In this article, we will delve into a fascinating historical collection that was recently showcased by the Eliot Historical Society in their Dec 2022 monthly program titled, “Historical Collection: Show and Tell.” The collection includes old Christmas cards and other intriguing memorabilia that offers a glimpse into the past of Eliot, Maine. We will explore the significance of these items and the stories they hold, providing readers with a fascinating journey through time.
The Old Christmas Cards
During the program, a member of the Eliot Historical Society presented a wide array of old Christmas cards. These cards, dating back to the late 1940s and early 1950s, were beautifully unique and captivating. Many of them featured quaint illustrations and interesting designs, such as a card adorned with a clubbed ship. The presenter expressed their fondness for these old cards and emphasized their historical value.
What made these old Christmas cards even more intriguing were the connections they had to the local community in Eliot. The presenter identified several cards with names from Elliott or recognizable locals. One card, belonging to Helen Sullivan’s grandparents, showcased the names Rose and John Staples. This particular card served as a special connection to the community’s past.
Another card caught the presenter’s attention as it was addressed to Elizabeth Bartlett. The sender, signing as “Dear Elizabeth,” mentioned a piece of Homespun linen that belonged to Aunt Sally or her mother, their great-grandmother. This card not only revealed a personal connection but also shed light on the Bartlett family’s historical presence in the area.
Amidst the collection, one could find cards from the Frost family, another well-known local family, and a few cards from Ralph Bartlett, each bearing his distinct handwriting. The contents of these cards provided glimpses into the lives of people living in Eliot at the time, making them valuable historical artifacts.
A Serendipitous Discovery
The program also unveiled intriguing finds from a box of letters discovered back in 2015. A woman, descended from the Bartlett family, stumbled upon the letters in a burned wooden crate stored in the Griffin Hardware property. These letters had miraculously survived a fire in the early 20th century that destroyed the bond and nearby structures.
The woman painstakingly transcribed these letters, despite the challenges of deciphering the handwriting. The letters showcased the Bartlett family’s role as custodians of the papers over generations. They included valuable information about the history of the Bartlett family, with the last known custodian being Judge James Bradley Griffin. The presenter shared some of the contents of these letters, further enriching the historical narrative.
Alongside the old Christmas cards and letters, the program featured other intriguing artifacts. One participant showcased a book titled “Upfront” by Bill Maldives, published in 1945. It was signed by the participant’s grandfather, who had owned a sporting goods store in Portsmouth. The book offered a unique perspective on World War II, as it was based on the author’s experiences following the 45th Infantry Division.
Another attendee presented an etching and brass plate given to their mother’s friend, Beulah Tuttle. The etching was crafted by Beulah’s former beau in 1905 and showcased exceptional artistry. The presenter had acquired two similar etchings, each holding sentimental value.
The program also saw the display of a vintage milk bottle cap, a framed picture of the presenter’s grandfather’s wool farm, and a photograph of the presenter with their cousins from many years ago. These additional items added depth to the historical exploration, highlighting different aspects of Eliot’s heritage.
The Eliot Historical Society’s Dec 2022 monthly program, “Historical Collection: Show and Tell,” provided a captivating glimpse into the past through a diverse range of artifacts. From old Christmas cards with local connections to the discovery of preserved letters, attendees were transported back in time. The program also showcased additional memorabilia, such as books, etchings, and personal photographs, adding richness to the historical narrative.
The Eliot Historical Society continues to preserve and share the rich history of Eliot, Maine, ensuring that future generations can appreciate the stories and memories embedded within these historical artifacts. Through programs like “Historical Collection: Show and Tell,” they inspire a sense of pride and curiosity about the town’s heritage. Explore Eliot’s past, and you’ll discover a vibrant tapestry of lives woven together by time, memory, and the love for a cherished community.