Greetings from Pitcairn Island!

Leaf paintings from the Pitcairn Islands

Here at the Phillips Library we can boast a patron audience of a truly global nature.  Given the unique history of our founding institutions, the Essex Institute and the Peabody Museum of Salem, we have materials and collections from all corners of the world.  This can engender some fascinating requests made through our various reference outlets.  Recently, we received a request from a patron from the remote island of Pitcairn in the South Pacific.  Read more

Processing the Pingree Family Papers

Gardner-Pringree House (Photo by Walter Silver)

This past fall, I started a new project at the Phillips Library, processing the Pingree Family Papers.  I had vaguely heard of the Pingree family before, and I needed to begin working with the collection, which included over 420 linear feet of volumes, document boxes, and cartons, dating from 1794 to the second half of the 20th century (I’ve yet to get to the more modern papers).  To start I had to familiarize myself with the family.

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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