Monday, July 6, 2015

Tintype: 5 women

This summer I discovered, among miscellaneous family papers, an old bent tintype in a torn paper casing. The image on the small piece of metal (measuring 2 1/4 " x 3 1/2") shows five well-dressed women.

According to the faint pencil notes on the back of the paper case, my great-grandmother Elizabeth Perkins Stanley (Mrs. Andrew Nichols, of Danvers) is one of these ladies:
(Click on image to enlarge)
Which one is she? Who are the other women?  When was this taken? Why? What was the occasion?

Answers to some of these questions are emerging, but this is an on-going research puzzle.  If you have any information to add, please submit a Comment or contact me via the email form. Thank you!

Today I learned an important clue: the tintype photograph is a direct positive process, resulting in a  reversed, or MIRRORED image. See

Richard Trask, of the Danvers Archival Center, writes, "The image is a Ferrotype (tintype), a thin sheet of metal coated with a dark lacquer used to support a photographic emulsion. This image was placed into a decorative paper mat. I believe it dates to the late 1870s/early 1880s."

My recent photo of the pieces of this tintype

Below is a scanned image of the back side of the paper case, including penciled notes (which may have been added much later, and are incomplete, only identifying four women):

Here's what I have deciphered so far, with help from Richard Trask, my cousin Janet Derouin, and a magnifying glass:

 "Standing from left to right 
    Maria L. Fowler  Mrs. John Lummus
    Elizabeth Perkins Stanley  Mrs. Andrew Nichols
                    Perkins  Mrs. Rev. Leonard Jarvis Livermore
                                  Mrs Phineas Corning, a Shoe
                                           manufacturer at Danversport "

After some hours spent searching the Internet and reading old Danvers documents (accessible via Google Books), I can now add more information about these four women and their connections to Danvers history.  I will number them here, and I may eventually create a separate blog entry for each.

1.  Maria Louisa Fowler    (probably unmarried at time of this tintype)
     "Maria Louisa Fowler is the daughter and ninth child of Samuel Fowler, the builder of the Fowler House in Danversport, Massachusetts."  See portrait.  See also photo of her in the parlor of the Fowler house in Danversport.
       Online, I found a genealogy of the Lummus/Lumas/Loomis family (in Essex Institute Historical Collections, 1917).  Maria Louisa Fowler was the 3rd wife of John Lummus, a miller and grain dealer at Danversport. They married June 3rd 1890.

2.   Elizabeth Perkins Stanley (Mrs. Andrew Nichols)   (1836-1929)
      My great-grandmother. See a photo and her obituary in a blog entry I wrote in July 2014. She was a founder of the Unitarian Congregational Church of Danvers, and an active volunteer there and with many other community organizations.

3.   Mary Anne Catherine Perkins (Mrs. L. J. Livermore)  (1823-1906)
    Her husband, Rev. Leonard Jarvis Livermore, was pastor of the Unitarian Congregational Church of Danvers from 1867 to his death in 1886.

4.  Clara M. Corning  (Mrs. Phineas Corning)

5.   [5th woman not yet identifed]

Friday, July 3, 2015

July 3 poster

Today, while researching something else, I happened to see an attractive Danvers poster announcing tours of Colonial Gardens and Homes on July 3rd.  The date seems to be 1930.  Although this was before my time, I do recognize many of the buildings pictured on the poster.

Danvers Tercentenary
John Greenleaf Whittier Day
Colonial Homes and Gardens Open
July 3

 Click here to see this 1930 poster.

Or use this full address:

Description: "Poster of the Danvers Tercentenary promoting the John Greenleaf Whittier Day Colonial Homes and Gardens open on Thursday, July 3, 1930. Poster includes exterior views of: the Peabody Institute Library; the General Israel Putnam Birthplace; the Rea-Putnam-Fowler House; the Judge Samuel Holten House; Oak Knoll, the home of John Greenleaf Whittier; the Page House; the James Putnam House; and the Rebecca Nurse Home."

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Route 1 construction 1950-52

Photo 1 [Click on image to enlarge]

This photo shows a portion of the old Newburyport Turnpike (Route 1), looking north at the Preston Street intersection in the Hathorne section of Danvers. The driveway going diagonally to the left led to "Pine Knoll" – the Nichols family homestead at 98 Preston Street. This photo was taken by one of the Brewster boys, three brothers who were grew up at Pine Knoll, sons of Annie Nichols Brewster.  I frequently walked up that driveway to visit with cousins Annie and Marian, and great aunts May and Margaret Nichols. Annie was my piano teacher.

The date of this photo must be about 1951 -- just as the traffic was being re-routed in the midst of the constructions project that widened Route 1 and built a bridge and a cloverleaf system to replace the traffic lights at the intersection with Route 62 (behind the photographer, down the slope to the south).

The next photo shows the view looking south from Pine Knoll.  The traffic sign in center island says,
so it seems that the right-hand side of the highway wasn't completed yet.  

Photo 2 [Click on image to enlarge]

Note the piles of tree trunks cut from the Pine Knoll property.

Photo 3 [Click on image to enlarge]

Below are additional images scanned from Brewster family slides.  

Photo 4 [Click on image to enlarge]
This seems to be an earlier photo, showing the old two-lane Route 1 and the beginning of construction beside it. View south, looking from Pine Knoll property.  Compare to next photo, which lacks the utility poles (moved? place underground?)
Photo 5 [Click on image to enlarge]
The next two photos show a house that had to be relocated. Whose house?  Where did it go?  My cousin Stuart Brewster responds, "This was owned by the family and was just beyond the [Pine Knoll] tennis court.  It was rented to numerous families. ... I do recall that Uncle Andrew and Aunt Bunny lived there for a time. There once was talk by Aunt Margaret that she would open a restaurant here since in those days there were few clean places to stop. It never happened. The house was re-located up the Pike at North St."
Photo 6 [Click on image to enlarge]
Photo 7 [Click on image to enlarge]

The next two photos are looking north, perhaps showing the same location after that house (and several on other side?) had been removed?  

Photo 8 [Click on image to enlarge]
Photo 9 [Click on image to enlarge]

Determining the sequence of these undated photos is a challenge. I suspect that the old Route 1 pavement seen in photos 4-8 above was used for a while during the construction, and then – after the new east side of the highway was completed and in use (photo 9 above), the old roadbed was ready for re-construction, as seen in photos 10 and 11, below.  

Photo 10 [Click on image to enlarge]
Note the cat observing the scene above.  This view is looking north towards Topsfield.

Photo 11 [Click on image to enlarge]
Photo 11 is looking south, probably on same day as photo 10.  Pine Knoll on the right.

These next two photos were taken a few years after the construction had been completed.  The photographer stood at the new paved driveway into Pine Knoll, looking northward, capturing a procession of antique cars on a Glidden Tour, 1954.

Photo 12 [Click on image to enlarge]

Photo 13 [Click on image to enlarge]
Note the cut-through in the median, allowing U-turns in either directions.  (That cut-through was later eliminated, for safety reasons.)  My father's new factory for UNEX Laboratories would eventually be built (1964?) on the lot at the right edge of these photos.  Later, the Berry building replaced the UNEX building there.  Many changes over the years – including of course the removal of the Hathorne School building (see my previous post) to make way for these improvements to Route 1.