The Night the Grand Union Hotel Became a Memory

Nora Riediger

Detail of the circular published by the Frank Cousins Art Company to announce the publication of a set of photographs of the closing night of the Grand Union Hotel in New York City.

Indeed, on the very night of the closing of the Grand Union Hotel in New York City, Mr. Frank Cousins (1851-1925) of Salem, proprietor of the Frank Cousins Art Company, produced a set of sixteen photographs, which are today held by the Phillips Library as part of the Frank Cousins Collection. Nowadays, Cousins is best remembered for his visual records of – mostly but not exclusively – the Colonial style architecture of Salem, its vicinity, and the upper eastern seaboard. Over his active years (1890s-1920s) he developed a thoroughly characteristic style, revealing a very structured approach to his subjects and a high degree of attention to detail, which makes his work intriguing as more than just documentation of architecture. Read more

Exploring a Historic Panorama

Dinah Cardin

Kung Tai Studio. Photographic panorama of the Shanghai Bund. Shanghai, China, 1882. Albumen prints. Gift of Mrs. Beverley R. Robinson, 1950. Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA. Image credit: Walter Silver.

The world’s second tallest tower is soon to officially open in Shanghai, and with it, a sky-bound branch of China’s Guanfu Museum. To celebrate, several departments at PEM have been working together to make available online a panorama from PEM’s significant collection of 19th-century photographs of China. The museum’s 11-foot photographic panorama of the Shanghai Bund from 1882 was made by Kung Tai Studio and consists of 13 prints joined to form a sweeping view of the Shanghai waterfront. Read more

More than Lobster and Lighthouses


Haskell Island, Casco Bay, Maine, photo by H. S. Follansbee, July 1927

The Pingree family has been involved in shaping the landscape of Maine since shortly after it became a state in 1820.  David Pingree (1795-1863) started buying land in the 1830s and 1840s.  Through the processing of the Pingree papers, I have been able to discover that land in Maine wasn’t just an investment for the family, but a place that brought them personal joy. Read more