Monday, January 29, 2018

Scrapbook of Eugene N. Foss (Scrapbook 17)

Bronze-colored medallion
with the saying “a la Sainte
Terre,” which is included in
the Foss scrapbook collection.
Old scrapbooks are interesting research tools because, behind all the pasting and arranging, there was a dedicated compiler who was deeply invested in documenting a certain person, event, or subject.  Sometimes scrapbooks document the life and memories of the compiler him or herself, and the types of materials included can offer a more complete story than a journal or diary alone.  Scrapbooks can contain all sorts of documents and ephemera (letters, photos, greeting cards, class grades, etc.), which may have been otherwise discarded if they hadn’t been preserved in such a way; objects that have a meaning or memory attached are also commonly found in scrapbooks (e.g. pressed flowers, silverware, fabric).

The State Library houses a large collection of scrapbooks which can be searched for using our online catalog.  One especially voluminous example covers the career of Massachusetts Governor Eugene N. Foss (1858-1939).  Under the direction of Foss, this 40 volume set was compiled by Marion Pottle over a 30 year period, starting from 1902 up through 1936, and includes materials that document Foss’ political activities, business interests, family life, and his life after politics.  The volumes largely contain newspaper clippings, but other types of items, such as banquet menus, posters, flyers, correspondence, a medallion, and a letter from Franklin Delano Roosevelt while he was serving as Governor of New York, can also be found throughout.  Here’s a link to the catalog record, which provides more information about this collection:

Examples of newspaper clippings and correspondence found
within the Foss scrapbook collection.
For questions about scrapbooks or other archival materials housed at the State Library, you can contact our Special Collections Department via the following ways:

State Library of Massachusetts
Special Collections Department
Room 55, State House
24 Beacon St.,
Boston, MA 02133
Phone:  617-727-2595

Kaitlin Connolly
Reference Department