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Essex Book and Print Club Records

Essex Book and Print Club Records

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Collection Summary

Repository:The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Creator:Essex Book and Print Club
Title:Essex Book and Print Club Records
Dates:1907/1925, 1950
Quantity:4.5 linear feet (5 boxes)
Abstract:The Essex Book and Print Club records contain materials pertaining to the establishment of the Club through the first decade or so of its operations.
Collection Number:MH 89

Series List

SERIES I. Correspondence
SERIES II. Financial Records
SERIES III. Governance Records
SERIES IV. Publications

Scope and Content Note

The Essex Book and Print Club records contain materials pertaining to the establishment of the Club through the first decade or so of its operations. While there is some material that dates beyond the first decade, the majority of the material is dated from 1908 to 1915, and includes correspondence, financial records, Club governance, and Club publications. This collection has been divided into five series.

Series I. Correspondence contains correspondence to and from the Club.

Series II. Financial Records contains financial documents. These include bills, invoices, receipts, bank statements, check books, treasurers' reports, and an account book.

Series III. Governance Records contains materials relating to the establishment and running of the Club. Included in this series are ballots for electing a club name, a record book of meetings and meeting notes, lists of club officers, reports, motions adopted, the proposal for the establishment of the Club, and the Club's constitution. This series also includes invitations for membership, and lists of members and prospective members.

Series IV. Publications contains materials from the Club's various publications. Included in this series are publication announcements, photocopies of the various documents used for Perley's Indian Land Titles of Essex County, some paper samples, and lists of the costs of the publications.

Series V. Other contains miscellaneous items found in the collection, such as news clippings and advertisements for publications. Included in this series is a large index of ships; it is unclear who created this index or how the index is connected to the Club. The pages of the index have been left in the order in which they were found, each folder contains a section that was bound together.

Historical Sketch

The Essex Book and Print Club was founded on February 20 1908, for the purpose of "reprinting rare volumes relating to the history or the literature of Essex County, Massachusetts; the publication of suitable imprinted material; and the reproduction of rare views, portraits, and maps" (The American Library Annual 195). Its charter members included George Francis Dow (secretary), Sidney Perley, Frank W. Benson, and James Duncan Philips. Membership was limited to 125 persons, and "public libraries and learned institutions" could become associate members without voting powers. The club's affairs were left in the hand of the Executive Committee; there was also a Publication Committee and a Financial Committee appointed each year. Members were assessed a particular price for each item the club published; failure to purchase an item usually meant removal from the rolls. There were no fees levied on members.

The club appears to have immediately launched into its publishing venture, issuing three publications within its first four years: Francis Higginson's New England's Plantation; Whittier Correspondence from the Oak Knoll Collection; and Sidney Perley's Indian Land Titles of Essex County. The club was intent on pursuing the possible publication of Essex County silhouettes when it seems to have abruptly ceased operations around 1914-1915. Finances might have been the reason for this, as the club ran a deficit every year. The club was revived in 1950 for an unknown period of timeā€”its members in 1950 included Walter Muir Whitehall and Ernest Stanley Dodge. A fourth publication was issued during this time, a reproduction of a photograph of the Old Rock's Village Bridge across the Merrimack at East Haverhill.

Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in Philcat. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.

Dow, George Francis, 1868-1936
Higginson, Francis, 1587-1630
Perley, Sidney, 1858-1928
Whittier, John Greenleaf, 1807-1892
Publishers and publishing
Salem (Mass.)--Societies, etc.


Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research use.

Administrative Information


Requests for permission to publish material from the collection must be submitted in writing to the Manuscript Librarian in the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum.

Preferred Citation

Essex Book and Print Club Records, MH 89, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.


This collection is an integration of MH 89 and MSS 0.328. MSS 0.328 was a gift of Mrs. Jane Whitehill in November 1991, and consisted of two folders of material from 1908-1917, 1950, and some without dates. MH 89 was found in the collection.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Hilary Streifer, January 2017.

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