The Joseph Downs Collection of

Manuscripts and Printed Ephemera


Acquisitions List


April-June 2005



Advertising ephemera

1.       From R. Ackerman’s Repository of Arts, an advertisement announcing that Ackerman had recently reopened his circulating portfolios, which included drawings and prints.  Also mentioned are drawing and watercolor supplies, as well as work boxes, baskets, writing desks, etc.  Color vignette showing children.  Early 1800s.  (05x61)

2.       Handbill for house carpenters and cabinetmakers McArthur & McIlvain, Philadelphia.  They made new furniture, repaired old furniture, and did upholstery.  (05x62.1)

3.       In 1844, there was an exhibition of sacred views illustrating biblical events, “combining instruction and amusement in the most agreeable and entertaining manner.”  Presumably a Mr. Owens did it, since this small broadside also notes that he was going to show “fancy glass working.”  (05x62.3)

4.       A small illustrated brochure for Shaw-Walker, Muskegon, Mich., advertising and depicting filing drawers and cabinets for the office.  (05x64.1)

5.       The Atwater Kent Receiver was a radio that was built into a walnut case, resembling a table.  Sold by True & Blanchard Co., Newport, Vermont.  (05x64.3)

6.       A guide to rapid and accurate computation, by Prof. Hutchings.  This is a four page advertisement from 1860 having to do with simple arithmetic.  An accompanying exhibit was at the Barnum Museum.  Hutchings also did a book on the topic called The Lightning Calculator.  (05x66.4)

7.       An illustrated advertisement for Smith’s New Improved Patent Force Sprinkler, which was supposed to throw a stream of water 60 feet or more.  Illustration shows a young girl watering flowers with the device and in the background two other youngsters washing a house.  (05x66.6)

8.       “The sensation of the day!”  A small announcement announcing water color instruction and instruction in lustra painting, termed the latest Paris sensation, by Mme. Laganette; late 19th century.  (05x89)



1.       A printed bill from Lawrence Pottery, Lawrence, Mass.; Geo Pearson & Co., proprietors.  The bill lists various products and their prices: cake pots, milk pans, green house pots, flower pots (glazed and unglazed), soap dishes, etc.  Since nothing has been filled in, the bill was never used.  From the 1870s.  (05x62.2)

2.       Manuscript bill to J.S. Osgood from Samuel Chase for bushels of hair; 1849.  (05x64.4)

3.       Alvin Essex sold food to C. Lobey, including pickles, onions, and mangoes; July 13, 1846.  (05x64.5)

4.       What appears to be a fragment of a bill from James Barlow, brass candlestick maker, Birmingham, Eng., illustrating different candlesticks.  Accompanying text explains what Barlow had for sale.  First half of the 19th century.  (05x64.6)

5.       From Boynton & Woodford of Boston, a bill to Messrs. R. Edson & Co. for combs.  The company imported and dealt combs, jewelry, fancy goods, cutlery, and perfume; October 14, 1839.  (05x64.7)

6.       Boston carpet seller Adam Lodge sold 57 yards of carpet to Michael Richmond.  He was an “importer of the newest patterns, direct from the manufacturers, at his wholesale and retail carpet warehouse, nos. 22 & 24 Market-street.”  From October 1829.  (05x64.8)

7.       A bill from 1859 to Anthony Day from R.B. Earle & Co., Jersey City, NJ, for what Earle describes as house-keeping articles: jelly moulds, arm chairs, rockers, bedsteads, tea and coffee wares, self-sealing cans, etc.  (05x64.9)

8.       A manuscript bill from P. Ballou for eighteen inch candy containers, costing $2.25; from June 25, 1844.  (05x64.10)

9.       From Milton, Mass., September 23, 1763, a bill to Edward Hutchson for tea, flour, sugar, and chocolate.  (05x64.11)

10.   Bills from John Bennett to John Fryers, 1749 and 1751, for brass chafing dishes, thumb latches, drawer handles, etc.  (05x85.1-.2)


Busler, William Sherwood, 1858-


            Includes a typescript on the life of W.S. Busler and copies of photographs of him and his wife, Phronia Sheets Busler.  Busler writes about growing up in rural Pennsylvania and then in Williamsport.  The Downs Collection already has a memoir of his on his visit to the Centennial Exhibition in 1876.  (05x65)


Butler, Marigene H.

Papers. 1966-1997.

This collection contains the records of paintings conservator Marigene Butler.  She began her career at the Art Institute of Chicago in the 1960s and worked at various places until her retirement in 1997 as head of conservation at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  Earlier she apprenticed in the conservation department at the Fogg Museum and trained with Alfred Jakstas, whose papers are also in the Downs Collection.  (05x60)


Byrdcliffe Arts Colony.


            In addition to the large archive on Byrdcliffe already in the Downs Collection, added is a postcard album from the late 19th-early 20th centuries, which contains dozens of cards showing London buildings and scenery, as well as other places in the UK, and a smattering of cards from Paris and Washington, DC.  Unmounted cards loose in the volume are addressed to Jane Whitehead, a Byrdcliffe founder. In addition, there are two woodblocks used for printing purposes; one shows an insignia and the other, dated 1907, seems to have been used to promote metalwork and hand weaving at Byrdcliffe.   (05x78)



            Kept during the late 19th century, this cookbook probably originated in the South.  Written in several hands, it includes recipes for pickling, pies and cakes, rice batter cake, preserving pineapples, salting pork or beef, etc.; it does not include recipes for fish, shrimp, or mollusk, which may rule out a coastal origin.  There is a listing of table linen and plate, and the manuscript contains just two non-culinary recipes: a cure for diarrhea and for making red ink.  (05x59)


Cummings, Hetty.

            Photograph album. 1888.

            The album includes 15 mounted black and white photos showing the exterior and interior—mostly interior—of a wealthy family’s home.  A loose photo of a woman—perhaps Hetty Cummings herself—is laid in the front; the photographer’s label on the back of the woman’s photo notes a Boylston Street, Boston address, which is probably a clue to the location of the home.  (05x58)



1.       A watercolor and ink drawing from 1920 of a suburban house made of stone and with a side portico.  (05x66.10)


Girard College.

            Collection. ca. 1840s-1890s.

            An assemblage of around 700 billheads, receipts, letterheads, inventories, and correspondence documenting Girard College, many of which have to do with the upkeep of the buildings.  Girard College is in Philadelphia; it was constructed and endowed from the fortune of financier Stephen Girard, 1750-1831, as a school for poor, orphaned boys.  The first students began their studies on January 1, 1848.  (05x70)


Greeting cards

1.       An undated ornamental 19th century valentine containing verse and a hand colored picture of a woman dressed in blue in front of a shrine.  (05x66.7)


Harnish, C.E.


            C.E. Harnish was from York Pa.  These black and white drawings, all except for one, which is a portrait, are of wagons and were probably done for a trade catalog for a Pennsylvania wagon making firm, ca. 1900.  Some of the drawings show different options, using the same basic design, offered by the company.  Drawings are as large as 16 x 20 inches.  (05x91.1-.16)


Hunt, N.W.

            Photograph album. 1891.

This album documents N.W. Hunt’s estate, St. Elmo, located on an island in the St. Lawrence River in the Thousand Islands region of New York State.  It includes 52 photographs, showing the exterior and interior of the house, outbuildings, and the people who lived there.  St. Elmo was built in 1885, passed to Hunt’s son in 1903, and burned down in 1952.  Depending on which source is believable, Hunt lived in either Brooklyn or Pittsburgh.  (05x57)



1.       The estate inventory of Charles Ferre (Ferry), 1640-1699, of Springfield, Mass., July 3, 1699.  A detailed inventory mentioning household goods, land, and goods associated with weaving, which was his trade.  (05x69)


Kellogg family.

            Papers. 1850s-1870s.

            Collection of bills, letters, checks, etc. recording materials coming into the household and for building upgrades and repairs. The Kelloggs were from Troy, NY.  (05x72)


Legal documents

1.       Manuscript will, December 1861, of Nancy Kent, Garrattsville, NY, in which she leaves her possessions—watch, spectacles, bed, clothing, knives and forks, etc.—to various friends.  (05x64.13)

2.       In the form of a letter dated October 5, 1798 to Nahum Mitchell, one of the Justices of the Peace of Plymouth County, Mass., David Kingman asks to hold a meeting to help organize a library in Bridgewater.  Mitchell replies in the affirmative and Kingman then calls for the meeting.  (05x64.15)



1.       A letter dated September 15, 1890 to The Firm from Wm. Eberhardt, seemingly discussing the growing of hops in California.  The letter is on stationery from The Rainier, a Seattle, Wash. Hotel.  It is pictured in a vignette on the sheets of stationery.  (05x64.14)

2.       Headed Memorandum, this brief letter was written by a father to his daughter and was referred to as “Directions for Commencement Dinner, 1817.”  Clean the room, have a dozen chairs and mahogany tables, provide wine and decanters, etc.  (05x66.9)

3.       Letter from artist Stephen Ferris to J.S. Bradley, Jr., Oct. 22, 1887.  Ferris, 1835-1915, was a portrait painter and etcher from Philadelphia; he studied under John Sartain.  Letter discusses some of his watercolors and oil pictures of Spanish heads and figures.  (05x67)

4.       A letter from artist Thomas Ball, 1819-1911, a sculptor and painter, to a Mrs. Watson about two busts he did in Florence; he called them Allegria and Pensiero.  He wrote the letter on May 6, 1904.  (05x73)

5.       Architect and draftsman Thomas Ustick Walter writes to Joseph Koecker, his principal delineator, about “some designs for furniture;” undated.  (05x88)

6.       A series of three letters from artist Theodore Munger, dating from 1900-1904, to Augusta Carpenter, wife of portrait painter Francis Bicknell Carpenter, about her husband, who had just died; together with a short letter from 1855 to Carpenter saying that his portrait had been accepted by the National Academy of Design and that he was a member at the associate level.  (05x90.1-4)


Little, William Coffin, 1745-1816.

            Account book. 1782-1785.

            William Coffin Little was a silversmith from Newburyport, Essex County, Massachusetts, who also seems to have run a general store.  The museum has about ten spoons that he made; they are documented in the library in the Decorative Arts Photographic Collection.  This account book, which is in three volumes, totaling 164 pages, mentions large silver spoons, silver teaspoons, coffee spoons, salt spoons, and silver buckles, as well as gold rings and necklaces.  Many customers paid Little with old silver and gold.  Two of the volumes are bound in contemporary wallpaper.  (05x87)


McCall, John Gibson.

            Account book. 1852-1854.

            This personal account book records the expenses of the McCall family of Philadelphia for two years.  A stationer’s label from that city is pasted in the front.  Mention is made of Edith, the keeper’s wife, and his children Sarita and Charles.  Sarita married James M. Bond, an expert on birds of the Caribbean and the namesake of Ian Fleming’s main literary character.  (05x79)


McCall family.

            Photograph album.

            From the late 19th century, this album contains photographs of places in Europe, including Mont Blanc, Interlaken, and Chillon Castle, as well as places in rural Pennsylvania south of Philadelphia.  (05x82)


Menige, Elizabeth.

            Receipt book. 1821-1835.

            Elizabeth Menige was a Philadelphia resident.  It appears that her husband, Oliver, died in the early 1820s.  The manuscript records payments for rent, taxes, food, and for settling Oliver’s estate, including a head and foot stone from Black & Brown and taxes on his estate.  (05x81)


Miers, Aaron.

            Poetry book. 1896

            This homemade volume was done entirely in typescript.  The poems that Miers included were by Poe, Whittier, Longfellow, and other noted poets, as well as by lesser known authors.  The volume is an example of typewriter art in that the beginning of each selection is headed by a design created by different typewriter keys arranged in certain patterns.  (05x66.5)


Paint samples

1.       A group of three paint sample brochures, most likely from the 1920s.  Two are from Bay State paints and one is from Sherwin-Williams.  The Sherwin-Williams brochure includes illustrations showing painted furniture of the day.  (05x66.1-.3)


Photograph album. ca. 1900.

            An album with five photographs of rooms of a house and one photograph looking away from the house’s porch.  An accompanying note says that it was the childhood home of Maurice Johnson Tuttle, Syracuse, NY, and another note says that he and Margaret A. Maxwell married in the house in 1916.  (05x66.8)



1.       Photo of the exterior of Geyer Shoe Shop most likely from a small town in central Pennsylvania.  Three employees and the mailman are in front of the shop.  (05x63.1)

2.       A picture of a house taken by Lindsay & Smith, landscape photographers, Nashua, NH, showing double porches, one above another, and four women in contemporary dress; late 19th century.  (05x63.2)

3.       A brick church in a rural setting whose construction just ended, judging from the debris near the front door; interesting stained glass windows and a house and shed in the background.  (05x63.3)

4.       Printed photograph from 1903 of a building I Washington, DC that served as the National Vaccine and Antitoxin Establishment.  Three cupolas and rounded window tops distinguish the architecture.  (05x63.4)

5.       A studio portrait of a child sitting in a wicker chair.  From the studio of A.A. Line, Carlisle, Pa., ca. 1900.  (05x63.5)

6.       Three portraits taken in photograph studios showing a couple and two different men.  The seating furniture used as props are extraordinary.  (05x84.1-.3)


Poster stamps

1.       A group of 74 stamps advertising reading material, hotels, banks, clothing, lamps, the Panama-Pacific Exposition, medicine, insurance, the city of New Haven, etc.  (05x86.1-.74)



1.       A series of eight 4”x6” prints showing various scenes in Boston: the public library, Masonic Temple, the Hancock house, Old South Church, etc.  (05x64.2)



1.       From Nov. 20, 1726, received from Isaac Harris, the full sum of £36 for sawing and building a mill, signed Edward Sears.  (05x64.12)


Scrapbook. 1880s.

            A scrapbook house/collage album using fabric, wallpaper, and cutouts from contemporary magazines and trade catalogs to create room settings.  Among the rooms, a dining room, kitchen, storeroom, and dressing room are labeled.  A back yard scene shows a water pump and perambulator.  Dated from a fashion plate from 1883.  (05x68)


Sellman family.

            Papers. ca. 1840s-1860s.

            This collection of several hundred items chiefly consists of bills sent to the Sellman family of Maryland, most likely Baltimore.  They record purchases of household goods, dry goods, clothing, construction supplies, etc.  The bills are largely manuscript or lacking illustrations, though there is one bill with a cameo vignette and a few others showing contemporary buildings and products.  (05x71)


Sharpless, Lydia A.

            Letters. 1848-1850.

            These letters in two volumes offer wonderful insights of travels that Lydia Sharpless took in Europe during the mid-19th century.  She started out in London and then went to Paris, Brussels, Cologne, the Rhine River Valley, Trieste, Rome, Venice, Athens, Constantinople, and Stockholm, finally winding up back in London after further travels on the Continent.  (05x76)


Sprigg, Richard, 1739-1798.

            Account book. 1767-1795.

            Sprigg was a wealthy landowner and planter from Maryland at “Strawberry Hill” in Anne Arundel County.  His daughter, Sophia, married John Francis Mercer, a Revolutionary War hero and early elected official; his granddaughter, Margaret Mercer, was an educator and anti-slavery reformer.  The account book records Sprigg’s personal finances, work paid for, house repairs, the hiring of African Americans, rents collected, etc.  (05x80)


Stone, Charles Wellington, 1853-1927.

            Scrapbook. 1870-1874.

            Stone kept this scrapbook while he was a student at Harvard.  It contains assignments, room bills, invitations to social events, tests, and official notices issued by Harvard during his years studying there.  The Downs Collection also has a diary that he kept in 1871 while he hiked through New Hampshire.  (05x74)


Trumbauer, Horace, 1868-1938.


            Horace Trumbauer opened an architectural firm in 1890 in Philadelphia and became well known for designing residences for wealthy families in the Philadelphia suburbs as well as New York and Newport, Rhode Island.  His large scale work included the Widener Library at Harvard, the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Irving Auditorium at the University of Pennsylvania.  His largest commission was the design of the campuses of Duke University from 1927-1938.  Collection contains documentation of Trumbauer’s architectural career.  (05x75)


Williams family.


            Collection includes a mathematics copy book from the early 19th century; an account book used by Philadelphia merchants Hezekiah Williams & Sons, 1810-1813; manuscript letters chiefly addressed to George Guest, Philadelphia merchant, 1783-1802; a miniature commonplace book, 1876-1877; some deeds recording New Jersey lands, 1815-1819; and some other family things.  (05x77)