One of the most fun things about working in a local history collection is that sometimes people just show up with things to add to the collections. This week, a former member of the Kingston Mother’s Club dropped off three scrapbooks of Club activities 1965 to 1978, full of membership directories, newspaper clippings and photos.
The Club hosted lectures, auctions and fashion shows; sponsored Boy’s Baseball, vision screenings and Candidates Nights; and held banquets and dinner dances.
As I browsed the scrapbooks, I thought “These parties look like a blast,” and then one photo from the Scholarship Dance in the spring of ’77 just about jumped off the page.
It’s Buddy, our library custodian, out on the floor of the Hilltop Club, dancing to the Hour Glass! I only wish we could see his shoes.
When you’re cleaning out your attic, keep a sharp eye out. History is everywhere.
Source: Kingston Mother’s Club scrapbook, 1975-1978 Acc.20014-22
There’s a reception! And an exhibit!
Breakfasts start later in the summer.
Check the Jones River Village Historical Society’s website for more information.
Source: LHR General Image Collection IC7
The Liberty Bell came through Kingston!
Yes, THAT Liberty Bell! And we have five glass plate negatives to help tell the tale.
Between 1885 and 1915, the Bell gallivanted around the country — down to New Orleans, across to Chicago, all the way to California — on a special flatbed railcar. In 1903, one of those trips brought the famed Bell to Boston for a commemoration of the Battle of Bunker Hill, then south to Plymouth on June 18th.
The Boston Globe proclaimed the event “one grand ovation.” After an estimated 50,000 people saw the Bell on Boston Common, hundreds more lined the tracks and thronged the stations as the train carried this most American symbol from South Station to meet its less-travelled cousin, Plymouth Rock.
On its journey, the Bell was guarded by patrolmen from Philadelphia and Boston — “their work was not arduous” said the Globe — watched over by GAR veterans and active military escorts, and accompanied by politicos and tycoons who “scattered flowers and other Liberty Bell souvenirs” to the singing, flag-waving crowds at each station stop.
The celebration in Plymouth included a sumptuous banquet at the Hotel Pilgrim, patriotic tunes, and speeches galore. The sizable Philadelphia delegation even got to stand on Plymouth Rock!
Though Kingston was not specifically mentioned in the Globe, we know the Bell came through on the way to Plymouth and back. This last image gives some idea of how Kingston celebrated. [If something about this image seems strange to you, you’re right! It’s reproduced in reverse, as is the third photo above.]
The Liberty Bell’s last train trip was to San Francisco in 1915. Officials determined that in 30 years of crossing the country, the Bell had lost 1% of itself along the way and this American icon has remained home in Philadelphia for the last 99 years.
Sources: Glass plate negatives from the Margaret Warnsman Collection MC30 (scans federally funded with LSTA funds through the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners and digitized at the Boston Public Library in conjunction with the Digital Commonwealth); “Seen by 50,000 on Common,” Boston Globe, June 19, 1903; Liberty Bell Timeline; National Park Service “The Liberty Bell: From Obscurity to Icon”
Another Memorial Day is upon us. Here are a few photos from the Local History Room collections which provide a glimpse of one of Kingston’s Memorial Day parades sometime before 1961.*
*This date is based on a flag carried by the color guard, which reads “U.S.S. Des Moines.” This heavy cruiser was launched in 1946 and decommissioned in 1961.
Source: LHR General Image Collection IC7
The four-trunk elm tree that stood on Main Street near Shirley Avenue was the stuff of childhood legend. The sidewalk ran underneath and between the trunks so that a daring kid could ride a bike straight through, and a real heroic type would do it no-hands style.
The mighty tree fell victim to the ravages of Dutch Elm disease around 1959, and a little bit of childhood magic went with it.
Sources: Mitchell Toabe Papers MC18 (first image); LHR General Image Collection IC7 (next two)
As a descendant of First Comers and an indefatigable researcher of their occupations, genealogies, land swaps and lawsuits, Emily Fuller Drew was perhaps more entitled than most to dress up like a Pilgrim. It certainly seems to have suited her.
Many thanks to Joe Colby, Head Custodian at the Recreation Department, for letting us know that today is the birthday of the Reed Community Building! The photograph above appeared in The Civic Progress of Kingston (Memorial Press of Plymouth, 1926) and was accompanied by Sarah DeNormandie Bailey’s text:
And this summer the town is to receive as a wonderful birthday remembrance the crowning gift of a beautiful Community House, given by Mr. and Mrs. Edgar Reed of Worcester. The Playground Committee must feel as if Aladdin’s lamp had been given to them and they had only to name a wish and have it granted. how many times have I heard their plans for a Community House and smiled to myself at the enthusiasm which could even dream of such a building, — and now it is all going to be true, only so much more and better than even the wildest dreams. It is a proud and happy Mother Town which inspires a love in the heart of a son and daughter which lives through many years to blossom at last in a gift like this.
Below is the actual building standing proudly over the ball fields in its first decade. Here’s to many more!
Staged to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the Pilgrim’s landing, the 1921 Pageant of the Pilgrim Spirit was a sprawling, epic production. Among its stranger elements — ranking alongside William Bradford’s premonition of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, and the Prologue and Finale spoken by “The Voice of the Rock” — has to be the appearance of the Norsemen.
The pageant program dates the appearance of these early visitors in Plymouth to about 1000 AD, and describes the performance as “played in pantomime to music.” Only one role is specifically named — Thorwald played by John Delano — but 46 men from Kingston, Duxbury, Plymouth and Marshfield are named as players in this scene, including Kingston’s Town Clerk of many years George Cushman.
Given the Norsemen’s spectacular outfits, it seems a shame that Plymouth Rock got more lines.
The program is online in full here.
Source: Jones River Village Historical Society Collection (photo); Vertical Files: “The Pilgrim Spirit” (program).
This month’s exhibit showcases people from Kingston dressing up like their Pilgrim predecessors. In 1920, the spectacle known as the Tercentenary Pageant featured a number of Kingstonians, new immigrants and Mayflower descendants alike, among its 1,300 actors. In the 1940s and 1950s, the Major John Bradford House served as the setting for dramatic vignettes and an educational film, directed by none other than the auteur responsible for Dating Do’s and Don’ts. Stop by and take a look.