Archive for April, 2011

Abby Locke’s Splendid Days: A Teenager’s Diary in 1860s Andover (15)

Friday, April 29th, 2011

Abby’s entries from April/May 1867 continue.

Tues. 23     The night of the Seniors’ lecture.  I went down for Hattie to go but as we intend to go to Boston tomorrow concluded not to go.  The Seniors are waging quite a war with the middlers about the posters.

Wed. 24     H. and I went to Boston today.  It rained hard but we enjoyed ourselves.  Called on Willie Donald.  He met us again at Childs and Jenks.

Thurs. April 25   Took a music lesson.  W. and L. Marland called but I did not come down.  My new sacque [came] today – quite pretty.

Fri. 26   Father started for Philadelphia to day.  Went to walk a little way with Clara after tea.  Met Mr. Barker and ever so many boys.

Sat. 27   Mr. Frye came up in the evening.  Louise received a letter from Rosa Franks.  She is engaged to a gentleman in Arkansas.

Sun. 28   Did not go to church all day.  Was afflicted with a horrid cold in the head.  Mother’s birthday.  Gave her a [pack] of stamped paper and envelopes. 

Mon. 29   Willie Marland came up in the evening and was quite entertaining more so than usual.  Did not go to school in the afternoon. 

Tues. 30   Went to walk a little way before school with Hattie Baker.  Met ever so many boys.

Wed. May 1   Maytie’s birthday, [her] fifth.  Flossie made her the funniest looking [doll] and made it out of (?) cotton.  She was delighted with it.

Thurs. 2   As I was coming home at noon, I met E. Raymond walking out with Miss F. Abbot.  He looks very pale and sick I think.  He got home yesterday.  She has been in Boston with him nearly all the time. 

     The fashionable art gallery of Childs & Jenks was located at 127 Tremont Street in Boston in 1867, facing the Boston Common and the Massachusetts State House, among a neighborhood of similar businesses.  Before the opening of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts in 1870, this promenade was “the favorite resort of our art-loving community,” according to the city’s Evening Journal.  Public displays of new paintings, sculpture and even “large photographic portraits”, by both American and European artists, drew large crowds during and after the War. 

     The author Lydia Maria Child wrote about a work she saw at the gallery (1867 c.). “Among the beautiful works of art always on exhibition at the store of Childs & Jenks, my attention was soon attracted by Bellows’ fine picture called ‘The Echo.’ One returning soldier is wakening echo with his bugle, while in another part of the boat a pale and wounded comrade is lying down with his head in his mother’s lap.”  At the stern, [a freed slave] is taking care of the ample folds of a U.S. flag.”  This painting, by Massachusetts painter Albert Fitch Bellows (1829-1883) has been lost – perhaps when the artist’s studio burned in Boston’s 1872 fire. 

Walter Landor Raymond (1846 - 1864) served in the Massachusetts 44th regiment and died in a Confederate prison camp at the age of 18. (Memorial Hall Library)

     We don’t know if Abby saw Bellows’ painting, but a week later she saw a returned veteran, “very pale and sick” in the person of Edward Greenleaf Raymond, the older brother of her friend and classmate Edith (or Edie) Raymond.  The Raymond’s family story is one of Andover’s saddest.  Edward Raymond had enlisted in the Massachusetts Forty-fourth Regiment at the age of 19, and was joined soon after by his 16 year old brother Walter.  Both brothers were discharged in July 1863, but the younger Walter reenlisted in a cavalry regiment, was captured by the enemy, and died of starvation and neglect in a Confederate prison on Christmas Day in 1864.  The family’s bereavement became well-known.  Christ Church’s rector, Benjamin Babbitt, published his 1865 sermon on the occasion of the boy’s death, and Harriet Beecher Stowe included “an account of the martyrdom of a Christian boy of our town of Andover” in her 1868 collection “The Chimney Corner.” There is no record that Edward Raymond was wounded, but his 1867 debility was probably a recurrence of the malaria that afflicted many veterans of the Forty-fourth.  Edward Raymond married Frances Abbott in 1870 — three years after Abby meets them “walking out.”


Tick Tock, Come and Learn about our Clocks!

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

In Britain, since the reign of King Edward I, hallmarking has been used as a method to identify an item made from genuine metal that has passed a test or assay.  An assay ensured that the metal in an item contained a certain percentage of pure silver.

Some objects at the Andover Historical Society contain silver hallmarks such as the small pocket watch seen in the photo below.  These small silver marks not only denote the purity of the metal,  but also exhibit makers mark or provide information about where or when it was assayed.

If you are interested in history and enjoy learning about interesting traditions, come to Treasures in the Attic: Antique Clocks with Bob Frishman this Thursday, April 28th from 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Bob, a clock expert and owner of Bell-Time Clocks in Andover, will lead a tour throughout the Blanchard House to discuss the fascinating history of our tall clocks and conclude his presentation in the exhibit hall where many of our treasured clocks and pocket watches will be on display.   Guests are invited to bring their own treasured clock to this event for Bob to view.

This event is free to members of the Andover Historical Society and $5 for non-members.  Join us for a fun and entertaining evening!

If you have any questions please call 978-475-2236.


Object of the Week

Monday, April 25th, 2011

After a bit of a hiatus… here’s a new object of the week: A Quassia Tonic Cup

Object ID #1950.048.1

This interesting item became part of the Historical Society’s collection from the Estate of William A. Trow in 1950. A wooden cup approximately 4″ tall, it is made of quassia wood and has a label pasted on the side that reads:

Quassia tonic cup G & H.   Pour into the cup  a wine glass or two of water or wine which will partake instantly of the properties of the cup and may be  drank at once.

The item is carved in one piece with a round pedestal base supports a cup with a rounded bottom and straight sides.  The inside of cup is cone shaped and shallow.

Although we don’t know the date for this particular tonic cup, the following description of quassia comes from an 1830 book titled A treatise of the materia medica and therapeutics, Volume 1 By John Eberle


The quassia excelsa is a large tree growing spontaneously in Surinam, from which its wood was first brought into Europe in the year 1761.

The wood of this tree, and more especially that of the root, is of a pure and intensely bitter taste, which, according to Thomson, depends on a peculiar bitter principle to which the name of quassin has been given. According to Crell and Tromsdorff, the quassia contains a greater proportion of gummy matter than of resinous, and hence they infer that the infusion of it in cold water is its best preparation.

The quassia is a very excellent tonic, and may be very usefully employed in all cases where remedies of this kind are indicated. It possesses scarcely any stimulating of heating properties, and is, therefore, peculiarly calculated to improve the digestive powers of the stomach in weak and very irritable subjects. It was at one time a good deal employed in the cure of intermittent. It has, however, not sustained its reputation in this disease, and is now but very seldom employed in its cure. It is said to be very efficacious in suppressing bilious vomitings, attending bilious and putrid fevers. Alibert states that he succeeded in curing a female, by this remedy, of habitual vomiting, which had prevented her for a long time retaining any nourishment on her stomach. He also says, that he has used the quassia with much success in cases of dyspepsia. In the depraved appetite in chlorosis, particularly when there is a disposition to eating dirt, chalk, &c. the quassia is said to be a very efficacious remedy.*

References to quassia tonic cups continue to appear in medical texts as late 1918 and proponents of herbalism were still listing quassia as an effective tonic in the 1960s. While bilious and putrid fevers may have given way the flus, colds, and common infections of the 21st century, many of the tried and true practices of early medicine lasted for centuries. Who knows what other elements of the medicinal trade are tucked away in the Historical Society’s collection!


Abby Locke’s Splendid Days: A Teenager’s Diary in 1860s Andover (14)

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

Abby’s entries from April 1867 continue.

Thurs. 18      Mr. (?) came to make a farewell call.  I think for he is intending to go out West.

Fri. April 19     Hattie and I went over to N.A. to an exhibition.  Staid to dance afterward by W. Dale’s invitation.  Had a nice time.  Mr. B. sat directly behind.  Arrived home about ½ past 11.  Hattie spent the night with me it was so late.  Mr. B and his friend sat behind and [entertained] themselves [with a] book.

Currier and Ives began to sell Easter-themed prints, with images of lilies and other flowers, in 1868

Sun. 21      Easter.  I went to the Episcopal Church in the afternoon to see the children bring their emblems.  Louise had quite a pretty dress. 

Like it was for so many cultural developments in the 19th century, the Civil War was a watershed for the celebration of Easter in the United States.  Public observance of feast days was banned by the English Parliament in 1647, and the Massachusetts Puritans followed suit.  For most of the 1800s, New England’s orthodox Congregationalists objected to the idea that any one Sunday was more important than any other, and believed that church calendars involving full moons and equinoxes were too reminiscent of the pagan traditions they were sending missionaries to battle on five continents.  But in the wake of the sorrow of the Civil War, the message of Easter  —  a celebration of rebirth and resurrection – was both attractive and comforting, especially to bereaved women.

Magazines and newspapers began to feature articles describing the Easter traditions of the Catholic, Anglican and Greek churches, as well as those of “Merry Olde England.” In his best-selling book, Extracts from the Holidays: Christmas, Easter and Whitsuntide: their social festivities, customs and carols (published in New York in 1868), author Nathan B. Warren wrote, “There has been a revival in modern times, even in this country, of the old Easter custom of ‘pace-egging.’  We refer to the usage of presenting one’s friends on the morning of Easter Day, with a basket of pace-eggs.  A dozen of these, in various colors, with mottoes and emblematic devices, artistically arranged in a fancy basket, make indeed a very appropriate Easter decoration for the drawing-room table. . “ Currier and Ives began selling  Easter-themed prints the same year. 

Twenty years later (in 1886), Good Housekeeping magazine acknowledged the controversy.  “And the churches which hold most nearly the Puritan faith – the faith which laid the foundation stones of the Republic, which, whatever imputations of narrowness may be put upon it, held, and holds the very heart of the Gospel – are the last and slowest to claim a part in those sacred days by which the church of England measures the rolling year . . . [But perhaps] all the little observances of Easter, which sometimes seem so incongruous to its sweet solemnity, may be needed to familiarize men and women and children with the day’s significance.”


Four Andover Stories Authors to present 31st Annual Memorial Lecture

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

On Tuesday, April 26, 2011, at 7:00 p.m., Andover Stories contributors will present the Andover Historical Society’s 31st annual Memorial Lecture at the Historical Society, 97 Main Street.  The lecture will begin immediately following a short annual meeting of the Society’s members.  The public is invited to come at 7:00 to hear a little about the Historical Society and then enjoy the memorial lecture.  The Memorial Lecture is free of charge.

In honor of the Society’s Centennial year, the 2011 Memorial Lecture will highlight “Best of the 104 Stories” with presentations by local authors and historians, Jim Batchelder, Joan Patrakis, Gail Ralston, and Don Robb. Each of the presenters has been a regular contributor to the Andover Stories series in the Andover Townsman since April 2010. With topics ranging from Krinsky’s downtown junkyard to LeBoutillier’s artistry and Shawsheen River legends and ghosts to with witchcraft hysteria of 1692, the weekly stories explore the interesting stories that make Andover the unique town it is today.

As long-time volunteers for the Society and as Andover history enthusiasts, Batchelder, Patrakis, Ralston, and Robb will share their own perspectives on the tales from Andover’s past and present that made their way into the weekly printed stories. We look forward to welcoming them for the 31st annual Memorial Lecture.

The Memorial Lecture is given each year in memory of Historical Society members who passed away during the preceding year.   “We do our best to stay in touch with all our members,” said Historical Society director Elaine Clements, “but we don’t always hear from families when members have passed away.  We would like to be sure that we honor all our members who have passed away, and ask families to let us know so we can include their loved one in the memorial book.”


Abby Locke’s Splendid Days: A Teenager’s Diary in 1860s Andover (13)

Friday, April 15th, 2011

Abby resumed her pattern of near-daily entries in April 1867.

Abbot Academy's curriculum in the 1860s was, in many ways, stronger than that of Phillips Academy during the same period. (Andover Historical Society photograph)

Thurs. April 11   School commenced to day.  I take Astronomy and History of the English Law.

Sat. April 13   Mr. F was up.  Also Willie Donald came up in the evening and Hattie was up.  We went to Lawrence in the Afternoon.  Had quite a jolly time.

Sun. 14   Willie came up in the evening.

Mon. 15   Willie, Mr. Frye & Hattie spent the evening with us.  We played euchre.

Wed. 17  Aunt E., Hattie, and Dana came to day.  W. and L. Marland spent the evening with us. 

     Abbot Academy was called a “finishing school” in the 1860s, because its graduates were considered to be “finished” with their education, but most of their classes were anything but frivolous.  Abby and her contemporaries studied such  diverse topics such as the history of the early Christian Church, art history, physical geography, botany, music, French and German language, as well as the astronomy and law classes that Abby took in the spring term of 1867. Because they were not expected to continue on to college, they were free from the rigid classical curriculum — “Latin, Greek and a smattering of mathematics”  —  that was required for Phillips students of the same era who were, typically, headed to Yale.  Most of their classes were taught by women (many themselves college-educated), but Principal Philena McKeen was also able to recruit male professors from the Theological Seminary and New England’s men’s colleges for part-time teaching or special lectures.  Abby’s English Law teacher, for example, was the distinguished Rev. Benjamin Labaree, an 1831 graduate of the Andover Theological Seminary who had retired in 1866 from the Presidency of Middlebury College. 

In the rest of this week’s entries, Abby “drops” a number of names.  The biographies and backgrounds of these people help to illustrate the complicated webs of relationships (both family and business) that tightly bound the members of Andover’s prosperous mill-owning families together. 

     Abby’s maternal aunt,  Emeline B. Perry, and her children, Hattie and Dana (13 and 7 years old that year) visited from Mansfield, Massachusetts.  Aunt E. was the wife of Dr. William F. Perry, a distinguished medical practitioner, and would also become the mother of 5 doctors.  One of these future doctors, Frederic Davis Perry, had graduated from Phillips Academy just a few years before, and had probably been acquainted with some of Abby’s boy friends. The family also claimed descent from Oliver Hazard Perry, although obviously not as direct a connection as Abby’s friend Oliver, who was the famous naval hero’s grandson. 

The Donald Family of Andover (1860 c.) Abby's friend Willie is the boy in the center with the light-colored bow tie. (Andover Historical Society photograph)

     Willie (William Alexander) Donald was the son of William Cooper Donald, a Scottish immigrant who had established himself as a manufacturer of lamp black and printing ink, and had been one of the original members of Andover’s Free Church.  Willie was the middle child of a family of nine children.  Two of his older sisters were already married:  Fannie had married Joseph W. Smith (the son of Andover manufacturer John Smith) and Mary had married the Rev. J. Wesley Churchill, who taught elocution at all three schools on Andover Hill.  Willie, his brother Elijah Winchester, and sister Agnes are mentioned frequently in Abby’s 1867 entries. 

     “W. and L. Marland” are most likely nineteen-year old William Marland and his older, unmarried sister Lucretia.  They were the children of John Marland, who had established the Ballardvale Mills in 1841, but probably lived on High Street in the 1860s.  Willie Marland and his brother Stewart are two of Abby’s great friends.


Abby Locke comes alive at the Memorial Hall Library

Friday, April 8th, 2011

The Andover Historical Society's own Carrie Midura created this replica of an 1867 dress from the Society's collection.

On April 5, the Andover Historical Society co-sponsored (with the Andover Cultural Council) the program Abby Locke’s Splendid Days:  A Teenager’s Diary in 1860s Andover, in the Memorial Hall as part of the Library’s commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War.  An appreciative audience enjoyed the performance of Andover High School’s Maggie Casto as Abby Locke, and admired her authentic  Civil War-era costume, complete with corset and hoopskirt. 

One highlight of the show was the "public undressing" that gave interested audience members a chance to see "Abby's" hoopskirt.


Events for all ages!

Friday, April 8th, 2011

Spring is here and the Andover Historical Society has a full calendar of events for everyone.   Register in advance and save your place.

April 19th and 20th

Two Day Workshop–Preservation and First Period Architecture

9:30 a.m. -3:30 p.m.

Interested in art, architecture, design, and history?  Take part in an informative two-day program during April spring break.  Learn about the many styles of architecture in New England and take a walking tour of downtown Andover.  Join preservation students, Joshua Miner and Isabella Ciolfi from the North Bennett Street School in Boston to learn about preservation carpentry and build a first period model house.  Become an expert on architectural styles, participate in hands-on architecture activities, and learn about tools of the trade. Program for grades 6, 7, 8 ages (11-15) includes snacks, students must bring their own lunches. Fees are $60 members, $75 non-members.  All materials provided.  Don’t miss out on this opportunity.

April 26th

Afternoon Adventure: School Girl Sampler

3:45 p.m.-4:45 p.m.

School Girl Sampler

Make your own stitches in time!  Explore traditional Andover samplers and textile treastures from our collection.  Learn to sew a sampler like young girls did in the past.  Space is limited.   For girls ages 7-10,  $8 per child. Reservations required.

April 28th

Treasures in the Attic: Historic Clocks with Bob Frishman

6:30-7:30 p.m.

Join clock expert Bob Frishman as he explores the Andover Historical Society’s clock collection.

Bob Frishman, owner of Bell-Time Clocks, has studied, repaired and sold clocks since 1980.   He has professionally restored more than 7,000 timekeepers, including the 1400 vintage clocks he has retailed in the past 30 years.  A past-president of the New England chapter of the National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors, he has written several clock-related articles for that organization’s magazine and continues to lecture on many aspects of clock history and culture.  He grew up in Andover, attended the town’s public schools, and continues to operate his home-based clock business in Shawsheen Village.

Bob has a special interest in Andover-related clocks and was involved in the Historical Society’s obtaining the two old Andover-made longcase clocks on display in the Blanchard House.

Explore the Historical Society collection as he presents the fascinating history of the clocks found throughout the Amos Blanchard House.  Free for members, $5 for non-members.  Call 978-475-2236 to register.

May 1st

Sunday Strolls: Shawsheen Village with Don Robb


Join historian Don Robb for a walking tour of Shawsheen Village.  Learn about the life of famous Andover resident William Wood and the history of Shawsheen Village.  Have you ever wondered why Shawsheen Village has “White Shawsheen” and “Brick Shawsheen”?  Every house has a history, come learn about Andover’s rich past.  The tour will meet in the parking lot of the Brickstone building.  Meet in the parking lot of the Brickstone Buildings.

Check out our online calendar to sign-up or to learn about more upcoming events at the Andover Historical Society.


Found It! Findings

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

Inventorying a museum collection is a basic task for any museum. Inventories allow you to identify and record the precise location of each item in the collection. In the Andover Historical Society’s case, we record our collection locations in the PastPerfect database so researchers can easily find stuff (a professional term) they are interested in. It’s an important responsibility, but it’s also a time consuming one. It helps to have a large staff to inventory everything. Especially when you have over 40,000 items in the collection like we do.

The Historical Society was fortunate to have a large volunteer staff willing to inventory the Blanchard House collection. We hosted two “Found It!” inventory days, one on February 26th and the next on March 26th. Both days were wonderfully successful.

We invited anyone interested in helping out to participate. Some people made it a family affair bringing their spouses, parents, and kids to help.

Everyone worked in pairs: one person handled an object, described it, and read off its identification number, while the other person recorded everything on the inventory sheet.

We inventoried collections from the basement... the third floor and everywhere in between.

We are far from finished inventorying everything in the collection, but so far we have:

Hosted 33 interns and volunteers

Put in over 200 inventory hours

Completed 215 inventory sheets

Inventoried over 5,000 objects

Thanks again to all of our fantastic interns and volunteers. We couldn’t have done it without you!


A Vamp With Sole

Friday, April 1st, 2011

The L-O-N-G sigh. That’s when you know a member of the ADEPT team has found something complex, frustrating, or foreign. Recently the sigh slipped out because of a word.

We were entering the information for a pair of shoes, which were described as a “pair of women’s shoes with thin leather sole and satin-covered heel. White satin slipper upper, bound edging. White silk and net rosette on vamp….”

It was the word vamp. Looking at the paperwork didn’t help. Nor did looking at the photograph of the shoes.

So we consulted the Oxford English Dictionary (or the really BIG book of words).  It stated that vamp was, “the part of a boot or shoe covering the front of the foot.”  In the United States it specifically means “that part between the sole and the top in front of the ankle-seams.” In other words the vamp covers the instep.

We dug a little further and found the entry for vamp from the Footwear of the Middle Ages webpage:

Vamp (Vampethe, Vampet , Vawmpe, Vampey, Avant pied, Forefoot, Pedana, Pedula)

  1. The front section of a shoe’s upper covering the wearer’s toes and part of the instep. The earliest use of this term, in a shoemaking context, in English was at least by 1654 [OED 2d Ed.]. It likely derives from an older term “vampey” (c15th C), and from that “Vaumpe”/”Waumpe”, from the Anglo-Norman “avanpie” (or “avant-pied” – “before the foot”) and refers to the portion of the footed hose that covers the foot from the instep and ankle forward. If there was another term used for the vamp of a shoe before 1654, I do not as yet know what that is — however see Forefoot (q.v.)
  2. If the upper does not have a separate Vamp and Quarters, the front of the upper can be referred to as the “Vamp portion” rather than the vamp. Do NOT use “Forepart” as this refers to the sole, not the upper. [Saguto]
  3. For one piece uppers, use Forepart [Thornton/Swann, 1983]
  4. The part of the tipper covering the fore part of the foot up to the instep. [Goubitz, 2001]
  5. The Vamp “is all the piece that covers the top of the foot instep, the top of the shoe at the tying place toe and toe lining, the lower part of the vamp [Holme, 1688]
  6. The front of the shoe, consisting of one piece (in the slip-on) or several (toe cap, vamp insertion). Its shape depends on the shoe style. [Vass]

The things we learn…