Guide to the Photograph Collection
This collection contains photographs belonging to traveler and collector Kingsmill Marrs and his wife, Laura Norcross Marrs. Some of the subjects include portraits of family members and European royalty, views of Marrs family homes, travels in Europe and Egypt, and photographs taken by Kingsmill Marrs. There are also two volumes of photographs of the American Southwest taken by California photographer Adam Clark Vroman.
Kingsmill Marrs (d. 1912) was the son of Dana Francis Marrs (b. 1826) and Jane Van Poelien (b. 1832) of Saxonville, Mass. Late in his life, Kingsmill Marrs married Laura Norcross (see below). From 1896-1905, the pair lived at "South Park," the Marrs family home in Wayland, Mass. They also spent time at their other home, "Maitland Cottage," in Maitland, Fla., where they were active in the Florida Audubon Society, established in 1900. Laura Norcross Marrs served as an executive committee member for the Society during the early 1900s and was instrumental in creating a National Association of Audubon Societies. For many years, Kingsmill Marrs also wrote the Florida Audubon Society's annual reports for Bird-Lore, the first official magazine of the National Audubon Society. He was also an amateur photographer. After 1905, the Marrses went abroad to Europe and Egypt, where they devoted their time to travel and the collection of books and European prints and artwork. They were often accompanied in the United States and on their travels by members of the Marrs family, as well as their friend, photographer William Wilson Barker. The Marrses eventually settled in Florence, Italy, where Kingsmill Marrs died in 1912 after a prolonged illness.
Kingsmill Marrs had a sister, Evangeline Marrs (1857-1930). She was married first to Michael Simpson of Saxonville, Mass. and second in 1896 to Henry Benjamin Whipple (1822-1901), Episcopal Bishop of Minnesota. Among Evangeline's close friends was Rose Elizabeth Cleveland, sister of President Grover Cleveland, with whom she lived in Bagni di Lucca, Italy after the death of Bishop Whipple and until her own death in 1930.
Laura Norcross Marrs (1845-1926) was the daughter of Otis Norcross (1811-1882), mayor of Boston in 1867, and Lucy Ann Lane (1816-1916). She had two siblings: Otis Norcross (b. 1848) and Grenville H. Norcross (1854-1937).
This collection mostly contains 547 photographs in 1 box, 1 oversize box, and 8 volumes. These photographs were collected by Kingsmill Marrs and his wife, Laura Norcross Marrs, and date from ca. 1850-1915.
1 box and 1 oversize box contain loose photographs. Most of these photos consist of portraits of various European royalty from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These photographs were collected by Kingsmill and Laura Norcross Marrs. Other portraits include photographs of Kingsmill and Laura Norcross Marrs, various other Marrs family members, and of their friends William Wilson Barker, Rose Elizabeth Cleveland, and the novelist Julia C. R. Dorr. The loose photographs also contain various views of the Marrs family homes in Wayland, Mass. and Maitland, Fla., as well as a trip to Colorado and California taken and photographed by Kingsmill Marrs and William Wilson Barker, among other subjects. The oversize photograph also contain several photographs of European artwork, collected by Laura Norcross Marrs during her travels abroad.
There are also 8 volumes of photographs in the collection. Three volumes contain photographs collected by the Marrses of portraits of European royalty and Roman artwork and architecture. Two additional volumes contain photographs that were possibly taken by Kingsmill Marrs or William Wilson Barker, ca. 1896-1910; these depict "South Park," the Marrs family home in Wayland, Mass.; various Marrs family members at home; and Jan Van Poelien Marrs's travels in Europe and Egypt. A fifth volume contains snapshot landscape and portrait photographs taken by Kingsmill Marrs, ca. 1896-1910.
This collection also includes two volumes of photographs of Native Americans of the American Southwest and their pueblos that were taken by Adam Clark (A. C.) Vroman between 1895-1904. Vroman was a Pasadena, Calif. photographer and bookseller who made many trips to the Southwest, especially to New Mexico, to photograph American Indian pueblos. These photographs were collected by Kingsmill Marrs, probably during his travels to California during 1901-1902. They also include landscape photographs by Vroman of New Mexico and Arizona.
This collection contains cartes de visite, cabinet cards, one tintype, photochromes, platinotypes, and other paper-based photographs. Photographers represented in this collection include Kingsmill Marrs, William Wilson Barker, Schemboche (Florence, Italy), and Montabone (Rome and Torino, Italy), among many others.
Two daguerreotypes are stored apart from this collection by format in the Daguerreotype collection (Photos. 1.322-323) .
This collection was removed from the Kingsmill Marrs book collection, which was given to the Massachusetts Historical Society by Laura Norcross Marrs in May 1919, with additions to the photographs in 1920, 1921, 1923, and 1924.
Detailed Description of the Collection
I. Loose photographs
This series is divided into 3 subseries: (A) Portraits; (B) Views; and (C) Oversize photographs.
Organized into two groups (Individual portraits and Group portraits) and arranged alphabetically.
This subseries contains individual and group portraits and snapshots, mostly commercial carte de visite photographs of European royalty, as well as prominent American and European authors, actresses, and singers. Among other subjects are photographs of author and friend Julia C. R. Dorr; Rose Elizabeth Cleveland, sister of Pres. Grover Cleveland and friend of Evangeline Marrs (Simpson) Whipple; Jane Van Poelien Marrs; Kingsmill and Laura Norcross Marrs; Bishop Henry Benjamin Whipple; and artist Winslow Homer visiting the Marrs in Wayland, Mass. See also two daguerreotypes of a portrait bust of an unidentified man (Photos. 1.322-323), which are stored apart from the collection by format in the Daguerreotype collection.
Arranged alphabetically by place name.
This subseries mostly contains views of various places in the United States of significance to Kingsmill and Laura Norcross Marrs. Subjects include photographs of Colorado and California, taken by Kingsmill Marrs and William Wilson Barker during their travels in the American West, 1901-1902; views of the Marrs family homes in Maitland, Fla. and Wayland, Mass.; photographs of author and friend Julia C. R. Dorr's house in Rutland, Vt.; and Augustus Saint-Gaudens' memorial to Marian Hooper Adams in Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington, D.C. There are also a number of photochromes of the Dolomites in Switzerland.
C. Oversize photographs
This subseries contains oversize portraits, views, and photographs of artwork. Subjects include portraits of various European royalty; views of Yosemite, possibly taken by Adam Clark Vroman, William Wilson Barker, or Kingsmill Marrs ca. 1901-1902, as well as Venice, Italy; and photographic reproductions of various European artworks.
II. Photographs in albums
This series contains 8 volumes.
A. Vol. 1. Carte de visite album of European royalty, ca. 1870-1875
This volume contains carte de visite portraits of various European royalty, probably collected by Kingsmill Marrs ca. 1870-1875. Subjects include Queen Victoria of Great Britain and members of the British royal family, as well as members of the French, Italian, and Prussian royal families. The album includes an index in which the photographs are identified in the hand of Kingsmill Marrs.
B. Vol. 2. Roman artwork photograph album, ca. 1880-1890
This volume contains photographic reproductions of artwork from Rome, Italy, probably collected by Laura Norcross Marrs. The photographs date from ca. 1880-1890, and the photographers are unknown. Most are identified. The cover of the album is inscribed, "Roma."
C. Vol. 3. South Park photograph album, ca. 1896-1905
This volume contains photographs of "South Park," Kingsmill and Laura Norcross Marrs' home in Wayland, Mass. from 1896-1905. The photographs date from that period and were taken by either Kingsmill Marrs or William Wilson Barker. Some of the photographs are identified.
D. Vol. 4. Jane Van Poelien Marrs photograph album, ca. 1896-1910
This volume contains photographs belonging to Jane Van Poelien Marrs. The photos depict interiors of the Marrs family home, "South Park," in Wayland, Mass., as well as views of Kingsmill and Laura Norcross Marrs, Jane Van Poelien Marrs, and others at the house. There are also views of unidentified buildings, historic ruins, and landscapes, probably taken in Great Britain, Switzerland, and Italy, as well as photographs taken while Jane Van Poelien Marrs, Kingsmill Marrs, and other members of the Marrs family were traveling in Egypt. Most of the photographers are unidentified, but many of the images may have been taken by either Kingsmill Marrs or William Wilson Barker; one photograph is also identified as having been taken by "Mr. Dana Marrs." The interior album cover has a bookplate with the initials "JVPM."
E. Vol. 5. Kingsmill Marrs photograph album, ca. 1896-1910
This volume contains snapshot photographs, possibly taken by Kingsmill Marrs. Most of the photographs are unidentified views of a home and its gardens and grounds. There are also portraits of various members of the Marrs family, including Jane Van Poelien Marrs, and photographs taken while Kingsmill and Laura Norcross Marrs were traveling in Italy. Some of the photographs also depict William Wilson Barker with his camera and tripod. Two loose photographs (Photos. #165.304-305) are enclosed in an envelope inside the volume.
F. Vols. 6-7. Adam Clark Vroman photograph albums, ca. 1895-1904
A typescript index to Vols. 6-7 is located in Box 2.
Two volumes contain platinotype photographs of the American Southwest and Native Americans, taken by California photographer and bookseller Adam Clark Vroman during his travels in the Southwest ca. 1895-1904. These photographs were bought by Kingsmill Marrs, possibly from Adam Clark Vroman himself during Marrs' travels to California in 1901-1902 with William Wilson Barker. Each photograph in the volumes has an inscription on the verso in Vroman’s hand. The volumes are accompanied by a typescript index of titles written by Adam Clark Vroman, arranged in the order of the numbers that Vroman gave to each photograph. Marrs arranged the photographs into these volumes and changed Vroman's original order. Vroman's titles and photograph numbers for each photograph in the volume are listed below.
NOTE: Some of the photographs in this subseries have been digitized. Click on the links below to see digital images.
Vroman's full annotation in index: "Navajo baby, (Child of 1162.)" See also Photo. #165.325.
This photo is a composite photo; the original photograph is Vroman #1208, taken 1895 (not in this collection, see Webb, p. 100).
See Webb, p. 32 and 47, where the photo is identified as having been taken at the Hopi village of Moqui.
Vroman's full annotation on the index: "Full grown Squash Blossoms? (see 681. 682. and 686.)" See also Photos. #165.364-366.
Vroman's full annotation in index: "An Isleta Girl. (sister of C110.)" See also Photo. #165.412.
Vroman's full annotation in index: "An Isleta Biy. (brother of C110.)" See also Photo. #165.412.
Vroman's full annotation in index: "Ta-a-yal-lon-na Mountain, Zuni Pueblo. (Zuni was at one time located on top of this mountain, 700 ft. above the valley."
Vroman's full annotation in index: "The Twins (Taayallonna Mt.) Tradition is that ages ago during a great flood when the water rose to the top of the Mt and it looked as if the top would be covered, as a last resort two children were thrown over the cliff to appease the Rain God after the water subsided the 'Twins' were there to mark the spot?"
G. Vol. 8. Scrapbook of Roman art and architecture, 1885-1886.
This scrapbook was added to the Kingsmill Marrs photographs in Oct. 2005. It contains commercial photographs of Roman arches, ruins, friezes, and artifacts, as well as photographs of busts of Roman emperors, all annotated by Kingsmill Marrs. The scrapbook was assembled by Marrs between 1885-1886. The photographers are unidentified.
Kingsmill Marrs photographs, Photo. Coll. 165, 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.