Stories from the Stacks

The Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives houses a seemingly endless collection of unique and rich manuscripts, photographs, books, maps, and other archival documents from the region’s impressive (almost) four-hundred-year history. While we continue to progress in our efforts to get our collection online and to your computers, we’ve got a lot of great material we want to share with you before then, including:

The Moorland Hotel and Motor Inn
How did a star of Gloucester’s golden age of summer resort hotels survive two World Wars, the Great Depression, and a devastating fire ... continued.

The Origins of Mighty-Mac
In 1909 Morris Bell and Max Leavitt started a business to make oiled clothing for the Gloucester fishermen. Its famous “sou’wester” led to the production of other items such as work clothes, work gloves, heavy wool, and leather outerwear and even mattresses (the old excelsior stuffed cotton ticking kind) for fishing vessel bunks... continued.

Cape Pond Ice Company Archival Collection
Cape Ann enjoys a rich and diverse commercial and industrial history: art colonies, granite quarries, and the fisheries. To this list, we can add ice-making. A newly acquired archival collection called the Cape Pond Ice Company Collection donated by present owner and local businessman Scott Memhard captures the 165-year old partnership of ice-making and fishing that flourished up through the 1970s and 1980s in Gloucester, Manchester, Rockport and Magnolia... continued.

Katy and the Big Snow
The fifth major publication by children’s author and artist Virginia Lee Burton, Katy and the Big Snow, was introduced to readers the same year The Little House won the Caldecott Award for most distinguished picture book in 1943. Indeed, the dedication page of Katy shows this new titular character plowing a path through the snow, passing by a certain “little house,” a “Wonder Horse,” a large steam shovel, and even a train, from which you can almost hear the “Choo Choo” sounding... continued.

Herman Spooner’s Glass Plate Photographs of Greenery
CAM Connects readers may recognize Herman W. Spooner as a member of the Cape Ann Camera Club. While he photographed a variety of subjects, with spring coming we wanted to share some of his photographs ... continued.

Herbariums: A Growing Interest
Starting in the 1890’s botany was becoming more popular not just professionally and academically but also as an amateur pursuit ... continued. 

Leonard Craske – Sculpting with Color
During the early 20th century, the only opportunity most traditional sculptors had to incorporate color into their work was to decide between a green or brown patina. Perhaps that’s why Leonard Craske ... continued.

Camera Club and Herman W. Spooner
Before the world of photography at our fingertips was created on social media, how did photographers connect and find inspiration from each other’s work? Locally, they had the Cape Ann Camera Club ... continued.

Keepers of the Light at Annisquam Lighthouse
Most, but not all of us, have never been a lighthouse keeper. Because of that, it may be hard to imagine what the day-to-day work and lifestyle was like. The job description included: trimming wicks ... continued.

Artists and Recipes
In the 1950s, the St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Rockport produced a cookbook with favorite recipes submitted by parishioners, a group that happened to include several resident artists and family members ... continued.

Fish Processing – Clarence Birdseye and The Wonson Family
A naturalist and entrepreneur since childhood, Birdseye spent time in Labrador as a young man. There he observed that foods rapidly frozen in the Artic winters resulted in food that was tastier ... continued.

CAM Video Vault Writers Series
Offered in conjunction with the exhibition Four Winds: The Arts and Letters of Rocky Neck in the 1950s, this gallery talk by noted Gloucester literary figures Peter Anastas and David Rich lends ... continued.

Gloucester’s Own Jazz Trumpeter, Sylvester Ahola
With its breathtaking natural vistas, authentic industrial history, and vibrant artistic communities, Cape Ann has been the source of great inspiration and nourishment to countless creative individuals over the decades ... continued.

CAM Video Vault Lecture Series
I never got the chance to meet Peter Anastas. And from what I’ve seen, heard, read, and watched, it’s unfortunate that I didn’t. During my first few months as the Librarian & Archivist at the Cape Ann Museum ... continued.

Digital Resources & Digital Research Advisory Service
Just because our doors are currently closed doesn’t mean that your research and historical study has to stop! The Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives is always open ... continued.

A Personal Reflection on the Value of Oral Histories
Doris Helen McNeely Wankel. An obscure Cape Ann Artist you’ve never heard of? No. In fact, Doris has never lived on Cape Ann; never summered on Cape Ann; never even visited Cape Ann ... continued.

What's In Your Attic?
As we’re all relegated to the comfort of our homes for the coming weeks, now would be a great time to visit the attic and see what Cape Ann-related historical documents, photographs and videos might be hiding there ... continued.

A Note From the Processor
I had only vaguely heard of the Folly Cove Designers in 2015 when I wandered into the Sarah Elizabeth Shop in Rockport on a rainy winter Sunday. It was cozy there, and Julia Garrison welcomed me into the tiny shop ... continued.

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