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Davenport-Kingsbury family collection, 1853-1885 (majority within 1853-1858, 1861-1880)

50 items

This collection consists of correspondence between members of the Davenport and Kingsbury families of Bradford and Dorchester, Massachusetts, and Rutland and Brandon, Vermont. Elijah ("E.") Davenport wrote to his family about frontier life in Wisconsin and Iowa in the 1850s, and his family members wrote about social and religious life in Vermont during the late 1860s and 1870s.

This collection (50 items) consists of correspondence between members of the Davenport family of Dorchester, Massachusetts, and Rutland and Brandon, Vermont. Between August 29, 1853, and July 7, 1858, Elijah ("E.") Davenport wrote 13 letters to his father, Elijah L. Davenport, and to his sister Augusta, both of whom lived in Dorchester, Massachusetts. He wrote from Prospect Hill, Wisconsin, and Webster County, Iowa, describing his attempts to find work on the Wisconsin and Iowa frontier and commenting on the weather, construction of log cabins, agriculture, and local politics. He intended to farm, and grew potatoes while constructing a log cabin for himself. He also mentioned the culinary use of a special corn and his fondness for a local variety of bread (November 29, 1857).

The bulk of the collection consists of letters to Charlotte M. Kingsbury (née Field) of Bradford, Massachusetts, and her husband, Reverend John D. Kingsbury, from her parents, William M. and Minerva K. Field, and her grandfather, Barzillai Davenport, all of Rutland and Brandon, Vermont. Her family provided local news and often commented on religious matters; for example, her father praised her for joining the Church of Christ (February 20, 1857). They occasionally mentioned other news stories, such as a destructive windstorm (November 22, 1869), and the sinking of the Atlantic (April 16, 1873). Two of Minerva Field's later letters are addressed to Katie and Mattie Kingsbury, her granddaughters. The collection also has 5 receipts concerning purchases made by Ellis J. Burnham in Cambridgeport and Essex, Massachusetts, between 1876 and 1880.


Richard Root Smith photograph albums, 1909-1915

5 volumes

This collection is made up of five photograph albums that belonged to Dr. Richard Root Smith of Grand Rapids, Michigan. From 1909-1915, Smith documented his family's trips to New England, Maryland, Europe, California, and Alaska, as well as his camping trip to the Lake Superior region.

This collection is made up of five photograph albums that belonged to Dr. Richard Root Smith of Grand Rapids, Michigan. From 1909-1915, Smith documented his family's trips to New England, Maryland, Europe, California, and Alaska, as well as his camping trip to the Lake Superior region.

The first volume (158 pages), titled "Automobile Trip from Grand Rapids to Boston and a Visit to Nantucket," concerns the Smith family's travels between July 25, 1909, and August 25, 1909. The album contains photographs (most of which include captions), brief typed diary entries about the family's daily travel and sightseeing activities, and maps. The Smith family drove their Oldsmobile from Grand Rapids, Michigan, to Boston, Massachusetts, by way of mid-Michigan, northern New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, visiting locales such as Buffalo, New York; Niagara Falls; the Catskills; Mount Washington; Marblehead, Massachusetts; the Harvard University campus; and Nantucket. The photographs often depict natural scenery, city street scenes, and buildings, including private residences, writers' birthplaces, and hotels. Also included are informal outdoor portraits of the Smith family and their acquaintances, photographs of the Mount Washington cog railway, views of sailboats on "Marblehead Bay," pictures of golfers, and images of beaches and beachgoers along Marblehead Bay, and on Nantucket. Two loose photographs of Union Station in Grand Rapids, Michigan, are laid into the volume. The album's maps include printed route maps showing the locations of points of interest and hotels and printed maps highlighting the Smith family's travel routes.

Volume 2 (94 pages) contains photographs taken in Baltimore, Maryland; Grand Rapids, Michigan; and unidentified locations in or around 1910. Some images show members of the Smith family and the family's Oldsmobile. The pictures of Baltimore include views of a boardwalk, steamboats on the water, memorials, and a baseball game, as well as numerous street scenes. Other photographs show wintry wooded landscapes and a hot air balloon floating above a city street. A small group of images shows the interior of a pharmacy or chemistry lab. Photographs of Grand Rapids include views of the Blue Bridge and numerous homes in what is now the Heritage Hill district. Informal portraits include group portraits and a picture of a woman in riding goggles. The final pictures are interior views of a residential dining room and parlor; a Christmas tree is visible in one picture.

The third album (138 pages), also compiled in or around 1910, relates to the Smith family's visit to Europe. Many of the photographs show street scenes from Munich, Germany; Köln, Germany; and Antwerp, Belgium, as well as natural scenery in an Alpine region and along the Rhine River. One group of commercial prints shows scenes from a passion play. Several images focus on castles, towers, and other prominent structures, including the Köln Cathedral. Many of the later pictures were taken during the family's return from Europe on a large ocean liner, including a series of snapshots of a lifeboat drill. One picture shows a large crowd gathered on a Red Star Line pier.

Volume 4 (112 pages) contains photographs, ephemera, and brief typed diary entries about the Smith family's trip to California and Alaska from June 20, 1911, to August 1, 1911. The family first traveled to the Southwest, and the album contains photographs of New Mexico towns and natural scenery in New Mexico and Arizona; included are a colored panorama and other photographs of the Grand Canyon. Other groups of images show Los Angeles parks and street scenes, the Pacific Ocean, and landmarks in Yosemite National Park. After visiting California, where Dr. Richard Root Smith attended medical conference meetings, the Smith family traveled from Washington to Alaska on the steamerQueen ; their photograph album includes pictures of the Muir glacier, Alaskan scenery, Alaskan towns, Alaskan natives, and landmarks such as totem poles. Several images show tourists in rowboats on icy waters, and some were taken in British Columbia and Alberta during the family's railroad journey home. Several ephemera items are pasted into the volume, including commercial collections of colored images of Adolphus Busch's gardens in Pasadena, California, and images from Alaska; a small railroad map showing Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway routes; a colored illustration of a totem pole, clipped from an unknown source; a booklet about Alaskan Indian mythology; and an itinerary and passenger list for theQueen .

The final volume (97 pages) pertains to a camping trip that Dr. Richard Root Smith took to the Lake Superior region in 1915. Most of the pictures are views of woodland scenery and of the campers' tents and activities, often involving fishing from the shore or in canoes. Some images focus on waterfalls, and one group shows a moose swimming in a small lake. A few of the photographs are printed out in shapes such as a pear, a fish, and a leaf, and a small number are colored. This volume contains a metal apparatus used to adjust its binding.


Silas Blakslee journals, 1772-1775

2 volumes

The Silas Blakslee journals contain brief daily entries about his activities from 1772-1775. Blakslee commented on farm work and related manual labor.

The Silas Blakslee journals (76 pages total) contain daily reports of Blakslee's activities from February 25, 1772-December 15, 1772 (24 pages), and from February 1, 1773-January 21, 1775 (52 pages). Each single-line entry begins with a brief note about weather conditions, followed by a short report related to farm work, manual labor, and Blakslee's health. He cut wood, built and mended fences, and worked with crops such as flax, wheat, hay, rye, beans, potatoes, corn, and pumpkins. Blakslee sometimes mentioned attendance at school and doing "notions." The final pages of the second volume include brief records about bushels of wheat Blakslee gave to or received from individuals.