On October 25, 1995 Jerry Fanning gave a talk on his search for his Irish ancestors to the Maynard Historical Society. Jerry passed away several months later and his wife, Irene, donated the text of his talk along with a recording Jerry made.
We have digitized his recording, used software to remove a lot of the background noise, and we are now pleased to have Jerry Fanning’s talk in this week’s podcast.
Our podcast this week (back from a short hiatus) covers a project that has been ongoing with the collection the past month or so. We are working on creating subcollections to make research of the collection easier for folks who will visit us in the future. Deciding what deserves a subcollection requires thought and discussion.
We recently decided to create a “school photographs” subcollection – organizing the photographs by class year.
Here are some examples of the “forensic history” photographs: these photos come to the collection with little or no information other that what we can see. We will eventually tie together photographs, town records, and other information to “fill in the blanks”.
By examining the backgrounds we determined that the following two photos that they originated at the original Nason Street School which existed from 1892 to 1916.
The stairway in the following photo means that it was at the Bancroft Street School (which later became the Coolidge School). We’ll eventually be able to use dress styles to pin the age to a decade or so.
The entryway in the following photograph pins this to the Main Street School (1902-1952).
This photograph was also taken at the Main Street School, but was harder to identify. We used the patterns of the brick and window stones to determine it was Main Street. The photograph itself contained a two additional clues on the back that will be useful in the future for further identification: it was a 2nd grade portrait and the teacher was Miss Garvey. But that’s all we know right now.
As we continue to catalog and cross-reference photographs and other documents, this sub-collection will provide relatively easy access to relevant photographs to anyone who wants to see school-age photos of a person given their birth date or graduation year.
This is one from our audio archives. In December 1980 Forrest Bradshaw, of Sudbury, visited the Maynard Historical Society and spoke about ballooning. Mr. Bradshaw served in the United States Army’s Balloon Corps in the latter half of World War I and a fair portion of his talk relays his experiences in training for and operation of “lighter than air” craft that watched over the American coastline (only a handful of balloon companies were deployed overseas).
This is a long program (just under 1 hour) including questions and answers. The Q&A section may not be as clear as his talk so you may need to turn up the volume here and there.
While the Mill and the town were founded by Amory Maynard, as Amory grew older and infirm a new management scheme for the mill was required. In 1862 the ownership of the Maynard Mill complex moved from the Maynard family ownership to a corporation called the “Assabet Manufacturing Company” (of which Amory Maynard, was listed as the “agent”). This corporation lasted through the Civil War.
Assabet Manufacturing Company ran until poor business conditions drove it to insolvency on Dec 31, 1898. It stayed operating under receivership until May 1, 1899 when it was purchased by the American Woolen Company for $400,000. The American Woolen Company was a conglomerate of textile mills in New England and at the time the Maynard Mill was the largest woolen mill in the country with 350 looms.
By the early 1920’s the American Woolen Company had 27 mills, 7,200 looms, and clothed an estimated one in six men in the United States (the cloth was used primarily for men’s suits). By that time, despite its size and expansion to nearly 800 looms and 2,500 people the Maynard Mill was no longer one of the major mills in the company.
The appraisal of the 267 non-mill properties owned by the American Woolen Company provide an insight into what it was like to live in “company town” back then, the living conditions of the mill workers and the town in general. For those people who currently live in one of the properties listed, it provides a unique slice of history about their home.
Here are a few pages from the book:
As part of the digitization of the collection, the entire 209 page appraisal is available for download from the Society’s web site. The file format is Adobe PDF. Please note that this is a relatively large file (90MB), so you don’t want to download it unless you have a reasonably high-speed connection.
This is the final installment of our 3-part interview with Ralph Sheridan.
Part 1 of the interview is in podcast #5. Part 2 can be found in podcast #7.
This is an interview recorded in 1994 by WAVM. It was hosted by then Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Donald Kennedy.
In this podcast Ralph fields questions from the audience. He tells stories about life in Maynard at the turn of the 20th century: farms, the various uses of the fields near the current Green Meadow School, the history of the churches in Maynard, and a bit about the trains that ran through town and the businesses that sprung up around the trains.
Ralph was a friend of the legendary Babe Ruth, who lived in nearby Sudbury for a time and frequented Maynard. Ralph tells of his friendship with The Bambino and provides some insight into Ruth’s life away from baseball.
In this podcast we are pleased to present part two of our three-part interview with Ralph Sheridan, recorded in 1994.
Part one of the interview can be heard in podcast #5.
Ralph Sheridan was Maynard’s official Town Historian in the 1980’s and was a founder of the Maynard Historical Society.
The audio recording is taken from a 1994 program recorded by WAVM. Ralph was interviewed by then Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Donald Kennedy in front of a live audience in the Maynard High School Library.
In this podcast Ralph shares stories on various outdoor activities (Cricket was big back then), skating on the Mill pond (and the tale of the Mill Pond being drained), school activities and pranks, and the difficulties in finding nine kids to fill out a baseball team.
“Priorities” – Dave Griffin discusses how we will be prioritizing the cataloging and digitization efforts. We are faced with processing thousands of items in the existing collection and they represent a wide variety of conditions and importance to the Society’s collection.
To show some of the challenges of prioritization, two boxes recently found in the Collection are used as examples.
This week’s podcast is a series of stories by Ralph Sheridan, recorded in 1994. The original interview was about 2 hours long and we hope to get at least another podcast episode or two out of that interview. Ralph Sheridan was Maynard’s Town Historian from 1984 to 1996. He was also instrumental in the formation of the Maynard Historical Society in the 1960’s. Despite being in his 90’s when this was recorded, he’s as sharp as a tack and vividly recalls life in Maynard in the early part of the 20th century.
The interview comes from a WAVM video recording where Ralph was interviewed by Dr. Donald Kennedy, then Superintendent of Schools (and a rather avid history buff). In this podcast Ralph shares stories on a wide variety of topics including the Harriman Laundry, why the fire whistle blows every day at 12:10 and not noon, how snow was cleared from the streets before there were snowplows, playing baseball at Crowe park, some of the origins of the Mill and Lake Boon, the protocol for using a sauna, and a bit about a few of the social groups in town like the Finnish Temperance Society.
If you use Apple’s iTunes software on your Mac or PC, you can now subscribe to the Maynard Historical Society Podcast. When you do this new episodes will automatically be downloaded to your computer, iPod, or AppleTV — so you don’t have to check here all the time (although we certainly have other news here that is worth coming back for once in a while).