Guide to the Photograph Collection
This collection contains mostly portraits of members of the Massachusetts Charitable Society, dating from ca. 1858-1930.
The Massachusetts Charitable Society was organized by a group of men in Boston in 1762 as a society for "mutually aiding and assisting each other, their families, widows and orphans who may be reduced by the adverse accidents of life..." (from the 1779 charter). Founded as the "Massachusetts Society," the organization changed its name to the "Massachusetts Charitable Society" at its incorporation in 1779. The Society originally met at the Green Dragon Tavern in Boston, later frequenting the "Bunch of Grapes" and other local landmarks. The founding members of the Society were John Tileston (a writing school master), Ephraim Copeland, Barnabas Webb, Habijah Savage, and John Perkins, Jr. The membership consisted primarily of artisans and tradesmen. The Massachusetts Charitable Society was the first society of its type to enroll members without regard to religion, trade, or national derivation.
The Society remains in existence today. The organization continues to fund needy members and their families, and supplies grants to support education, community service, historical scholarship, and the arts.
This collection contains portraits of members of the Massachusetts Charitable Society, dating from ca. 1858-1930. Subjects include Massachusetts legislator and printer Osmyn Brewster, printer Uriel H. Crocker, George Glover Crocker, Boston brass founder William Cooper Hunneman, and Capt. John Soren, among many others. Some photographs depict various group gatherings of the Society to celebrate its anniversaries. Photographers include James E. Purdy and Charles F. Conley of Boston, Mass., as well as H. William Tupper (Cambridge, Mass.), among others. All of the photographs are black-and-white; some are photo-reproductions of portrait paintings. Includes cartes de visite and cabinet cards.
The collection was deposited by the Massachusetts Charitable Society in September and October, 1977.
Detailed Description of the Collection
Member from 1851-1874.
Member from 1833-1889.
Osmyn Brewster was a member from 1833-1889. Uriel Crocker was a member from 1804-1887.
Inscription on back of photograph: "Mssrs. Crocker & Brewster. Taken on Mr. Crocker's 90th birthday, Sept 13th 1886."
Admitted as member in 1885; president, 1907-1911.
Inscription on back of photograph: "Memorial Sept. 1897"
Admitted as member in 1878.
Admitted as member in 1863.
Admitted as member in 1793.
Admitted as member in 1856.
Admitted as member in 1872.
See also oversize Photo. 159.42.
Massachusetts Charitable Society photographs, Photo. Coll. 159, Massachusetts Historical Society Photo Archives.
This collection is indexed under the following headings in ABIGAIL, the online catalog of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Researchers desiring materials about related persons, organizations, or subjects should search the catalog using these headings.