New Digital Collection Open

The Phillips Library is pleased to announce the opening of a third digital collection – The American Neptune Collection.  The quarterly journal of maritime history and arts, founded by a group of maritime enthusiasts, which included Samuel Eliot Morison and Walter Muir Whitehill, is available for your perusal and research. Read more

New Digital Collection Honors Centennial of Great Salem Fire, June 25, 1914

Neg # 32787

Start of the conflagration - the Korn Leather Factory, Boston Street

On June 25, 1914, a fire alarm sounded at 1:37 p.m.  An explosion had occurred at the Korn Leather Factory on Boston Street in Blubber Hollow, the leather district in Salem, Massachusetts.  Chemicals used to create the tip finish, a varnish used to shine patent leather, exploded causing a catastrophic fire to spread through the city.  Although some of the tanneries were sprinklered, the wooden structures could not withstand the heat created by the fire and much of the leather district was destroyed.  When the alarm sounded, only nine firemen were on duty; they responded as quickly as they could with a variety of firefighting equipment – steamer engines, hose wagons, and a ladder truck.  A series of additional alarms sounded, bringing the entire department of Salem firefighters to the site of the blaze along with all the remaining firefighting equipment, leaving the rest of the city unprotected.

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Every Man (or Woman) His Own Gardener

The Right Half of My Favorite Garden: Hostas, Evening Primrose; Varigated Solomon's Seal; Astilbe; Lingularia; Lily of the Valley; and Lenten Rose

Although the summer solstice isn’t until June, many consider Memorial Day as the beginning of summer.   Gardeners, in particular, use this weekend to begin many of their yearly tasks in the garden.  They bring out plants grown over the winter under fluorescent lamps in the basement; they buy annuals that will survive the minor fluctuations of temperature; and they open the perennial gardens and begin to repair the damage caused by a long, cold winter. Read more