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COLLECTION Identifier: A/W625

Album of Helen Augusta Whittier, 1891


Album containing drawings, watercolors, photographs, and daily entries for a two-week stay by Helen Augusta Whittier and three female friends on Great Brewster Island off of Boston, Massachusetts.


  • Creation: 1891


Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. The album created by Helen Augusta Whittier is in the public domain. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


1 folder

The collection consists of a 58 page volume entitled "Ye Log of Ye Square Partie at Ye Great Brewster in Ye Pleasant Month of July 1891." It contains drawings, watercolors, photographs, and daily entries for a two-week stay by four women on Great Brewster Island off of Boston, Massachusetts. Entries are in at least three hands and include menus, descriptions of their reading, and other daily activities. The participants are identified by nicknames. Helen Augusta Whittier was "Ye Veracious Scribe"; Helen Francis Ray French was "Ye Autocrat"; Sarah Elizabeth "Lizzie" Dean Adams was "Ye Gentle Aristocrat"; and Isabella Coburn was "Ye Artistic Acrobat." Coburn also painted the watercolors that illustrate the album.


The daughter of Moses and Lucinda (Blood) Whittier, Helen Augusta Whittier was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, where her father ran Whittier Mills. She attended Lowell High School and Lasell Seminary (in Auburndale, Massachusetts), and taught china painting at the Lowell Evening Drawing School. Whittier also served as president and treasurer of Whittier Mills for 15 years, taking over after brother's death in 1888. She was also a founder of a club of 15 friends known as XV, a group that pursued home-study courses under the guidance of Anna E. Ticknor. Whittier was active member of many organizations, including the Middlesex Women's Club of Lowell, the New England Women's Club, and the Massachusetts Federation of Women's Clubs. For further biographical information, see the Records of the New England Women's Club at the Schlesinger Library.

Helen Francis Ray French was daughter of a clothing manufacturer in Lowell, and later ran a lodging house with her husband, Josiah Bowers French. Sarah Elizabeth "Lizzie" Dean Adams was born in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1846 to Sarah (Bowers) and James Dean. She married Landon Adams in 1875. She was a founding member of two humanitarian clubs in New England. Isabella "Bella" Coburn was born in New Hampshire in 1847 to Hannah E. (Phillips) and Franklin Coburn. Coburn was a well-known painter who studied at the New England Conservatory of Music and the Massachusetts Normal Art School. She died of heart failure in 1895.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 99-M89

The album of Helen Augusta Whittier was acquired by the Schlesinger Library from Ten Pound Island Book Co. in 1999.

Processing Information

Processed: June 1999

By: Anne Engelhart

Updated and additional description added: March 2023

By: Paula Aloisio

The Schlesinger Library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.  Finding aids may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Whittier, Helen Augusta, 1846-1925. Album of Helen Augusta Whittier, 1891: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
Processing of this collection was made possible by gifts from the Pforzheimer Fund for the Schlesinger Library and Class of 1957 Schlesinger Library Fund.

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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