Women Artists Provide Winter Interlude

Kitty M. Bradlee Collection, two watercolor floral paintings

Two Watercolor Floral Paintings from Kitty M. Bradlee Collection

Occasionally, I roam through the stacks of our collection to explore what I am not familiar with as a treat after a project has been finished or, in this case, as a small interlude from the challenging winter we have been experiencing.  Since March is Women’s History Month, I decided to search out women artists.  In this posting I would like to share with you the beautiful art that I discovered.

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“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

Valentines from the Phillips Library

Valentines by Louis Prang, circa 1880s

The ancient custom of observing St. Valentine’s Day began with the early Romans, but the first written message using St. Valentine’s name is found in England in the late 1600s. The oldest valentines that the Phillips Library holds are these two in the Spitzenbilder style. Folk artists created papercuts in Germany in the 17th century. Austrian monks and nuns went on to create “Spitzenbilder,” splendid “lace-pictures” of cut paper.

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