For the past several years the State Library’s Special Collections Department has been collecting postcards of both the exterior and the interior of the Massachusetts State House. The postcards come in as donations and are found almost exclusively at tag sales and flea markets.
This new (old!) card depicting the “Battle Flags of Massachusetts Regiments, at Statehouse, Boston, Mass.” has a postmark of 1913, and is addressed to Master Kermit Nickerson of Belfast, Maine. We are almost certain that this young Master Nickerson grew up to be Maine’s Commissioner of Education, Kermit Spearin Nickerson (1904-1982). The dates and the geographic location fit just right.
Here’s the text as written:
“Am going to Plymouth Mass Saturday and hope it doesn’t rain as it did last Sunday either. I am sending you this card for your collection as these are flags used in war. Some are very badly torn and some there are only parts of it left. Inez.”We haven’t yet figured out who Inez is.
The State House still has an impressive display of battle flags on the second floor, though the original flags, as shown in the postcard, were moved by textile conservators in 1987 to environmentally controlled storage to keep the flags safe.
Head of Special Collections