Big Berries and Lots of Them!

“Hale Brothers, South Glastonbury, Conn., have printed 25,000 of this Catalogue, and will print an extra edition if necessary, so that all may learn of the wonderful productiveness of THE MANCHESTER Strawberry… Anyone who wants BIG BERRIES will receive our catalogue free, also a beautifully colored plate showing one foot of a row of the Manchester Strawberry in full fruiting, on our grounds, with berries of all sizes, ripe and half ripe, AND LOTS OF THEM.”

Advertising hype is nothing new. In 1883, Hale Brothers gave away copies of The Manchester Strawberry, a chromolithograph by the Kellogg & Bulkeley Company of Hartford, in an attempt to entice people to buy strawberry plants. It certainly makes me want to run out and buy some. To view more prints from the CHS Kellogg collection, visit our online catalog.


Albert Walker, magician, redux

At long last, Albert Walker, the magician of Glastonbury, Connecticut, has had his diaries reunited. Twenty-two volumes dating from 1867-1895 recently arrived on our doorstep. Unfortunately, they shed no additional light on his magic performances, with one exception. On April 20, 1867, he went to Hartford to see some Japanese performers. Inside the back cover of the volume, he made these interesting notes:

“When I am out of work I must try my performance in connection with a
lottery combined also tin pedling [sic]

I saw a new kind of juglars [sic] box at the Japanese performance in
Hartford that was made to turn over in another large one

At least we know that he was still showing an interest in his performances; however, except for a few notations about his fiddle and playing for dances, Albert remains mute about his avocation. What he does do is give us more information on his family. In 1867 his brother Charles died in Boston and Albert was named his administrator. Charles went by an alias, Henry C. West. Intriguing, and one wants to know why. That same year, in March, their younger sister Mary married John Blish. Their first child died in December, probably right after birth.

By 1884 Albert was married to “Tillie” [Matilda Schieding] with whom he had two children, Edna Elizabeth and Howard Albert. He continued to make spoons, repair and clean clocks, paint and repair wagons, and by the end of his life appears to have elevated himself to the status of “gentleman farmer,” hiring others to work for him.

Housatonic Valley Pomona

It seems agriculture is really on the wane in this state given the closing of local and regional granges. The records of the subordinate or local grange in Gaylordsville were the first to be preserved at the CHS. And now we have the records, 1902-2006, of the regional grange known as the Housatonic Valley Pomona. Granges were an integral part of rural life in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They provided social interaction, political lobbying opportunities, and education in new agricultural practices. We are probably all familiar with the Grange fair where individuals competed for the prize of the best vegetable, the best jam or pickles, the best pie, etc. These local, personalized grange fairs are now eclipsed by such behemoths as the fairs in Durham or Woodstock. The CHS is very pleased that it has been able to preserve these records of the state’s very recent past.