Monday, December 21, 2015

Holiday Traditions and Interesting State Library Collection Finds

The holiday season is in full swing at the State House with holiday music filling the halls on a daily basis. Boston itself is full of holiday traditions—from the lighting of the menorah and Christmas tree on the Boston Common to ice skating on the Frog Pond to the year-long awaited holiday performances of the Nutcracker ballet and the Boston Pops concert at Symphony Hall.

The State Library’s collections yield a few eclectic items tied to the holiday season.  One of the most peculiar is a small 14 page booklet, The Alpine Edelweis: a Christmas Song from 1886 which contains an ode to the edelweiss flower made famous by the song everyone knows from the The Sound of Music. Christmas Eve on Beacon Hill by Richard Bowland Kimball, is another diminutive 16 page booklet from 1918 recounting the tradition of illuminating Beacon Hill windows with candles on Christmas Eve (one would hope that today those candles are electric!).  A third, Christmas, Boston Image from 1964 showcases eerie, almost otherworldly black and white photographs by Dave Lawlor which literally capture a snapshot of Boston life “frozen” in that moment with its many classic film shots of day and night winter and holiday scenes taken around Boston.  It is a glimpse into the past to holiday traditions and Boston scenes that remain the same today, even 50 years later, and how plenty have changed over the years.  Happy Holidays!

Judy Carlstrom
Technical Services