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Home to such notables as Amos Bronson and Louisa May Alcott, the Alcott House, or Orchard House Museum, is a familiar stop for today's Concord traveler.

The grant from the Graham Foundation enabled AAS to catalog and digitize the collection of negatives of vernacular architecture in eastern Massachusetts made Harriette Merrifield Forbes. Forbes (1856-1951) was a resident of Worcester, Massachusetts, married to a judge, and the mother of five children. Among her accomplishments was an early compilation of New England diaries published in 1923.

She was also the first to become aware of the significance of the sculpture on New England gravestones, which she in turn documented photographically.




A wooden building, the Pollard Tavern in Bedford, MA was photographed May 11, 1933. Notice the arch-topped window in the peak.

Her photographic negatives of gravestones became part of the collection of the American Antiquarian Society and are now available to the public as part of the Farber Gravestone Collection on the Cartography Associates, David Rumsey website. Less well known are her 800 negatives, mostly on glass, of approximately 575 seventeenth- and eighteenth-century structures in Worcester County and Middlesex County (Massachusetts).

The AAS collection includes well-known houses such as the Alcott House in Concord, Massachusetts (photographed in 1935) and the Austin-Cooper House in Cambridge (photographed in 1915 and now owned by the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities).

This rear view of the Austin-Cooper House in Cambridge, MA shows a dramatically sloping roof line, a lean-to at left and small ell at right. Photographed June 14, 1915.








Although Mrs. Forbes concentrated her efforts mostly on houses, she also took photographs of farm structures, mills, churches, garrisons, and taverns some of which are represented here.

Dates from the original negative envelopes have been preserved and kept at the Society, so it is known when she photographed each structure. This aspect of her photography occupied Forbes from the 1890s-1930s.

A Greek revival structure, the Mendon Church, in Mendon, MA was attributed to architect Elias Carter by Forbes in Old Time New England.

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