Category Archives: Local History Exhibit Archive

Combating an Invasive Species: The Gypsy Moth Infestation

Illustration of gypsy moth caterpillar and adult
Illustration from “The Home and School Reference Work, Volume IV” by The Home and School Education Society, H. M. Dixon, President and Managing Editor, published in 1917 by The Home and School Education Society. Image file found here.

 

Today, we may see gypsy moths outside our homes or in our woodlands and think nothing of them, but this insect has a tumultuous history in the United States.

In 1869, an amateur entomologist imported this species from Europe to his home in Medford, Massachusetts. He intended to use the moths to breed a silk-spinning moth that would be more resistant to disease than the domestic silkmoth. Unsurprisingly, several adult moths escaped from their enclosures, setting a number of problems in motion that we continue to grapple with today.

Stop by to learn more about Kingston’s efforts to eradicate this pest in this month’s local history exhibit!

Emily Fuller Drew models her pilgrim costumes

Emily Fuller Drew: Historian and Photographer

Emily Fuller Drew models her pilgrim costumes 

In honor of Women’s History Month, March’s local history exhibit will feature materials from Emily Fuller Drew (1881-1950), who we have to thank for much of what we know about Kingston’s history. She put in an enormous of amount of work to help preserve the history of this town. Leaving a collection of more than 700 lantern slides, Emily photographed existing images that were decaying in order to preserve the informational content. She also photographed a variety of houses, buildings, events, and people of Kingston. Local history was a passion for Emily, and she recorded it not only visually, but also in her numerous unpublished essays and notes.

Stop by the library to learn more about Emily and her legacy!

 

Source: Image from the Emily Fuller Drew Collection (MC16).

Colorized photo of soldiers resting by a road

“Just a word to let you know I am still alive…”: Postcards from World War I

Postcard with image of soldiers and horses, captioned "Greetings from Camp Gordon, Atlanta, Ga."
Postcard sent by Joseph Finney to Mary Fries, postmarked November 21, 1917

 

When the US entered World War I in 1917 and called for a draft, Joseph Finney registered during the first round. He became one of approximately 2 million men who joined the American Expeditionary Forces, armed forces sent overseas to Europe. Throughout his service he exchanged postcards with friends and family, especially his elder sister, Ella Finney, and the woman he went on to marry upon his return, Mary Fries. Looking through this correspondence allows us to piece together a loose timeline of his experiences. Stop by the library to check out this exhibit for yourself!

 

Source: Image from the Joseph Cushman Finney Papers (MC11).

Ada Brewster: Civil War Nurse, Traveler, and Artist

Sketch captioned "Cow Boy from Arizona," dated April 19, 1885
Cow Boy from Arizona, April 19, 1885

 

Ada Brewster, born in Kingston on May 25, 1842, lived a fascinating life. She served as a nurse at Lovell General Hopsital in Rhode Island during the Civil War; worked at the U.S. Mint in Carson City, Nevada during the production of the first trade dollar coined by the federal government; studied art at the Lowell Institute in Boston and the California School of Design (now the San Francisco Art Institute); opened her own art studio and became known as a portraitist, illustrator, china-painter, and teacher; and moved all over the country before returning home to Kingston in 1919. Stop by to learn more in this month’s Local History exhibit, featuring a selection of Ada’s sketches from her time out West.

 

Source: This sketch comes from the Ada Brewster Collection (MC24).

 

Happy Holidays!

Frederic C. Adams Library, 1908
Frederic C. Adams Library, 1908

In the spirit of the holidays, the Local History Room’s December exhibit features a collection of limited edition holiday ornaments created by the Kingston Lions Club between 1990 and 2002. Each one bears the likeness of a Kingston icon – from the old Town House and the Faunce School, to the Old Colony Railroad Station and the Major John Bradford House. Stop by to see this local memorabilia.
Source: Image from the Local History Room Image Collection (IC7).

Shall We Dance?

Kingston High School Junior Prom, 1942
Kingston High School Junior Prom, 1942

During November, the lobby display case will feature a selection of photos, invitations, and dance cards from throughout Kingston’s history. Did you know that ballroom etiquette once prescribed ladies to carry dance cards to pencil in the names of gentlemen who had reserved a dance? Or that in 1875, Kingston residents held a Thanksgiving Ball to celebrate the holiday? Stop by to learn more!

Source: Image from the Mary Hathaway Collection (MC21).

Kingston Gravestones & Their Carvers

Rand Family Stones in the Old Burying Ground, around 1925

For the entire month of October, the lobby display case will feature a selection of photographs of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Kingston gravestones, but rather than focusing on those interred in the Old Burying Ground, this exhibit will examine the men who carved these markers. Stop by to check it out!

 

Source: Image from the Emily Fuller Drew Collection (MC16). 

Native American artifacts on display in the local history exhibit

The Allerton Archaeological Site

The Allerton Archaeological Site

From the Plymouth Archeological Rediscovery Project:  “In 1972, Dr. James Deetz directed hurried excavations at an early colonial homesite in Kingston, Massachusetts. Background research soon revealed that it was most probably the original homesite of Isaac Allerton, Plymouth Colony’s merchant. More importantly, the excavations revealed that the house had been built using earthfast (a.k.a post-in-ground) construction techniques, something that had not been identified in New England before this important dig. The data gleaned from this excavation completely changed how Plimoth Plantation built their houses and even what a house was in the 17th century. Unfortunately, until the present report was completed, this important had been continually held up as an example of Plymouth Colony archaeology without anyone really understanding what was found and what it all could mean.”

Want to learn more?  Come see the exhibit at the Library or email the Kingston Public Library’s archivist Sharon Pietryka at spietryka@kingstonpubliclibrary.org.

The full report on the Allerton site by Craig S. Chartier can be viewed here.

To view image of the exhibit, see our photo gallery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Awards, Medals, and Certificates, Oh My!

Reading Certificate for Margaret Smith from the Town of Kingston Public Schools and Public Library, June 11, 1937
Reading Certificate for Margaret Smith from the Town of Kingston Public Schools and Public Library, June 11, 1937

 

Scattered across the collections of the Local History Room, we have a sampling of items that represent the achievements—both great and small—that marked the lives of Kingston’s residents. From volunteering with the Girl Scouts to Citizen of the Year, these objects commemorate just a few of the accomplishments of this community.

Stop by to check out the exhibit!

 

Source: Image from the Kingston Schools Collection PC12.