University of Delaware Library

Special Collections Department


Alice Marston Scrapbook

1896 – 1906

 

Manuscript Collection Number: 421
Accessioned: Gift of the Moyerman Family, 1972
Extent: 1 volume (.3 linear ft.)
Content: Scrapbooks: Photographs, tintypes, playbills, programs, tickets, postcards, newspaper clippings, invitations, scraps, art, correspondence, brochures
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: September 2001, by Karen E. Ryder

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Special Collections, University of Delaware Library
Newark, Delaware 19717-5267
(302) 831-2229


Table of Contents


Biographical Note

Alice Marston was the wife of Henry Ward Marston, an insurance agent who worked in Philadelphia at the turn of the twentieth century. As is not uncommon for a woman of her position, little biographical information about Alice Marston is readily available. She married Henry Ward Marston on June 19, 1890, becoming a suburban Philadelphia wife and mother of at least two sons, Henry and Randall.

Henry Ward Marston and his older brother, John, were partners in a New England Life Insurance Company agency, Marston & Wakelin. The Marston family had been in the Philadelphia area for at least three generations. In 1902, the Protestant Episcopal diocese of Pennsylvania honored John and Henry’s grandfather, John Marston, for his Sunday school and mission work. John Marston, Jr., Henry and John’s father, encouraged Henry to improve his spelling by keeping a daily diary in 1875. Henry, about fifteen at the time, recorded everyday activities and described events leading up to the opening of the Centennial Exhibition of 1876.

Sources:

Boyd’s Philadelphia Blue Book. Philadelphia: C.E. Howe Co., 1886, 1903, 1913.

Gopsill, James. Gopsill’s Philadelphia Business Directory. Philadelphia: James Gopsill’s Sons, 1891.

Note: Historical and biographical information obtained from the collection.


Scope and Content Note

The Alice Marston scrapbook, 1896-1906, chronicles a decade of Marston family life, revealing information about the social, cultural, and leisure activities of an ordinary upper-middle-class Philadelphia family at the turn of the twentieth century. This one-volume scrapbook includes approximately 150 photographs, tintypes, engraved wedding invitations, handmade party favors, artwork, scraps, postcards, programs from cultural and charity events, newspaper articles, and correspondence. Alice Marston, wife of Henry Ward Marston of Overbrook, Pennsylvania, collected and preserved these materials chronologically, over the period from 1896 to 1906. Occasionally, she captioned items with remarks about prominent Philadelphians whom the Marstons saw socially. The scrapbook pulls together into one place a variety of information about turn-of-the-century Philadelphia society, and sets them in the context of national news events.

The scrapbook contains examples of early twentieth- century social ephemera, such as wedding invitations, calling cards, and programs from charity and cultural functions. Alice Marston saved programs from the Castle Square Opera Company, Broad Street Theatre (where she saw William Gillette perform the role he made famous, Sherlock Holmes), Chestnut Street Opera House, Congress Hall, Willow Grove Park summer outdoor band concerts, and the Academy of Music, where the Philadelphia Orchestra performed. Programs from the Walnut Street Theatre’s 1902-1903 season contain colored covers and advertisements. Alice included programs from St. Alaph’s Protestant Episcopal Church in Bala, Pennsylvania, the Haverford Grammar School Athletic Association, “Class Day Exercises” at St. Mary’s Hall in Burlington, New Jersey, and Army/Navy football games. She saved newspaper clippings about the bombing of the U.S.S. Maine (1898), Queen Victoria’s death (1901), and President William McKinley’s assassination (1901). She also kept reviews of cultural events, and articles about actors, opera stars, and prominent Philadelphians.

Examples of Alice Marston’s and others’ artwork appear on handmade luncheon invitations. Correspondence includes a letter about a stormy ocean voyage from Philadelphia to Ireland in 1900, and postcards from Italy and a German ocean liner. Alice saved chromolithographed scraps and items such as parlor word games.

The scrapbook is in fragile condition. With a number of bulky programs and items laid in, the boards of the volume are detached. Many of the news clippings and papers are brittle; some items were folded and have broken into pieces. Mylar sheets and sleeves have been inserted to protect some photographs.

A strength of the collection is its nearly 150 photographs. They chronicle not only Marston family history, but also leisure activities, clothing, vacation places, sporting activities, children, and pets. Photographs document interiors and exteriors of the family home, summer vacations in Cape May, and vacations at Minnewaska Mountain Houses (in Ulster County, New York), Buck Hill Falls, and Tom’s River. Family members are photographed golfing, sailing, swimming, and horseback riding. Some photographs show children playing cricket, while another shows an unusual ice-skating chair. There are many examples of fashion, including bathing, yachting, and golf attire.

Several prominent Philadelphia names appear in the scrapbook. Alice saved materials related to George B. Roberts, President of the Pennsylvania Railroad and member of St. Alaph’s church; Benjamin F. Stevens, President of New England Mutual Life; Joseph R. Rhoads, prominent Philadelphia financier; as well as the Rhodes, Ingham, Bringhurst, Logan, and Coates families.

Related Collections:

Ms 97, Item 113 Henry Marston Diary


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