June 4, 2018

Charlotte Nichols - Salem, Massachusetts




The Peirce-Nichols House at 80 Federal Street was originally built for Jerathmiel Peirce, who was part owner of a 171-foot, three-masted Salem East Indiaman named Friendship (a recreation of which now resides at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site).
These real photo postcards feature Peirce’s great-granddaughter, Charlotte Sanders Nichols. In the photos, Charlotte is seated in front of the Peirce-Nichols’ carriage house with an unidentified young girl. It is believed that the doll being displayed may have belonged to Charlotte’s great-grandmother Sarah (Ropes) Peirce.
In 1917, Charlotte and her two sisters, Augusta and Martha, donated their stately mansion to the Essex Institute with the stipulation that they could remain in the home. Charlotte, the youngest, was the last Nichols family occupant; she passed away in 1935.

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*This article was written by Jen Ratliff for use by Salem State University Archives and Special Collections. Images above are from their collections. 


May 28, 2018

Salem Willows Tintypes - Salem, Massachusetts

Salem Willows Tintype
Methodist Episcopal Church Picnic - August 10, 1904
Marcella Riggs, William Ross, Hector Peabody, and Estelle Bowen

Although Salem had been an early adopter of photography, the field experienced a boom at the turn of the 20th century. Photographers like Frank Cousins and Leland Tilford were most active at this time, taking and selling souvenir images of Salem landmarks and everyday life. At the same time photography made its way to Salem Willows, where it quickly became a competitive novelty item.
Tintypes, an early form of photography, found a revival in carnivals and resort destinations in the 1890s. Around 1904 Mr. H.J. Esbach and Mrs. C.E. Leighton opened competing studios on the Willow’s Fort Ave. Unlike other types of photography, tintypes were inexpensive, quick, and offered a laid-back approach. Many subjects wore their work clothes, came barefoot off the beach, or brought their own props to take silly photos for friends and family. For lower and middle-class Salemites, tintypes offered an economical option in capturing family portraits and documenting special outings that otherwise wasn’t available to them.

Salem Willows Tintype
Taken at Esbach's Photograph Studio

Salem Willows Tintype
Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Eller 
September 1, 1908

*This article was written by Jen Ratliff for use by Salem State University Archives and Special Collections. Images above are from their collections. 

May 22, 2018

Trade Cards - Salem, Massachusetts

V.C. Stowe & Son trade card

Trade cards were a popular form of advertising in the second half of the 19th century. These cards were used by both national brands and local businesses to advertise: products, food items, shops, services, medicines, and everything in between.
Unlike modern advertisements, trade cards were often printed on high quality papers and featured colorful, elaborate artwork, making them attractive collectors’ items during the Victorian era.
The popularity of trade cards waned at the turn of the 20th century due to the rise of postcards and magazines.

Holly Tree Dining Room trade card

Union Pacific Tea Co. trade card


*This article was written by Jen Ratliff for use by Salem State University Archives and Special Collections. Images above are from their collections. 

April 1, 2018

Salem Depot - Salem, Massachusetts

Salem Railroad Depot. Moulton-Erickson Photo Co. Late 19th century
Built in 1847 for the Eastern Railroad, (later Boston and Maine) the Salem Depot long dominated the downtown skyline. The castle-like granite structure was designed by Gridley Bryant, a well-known Boston architect and stood at the intersection of Washington and Norman Streets.
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1940's photograph showing a train at the Salem Railroad Depot
As part of a new railroad design, the razing of the Salem Depot began in Fall of 1954 and was completed in Spring 1955. In 1958 the site was paved over, becoming the Riley Plaza we see today.
For over a 100 years, the Salem Depot was one of the most recognizable Salem landmarks and appeared on postcards, in paintings, and in many photographs.






*This article was written by Jen Ratliff for use by Salem State University Archives and Special Collections. Images above are from their collections.