that could be accessed from home, teachers beyond our usual partners asked for services. We listed our virtual offerings online and began providing programs nationwide. They are now a permanent addition to our onsite school programs.
To accommodate visitors at our six open historic sites in 2020, we had to limit the number of people who could tour at one time. This could only be accomplished through timed tickets sold in advance online, an approach we had never before tried. With a bit of work behind the scenes by our technology staff, we quickly pivoted to prepurchased timed tickets to a variety of events ranging from large-scale outdoor programs such as our fine arts and crafts festivals to more modest homeschool programs. We will continue offering timed tickets for many tours and programs, which is convenient for visitors and allows us to the manage crowds more effectively.
Before any of our museum buildings could reopen in July 2020, we made twelve landscapes available for socially distanced public use. At the Gloucester, Massachusetts, seaside gardens of Beauport, the Sleeper-McCann House, we created an intimate opportunity for family pods, allowing them to rent the space for private picnics. Families celebrated birthdays, anniversaries, or just got out of the house and enjoyed the gardens overlooking Gloucester Harbor. This offering was so popular we kept it going through the summer and fall and are continuing it this year.
Historic New England began offering micro-weddings last summer, adhering to gathering sizes limited by state guidelines. Most had fewer than fifteen people, but offered couples a safe and inexpensive option for a ceremony, photographs, and a celebratory event at a beautiful site during a challenging time. Nearly fifty couples took advantage of the opportunity at sites in five states, and we realized that this was a great model going forward for couples looking to have streamlined, affordable weddings.
With so many indoor events canceled in 2020, Historic New England planned several new ones that were exclusively outdoors, where required social distancing could be maintained. Several of these were such a hit that we will have them again. At the Eustis Estate in Milton, Massachusetts, we transformed our fall children’s program into a fairy house event with timed tickets that sold out within days. Family groups came at appointed times to explore the grounds in search of fairy houses nestled in the gardens and woods. A winter holiday market, also at the Eustis Estate, attracted hundreds of people over a five-hour span that was carefully planned to give visitors and vendors space to stay safe. Although these changes to our regular programs were in response to the pandemic, all have proven that they will be valuable beyond the time when we have to worry about limiting numbers and social distancing. No matter what the circumstances, in trying new ways to serve the public, there are always lessons to be learned. HistoricNewEngland.org
RESTORATIVE House Work
by JODI BLACK Supervising Preservation Manager
ime and weather have taken a toll on Hamilton House in South Berwick, Maine. The roof of this National Historic Landmark needs to be replaced, the paint is starting to peel, and it has lost some decorative elements on the dormers. But all is not lost. Historic New England has raised half of the $330,000 needed for repairs through a grant from the National Park Service’s Save America’s Treasures (SAT) program. SAT recognizes nationally significant properties and Hamilton House, built c.1785, fits the criteria. This striking Georgian mansion is perched on a picturesque bluff at a bend in the Salmon Falls River. The
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square residence is finely balanced with symmetrically placed wood windows and has wood clapboard siding. The main door is framed by pilasters and topped by a Doricstyle triangular pediment. The three dormers feature alternating triangular and circular broken pediments and the elaborate cornice line includes dentils and modillion adornment. The building is topped by a steeply pitched wood shingle hipped roof and four soaring brick chimneys. A large arched window sits centrally located above the entrance on the north elevation, providing views to the river and forests beyond. Although the property changed hands many times
Views of a section of the roof and a dormer at Hamilton House. Overall, the roof has missing, cupped, and severely deteriorated wood shingles that will be replaced in kind. The structure’s wood windows have loose glazing and missing paint and will be conserved. Some wood elements are missing paint and there are areas where decorative elements (bottom photograph) have been lost. Work will include replacing the missing elements and repainting the house.
before being bequeathed to Historic New England by Elise Tyson Vaughan, who died at the age of seventy-eight in 1949, it has maintained the core features of a Georgian country seat. Vaughan and her stepmother, Emily Tyson (1856-1922), purchased the property in 1898. Working with Boston architect Herbert W. C. Browne and artist George Porter Fernald to rehabilitate the property, the Tysons combined elegant antiques, painted murals, and country furnishings that reflected the period’s nostalgic impression of America’s colonial past. The goal of the Hamilton House preservation project is to not only ensure protection of the exterior but also to prepare for weather conditions based on climate change predictions. This preservation effort focuses on replacing the wood shingle roof in kind; conserving the windows; repointing the brick chimneys and the stone foundation; and repairing and painting the cladding, trim, and exterior ornamental features. With the building situated on the waterfront, weather has always contributed to its deterioration. Factoring in an increase of more intense wind and rainstorms, higher heat and stronger ultraviolet degradation, and more cycles of freeze-thaw, historic properties are further challenged for the future. A secure exterior envelope and roof, gutters, and siding are critical areas of protection, however just replacing a roof and painting the building is not enough. Historic New England’s 2018 study on gutter capacity and rainfall projections showed that those at Hamilton House were barely adequate for today’s intense rainstorms, let alone storms in the future. The SAT project will make the gutter system larger to ensure that the capacity is there for increases in rain predicted for the next several decades. Historic New England conducted the gutter efficiency study with a grant from the Maine Historic Preservation Commission’s Federal Historic Preservation Fund. Several white papers were drafted that include recommendations, which are available at
historicnewengland.org/preservation/for-professionalsstudents/property-care-white-papers/gutters-anddownspouts/. We need your help to raise the $165,000 needed to match the Save America’s Treasures grant. For more information and to make a donation, please contact Manager of Community Partnerships and Resource Development Ken Turino at 617-994-5958. Thank you. HistoricNewEngland.org
ARLISLE by NANCY C f ro Senior Curato s n io Collect
Reproduction wallpaper renews historic look at Hamilton House
mily Tyson and her stepdaughter, Elise, had only once seen the century-plus-old Hamilton House with its 110 acres in South Berwick, Maine, when they learned from their friend, the author Sarah Orne Jewett, in 1898 that the property was for sale. Elise later stated in a letter that “so strong was the charm for us that nothing more was necessary, and we neither of us saw it again until we owned it.” The Tysons immediately set about renovating it for use as a summer house. They hired architect Herbert W. C. Browne, a founding partner of the Boston firm Little and Browne, to work with them on the restoration. It was probably Browne who encouraged them to reproduce the original eighteenth-century wallpaper in the center hallway. The Tysons commissioned a reproduction from the Boston-based wallpaper company Gregory and Brown. That reproduction paper has remained in place for about a decade longer than the
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PAGE 6 A workman installing the first pillar and arch reproduction wallpaper at Hamilton House in 1898. The Tysons had the wallpaper reproduced from the original eighteenth-century design that was in the house when they bought it. Above Wallpaper contractor Sarah Smyth of John J. Smyth, Ltd., of Medford, Massachusetts, installing the new reproduction paper in thespring of this year.
For color matching, a sample of the new product (on the right) was laid over a segment of the 1898 wallpaper. Below Jack Bryant of Adelphi Paper Hangings using a foot-operated block printing press to reproduce the pillar and arch pattern.
eighteenth-century covering it replaced. The Hamilton pillar and arch wallpaper (so called for obvious reasons) is one of the best documented wallpapers in Historic New England’s collection of more than 6,500 examples. Not only do we have a large sample of the original wallpaper as well as unused samples of the nineteenthcentury reproduction, we also have photographs showing the reproduction wallpaper being installed in the late 1890s. The eighteenth-century paper was probably printed in Boston, an early example from the wallpaper industry that took off after the American Revolution. It was blockprinted in white, brown, and black on a gray ground. The 1898 paper was block-printed using the same colors, but on a bright blue ground. The blue ground on the installed paper had already faded when Emily Tyson donated an unused piece in 1917. More than thirty years ago, when the paper was beginning to fail, Historic New England convened a group of wallpaper and preservation experts to determine whether it should be removed and replaced. The group decided that because of its importance as one of the earliest documented examples of reproduction wallpaper, we should keep it in place as long as possible. However, three decades later the deteriorated wallpaper and problems with the wall meant that the time had come to replace the 1890s wallpaper. Historic New England grappled with three options. The first was to digitally reproduce the paper. Historic New England has used this technology with very good results for reproduction papers installed at Beauport, the Sleeper-McCann House, 8
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A view of the staircase after completion of the wallpaper installation.
in Gloucester, Massachusetts, and Quincy House in Quincy, Massachusetts. Although this was the least expensive reproduction method, the digital quality was not sufficient because of the huge expanse to be covered. The second option, widely used in the ninetenth century, was roller printing. Invented in Scotland at the
end of the eighteenth century, roller printing uses engraved designs on large, power-driven cylinders with a separate cylinder for each color. This process is cost prohibitive for special orders because of the expense of setting up the cylinders. The third choice, used for the original Hamilton House wallpaper and the 1890s reproduction, was
block printing. This is the most labor-intensive method, but the results are luscious, resulting in inks that appear almost tactile on the surface of the paper. Because of the importance of the Hamilton House wallpaper, Historic New England selected this technique. Working with Adelphi Paper Hangings, a Sharon Springs, New HistoricNewEngland.org
TOP Contractor John Smyth removing the old wallpaper. Bottom A close-up of the wall shows bulging plaster, which required extensive repair before the reproduction wallpaper could be hung.
York, company that specializes in blockprinted wallpapers, we spent several months refining the final product. Before production began, our first task was to determine the appropriate blue to use for the ground color. This was particularly challenging because we were trying to match a blue that we know had faded by the 1920s, the period of interpretation for the interior of the house. We consulted with Richard Nylander, curator emeritus of Historic New England, a renowned wallpaper expert and the curator responsible for the furnishings plan at Hamilton House. Both the original eighteenth-century paper and the 1890s paper were printed in three colors. Once inked, the blocks were aligned using registration pins at each corner of the paper. The blocks were then pressed down using a foot-powered lever. As each impression was completed the paper was advanced and the process repeated. When the full length was inked it was hoisted to the ceiling and hung in the eighteenth-century manner in a festoon to dry before the next color was applied. With the reproduction wallpaper now in place, the vision of Jonathan Hamilton as well as that of Emily and Elise Tyson is restored. For a behind-the-scenes look at the reproduction and hanging of the Hamilton House pillar and arch wallpaper, visit HistoricNewEngland.org/ HamiltonHouseWallpaper. This virtual program, recorded earlier this year, gives an overview of printing and restoration techniques. It also explores Historic New England’s wallpaper collection, which is one of the largest and best documented in the country.
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Rescuing “The Ruins” by MARILYN KEITH DALY South Berwick Site Manager
Tomorrow we are looking for some friends who mean to come down from town to look at the old house I have often told you about. …The old houses look at each other as if they said, “Good heavens! the things that we remember!”
—Sarah Orne Jewett in a letter to Sally Norton, April 1, 1898. From Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett, edited by Annie Fields, 1911. Transcription by Terry Heller, Coe College.
Above Emily Tyson and Sarah Orne Jewett in the doorway of Hamilton House in South Berwick, Maine. Tyson’s stepdaughter, Elizabeth “Elise” Tyson, took this photograph on June 30, 1895.
beloved place in jeopardy; a mission to save it. Sarah Orne Jewett had loved Hamilton House since childhood. She had visited the house, located in her hometown of South Berwick, Maine, with her father, a country doctor. As an adult, the celebrated author found respite at Hamilton House, riding her horse, Sheila, across its fields, canoeing in its river, and walking in its woods. In 1881 Jewett wrote in a sketch titled “An October Ride” that serene Hamilton House had eluded “the destructive left hand of progress.” By 1898, however, Hamilton House had fallen into disrepair. Locals had begun calling it “The Ruins.” The owner put the property up for sale. In Hamilton House lore, Jewett, determined to find a buyer who would restore the place, approached Boston acquaintance Emily Tyson. Tyson, the widow of a financier, HistoricNewEngland.org
Left Sarah Orne Jewett’s letter dated March 24, 1898, encouraging Emily Tyson to buy Hamilton House. Below Emily Tyson stands at the top step underneath an arbor in the garden at Hamilton House in September 1903.
and her adult stepdaughter, Elise, were interested in acquiring a country retreat. Recently, an 1898 letter that Jewett wrote to Tyson about purchasing Hamilton House came to light. Richard Becker, an antiques dealer in South Berwick, obtained the letter and shared its contents with Historic New England. In the letter, Jewett wrote Tyson that should she want to buy the property, there could be a delay in closing on the sale because the owner was beset with family issues. She goes on to say that “if you should wish it, I could try to get [the seller] to employ our lawyer…and he would put matters through quickly.” In confirming that Jewett was instrumental in the Tysons’ purchase of Hamilton House, the letter offers a vital link to the site’s history. It also exemplifies the value of primary source material for researchers. Gone are the filters of interpretation. The reader becomes first-hand witness to the moment in time. Letters from Jewett to her partner Annie Fields and to friends during 12
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the Hamilton House restoration evoke a friendship between Jewett and the Tysons deepening beyond acquaintanceship. Jewett wrote of the Tysons staying with her family during the Hamilton House restoration; of sitting in the garden with the Tysons; of going to the circus with them—and even that Emily charitably “paid in a lot of little boys [to the circus].” Jewett noted in a letter to Annie Fields: “Mrs. Tyson has gone down to the house and will not be back until late this afternoon. It is a lovely day to be out of doors and to see about her planting &c.” Jewett was so pleased about the Tysons’ restoration of the site that she wrote The Tory Lover, a novel anachronistically set on the eve of the American Revolution at Hamilton House (the house was built c. 1785). The Tysons were so delighted with the novel that they added interior design elements in homage to the work to their first-floor reception room. The reception room also houses a Jewett work, Betty Leicester’s Christmas with the
inscription, “For little Emily and her squirrel from their affectionate friend, The Author!” The twenty-first century visitor to Hamilton House can now use the wrought iron chairs that Jewett and Tyson may have sat in; look out on the garden, river, and fields; and perhaps glimpse a descendant of Emily’s squirrel scampering across the path. The chairs have been conserved for visitors’ enjoyment, the gardens lovingly maintained, the fields opened, and the river is home to a wide variety of birds. With Jewett’s encouragement, the Tysons preserved Hamilton House for their family’s present. Bequeathing the site to Historic New England gave it . a future.
A Path to Partnership
The Westover-Bacon-Potts Farm, just north of the Appalachian Trail in western Massachusetts, reflects more than 200 years of agricultural practices in the Berkshires. Cooperation among local and regional partners ensures that this special place will continue to thrive for decades to come.
by CARISSA DEMORE Team Leader for Preservation Services
rom a sharp bend in the Appalachian Trail as it traverses Jug End a mile north of Mount Bushnell, a hiker can look out across a scenic expanse of rocky outcrops, forested hillsides, and agricultural fields interspersed with the small towns that characterize the Berkshire Valley in Massachusetts. Following the trail a couple of miles to the east, down into the valley below, the historic Westover-BaconPotts Farm stands in Egremont
adjacent to the trail as a reminder of an agrarian past and a tangible connection to the preservation and conservation priorities of future generations. Stretching more than 2,000 miles from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine, the Appalachian Trail is a 100-year-old hiking path that more than 1,000 hikers traverse annually, as well as millions of local and regional explorers who feel called to take a walk in nature. But rather
than insulating hikers in untouched wilderness, the Appalachian Trail has always intentionally connected its visitors to a variety of cultural experiences—at times inspirational and at times confrontational. The very goal of its creation—as envisioned by New England planner and forester Benton MacKaye in a 1921 article published in the Journal of the American Institute of Architects titled “An Appalachian Trail: A Project in Regional Planning”—was to challenge the economic and HistoricNewEngland.org
The nineteenth-century bank barn (left) takes advantage of the undulating topography of the farm. It is called a bank barn because its hillside construction provides ground-level access to the building’s two stories for carts, wagons, and animals.
industrial realities of the United States and reestablish a cooperative relationship between urban and rural spheres, calling for alignment of innumerable disciplines from architecture to ecology, food production to religious philosophy. Befitting this grand planning vision, Westover-BaconPotts Farm is made up of 150 acres of purposefully conserved landscape and a historic core of farm buildings that shows the evolution of a farm in continuous use from the mid-eighteenth through the mid-twentieth century. The oldest building in the complex, and perhaps the oldest dwelling in Egremont, is the c. 1744 saltbox farmhouse arranged in typical three-room plan around a large central chimney. The house connects to a nineteenth-century horse barn, now repurposed as offices for today’s owners, via a long, low ell. Across the yard, an eighteenth-century shed is hidden behind a late nineteenth-century barn, set into the hillslope. Colonial settlement was very new to Egremont when Westover-Bacon-Potts Farm was constructed. In the early eighteenth century, much of the surrounding land was included in a reservation of the Mahican tribe. The farmhouse was constructed by Jonah Westover, who settled on property owned by Joseph Van Guilder, the descendant of a Mahican man named Toanuck/ 14
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Tawanut who was also called John Van Guilder. Westover acquired the property in 1751 and continued to farm crops and maintain livestock. The Bacon family acquired the property in 1859 and continued farming operations. Through 1966, the farm remained in Bacon ownership, with descendants eventually marrying into the Potts family. Starting in 1967, as the property transitioned from working farm to summer home, new owners took an interest in its historic significance. Consulting with Colonial Williamsburg, the owners restored decorative painting in the house’s entry stairhall, while a modern kitchen was sensitively inserted and heating and plumbing systems were introduced. The barn was repurposed to house antiques. The next owner, Mary Margaret Kellogg, who purchased the property with her husband, Charles, during the Bicentennial, secured an even more enduring connection with the property’s history. Starting in the 1980s, Kellogg carefully divided the land into seven parcels in an elaborate strategy to ensure appropriate protections for different components of the farm. Fifty acres were restricted for agricultural preservation under the direction of the American Farmland Trust. Thirty-five acres were protected via conservation and preservation
The new partnership is an exciting opportunity to consider ways to ensure that the farm remains relevant and responsive to current and future needs of the Egremont community and, especially, the young people who have the opportunity to work there.
restrictions managed by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. An additional fifty acres were associated directly with protections for the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. Kellogg’s generosity in ensuring the perpetual protection of such a large and significant property was continued in 2004 when she donated Westover-BaconPotts Farm to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. In 2014, the conservancy contacted Historic New England about the preservation restrictions on the historic farm core to ensure that the perpetual protections Kellogg had intended would be properly overseen by an organization with historic preservation expertise. The process of transferring oversight of the preservation restrictions to Historic New England was complex. In order to be successful, Historic New England and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy needed to make sure that goals for adapting the property to an increasingly public use were aligned with the priorities detailed in the preservation restrictions. Discussions between the organizations ranged from the appropriate location of a parking area to the potential use of the large barn as a functions venue. Throughout the process, the Egremont Historical Commission was an integral partner whose members could speak on behalf of the community
and add much needed local perspective about the significance of the farm and its potential future use. Over the course of a seven-year exploration of adaptive use opportunities and preservation concerns, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy determined that it was in its best interest to transfer ownership of the property and a fourth partner was introduced: Greenagers Inc. A thriving nonprofit organization based in the Berkshires, Greenagers offers paid jobs and environmental education programs for teens and young adults, building skills in trail maintenance, stone wall reconstruction, animal husbandry, and organic farming. Their interest in the cultural history and environmental value of Westover-Bacon-Potts Farm made them ideally suited owners for the dynamic site. The addition of Greenagers was key to the dialogue about the future of Westover-Bacon-Potts Farm, ensuring a capable organizational partner for both Historic New England and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, which continues to hold conservation restrictions on parcels surrounding the historic farm buildings. Two years after acquiring the farm, Greenagers is implementing innovative, regenerative farm practices that improve the health of the soil and the health of the surrounding communities when young people replicate these small-scale farming techniques at their own properties. Looking ahead, the organization is developing plans to increase the use of the barn for public programs and considering options to make use of the farmhouse. The new partnership between Greenagers, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and Historic New England’s Preservation Easement Program is an exciting opportunity to consider ways to ensure that the nearly 300-year-old farm remains relevant and responsive to current and future needs of the Egremont community and, especially, the young people who have the opportunity to work there. That, in turn, ensures that Westover-Bacon-Potts Farm’s long heritage in the region and along the Appalachian Trail is preserved. HistoricNewEngland.org
Gathering andGiving at Casey Farm
by JANE HENNEDY Site Manager, Southern Rhode Island
istoric New England’s farm properties are excellent places to delve into what we owe to and what we need to own up to in our relationship with Indigenous peoples. The land we now cultivate at Casey Farm in Saunderstown, Rhode Island, had been cultivated by the Narragansett people for millennia until colonizers took it by force and unfair transactions. Historic New England benefits from this history of cultivation, a history that is tied to oppression, even as we strive to enlighten ourselves as well as visitors. In 2018, we improved our museum gallery with the addition of artifacts found over the years at the farm to better reflect the story of the land. Lorén Spears, executive director of the Tomaquag Museum in Exeter, Rhode Island, led us to see how we could expand that story by adding contemporary pieces that convey the continuity and creativity of Rhode Island’s Indigenous community. Recently, we added images of these
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works of art to Casey.Farm, a new online experience. When Historic New England was awarded a $300,000 grant from National Endowment for the Humanities through the federal government’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to create a virtual tour in each New England state, we chose Casey Farm as the Rhode Island site. Serving more than 50,000 people annually in pre-pandemic times through our organic farm’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, farmers market, field trips, summer camps, and educational programs, we already had a store of content for the web app. Historic New England staff photographer Neil Dixon added more to the project by transforming his dynamic images into a 360-degree experience in the gallery and beyond. We wanted to transmit original voices and images with as little filtering as possible to let the audience connect with the content. Sometimes this approach took the form of bringing the audience along virtually to pick up a CSA share or visit the animals, sometimes it meant quoting from sources and showing authentic materials. When it came to presenting an Indigenous perspective, it meant asking Spears to be our guide and partner once again. Spears explained that her tradition is a spoken one and that she would be inspired by what she saw around her, so videos taken on site would convey her thoughts and culture better than essays or off-site videos. We developed questions for Spears so that we could add her knowledge to several parts of the virtual tour. For example, we wanted to know how she would interpret the name that Thomas Lincoln Casey gave the farm in the 1890s, “Namaukut.” We asked how we could expand on our partnership in the gallery. We asked about how Narragansett people cultivated the land traditionally. Spears answered those questions and more. Starting in the gallery, Spears gave details and context for the Indigenous artworks, ending with the profound statement that “there is no Rhode Island history without Narragansett/Niantic history, and no U.S. history without Indigenous peoples’ history. We are the land and we are connected to this place.”
We moved outside to woodland areas and then to a stone wall, at Spears’s request. She expanded on the interdependent nature of Indigenous lifeways, explaining how all the growing things, animals, and what people often think of as inanimate objects were gifts to her ancestors and today are gifts to Spears and her family. “We think of everything in this ecosystem in a holistic way,” she says. “What is edible, what is medicinal, what is useful, and what is spiritual, and our ancestors looked at this in this way and they gave thanks daily for the gifts from the Creator. This ecosystem is full of bounty.” Spears explained her people’s way of giving thanks for these gifts and how they have endured and thrived
PAGE 16 Sculptor Allison Newsome and artist Deborah Spears Moorehead collaborated to make “Three Sisters” Rainkeep on display here in Providence, Rhode Island. Historic New England purchased the sculpture for its Three Sisters planting bed in the Education Garden at Casey Farm in Saunderstown, Rhode Island. above: Lorén Spears, executive director of Tomaquag Museum in Exeter, Rhode Island, shares some of the history of the Casey Farm area, which is located within the ancestral homelands of the Narragansett Nation.
The Three Sisters crop at Casey Farm. The name pays homage to a Native American agricultural tradition of growing the dietary staples corn, beans, and squash—the Three Sisters.
through centuries of oppression. “As we think about this space today and how we’ve been dispossessed of this place, part of the reason we did the partnership with Casey Farm was to decolonize the space, and to remind people that, not only were we here, but we’re still here, and that Indigenous people are connected to this place, even as it’s occupied by others,” she says. [“Decolonize” refers to the work that some museums and other institutions are undertaking to reevaluate the Western/ Eurocentric dominance in their ideology and practices concerning artifacts and works of Indigenous cultures and people of color.] We have a new opportunity to honor Indigenous lifeways through a contemporary sculpture of a rain collector titled “Three Sisters” Rainkeep. Sculptor Allison 18
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Newsome and artist Deborah Spears Moorehead, who is of Wampanoag descent, show the Eastern Woodlands story of the Sky Woman falling to earth and giving people her daughters—corn, beans, and squash—to sustain them. The artists made it for the 2020 PVD Fest in Providence, Rhode Island. Historic New England purchased it for Casey Farm’s Education Garden, which features a Three Sisters planting bed. Gathering and then sharing the harvest is what we do at Casey Farm. By taking in what Spears and others teach us, we are brought farther along on the journey of understanding and are better able to share the manylayered stories that the land now called Casey Farm holds. You are invited to come with us and share your perspectives, too.
Dimensions of Diversity exhibits a wider scope of by KEN TURINO Manager of Community Partnerships and Resource Development
An Islamic leader in Orono, Maine, in 2011. Photograph by Edwin Martin.
imensions of Diversity, a new installation
outside the entrance to the Library and Archives at Otis House in Boston, didn’t come about in the usual way that Historic New England exhibitions are created. It was conceived in spring 2018 as an assignment for the Museum Studies Exhibition Planning course at Tufts University. The course instructors are Ken Turino, Historic New England’s manager of community partnerships and resource development; and Matt Kirchman, a member of Historic New England’s Council. The goals of the course are to teach students how to plan an exhibition from idea conception to opening day—to hone research and academic skills in the creation of specific exhibition content, techniques, text, and materials. In this case, the students’ final project was to draft a detailed plan for a creative, engaging, and informative exhibition, mining Historic New England’s collections to highlight diversity. This allowed the students to define
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what diversity meant to them and helped Historic New England foster discussions about diversity and inclusion. The diverse class of fifteen students was divided into three groups to create different proposals to be evaluated by Historic New England. The students examined varied research materials, including photographs, ephemera, and artifacts. Although the groups looked at much of the same material, each came up with a distinct concepts. For the final class meeting each group presented its exhibition concepts. That set the stage for our diversity community engagement intern, Sara Dean, a graduate student in Northeastern University’s Program in Public History, to take the three concepts and adapt them to a single vision. While Dean worked on her project we secured Spokeshave Design of Watertown, Massachusetts, to complete the design and plan the installation of the exhibition, which was completed during the winter. Several donors helped make Dimensions of Diversity
a reality, among them members of Historic New England’s Appleton Circle. We hope you will stop by and see this installation, which features examples of New Englanders who, through their lives, their triumphs, and their struggles, have made the region the vibrant, diverse community that it is today.
Diversity’s Common Denominators by Sara R. Dean
I joined this project as Historic New England’s community engagement diversity intern in summer 2018. The Tufts University student groups had produced three excellent proposals on the topic of diversity in New England history. My task was to draw from each of these proposals’ strengths, to contribute my ideas and research, and to present a formal exhibition proposal to
Historic New England at the end of the summer. I felt that it was vital to explore the significance and real meaning behind the theme of diversity. Toward that end, I organized the exhibition around three interpretive subthemes—relationships, personal expression, and livelihood—in order to demonstrate what these common life experiences looked like for members of diverse groups throughout New England’s history. My intention was to avoid reducing the subjects to “being diverse” and instead build a window into the multitude of lives lived in New England’s past. These themes provided the framework for Dimensions of Diversity, but the final proposal consisted of many components, from artifacts and label text, to funding and budget plans, background research, public and educational programming, and so much more. I had the unique opportunity to collaborate with Historic
PAGE 20 A first edition of Phillis Wheatley’s book, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, published in London in 1773. ABOVE Students attending Perkins Institute for the Blind in South Boston, Massachusetts, playing archball (also called pass ball) in 1906. Photograph by Baldwin Coolidge.
LEFT A pamphlet distributed in 1921-1922 describing the work of the North Bennet Street Industrial School in Boston’s North End. The school provided assistance to new immigrants that included vocational training and summer camps. BELOW In this case (clockwise) are a 1915 vase crafted by Paul Revere Pottery in the North End that was decorated by a member of the Saturday Evening Girls Club, founded in 1899 to acculturate the daughters of recent Italian and Jewish immigrants through reading and arts education; Jason K. Brown of the Penobscot Nation made this creation cuff in 2015 depicting the Wabanaki origin tale about cultural hero Gluskap; literature pertaining to the polio epidemic in the United States during the 1950s, including the book Polio Pioneers: The Story of the Fight Against Polio by Dorothy and Philip Sterling; and two rings that Stephen H. Borkowski and his partner, the late Wilfrid J. Michaud, had engraved with the letters UBLUD—United By Love Until Death—to commemorate their relationship because they were prohibited from marrying.
New England experts in planning every part of a professional exhibition, and above all to learn by doing. I presented the final proposal to Historic New England in August 2018. It has been a pleasure to watch Dimensions of Diversity come to fruition. Sara R. Dean holds a master’s in public history from Northeastern University. She has conducted research on African American history for Revolutionary Spaces in Boston. Sara is currently working as department coordinator for Academic Affairs at Berklee College of Music in Boston. 22
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Archaeologists from the University of Vermont Consulting Archaeology Program excavating burials within the footprint of a house addition in Burlington, Vermont.
HOME MAKEOVER Reveals War of 1812 Burials
by KATE KENNY, JOHN CROCK, AND BRETT OSTRUM University of Vermont Consulting Archaeology Program and JESS ROBINSON Vermont State Archaeologist
wners of historic houses know that renovation projects inevitably lead to surprises, both big and small. However, one homeowner in downtown Burlington, Vermont, gutting and expanding a latenineteenth-century house in the fall of 2020, may be able to claim one of the most unusual surprises of all.
Outlines of coffins can be seen as archaeologists clear soil from the site. A total of seventeen grave shafts were uncovered. Archaeologists worked for two weeks excavating each grave shaft and recording and removing the burials.
As the mechanical excavator removed the first bucket of earth from the footprint of the new addition, human remains and fragments of a decayed coffin were exposed. As soon as the excavator operator saw what he thought was a human bone, he followed protocol and immediately notified the police. Detectives then called the state medical examiner, who determined that the remains, indeed human, were historic and not associated with a crime. He called in State Archaeologist Jess Robinson to take up the investigation. Robinson confirmed the findings and, in consultation with John Crock of the University of Vermont’s Consulting Archaeology Program, formulated a plan to recover the individual remains and investigate the rest of the footprint for the addition to the house. Robinson and Crock knew that more than one burial was likely. The discovery of groups of unmarked graves in Burlington’s Old North End has occurred routinely since at least the 1850s, when houses were built, city sewers and waterlines installed, fuel tanks placed, and even once when a creemee (soft-serve ice cream) stand was erected in 1955. In fact, this very address was known to have been mentioned at least three times as a place for burials in midtwentieth-century newspapers. The Vermont State Historic Preservation Office acted immediately to arrange state funding to support 24
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the evaluation of the roughly 500-square-foot addition site. To determine if more burials were present, and if so, how many, archaeologists carefully stripped away the topsoil in small increments—with the aid of a mechanical excavator—across the entire area looking for the telltale contrast between disturbed and undisturbed soils. Ultimately, the outlines of seventeen grave shafts were exposed. They had been laid out in three rows extending west from the foundation of the old house. The graves were arranged with heads to the west and feet to the east. Each grave appeared to be a single burial, with approximately one-and-a-half to three feet between them. These were probably the remains of adults or teenagers, as there were no young children or infants among them. Over the next two weeks, teams of archaeologists carefully excavated each grave shaft to record and remove the burials. It turns out that archaeologists get surprises, too. Only seven of the seventeen graves contained full skeletons; ten graves had already been exhumed. Soil stratigraphy and other clues, such as the lack of even small skeletal elements, suggest that they were removed carefully, before the house was built, and probably before the wooden coffins had deteriorated significantly. Based on historic reports, these graves may be among those from which medical students at the University of Vermont and Castleton University acquired anatomical specimens in the 1820s and 1830s.
Schematic map shows the location of grave shafts that the archaeologists discovered.
As the modern archaeological excavations progressed, the minimal number of personal finds in the burials left dating them unconfirmed—until the discovery of several military uniform buttons in some of the graves that are consistent with the War of 1812 time period. The initial analysis of the seven sets of recovered remains shows that at least six were male or likely male (with one indeterminate) and that two were probably in their late teens. Three were between the ages of twenty-one and thirty, and two were between thirty and thirty-four, all of military age. Most compelling, however, one individual was an amputee who may have died soon after his leg was removed below the hip. During the war, from June 1812 to June 1815, Burlington was the site of an extensive American military base. The barracks, storehouses, guardhouse, officers’ quarters, hospital, and parade ground were located near what today is Battery Park, but there were also satellite campgrounds, one of which was located west of Elmwood Avenue Cemetery. The number of personnel stationed in Burlington fluctuated from a few hundred to just over 4,000. The hospital served a broader military district and was used continuously until the end of the war. While it was designed for 300 patients, the number occasionally rose to 600 or 700 and even topped 900 in 1814. The hospital treated many ailments typical of nineteenth-century armies including dysentery and measles, but it also dealt with two severe epidemics, probably influenza or a similar disease. Additionally, the hospital treated injuries sustained in accidents and casualties from battles such as those in Chateaugay, New York (October 25-26, 1813); Lacolle Mills, Quebec (March 30, 1814); and Plattsburgh, New York (September 11, 1814). Although most of the individuals treated at the hospital survived, it is estimated that between 600 and 700 soldiers died in Burlington, along with an unknown number of state militiamen, Native allies, prisoners of war, and camp followers. Most of the burials were apparently made on the sandy plain north of the military buildings and campsites. Soon after the war these burial sites slipped out of sight and memory. A portion of the burial ground
even became part of the fairground, which was used into the early 1870s, until, like the area around it, it was subdivided for housing as Burlington grew. Thanks to the attentive excavator operator and collaboration with the landowner, Burlington Police, the medical examiner, the State Historic Preservation Office, and the University of Vermont Consulting Archaeology Program, project delays were minimized. The fast action was all the more amazing given the budget crisis brought by COVID-19 and demonstrates an impressive example of Vermont’s commitment to historic preservation. This discovery adds to earlier documentary and archaeological research and further demonstrates the potential for the preservation of significant archaeological resources within a developed, urban environment. Future work will continue to pursue the identification of individuals, even after their remains are reinterred in a city cemetery. HistoricNewEngland.org
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Honorable and Ancient
Stone walls stand as a different way to document the region’s stories by LEIGH SCHOBERTH Senior Preservation Services Manager
hen English colonists arrived in New England, they brought agricultural practices, radically different from those of the Indigenous peoples in the region, which permanently changed the landscape. Today we see this in the thousands of miles of stone walls threading through New England, bordering roads, defining fields, and winding through woods. There are many different types of stone walls—single walls, double walls, estate walls, freestanding, or retaining—and each is an enduring representation of where, when, and why New Englanders constructed them. In the late eighteenth century, colonists faced timber shortages and fields filled with increasing amounts of exposed stone after decades of clearing forests for farmland. The once seemingly infinite supply of wood could no longer meet colonists’ demands for rebuilding homes and damaged fences following the Revolutionary War. Wood became a commodity too precious to use for fencing. The colonists’ deforestation practices also exposed New England’s soil to the cold, causing a deeper freeze of groundwater and accelerating frost heave. This freeze-thaw cycle repeated each spring, bringing new stone yields to the surface. Although timeconsuming to construct, stone walls provided a more durable alternative to wood fencing. Stone walls are the works of innumerable laborers whose existence may not otherwise be recorded. Depending on when and where, stone walls were built by any means of available labor, free and enslaved. First-hand accounts of early stone wall building are limited, but archival records can sometimes provide glimpses into history. Among the Casey Family Papers in Historic New England’s Library and Archives are entries by Silas Casey (1734-1814) and his descendant Thomas Lincoln Casey Sr. (1831-1896) that provide details about stone wall building at Casey Farm in Saunderstown, Fieldstone retaining walls at Gropius House in Lincoln, Massachusetts, create divisions in the landscape and connect to the site’s agricultural past.
ABOVE The fieldstone construction of the Eustis Estate Gatehouse in Milton, Massachusetts, represents nineteenth-century stone masonry. BELOW Stone walls at Casey Farm in Saunderstown, Rhode Island, illustrate the typical field division of early New England farms.
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Rhode Island. These entries date from 1777 to 1881, coinciding with the region’s most prolific period of stone wall construction. They include descriptions of lengths and types, such as “40.75 rods of double walls,” and notes about who built them, like Cezar Northrup, a hired African American farmhand, and Reynolds Noles, a tenant farmer. As fields were prepared for planting in the spring, new stones pushed to the surface by the winter freeze were moved to the area’s outer edges by stone boats, or sledges, pulled by oxen. Walls erected at the fields’ edges were typically either tossed piles of stone or stones quickly stacked into single walls, while those closer to the house were more carefully constructed, sometimes as double walls. Later entries by Thomas Lincoln Casey indicate that when the farm’s principal stone walls were repaired, most were rebuilt as double walls. Between the tossed piles and more formal double walls are examples constructed with varying skill levels. While some walls were finely built for public display or as fences for livestock, others were merely containers for storing excess stone. The best models still standing were constructed without mortar, relying on the careful fitting of each stone and gravity to keep them standing. Their footings, the bottom-most layer, consisted of the largest stones. Their face stones were carefully stacked to stabilize irregular-shaped material. While early agricultural and farming publications recommended that readers spend the time to build their stone walls well, they often gave limited and contradictory advice. Stone walls, in part, contributed to the decline of farming in New England. The region’s typically small fields were adequate for subsistence farming for generations, but in the nineteenth century, the Industrial Revolution brought a new commercial agricultural market. The small, walled fields of New England could not accommodate advancements in new horsepowered machinery necessary to compete with western states’ large-scale farms. By the end of the nineteenth century, most of New England’s family farms had been abandoned either for more fertile ground to the west or the lure of steady jobs in factories in burgeoning urban areas. The fallowed fields eventually returned to forests, but the stone walls remained. The stone wall building tradition continued into the twentieth century, serving as a statement of affluence rather than agricultural delineators. These estate walls served an aesthetic function, enhancing a home’s beauty. In contrast to the agricultural walls built from local found
materials, estate walls were often constructed of quarried stone transported to the site. This change in material severed the historical relationship between wall building and farming. In an effort to avoid the eventual mending, estate walls were mortared, which actually increased their susceptibility to damage. While dry-laid walls move and settle, undisturbed by the freeze-thaw cycle, mortared walls tend to crack and weaken. The Industrial Revolution also increased demands for stonemasons to construct railroads, bridges, factories, and country properties such as the Eustis Estate in Milton, Massachusetts. Until the establishment of large residential estates in the nineteenth century, Milton was primarily an agricultural community. Its proximity to Boston and its traditional agricultural character drew wealthy residents with nineteenth-century notions that rural living could counter industrialization and urban stresses. Built in 1878 as the permanent residence of William Ellery Channing and Edith Hemenway Eustis, the estate’s mansion, outbuildings, and boundary walls along Canton Avenue illustrate nineteenth-century stone masonry and rural living. These buildings and walls, constructed of local stone, display both quarried stone and fieldstone construction. During his residency, Eustis maintained a small farm with livestock and cultivated fields, hayfields, and an ice pond, continuing the site’s historical agricultural use. As the New England landscape continued to be reshaped by generations, agricultural stone walls endured. When Walter and Ise Gropius selected the site to build their 1938 house in Lincoln, Massachusetts, they maintained vestiges of its agricultural past—a hilltop site, delineated by stone walls and an apple orchard. The integration of Modern design blended with vernacular forms and materials informed not only the house’s design but also the landscape. It features retaining walls derived from the existing agricultural stone walls to create permeable boundaries, in a nod to stone walls’ historical function of delineating fields. The designed landscape immediately surrounding the house seamlessly gives way to the site’s historical character, guiding a dialogue between its domestic use and its agricultural past. Stone walls once served a functional purpose, but today they are threads through time, defining the region’s historical identity. They reflect New England’s diverse inhabitants, centuries of harsh winters, and regional development. Their familiarity makes them both cherished and often overlooked, their permanence taken for granted. HistoricNewEngland.org
Bowman House in Dresden, Maine, sits on the banks above the Kennebec River, an important eighteenth-century transportation and shipping corridor. PAGE 31 The Pink Parlor showcases furniture that is almost identical to that owned by Jonathan Bowman. 30
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to Bowman House
istoric New England’s newest museum property is Bowman House (1762) in Dresden, Maine. Built by Jonathan Bowman (1735-1804) overlooking the Kennebec River, this grand Georgian mansion was his oasis of eighteenthcentury Boston elegance on the rough Maine frontier. Born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, Bowman, a lawyer, was sent to Maine to look after the financial interests of his uncle Thomas Hancock, the richest merchant in pre-Revolutionary War Boston; and his cousin John, signer of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. Bowman became a wealthy and powerful
probate judge for Lincoln County in the Maine District of Massachusetts. In 1965, designer, historic preservationist, and entrepreneur Bill Waters and his partner, Cyrus Pinkham, rescued the house from decades of dormancy. Bill meticulously restored the house, recreating Bowman’s world by gathering objects original to the house and family pieces collected during his fifty years of stewardship. We invite you to visit the property this season, indoors as well as outside, where you can enjoy the forty-four acres of serene landscape with its woods
and rolling hills. Bowman House is open for public tours every Thursday from July through October on the hour beginning at 11:00 AM, with the last tour beginning at 3:00 PM. Tours must be booked in advance at my.historicnewengland.org. Private tours are available by appointment.
TOP LEFT The back door of the main hall opens onto the lawn and is the entrance that visitors first see as they drive down the lane to the house. ABOVE The hallways of Bowman House feature stunning original furniture, portraits of a prominent local family, and custom wallpaper made from an eighteenth-century neoclassical pattern. LEFT The Blue Bedroom contains the chest and chairs that Jonathan Bowman purchased in 1770 in Boston.
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A Passion for the PAST Funds a Plan for the FUTURE by KEN TURINO Manager of Community Partnerships and Resource Development
nnabella Gualdoni and Vito Cavallo of Newton, Massachusetts, share a love of history, architecture, decorative arts, and travel, which led them to join Historic New England. A typical weekend for the couple involves selecting a property to tour or a special event to attend, finding surrounding sites and restaurants, and trying to catch a rummage or estate sale to find new things to add to their home. Recognizing that it is because of the generosity of past donors that they are able to enjoy Historic New England’s sites, they wanted to give back to the organization through a planned gift and became members of the Otis Society. Named for Harrison Gray Otis, the Boston lawyer and politician whose 1796 home is a Historic New England museum, the Otis Society honors individuals who include Historic New England in their estate plans. Annabella has been a fan of historic architecture since her childhood in California. Her uncle owned a classic Los Angeles bungalow with pocket doors, builtins, a porch swing, and an Art Deco tiled bathroom. A neighbor also had a bungalow; she would open up her cabinets and teach Annabella about the treasures she kept inside. Annabella and her parents shopped at yard sales and acquired items like vintage jewelry and American art pottery, which she still collects. Her love of architecture continued when her family moved to a MidCentury Modern house with a renowned cactus garden. As an undergraduate at the University of California, Berkeley, Annabella had a concentration in city planning and marveled at the campus as well as buildings designed by architects like Julia Morgan and Greene & Greene. Annabella moved to Boston to attend law school. She and Vito met in the city; he had relocated to help start an information technology business. Vito grew up in the Italian neighborhood of Town Plot in Waterbury, Connecticut, and worked in his father’s Italian specialty foods store and bakery. Vito’s love of art and design grew
from his passion for classic cars, masterpieces of both engineering and aesthetics. A few months before marrying, Annabella and Vito bought and started renovating their current home, a 1920s Craftsman in Newton’s Nonantum neighborhood. They were drawn to the woodwork in the house as well as the neighborhood’s Italian-American history. Annabella works as a real estate program manager at Fresenius Medical Care in Waltham and is a Guberman Fellow in Legal Studies at Brandeis University. Vito has worked at MIT Lincoln Laboratories for more than twenty years. Through their planned gift they hope that “generations to come will be able to enjoy historic homes and their landscapes and also be able to learn about the New England region through the collections and archives of Historic New England.” While planned gifts are most often made in the form of a bequest, other options include transferring assets to Historic New England or another legal entity, such as a trust, to provide tax benefits and income to donors during their lifetime. For further information, contact Ken Turino at Kturino@historicnewengland.org or 617994-5958. HistoricNewEngland.org
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Old Chest Restored to Quincy House by NANCY CARLISLE Senior Curator of Collections
hen this chest of drawers first went on the antiques market in the 1970s, it belonged to Quincy Howe. His grandfather, Josiah P. Quincy (18291910), owned Quincy House in Quincy, Massachusetts, when the piece was sold in the 1890s. That provenance alone would be enough to suggest that the chest was among the original furnishings of the house, but an inscription inside one of the drawers clinches it. “This bureau was the property of Mrs. Abigail Quincy & was it is supposed given to her at the time of her marriage in 1769. . . . E. S. Quincy, Sep. 1869.” Eliza Susan Quincy (1798-1884), whose greatgrandfather built Quincy House, was a tireless researcher and an accomplished writer. Proud of her family's accomplishments, she documented her family’s important role in the region as well as her home and its contents. This chest is one of several at Quincy House that William Phillips probably purchased for his daughter Abigail when she married Josiah Quincy Jr. in 1769. It would have been very stylish at the time and a particularly suitable wedding gift. Built in 1770 for Colonel Josiah Quincy (17091784), Quincy House remained in the family for five generations until 1895 when the building and surrounding acres were sold for development. The furnishings were divided among family members; some were sold, and others remained with the family. More than forty years later, in 1937, members of the Quincy
family purchased the house and donated it to Historic New England for use as a museum. Some of the original furnishings were returned to the house at that time. More have come back in the ensuing years, but some have made their way into other museum collections (including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and Winterthur Museum in Winterthur, Delaware) and others have gone on the market. Whenever possible, Historic New England tries to acquire original pieces and return them to the house. This chest, purchased last summer with funding from a donor, is one of a number of original furnishings that have been brought back to Quincy House in recent years. Between 2012 and 2016, Historic New England transformed Quincy House using Eliza Susan’s documentation as the cornerstone. Plan a visit this summer when it will be open for the first time since the pandemic-related closure.
The award-winning Historic New England magazine is a benefit of membership. To join, please visit HistoricNewEngland.org. 34
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