Papers of the Stark family, 1683-1985 (inclusive), 1850-1978 (bulk)
- Majority of material found within 1850-1978
Language of Materials
Folders #88.5, 88.6, 93.7-93.10 are unavailable for research while being digitized.
Conditions Governing Use
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.
44.54 linear feet ((93 file boxes, 6 folio boxes) plus 3 folio + folders, 1 oversize folder, 1 supersize folder, 169 photograph folders, 8 folio photograph folders)
Series I, BERTHA SCOTT AND FREDERICK JOHN STARK, 1859-1956 (#1.1-30.4, 94FB.1-97FB.4, F+D.1-F+D.3), contains correspondence, diaries, scrapbooks, notes, etc. It is arranged in six subseries.
Subseries A, Biographical and personal, 1859-1956 (#1.1-4.15, 94FB.1-97FB.4, F+D.1-F+D.2), includes diaries, notes, legal documents, financial documents, scrapbooks, etc. Notes created by Bertha Stark document her involvement in the Episcopal Church and include summaries of lectures and sermons she attended. Bertha recorded family events, including births, marriages, and deaths, as well as clippings containing mentions of family members in a scrapbook (#94FB.1-95FB.3), referred to in family letters as Bertha's "book." Other materials document the two-family house at 252-254 Savin Hill Avenue in Dorchester, Massachusetts, that was built by John Henry Stark for his two sons, James and Frederick. The house, referred to as the "brick house," was the central location for gatherings of family and friends. Folders are arranged alphabetically within each of three groupings: Bertha and Frederick together, Bertha alone, and Frederick alone.
Subseries B, Correspondence between Bertha and Frederick Stark, 1874-1925 (#4.16-5.5), contains letters exchanged by Bertha and Frederick when one was travelling. Frederick took several trips to Europe, the Caribbean, and various places in the United States, often with daughter Mary Ethel or daughter Natalie. Bertha's letters document her trip to see the 1893 Chicago World's Fair with Mary Ethel, her 1896 trip to Paris with Mary Ethel and Marguerite, and her trips to Cleveland, Ohio, to visit with the Bellamy family. Folders are arranged with letters to Bertha first, followed by those to Frederick.
Subseries C, Letters from Mary Ethel Stark, 1888-1939 (#5.6-5.7), contains letters written by Mary Ethel to her parents. They include accounts of the 1893 World's Fair, trips to Europe, attendance at the Burnham School in Northampton, Massachusetts, and a 1931 visit to the Philippines to visit the Crouters. Letters are arranged chronologically.
Subseries D, Letters from Marguerite Stark Bellamy and family, 1894-1952 (#5.8-15.2), contains letters written by Marguerite Stark Bellamy, her husband, Paul Bellamy, and their children, John, Richard, Peter, and Joan, to Bertha and Frederick Stark. Letters document the Bellamy's lives in Cleveland, Ohio, and Evanston, Illinois, and contain accounts of the children's development and activities, commiserations with Bertha over difficulties finding reliable domestic help, family illnesses, etc. Letters from the mid-1930s through the early 1940s contain accounts of Paul and Marguerite's disintegrating marriage, stemming from Paul's affair with Mary Mitchell Henry, and Marguerite's refusal to grant him a divorce. Letters place the blame for the troubles on Henry and often comment on the immorality of Paul's actions. A small number of letters from 1942 contain mentions of Marguerite's mental breakdown and treatment with electric shock therapy. John Bellamy's treatment for and death from polio are documented in letters from 1947 to 1948. Those following his death express Marguerite's gratitude to have had John as a son and her grief. In addition to personal problems and family news, Marguerite's letters often contain commentary on books she read, movies and plays she saw, and symphonies and social gatherings she attended. Letters also document life in Evanston, Illinois, and Cleveland, Ohio, through descriptions of friends and neighbors, the weather, shopping trips, and rides on public transportation. Folders containing letters from Marguerite (1908-1941) often contain letters from Paul Bellamy as well. Folders are arranged chronologically with Marguerite's letters first, followed by letters from her children arranged alphabetically.
Subseries E, Letters from Natalie Stark Crouter and family, 1909-1952 (#15.3-21.12, F+D.3), contains letters written by Natalie Stark Crouter to her parents. Early letters detail her activities while attending Camp Winnetaska in Ashland, New Hampshire. Other letters were written from the Deverell School, a French-style finishing school in New York, which Natalie alleged misrepresented its curriculum in its literature and mistreated the students. Natalie dropped out of the school and her family refused to pay the remainder of the tuition, based on her accusations. The Deverell School sued the Starks, who were declared the winners following a trial. Natalie then went to the Burnham School in Northampton, Massachusetts, where she enjoyed dorm life and a variety of social activities. In 1925, Natalie accompanied her father on a world tour and wrote detailed letters to her mother about the people, activities, and sights. The trip ended in the Philippines when Frederick fell ill. Natalie wrote to her mother expressing her worry and giving updates on his health.
In 1927, Natalie married Errol Edgerton "Jerry" Crouter and they settled in the Philippines. Her letters contain details about their house, neighbors, social events, and domestic help. In 1929, Natalie gave birth to a daughter, June, by cesarean section, and wrote of her bad reaction to ether and her subsequent bout with the flu, which in turn so suppressed her supply of breast milk that she had to hire a wet nurse. Letters chronicle June and her brother Frederick's development, including various childhood illnesses and their treatments. Letters also contain accounts of how the Depression affected people in the Philippines and in the United States, particularly Boston. Jerry lost his job in Vigan and the family moved to Baguio; friends lost their jobs, and in some cases suffered mental breakdowns that occasionally led to suicides. In the late 1930s, Natalie became an active member of Indusco, the fundraising arm of the Chinese Industrial Cooperatives, which organized cooperative factories throughout the countryside to support China's industry. Natalie's letters describe fundraisers and people she worked with and who shared her interest in the Chinese cooperatives, including Edgar Snow. Letters in the late 1930s and early 1940s tell of an increased Japanese presence in the Philippines along with an increased number of European and American refugees arriving from Europe and China. The Crouters' growing fear of a Japanese invasion of the Philippines is also reflected. Mail service was disrupted by the war, and a letter that Natalie was writing to Bertha at the time of the Japanese invasion served as the start of her internment diary (see Series IV, Subseries D).
Post-war letters document the Crouter family's adjustment to life in Cleveland. Jerry returned to the Philippines in 1945 to work, leaving Natalie behind; her letters to her mother contain excerpts of Jerry's letters. In 1946, Jerry suffered a massive stroke and returned to Cleveland to recover. Natalie's letters include reports on Jerry's treatment and recovery. Her 1947-1948 letters recount nephew John Bellamy's treatment for polio and his subsequent death from the disease. In addition to personal problems and family news, Natalie's letters often contain commentary on books she read, movies and plays she saw, and social gatherings she attended. While folders mainly contain letters from Natalie, folders from 1927 on include letters from Jerry, June, and Frederick. Folders are arranged chronologically
Subseries F, Letters from other family and friends, 1870-1952 (#21.13-30.4), contains letters from friends and extended family members. They contain news of family and friends, trips taken, and world events. There are also several pieces of mundane correspondence, including thank you notes and wedding invitations. Letters from Phebe Webster Colcord include topics such as new from Saratoga, New York, discussions of religion and the Episcopal Church, children, common friends, the deaths of their spouses, and aging (#22.3-22.10). Letters from Hazel Burnham Slaughter includes subjects such as visits to Savin Hill, mental illness, work as artist, and travels to Europe and the Orient. Also marital troubles between Hazel and Charles Slaughter, including affairs by both parties, divorce, and remarriage to each other (#23.4-23.14). Correspondents with a substantive number of letters to Bertha Stark were segregated from the general correspondence and foldered separately by the archivist. Folders are arranged alphabetically by correspondent's name, followed by a chronological arrangement of letters from other family and friends.
Series II, MARY ETHEL STARK, 1884-1967 (#30.5-34.10), includes correspondence, travel journals, schoolwork, financial documents, etc. It is arranged in two subseries.
Subseries A, Biographical and personal, 1890-1965 (#30.5-31.9), includes travel journals, schoolwork, financial documents, etc. Travel journals document trips Mary Ethel took as a young girl to Europe and the Windward Islands in the Caribbean. Financial documents reveal Mary Ethel's financial difficulties following her mother's death and her attempts to learn how to manage her finances, a task that had previously been done by Bertha. Folders are arranged chronologically.
Subseries B, Correspondence, 1884-1967 (#31.10-34.10), contains letters from family and friends. Letters from members of the Bellamy family address Paul and Marguerite Bellamy's marital problems and include letters from their son John asking Mary Ethel to stop writing letters condemning the situation as immoral, claiming that the letters made the situation worse. Letters from Natalie document her life in the Philippines and Cleveland, Ohio. Letters written after Bertha's death in 1952 express Natalie's exasperation and often annoyance over Mary Ethel's inability to manage her finances. Letters from Natalie also contain discussion of world and national events, expressing her disagreement with Mary Ethel's conservative views. Folders are arranged with letters from family members first, followed by general correspondence.
Series III, MARGUERITE STARK BELLAMY AND FAMILY, 1888-1967 (#34.11-38.6), contains Marguerite's correspondence, diary from an 1896 trip to Paris, and printed materials documenting her schooling. Letters from family members contain news of other family members and friends. Letters from Natalie document her trips to Europe, Africa, Russia, and China. Also included is a small amount of material documenting the lives of Marguerite's husband, Paul, and their children, John, Richard, Peter, and Joan. Folders are arranged with Marguerite's personal items first, followed by Marguerite's correspondence, and family members' files.
Series IV, NATALIE STARK CROUTER AND FAMILY, 1891-1985 (#38.7-87.12, 97FB.5-100FB.4, OD.1, SD.1), includes correspondence, diaries, scrapbooks, appointment books, etc. It is arranged in four subseries.
Subseries A, Biographical and personal, 1891-1977 (#38.7-48.9, 97FB.5-97FB.6, 98FB.1-100FB.4, OD.1, SD.1), contains appointment books, diaries, scrapbooks, financial documents, etc. Materials document Natalie's attendance at Camp Winnetaska in Ashland, New Hampshire, as well as her education in Dorchester (Massachusetts) public schools, the Deverell School (New York), the Burnham School (Northampton, Massachusetts), and Boston University. Also documented are Natalie's liberal political views and her involvement in liberal groups and causes. Financial documents detail the Crouter family's financial status, Natalie's application for financial assistance from the government for Jerry's healthcare costs, and the Crouter's efforts to receive financial compensation from the government for their internment during World War II. From the 1950s through the 1970s, Natalie travelled to Europe, Africa, and China. Her trips are documented through itineraries, correspondence with travel agencies, diaries, and memoirs she wrote upon returning. Crouter wrote in her appointment books at the end of the day. Folders are arranged alphabetically.
Subseries B, Family correspondence, 1899-1978 (#48.10-55.12), contains letters from Natalie's family and carbons of her letters to them. They include news of family and friends, accounts of local events, opinions on national and world events, accounts of books read, and critiques of movies and plays. Letters from Errol Edgerton Crouter (1945-1947) recount his return to the Philippines, including the unsettled political situation, damages from the war, and news of friends who were in the Philippines. Letters continue through the period immediately following his stroke and document Jerry's confused state of mind and his medical treatment. Folders are arranged alphabetically.
Subseries C, Friends and other family correspondence, 1900-1985 (#56.1-77.7), contains correspondence between Natalie and other family members and friends. Letters from 1917 and 1918 document Natalie's patriotic support of World War I, and include letters from soldiers fighting in the war. Correspondence from the 1920s document Natalie's support of liberal causes in the Boston area, including the defense of Sacco and Vanzetti. The 1920s letters also include some from several of Natalie's suitors, who often continued to write after the courtship ended. Letters from the 1930s and early 1940s document Natalie's life in the Philippines, particularly her involvement in Indusco, the fundraising arm of the Chinese Industrial Cooperatives, which organized cooperative factories throughout China. Post-World War II correspondence includes letters from fellow internees detailing their lives, usually in the United States. Natalie's correspondent Helen "Peg" Foster Snow was also known as Nym Wales. Several letters from the same correspondents were found bundled together when the collection arrived at the library. These groupings were retained by the archivist, and other letters from the same correspondents were added. They are listed by correspondent and can be found at the end of the subseries. Folders of general correspondence are arranged chronologically.
Subseries D, Philippines internment and related, 1941-1946, 1973, ca.1980 (#77.8-87.12, 97FB.7), includes four versions of the diary Natalie kept during her internment. Because keeping a diary was an act punishable by death, Natalie wrote the diary on small pieces of paper which she wrapped in plastic and hid among the food supply. After the war, the United States government seized the diary. When it was returned, Natalie transcribed it and added more details. In the 1970s, she began to work with Lynn Z. Bloom to produce a version for publication. It was published in 1980 as Forbidden Diary: A Record of Wartime Internment, 1941-1945.
While it is clear that the version labeled "original" is the first version, the other versions found here were labeled 2nd, 3rd, and 4th version by the archivist as a means to indicate their development; other versions may have existed but were not included in the collection. folders titled "Diary typed 3rd version?" include edits possibly by Lynn Z. Bloom (#85.5-86.9). Only a fraction of the diary was published. Omitted portions contain additional information on life in the camp: food consumed, the division of work, her frustration with the situation and people, etc. This series also includes notes, mementos, forms, etc., relating to the Crouter's internment and from the period immediately following their release. Also included is a certificate from the Ohio House of Representatives recognizing the publication of the diary. Diary folders are followed by a chronological arrangement of related materials.
Series V, OTHER FAMILY, 1777-1961 (scattered) (#87.13-94.4), includes correspondence, religious writings, financial documents, etc. Financial documents contain correspondence, receipts, bills, cancelled checks, articles of incorporation, etc., relating to John Henry Stark's financial endeavors. Also included are clippings, a letter, and excerpts of record books documenting John Henry Stark's position as chairman of a committee appointed to examine and report on all transactions, doings, contracts, and expenditures of the Vermont Central Railroad Company; the report revealed corruption and mismanagement. Files are arranged alphabetically.
Series VI, UNATTRIBUTED, 1683-1893, n.d. (scattered) (#94.5-94.15, SD.1), includes sermons, fiscal papers, a doctor's account book, a bond indenture, a book of scrap, and notes belonging to or created by unknown members of the Stark family. Folders are arranged chronologically.
Series VII, PHOTOGRAPHS, ca.1850-1975 (#PD.1z-PD.167f), includes daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes, snapshots, portraits, and negatives depicting members of the Stark family and their friends. Early photographs were identified by an unknown individual; some of the information provided was found to be inaccurate. Folder titles appearing in quotation marks contain information provided by Natalie Stark Crouter on folders of negatives. The series is arranged with photograph albums, which include images of multiple generations of the family, first, followed by folders in an order reflective of the arrangement in previous series.
Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be cataloged in VIA, Harvard University's Visual Information Access database. Others, referred to as "uncataloged" photographs, are not of sufficient research interest to warrant cataloging and are simply treated as part of the documents they accompany; they are marked on the back with an asterisk in square brackets [*].
Series VIII, OVERSIZED, 1817, 1879-1951, ca.1980, n.d. (94FB.1-99FB.4, F+D.1-F+D.3, OD.1, SD.1), is the shelflist for oversized scrapbooks, legal documents, etc., throughout this collection. The list below includes "catch-all" folders of large items found loose, or removed from folders in other series. Also included are oversized folders listed in previous series, as they contain documents directly related to folders in those series.
John Henry Stark, son of James and Mary (Willmott) Stark, was born in Shepton-Mallott, England, on June 4, 1823. He was a graduate of Queen's College, Cambridge and was a teacher of languages. Around 1850, he immigrated to Boston, Massachusetts, where he became a conveyancer, eventually establishing the Stark Credit Mobilier and Stark Credit Financier. He married Mary Elizabeth Ann A'Court (1824-1849); they had one son, James Henry Stark. He later married Mary Browning with whom he had a son, Frederick John Stark. He died in Dorchester, Massachusetts, on February 19, 1885.
James Henry Stark was born on July 6, 1847, in Shepton-Mallott, England. He was raised by his maternal grandfather, Thomas Cook A'Court, in Shepton-Mallott until he joined his father in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1856. He attended Hawes Branch Grammar School, the Lincoln School, and Boston Latin School. He left school in 1864 to learn the trade of stereotyping and electrotyping, which he pursued until 1900, when he opened a real estate office. An avid yachtsman, he founded several local yacht clubs and helped organize the Savin Hill Yacht Club. He helped organize and later served as vice president of the Dorchester Historical Society and authored several guide books and historical works, including The Loyalists of Massachusetts. He married Kate Manton and they had three daughters, Jane Evelyn Stark, Elizabeth Isabel (Stark) Snow, and Mildred Manton (Stark) Kidd. He died in Dorchester, Massachusetts, on August 30, 1919.
Frederick John Stark was born on June 11, 1851, in South Boston, Massachusetts. He was head cashier for Hogg, Brown & Taylor, a Boston dry goods house before joining his father, John Stark, in his financial and real estate endeavors. He married Bertha Harris Scott on June 15, 1876. Bertha Harris (Scott) Stark, daughter of George Cross and Mary Jane (Burnham) Scott, was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, on January 22, 1856. Frederick and Bertha had four children, Mary Ethel Stark (January 27, 1878 - April 15, 1967), Frederick William Stark (August 4, 1882 - March 25, 1885), Marguerite Scott (Stark) Bellamy (1886-1968), and Natalie Corona (Stark) Crouter (1898-1985). Frederick died on January 3, 1928; Bertha on February 4, 1952.
Marguerite Scott (Stark) Bellamy was born on September 13, 1886, in Dorchester, Massachusetts. She attended Dorchester public schools and Dana Hall School in Wellesley, Massachusetts. She married Paul Bellamy in 1908. Bellamy, son of utopian author Edward Bellamy and Emma (Sanderson) Bellamy, was born on December 26, 1884, in Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts. He graduated from Harvard College in 1906, and worked as a reporter for the Springfield Union (Springfield, Massachusetts) and the Cleveland Plain Dealer before joining The Credit Co. in Chicago, Illinois. Following the closing of The Credit Co. in 1918, he joined the Army, returning to the Plain Dealer following his release from the service at the end of World War I. In 1928, he was appointed editor of the Plain Dealer, a position he held until 1954. Marguerite and Paul had four children, John Stark Bellamy (1910-1948), Richard King Bellamy (1911-2004), Peter Bellamy (1914-1989), and Joan (Bellamy) May (born 1926). John, a lawyer, married Molly Doan; they had three children (Susan, Constance, and Frederick). John died of polio in 1948. Richard, an advertising executive, married Aileen O'Neil; they had five children (Marguerite, Edward, Michael, Hazel, and Paul). Peter, a reporter, married Jean Dessel; they had five children (Sheila, Stephen, John, Christopher, and Nicole). Joan married Robert Carroll May, an architect; they had three children (Candace, Ethan, and Damon). Marguerite and Paul separated in the 1930s following Paul's affair with Mary Mitchell Henry. They divorced in 1941 and Paul married Henry later that year. Marguerite died in September 1968; Paul died on April 12, 1956.
Natalie Corona (Stark) Crouter was born on October 30, 1898, in Dorchester, Massachusetts. She survived a bout of meningitis and polio at age nine, and was left with a weakened left leg. She attended Dorchester public schools, the Deverell School (New York), the Burnham School (Northampton, Massachusetts), and Katherine Gibbs Secretarial School (Boston, Massachusetts). She used her secretarial skills in the Sacco and Vanzetti defense effort. In 1925, she met Errol Edgerton Crouter in the Philippines where she was forced to stop during a world tour with her father due to her father's illness. They were married on February 3, 1927, in Tientsin, China, and settled in Vigan and later Baguio in the Philippines. Errol Edgerton Crouter, whose nickname "Jerry" was inspired by Jack London's Jerry of the Islands, was born on April 11, 1893, in Greeley, Colorado. The son of Charles, a pharmacist, and Mabel (Maltby) Crouter, he became a lawyer but disliked legal work so he enlisted in the Army and was stationed in the Philippines where he remained following his discharge in 1918. He was a recruiter of Filipino workers for the Hawaiian Sugar Planters' Association before the organization closed during the Depression. He then became an insurance salesman and managed a Shell gas station. Natalie and Jerry had two children, June (born1929) and Frederick (born 1931). The entire family was interned by the Japanese Army during World War II. Following the war, the family stayed with Bertha and Mary Ethel Stark in Dorchester, Massachusetts, before moving in with Marguerite (Stark) Bellamy in Cleveland, Ohio. Jerry moved back to the Philippines as an employee of the United States War Shipping Administration and suffered a massive stroke in August 1946. He then returned to Cleveland where he was sporadically employed by the Veterans' Administration and several private businesses. June graduated from Western Reserve University and received her master's degree in social administration from Western Reserve's School of Applied Social Science. She married Richard Wortman in 1967; they had two children, Rebecca and Glen. Frederick graduated from Mather College and received his M.A. in education from Montclair State College. He married Louise "Lou" Patterson in 1953; they had three children (Jerrol, Jennifer, and Lenore). Jerry died in 1951 of cirrhosis and cancer of the liver; Natalie died October 15, 1985.
- Series I. Bertha Scott and Frederick John Stark, 1859-1956 (#1.1-30.4, 94FB.1-96FB.4, F+D.1-F+D.3)
- Series II. Mary Ethel Stark, 1884-1967 (#30.5-34.10)
- Series III. Marguerite Stark Bellamy and family, 1888-1967 (#34.11-38.6)
- Series IV. Natalie Stark Crouter and family, 1891-1985 (#38.7-87.12, 96FB.5-99FB.4, OD.1, SD.1)
- Series V. Other family, 1777-1961 (scattered) (#87.13-94.4)
- Series VI. Unattributed, 1683-1893 (scattered) (#94.5-94.15, SD.1)
- Series VII. Photographs, ca.1850-1975 (#PD.1z-PD.167f)
- Series VIII, Oversized, 1817, 1879-1951, ca.1980, n.d. (94FB.1-99FB.4, F+D.1-F+D.3, OD.1, SD.1)
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The papers of the Stark family were given to the library in November 1986 and October 1987 by Frederick Edgerton Crouter, June Crouter Wortman, Peter Bellamy, Richard King Bellamy, Joan Bellamy May, Molly Doan Bellamy, and Lynn Z. Bloom.
Accession number: 86-M257, 87-M161
Processed by: Johanna Carll
The following items have been transferred to the book division:
- A Course in Household Arts, Series A, prepared by Ellen L. Duff, Boston, 1909
- A Course in Household Arts, Series B, prepared by Ellen L. Duff, Boston, 1911
Alternate Name Formats
- Bertha Stark = "Gaga"
- Mary Ethel Stark = "Ethel," "Aunt Sister"
- Marguerite Stark Bellamy = "Muggsie," "Muggs"
- Paul Bellamy = "The DD"
- Joan Bellamy May = "Dode," "Dodey"
- Natalie Stark Crouter = "Corona," "Conie," "Canone," "Jane Mercury," "Pete" (the name chosen had she been a boy)
- Errol Edgerton Crouter = "E.E.," "Edge," "Jerry"
- Frederick Crouter = "Bedie"
- Hazel Burnham Slaughter = "Bunnie," "Bunny"
By: Johanna Carll; with assistance from Joëlle L. Burdette, Aiden Riley Graham, and Lisa Molinelli.
- Artists--United States
- Baguio (Philippines)--Social life and customs--20th century
- Camps for girls--New Hampshire
- Cleveland (Ohio)--Social life and customs--20th century
- Cooperative societies--China
- Dorchester (Boston, Mass.)--Social life and customs--20th century
- Evanston (Ill.)--Social life and customs--20th century
- Financial records
- Girls--Education (Secondary)--United States
- Manuscripts for publication
- Mental illness--Personal narratives
- Motherhood--United States
- Mothers and daughters--United States
- Mothers and sons--United States
- Philippines--History--Japanese occupation, 1942-1945
- Poliomyelitis--Patients--United States
- Prisoners of war--Philippines--Diaries
- Sacco-Vanzetti Trial, Dedham, Mass., 1921
- Sisters--United States
- Vigan (Philippines)--Social life and customs--20th century
- Voyages and travels
- Women and religion--United States
- Women--Family relationships
- Women--Health and hygiene
- World War, 1914-1918--Personal narratives, American
- World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives, American
- Stark family. Papers of the Stark family, 1683-1985 (inclusive), 1850-1978 (bulk): A Finding Aid
- Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
- Processing of this collection was made possible by a gift from the Radcliffe College Class of 1955.
- EAD ID
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