Category Archives: Local History Exhibit Archive

“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, 33 Summer Street
Frederic C. Adams Library, 33 Summer Street

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).

Rand Family Stones in the Old Burying Ground, around 1925

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). 

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

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.









Unidentified sailboat, no date

Summertime, and vacation!

Two summer-related announcements.
First, the new exhibit in the LHR’s lobby display case featured selected images of Kingston summers gone by. Just as we do today, past Kingston residents and visitors enjoyed the warmth of the brief New England summers. Stop by and have a look!

Unidentified sailboat, no date
Unidentified sailboat, no date

Second, the Local History Room will be closed for vacation July 15 to July 29. You can email questions to, or leave a voicemail at 781-585-0517 x123 (be sure to leave all of your contact information).

Happy Summer to all.