Four generations of RICHARDSONs 1917

Four generations of RICHARDSONs 1917
William Richardson, Alice Josephine Richardson Dakin, Robert Worthington Richardson, Harry Bogart Richardson
Showing posts with label WORTHINGTON Elnora Esther Cobb. Show all posts
Showing posts with label WORTHINGTON Elnora Esther Cobb. Show all posts

Thursday, February 12, 2015

One More Scrapbook Revelation and a P.S.

Who is this sweet little girl?  
Why is her picture on a cover of a magazine including an article about "Blind Man's Bluff"?

This is Martha Elnora (Mattie or Nora) Worthington Richardson.
Either Mattie or her mother, Elnora Esther Cobb Worthington, created a beautiful scrapbook full of pictures from the DeMorest's Monthly Magazine that I wrote about in a series of blog posts.

In my third post about the scrapbook, I wrote:
Since initially posting about my family's scrapbook initially in A Scrapbook with a Surprise, little did I know how this would challenge me to find out more.  I had no idea that so much could be learned from what looked like a simple scrapbook full of period pictures.  I shared some of that adventure in Some Logic, Some Help, and "Ask a Librarian" or two ... Gives an Answer.   Well the adventure continues and, as the blindfolded person in the above picture, I feel as if the clues are all around me -- IF I could ONLY see them!
Here's my latest update on the adventure.

Discovering that the scrapbook was made from a copy of the Congressional Record (45th Congress, 1877-1879) led to one question after another about not only the Congressional Record but also the history of scrapbooking in an attempt to date the album.

The help of many people made this story possible:
Gena Philibert-Ortega (, Ellen Gruber Garvey (author Writing with Scissors: Am. Scrapbooks from the Civil War to the Harlem Renaissance), Madaleine J Laird (, Connie Reik (Tisch Library, Tufts U), George D Barnum (Agency Historian Government Printing Office), and John J Devine (Boston Public Library, Social Sciences and Governmental Information Department).
Thank you.

Now, you can read the whole story in one article in the Winter 2015 issue of Crossroads, or in my series of blog posts:
A Scrapbook with a Surprise
Some Logic, Some Help, and "Ask a Librarian" or two ... Gives an Answer
Blind Man's Bluff ... Is that What this Scrapbook Playing with Me?

The conclusion, included in the article but not in the above posts is this:
In order to date the scrapbook, just finding the year of publication of the pictures in it and year of publication of the Congressional Record that was being used was not sufficient.  We needed to know when the volume became available to the general public.  The congressional sessions that it covered, ended in February 1879.  After editing, reviewing, etc. it would then go to press.  Now, the turn around is about 18 months.  How long it was then, is unknown.  The clue would be when would it have arrived at the Depository Libraries around the country.  The congressmen would have had it to share with constituents about the same time.  So, checking with the Boston Public Library, the date it was checked into the BPL collection was 2 September 1884 -- 5 1/2 years after it the congressional session ended.

A post script:
I thought my blog post ended there, with knowing the possible date of the acquisition -- what else was there to learn?

Well, George D Barnum, after seeing the article in the Crossroads, emailed me:

I just looked again at the article, and I couldn’t resist passing this thought along: I don’t believe I’d seen a photo of the binding of your scrapbook before.  It’s a very standard GPO binding of its time. The marbled paper on the boards of the front and back cover would have been made here at GPO (believe it or not, we still do it for some things, although not the bound Record any more).


Thank you George for that last clue and interesting video.

©2015 Erica Dakin Voolich
The link to the page is

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Some Logic, Some Help, and "Ask a Librarian" or two .... Gives an Answer

In A Scrapbook with a Surprise and a Question, I shared pictures from my Ella Worthington scrapbook, both the beautiful prints from Demorest's Monthly Magazine

and the discovery that the scrapbook was made from a copy of the Congressional Record - House based on the one side of one page that was partially unglued.

I had wondered in the last post about why Ella Cobb Worthington had ended up with a copy of the Congressional Record to make into a scrapbook.  Some folks e-mailed me suggestions and posted on FaceBook and on my Blog and in e-mails to me.  I'll come back to that later in another post.

Elnora Esther (Ella) Cobb Worthington
with her great granddaughter Alice Richardson

Another couple of questions arose:
•How prevalent were Congressional Records outside of official depositories and possibly in middle class homes?
•Which copy of the Congressional Record is this?

Which copy of the Congressional Record is this?   When writing the first blog post on this scrapbook, my initial thought was to assume that it was after 1873, since the footnote on the bottom of the page refers to an law passed on 24 May 1873 concerning marine insurance companies.  And to assume it was before 1876 since that is the earliest date from a picture glued into the book.  Before writing the original story, I tried searching online for a copy of the Congressional Record - House.  I checked and didn't find the Congressional Record for the House, only for the Senate for 1873-1874.   I had figured I would continue searching, year by year, if they were online.

One of my readers, Madaleine Laird, is the author of the KinfoLit blog was told about my blogpost and question by Gena Philibert-Ortega.
Madaleine contacted me and suggested that I could narrow the actual year of the Congressional Record by reading the information on the page and then checking out the congressmen mentioned using a website which identifies members of congress, Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.  I had not known about that webpage and the searching on it was helpful in narrowing down the possible year.

Looking at the part of page 190 which was visible, I can see the names of congressmen:
Mr. WILLIS, Mr. FRYE, Mr. POTTER.   Going to the Biographical Directory site, there were multiple men named Willis, Frye and Potter in the US House over the years.  I narrowed it down to:
•WILLIS, Benjamin Albertson (D), NY 1875-78
•FRYE, William Pierce (R), ME, 1871-1880
•POTTER, Clarkson Nott (D), NY, 1869-1874, 1877-1878
The earliest year for all three is 1875, I figured that was my starting point, except I initially hadn't noticed that POTTER wasn't there during the 1875-1876.

However, my helpful reader Madaleine Laird, the KinfoLit blogger, noticed another name that I had missed because he wasn't a speaker but someone mentioned, mid-paragraph:  Mr. CONGER.
So, now adding
•CONGER, Omar Dwight (R), 1869-1880.

Putting this altogether gives us the 45th congress, 1877-1878 as the only place to look for my copy of the Congressional Record-House which is so delightfully decorated with pictures from the Demorest's Monthly Magazine.

Unfortunately, that issue of the Congressional Record is not online.  So I decided to Ask a Librarian online -- I sent my blog post, along with my question and my predicted session of congress.  I got an automated reply that they would get back to me with in 5 business days.  Less than 24 hours later a wonderful librarian sent me scan of pages 190 and 191, volume 8, Saturday, 14 December 1878 (45th Congress, 3rd Session).  Since I couldn't use those scans online [from a commercial site], my friend Connie Reik, a wonderful genealogist and librarian and Government Publications Coordinator at Tisch Library, Tufts University, located and scanned the copies for me shown here.

The above page matches the page partially visible from Ella's scrapbook.  The next page in the book, shown below gives the year: 1878.

So my assumption that the issue of the Congressional Record had to be earlier than the first pictures was incorrect.

I guess Ella Cobb Worthington had some pictures she had saved and then put them together when she started her scrapbook.

Elnora Esther (Ella) Cobb Worthington with her grandson
Robert Worthington (Bobbie) Richardson

©2013 Erica Dakin Voolich