Monday, September 4, 2017

1937 Photo

Today this image came up on my computer screen. Wow! That's my grandparents' house in Danvers! I recognized it instantly, though I had never seen this photograph before.

For fourteen years (1943-1957) I lived right next door. The photographer in 1937 must have been standing about where our house (built in 1940) would later be constructed.

"Uncle Will" refers to the Rev. William S. Nichols, my father's father – "Grandaddy" to me. I wonder why there were so many cars in that yard that day. The location was 123 Preston Street (later called Nichols Street), in the Hathorne section of Danvers. Today the street is called Conifer Hill Drive, with an office park occupying the area where our houses had been.

This photo was in a photograph album that belonged to one of my cousins, Dudley Brewster. His nephew Dave Brewster (son of Dudley's older brother David) has been digitizing old photos from family albums and occasionally posting batches of scanned images for family members to review. Each batch is a surprise; we never know what might be included. Some photos are puzzles: images of people or places not now identifiable. But this photo stood out as VERY familiar.

By the time of my childhood a big dense hedge blocked some of this view, and shrubbery had grown to cover the foundation of that sunporch (providing great hiding places during games of Kick-the-Can or Hide-and-Seek). I'm surprised to learn that the two-car garage by the house was already there in 1937. I thought of it as the "new"garage; the old one (out-of-sight to the right) became the first location of my father's hearing-aid manufacturing business, Nichols & Clark, Inc.

We assume Dudley took this photograph. I remember Dudley well, and he frequently had a camera in his hand. His label reflects what the older generation (his mother Annie Nichols Brewster and others) would have said, because Will was their uncle. "Great Uncle Will" would have been more accurate from Dudley's perspective, but we all tended to use the language of our elders as we identified relatives.


thehistorian1789 said...

Hello Mrs. Ward,

I tried sending this message in email form, but I kept getting a error message so I hope this works!

I am a current Graduate Research Assistant at Salem State working on a project titled "History of Botanical Study and Change in Essex County." I'm a historian who has been tasked with finding information about female botanist who lived during the 19th century from Essex County. Currently I am researching Mary Ward Nichols as she was a known collector of herbarium specimens during the 2nd half of the 19th century. I came across your blog and was wondering if you had any type of information/manuscripts/photographs etc. of her?

In addition, our research also involves weather data. Based off of my research, I have seen that your great-grandfather Andrew Nichols created an extensive weather record. Do you have any information on his weather data?

Thank you so much for your time!
Lindsay Hall

Sandy said...

Hello Lindsay,
Glad to hear from you. Instead of using this public Comment space, you may use the form on this page:

That will be a secure way to let me know your email address without posting it publicly. That form will be forwarded to me, and I can reply privately to you.

Sandy Nichols Ward

thehistorian1789 said...

Hello Sandy,

I clicked the link and filled out the form. When I go to hit send email, it will not go through and displays an "Application Error" page.

Sandy said...

THANK YOU for alerting me to the specific problem. I will ask the person who programmed that form to see if it can be fixed. Have patience. Will work on this over the weekend.


thehistorian1789 said...

No problem, Sounds good!

Thank You So Much!


Sandy said...

We are trying to resolve the problem with the form. The software that governs it is running on a distant service, and their technical people have been alerted. The problem is affecting my husband's websites as well as mine, so we are very anxious to find a solution. Sorry about the delay.

Meanwhile, I asked my cousin if she knew of botany interests of Mary Ward Nichols, who was our great-great aunt. She replied,

"She is referring Andrew's sister who went to live at Pine Knoll when their mother died. She was equally well know in bird circles. She corresponded with Edward Forbush, among others. I know from the diaries that she loved to take the Pine Knoll children for walks in the nearby woods to identify the wild plants. One thing that sticks in my mind is taking them in the fall to harvest wild ginger roots."

thehistorian1789 said...

No problem! That is great news! So far from all the sources I have read, I did not know she was interested in Ornithology.

Thank you for this information so far and I look forward to speaking with you again through email on more information about Mary Ward Nichols.

Sandy said...

At last, the software problem has been fixed. You should now be able to send me an email via the contact form.

Sorry for the long delay.