Patriot’s Day, Then and Now

Cover Page

Cover page for the "Celebration of the First Battle of the Revolution" program

While not a national holiday in the United States, Patriot’s Day is a day of great import in Massachusetts, the state of its inception.  An official state holiday since 1894, Patriot’s Day commemorates the seminal Revolutionary War Battle of Lexington and Concord fought on April 19, 1775, and the Civil War Riot in Baltimore of April 19, 1861. Read more

“The Song of the Library Staff” by Sam Walter Foss

"The Song of the Library Staff" by Sam Walter Foss

At the Phillips Library we hold many treasures on a vast number of topics.  I recently uncovered a delightful piece written by Sam Walter Foss (1858-1911), one-time librarian at the Somerville Public Library.  An avid poet, Foss is primarily known for such works as “The House by the Side of the Road.”  In 1906, Foss attended the American Library Association’s annual conference in Narragansett Pier, Rhode Island, where he read his new set of poems, collectively called The Song of the Library Staff, to the 890 attendees.

Read more

“I am more than Tommy Townes” African Americans at the Phillips Library

Envelope - Thomas Townes to father, Moses Townes

Envelope, letter written by Thomas Townes to his father, Moses Townes, August 1919

In honor of Black History Month, I looked into our holdings to highlight a manuscript collection created primarily by African Americans.  While we have many collections centered on the history of African Americans, many of these materials were written and maintained by white abolitionists with the hopes of raising the status of blacks in nineteenth-century America.  I made it my goal to find a collection written by African Americans.  This led me to MSS 349, the Townes Family Papers, 1911-1931, which includes materials created by three generations of an African American family from Newburyport, Massachusetts.  Read more