Item #453

The Russell/Pratt family from the North Hadley area of Massachusetts includes several albums, including scrapbooks, diaries, over 60 letters and over 250 photos. The collection documents the lives of a few key individuals in the Pratt/Russell family from 1879 to the 1960s. In particular, the collection is focused on Miriam Russell, Herbert O. Russell, Madeleine Russell, George Pratt, and Velma C. Russell.

1. Miriam Russell, American International College
8.5 x 11.5” string-bound album with a brown cover with a golden ship on the cover. Written on the inside front cover are the words: “Miriam Russell, A.I.C. ‘39 (first semester).” As this suggests, the scrapbook is completely filled with ephemera and memories from Miriam’s first semester at A.I.C. from 1938 to 1939. There are many clippings about school news, including faculty news, concerts, and especially sports, which Miriam seems to have been a big fan of. Miriam appears to have been involved with the choir and there are quite a few programs for the Wagner Concert series and church service programs. There are 3 envelopes with letters glued into the album; one has to do with a concert, but the other two are about a German class that Miriam was taking. One of the more interesting items that have been glued into the album is a wooden necklace for the A.I.C. senior prom in 1938 with partially filled dance card sheets within. There are a few loose pages in the album, and there are also several loose copies of “Yellow Jacket”, the A.I.C. student newsletter and a draft written by multiple Western Massachusetts schools concerning an inter-faith parley.

2. Memories of Our Wedding
8 x 11” white hardcover memory book with staining on the cover. The book contains prompts to be filled out concerning the couple’s wedding. Contains memories from the wedding of George Lawrence Pratt and Miriam Catherine Russell in 1941. There are 13 black and white photos of the bride and groom, wedding decorations, and their home measuring between 3 x 2.5” and 5 x 3.5” held to the pages with corner tabs. Also glued in are clippings announcing the engagement and wedding, a wedding invitation, and a map of New England related to their honeymoon in Port Clyde, Maine. Loose within the book are a stained bit of lace, possibly part of the bridal veil, and a ribbon. Written into the book are a family tree for Miriam and George, a list of parties and showers that were held, signatures from members of the wedding party, and a list of wedding gifts and who they were from.

3. Scrapbook 1932-1934
6.25 x 7.75” scrapbook with a worn brown spine and black cover; a label reading “Scrapbook 1932-1934” is taped to the cover. This little album is completely filled with news clippings related to Miriam Russell’s time at Hopkins Academy. Most of the newspaper clippings glued into the album have to do with school sports, especially basketball and soccer. There are also programs for concerts that Miriam seems to have been involved in, clippings about concerts, the program for the Hopkins Academy 1933 graduation exercises, and Miriam’s handwritten notes prepared for a speech about the YWCA conference at Shelburne Falls.

4. Diaries and notebooks
Herbert O. Russell’s 4 x 7” notebook containing handwritten notes concerning cars. Contains information about who they are for, selling price, who loaded it, cost price, number of cars, dates ordered and shipped, and station. The notebook is completely filled with this format of notebooks for cars numbered #1 through #48 before it becomes more calculations and brief notes.
Adorable 4 x 5” black leather “Five-Year Diary” filled out by Miriam Russell from 1935-1939. The diary has a broken clasp. The diary is almost completely filled, with just a few entries missing for each year. Miriam mostly details her day-to-day life, covering the years she was in high school and started at American International College. As such, her entries discuss school work, hanging out with friends, doing chores, and the weather.
“A Page A Day” brown leather notebook measuring 4.25 x 5.5” from an unknown date and author. While there are pages for each day, the owner has only written entries from March 14 to June 16th during time on a ship. The writer discusses the weather, meals, and daily tasks, and continually laments signing on. The ship seems to have visited Panama, Pearl Harbor, Columbia, and other areas.
Other mostly blank notebooks include a 2.5 x 4” price book from the First National Bank of Northampton, Mass. belonging to Madeline C. Russell from 1930; there is also a stamp in two pieces for money to be paid to Herbert O. Russell at the First National Bank. Other items include a 3 x 5.5” blank diary from 1907, and an empty daily reminder notepad.

Example diary entry:
Friday, March 16 - Left the hook
“Scheduled to leave at 06:00 but not ready. A lot of work to be done on engine. Chester pulled out at noon time. Gave engine another dock trial & not so good [illegible] dicided to leave anyway.
Pulled away from the dock at 16:00 but couldn’t get the engine to keep running. An hour or so later got things under control & on down the river past the Hook. Dropped the pilot off a little after midnite.”

5. Photos
The collection contains over 250 loose photos spanning the years from 1879 to the 1960s. Most of the photos are black and white with a couple of the later ones being in color, and nearly all feature family members. There are a surprising number of cabinet card portraits which feature relatives of the Russell family, including many of Henry Osbourne Russell and Madeline Clark Russell. The photographs that aren’t portraits are snapshots of children and family during holidays such as Christmas and Easter, as well as a few wedding pictures. Photographs measure between 1.75 x 2.25” and 8.5 x 6.5” and many are kept in various envelopes.

6. Letters and notes
There are around 64 letters from 1941 to 1959, the majority of which are written to Madeleine C. Russell from “Dad” and from Robert F. Clark to Mrs. Herbert O. Russell, talking about daily life and travel. There are also a stack of letters from “Ma” to Velma C. Russell which talk about Midge’s wedding plans.
There are also three folders with handwritten notes from Miriam Pratt from Parent Teacher Association meetings in Hadley around 1957, Pratts’ notes for the Hopkins Academy Tercentenary in 1964, and notes from George L. Pratt in connection with his role on the Board of Trustees of the Second Congregational Church of Hadley, Mass.

Selection of letter examples:
Letter from Robert F. Clark to Madeleine Russell (October 11, 1955)
“Helen did not find your beauty pin.
Dear Madeleine:
A warm night - must be about 65° outside. Helen is ironing. She went over to Southboro between six and seven tonight to give blood to the Red Cross. They wouldn’t take her! She had forgotten to look at her card and they noticed that it had been only six weeks ago that she had given in Marlboro. The M. D. stuck by the 8 weeks rule.
Priscilla had a dandy trip to Buffalo from Sun. to Wed. last week at the N.Y. State Student Nurses Ass. meeting. She & Joanne, her roommate were delegates from the junior class. They went by car & came by train. Four couples of them went to Niagara Mon. night. The male portion were nurses from Bellevue in N.Y. City.
Ruthie had a dandy weekend in Pa. Edna & Bill are going to be married the Sat. after Thanksgiving.
No, H. L. hasn’t a job. Helen has turned a little work her way, from the office, & will give her more inserting advertising.
Bobbie got pretty well jabbed up - teeth, fork tine, and needles!! Hope he is OK now.
Very busy in the store now. Fall is always the busiest time. Upstairs shop broke all records yesterday.
Enclosed are snaps you wanted.
Love to all, Robert”

Letter from Midge to Velma C. Russell (July 29, 1941)
“Dear Vel—
I’ve got so much to write about that I don’t know where to begin.
As you probably know already, Dot came down Saturday, and we went on our search for [illegible] wedding things. My dress is simply lovely—I’ll try to draw a picture of it. The top & peplum are lace, and the skirt are rayon marquisette (angel-skin) over a nice [illegible] satin slip. It has a train! About 4 ft. long I guess. It really is very pretty. Dot’s is rose and yours and D.G.’s are light blue—lace bodice, angelskin skirt split down the front, over a taffeta underskirt. I think you’ll like them. Dot looks wonderful in her color.
The headdresses are just about like the one I had for Anita’s wedding, but have a different kind of flower band in front. They are to be dyed to match the gowns.
I’ve written to Priscilla (via Aunt Helen) to ask if she will be flower girl, but haven’t heard from them yet. I told her the color of the other gowns and suggested either yellow or light pink for hers. She will look awfully cute.
I haven’t heard from Aunt Emily yet either.
D.G. is coming down in the train Sat. arriving early that evening - and has to go back on the 7:10 Sunday eve. Perhaps I told you—she has a job beginning Aug. 4 at the National something & Loan in Portland—an office job.
I haven’t planned much definitely about the reception. I’m going home this weekend to help address invitations and will know definitely then.
I still can’t decide who to have serve. Ah me—to have so many friends!
How did the play go Wednesday - were you the heroine? Congratulations anyway.
And what are these “two nice gifts” that you’ve gotten? I’m curious. What will he do every evening instead of walking with you after you leave? He’s Dutch, isn’t he?
We haven’t found an apartment yet—I’m beginning to give up hope. We’ve just got to find one soon.
George is raking in money right & left. He got $67 for four days work—the week of the 4th. And here I slave 3 weeks for that much.
Enclosed are the wedding pictures. The pictures I took down at the beach came back yesterday. They are very good—two films, & everyone of them came out well.
Will write more later, when I can think better.
Love, Midge”.

Price: $495.00

See all items in Hand-Written, Photo Albums, Scrapbook