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Greater Boston area materials

Collection MS-2013-020: Greater Boston area materials


  • Creation: 1797-1889

Scope and Contents

Includes varied documents of the 19th century Boston area, including mayorality election tickets; certificates and a photograph of students from the industrial Boston School Kitchen no. 3; ephemera from the Cragie Bridge Baths; letters from Massachusetts abolitionist and Underground Railroad station master Channing Smith, from Boston City Engineer N. Henry Crafts, and from ship owner Samuel Jones; and promotional ephemera from the New England tour of Cassie and Victoria Foster, "the Fairy Sisters."


Restrictions on access

Collection is open for research.

Restrictions on use

These materials are made available for use in research, teaching and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright Law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source. The original authors may retain copyright to the materials.

Biographical note

The 1876 Boston mayorality election pitted Democrat Frederick O. Prince, a lawyer, against Republican Nathaniel J. Bradlee, an architect. Prince won the mayorality, and Hugh O'Brien, previously unknown in politics, was elected an alderman. O'Brien would go on to be elected mayor in 1884, the first Irish and first Catholic to do so.

The Boston School Kitchens taught cooking in the Boston Public Schools beginning in 1885. Funds for the premises were usually donated by wealthy individuals or raised by communities; the city assumed the administration of the kitchens in 1888. Mary Johnson Bailey Lincoln, the first principal of the Boston Cooking School, wrote the Boston School Kitchen Textbook: Lessons in Cooking for the Use of Classes in Public and Industrial Schools (1887) at the request of the school system. Boston School Kitchen No. 3 was at the Bowditch School in Jamaica Plain.

N. Henry Crafts became City Engineer of Boston in 1863.

Cragie Bridge Baths were located by the Charles River Dam in Boston. They were owned and operated by Cyrus Bruce as early as 1848, and were in use as early as 1828. The City of Boston leased the baths in 1869.

The First Free Baptist Church and Society of South East Rehoboth, Massachusetts, was officially organized on November 14, 1889, and was granted a charter by the Commonwealth on February 6, 1890.

Cassie Foster (1865-1875) and Victoria Foster (1871-1874) were known as the "Fairy Sisters" on the vaudeville stage. They were born in Nova Scotia to Thomas and Elizabeth Foster and suffered from a form of dwarfism, as did their brother, Dudley (1877-1894), who appeared under the name "Hop-O'-My-Thumb." The Fairy Sisters toured New England in 1872-1873.

Channing Smith (1796-1878) was born in Canterbury, Connecticut and worked as a wool dyer, later moving to Blackstone, Massachusetts and working for the satinet mill Welcome & Darius D. Farnum. He was an abolitionist and Underground Railway station master.

Sources Abstract of the Certificates of Corporations Organized under the General Laws of Massachusetts ... during the Year 1890. Boston: Wright and Potter, 1891.

Annapolis Heritage Society. "Artifacts from Our Collection." Accessed September 25, 2013.

Annual Report of the School Committee of the City of Boston, 1892. Boston: Rockwell and Churchill, 1893.

Collins & Chambers Collection, 1872, finding aid. Manuscripts Division, William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan.

Crane, Ellery Bicknell. Historic Homes and Institutions and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs of Worcester County, Massachusetts. New York: Lewis Pub. Co., 1907.

Snodgrass, Mary Ellen. The Underground Railroad: an Encyclopedia of People, Places, and Operations. Armonk, NY: Sharpe, 2008.


0.25 Linear Feet (1 container)

Language of Materials



Arranged alphabetically.


Purchased from various dealers, 2012-2013.

Greater Boston Area Materials
Adrienne Pruitt
September 2013
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the John J. Burns Library Repository

John J. Burns Library
Boston College
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill MA 02467 United States