More Bread in the Collections

By Jeremy Dibbell

After my post last week on a Revolutionary War biscuit, our Curator of Art reported that there were some other examples of baked goods in the MHS collections at various points.

In December 1920 the children of Massachusetts’ Civil War governor John A. Andrew gave the Society a large collection of “relics” presented to their father by returning soldiers. Among these were “two specimens of the ‘daily bread’ furnished to Union prisoners in Libby Prison, brought away by a paroled prisoner.” Unfortunately the two pieces of bread were accidentally thrown out in 1990 while on exhibit loan to an Iowa historical organization.

But we do have a piece of petrified bread said to be from the Siege of Paris, 1870-1871. This is among historian Francis Parkman’s assorted memorabilia removed from the study in his Jamaica Plain home, and came with other Parkman artifacts as a gift of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, 16 January 1984. And here it is: