Monday, June 1, 2015

Materials Relating to the Death of Governor Roger Wolcott

From the 1898 Souvenir of
Massachusetts Legislators
The State Library has within its collection many published materials and pamphlets that commemorate the deaths of notable 19th and early 20th century Massachusetts citizens.  They are usually published around the time of death, and contain addresses that memorialize the deceased.

Particularly interesting are a group of items that were housed in a small, unassuming envelope in our library’s stacks.  They were printed around the time of Governor Roger Wolcott’s death on December 21st, 1900.  Roger Wolcott (1847-1900) was the 41st* governor of Massachusetts.  After the death of Governor Frederic T. Greenhalge in March of 1896, then-Lt. Governor Wolcott became the acting governor until he was elected to office in 1897; he served from January, 1897 until January, 1900.  In November, Wolcott began exhibiting the symptoms of typhoid fever shortly after returning from Europe and passed away a month later.  He was buried in the Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge.  During his 1897 term in office, the Bradford Manuscript returned to Massachusetts and was placed in Gov. Wolcott’s custody; he then authorized the State Library to care for the priceless volume.

The contents of this envelope include: a pamphlet that provides directions to ushers and contains information on the funeral’s attendees and their seating arrangements; typed instructions for police officers regarding funeral procedures and the required police presence; a tribute pamphlet published by the Women’s Committee of the Massachusetts Volunteer Aid Association; and a program titled “Memorial Services Held In Honor Of Roger Wolcott Governor of Massachusetts In Symphony Hall Boston April Eighteenth MDCCCCI.”  Each of these items has been digitized and can be viewed on the library’s Flickr page.

In direct relation to these materials is a book titled Public Services in Memory of Roger Wolcott, which includes full text of the addresses listed in the memorial program.  This publication can be found in the library’s collection, or it can be viewed online.

*Number varies depending on source.  This number is based on the information provided by the National Governors Association.

Kaitlin Connolly
Reference Department