Monday, March 14, 2016

Chickadees in a Cracker Jack box

The State legislature designated the chickadee as the “bird or bird emblem of the commonwealth” in 1941. A few years ago, in preparation for an upcoming exhibition on birds in Massachusetts*, the State Library’s Special Collections Department started collecting objects and images relating to our state bird. A surprising number of friends and family members had chickadee memorabilia to contribute, and the collection has continued to grow through donations.

Acts and Resolves passed by the General Court. 1941 Chapter 0121.

In early 2015 a small gift joined the collection: a prize from a 1940’s Cracker Jack box. The prize was a miniature booklet (2 ¾”h x 2 1/8”w) titled Chickadee, by John H. Eggers, with a copyright date of 1941. Not necessarily of great research value, but this item will be a charming addition the next time we do an exhibition on printing techniques, or birds, or state emblems.

*Amazing Birds: The Wild Side of Massachusetts, June-August 2012; see images on the State Library’s Flickr page.

Special Collections Department