Monday, June 2, 2014

Unexpected Annotations: An Inserted Note From Eliza Susan Quincy

Josiah Quincy's portrait,
in Eliza's handwriting,
reads: "Aged 89. Sixteen
years after he resigned the
Presidency of Harvard, thirty
five year after he left
the Mayoralty."
Historian, amateur artist, and genealogist Eliza Susan Quincy (1798-1884), on May 13th, 1869, presented to the State Library a copy of her father’s 1852 work titled A municipal history of the town and city of Boston during two centuries.  Eliza’s father, Josiah Quincy III (1772-1864), was a Massachusetts state and congressional legislator, the 2nd Mayor of Boston, and President of Harvard University; Quincy Market was also named in his honor. In addition to these accomplishments, he was also a published historian.  His father, Josiah Quincy II (1744-1775), was a prominent Massachusetts lawyer and patriot who died shortly after the start of the Revolutionary War.

Faneuil Hall engraving caption reads:
"View of the Market House erected
in 1826, and of Faneuil Hall from
the east."
What’s interesting about this particular copy is that Eliza inserted a handwritten note annotating the engravings that were included as frontispiecesinformation that she, a historian and student of the arts, felt was important for the reader to know.  Eliza collaborated with her father on many of his works, so it is not surprising that she continued to add information where she felt it was needed. The note reads:
The frontispiece of the work was partially copied from a sketch taken in 1827, soon after the Market was finished.  The hanging gardens belonging to the mansion of Peter Faneuil (in 1827, the property & residence of William Phillips) are seen on the left side of the engraving near the roof of Faneuil Hall.  A tower slightly indicated by the engraver, was a summer house built by Mr. Phillips on the site of that of Mr. Faneuil.  The trees beside it were a landmark to ships entering the harbor of Boston.  This interesting coincidence was probably accidental.  The artist sketched the distance as it existed in 1827.  The site of these gardens now forms part of Pemberton Square.  Eliza S. Quincy.  May 1869. 

Another copy of this title is available online, and that copy, which was donated to the Library of the University of Michigan by Eliza in 1872, also includes a longer and more detailed handwritten note inserted into the pages of the book.

For more information on Eliza Susan Quincy the artist, please visit the following website:

Kaitlin Connolly
Reference Librarian