Mystery Monday: Part One: The Unidentified Friends and Family of Maria Jane (Peeples) Publicover of Gloucester and Beverly, Essex, Mass.

This week Of Graveyards and Things was included in the blogroll from Geneabloggers. Welcome aboard, new readers! Earlier in the week I wrote about the lovely autograph book of Maria Jane Peeples of Gloucester, Mass. from the 1890s. With a few extra pairs of eyes on the blog, let’s see if anyone can help solve a related mystery pertaining to Maria. Based upon her autograph book and stories passed down in the family, it is obvious that Maria had a wealth of friends and family from the North Shore of Massachusetts, friends who worked or lived in and around Boston, family from Nova Scotia and Hartford, Conn., and beyond. She was quite the social gal, and in addition to her autograph book, she also collected an incredible collection of photographs of her friends and loved ones. Unfortunately, she did not label any of these photographs.

Last year, I had an excellent conversation with Tim Salls, the archivist at NEHGS, about the inherent problems with unidentified photographs. As the curator for the Hanson Historical Society, I had recently organized their photograph collection, which had a selection of unlabeled images. He recommended uploading the collection to Flickr and harnessed the power of crowdsourcing to help identify unlabeled people, places, and events. And what a recommendation!! Over the past year, HHS’s photograph collection at Flickr has generated interest and input from numerous residents, former residents, and descendants of Hansonites who have recognized photographs and generously helped to identify images. It has been a wonderful way to connect with the community.

Around the same time, I was motivated to purchase archival supplies and organize the incredible collection of documents, photographs, and artifacts of family history in my possession. In discussing the project with other family members, a few very generously gave me some items to add to the collection for preservation, including this unidentified photograph collection of Maria Jane (Peeples) Publicover from my aunt Maria. Once placed in archival folders, within archival boxes, labeled and organized, I felt these images would be better served digitized and put out there on the web – where perhaps  descendants of Maria’s many friends, local historians, or historic photo buffs might be able to recognize the individuals in these images – and maybe give a face to the signatures from her autograph book!

The majority of images have a photographer’s name and address, so I have organized the images here by town, with the completely unidentified images at the end. Included are transcriptions of the photographer’s labels. [For additional details and the scanned backs of several of the portraits, see the collection on Flickr]. Today’s post will feature her friends and family beyond Gloucester – next week’s will feature all of her Gloucester, Mass. photographs.

Unidentified Portraits by Known Photographers

USA – Massachusetts – Beverly, Mass.

Unidentified Girl, Beverly, Mass. Photographer’s Label: Novelty Photo Co., Beverly, Mass.

USA – Massachusetts – Boston, Mass.

Unidentified Man, Boston, Mass. Photographer’s Label: Wm H. Allen, 58 Temple Place, Boston

Unidentified Woman, Boston, Mass. Photographer’s Label (on back): Diamond Photo Co., 24 Tremont Row, Boston

Unidentified Woman, Boston, Mass. Photographer’s Label: Dunshee. Hill. 22 Winter St., Boston

Unidentified Woman, Boston, Mass. Photographer’s Label: Gray, 1030 Tremont St., Boston

Unidentified Man, Boston, Mass. Photographer’s Label: B. Frank Hatstat, 521 Washington Street, Boston

Unidentified Woman, Boston, Mass., c. 1893. Photographer’s Label: Notman Photo Co., 480 Boylston St. and 3 Park St., Copyrighted 1893

Unidentified Woman, Boston, Mass. Photographer’s Label: Ritz Art Studio, 49 Temple Place, Boston, Mass.

USA – Massachusetts – Newburyport, Mass.

Unidentified Woman, Newburyport, Mass. Photographer’s Label: Frazier, Newburyport, Mass.

USA – Massachusetts – Salem, Mass.

Unidentified Man, Salem, Mass. Photographer’s Label: Haswell, Salem, Mass.

Unidentified Man (Willard B. Publicover?), Salem, Mass. Photographer’s Label: Haswell, Salem, Mass.
Handwritten label (on back): W.B.P.
[W.B.P. likely stands for Willard B. Publicover, indicating that this photograph is of or belonging to Willard B. Publicover, the husband of Maria Jane Peeples]

Unidentified Woman, Salem, Mass., c. 1884. Photographer’s Label (back): T& P, Taylor & Preston, 188 Essex St., Salem, Mass., 1884.

USA – Massachusetts – West Somerville, Mass. or Old Orchard, Me.

Unidentified Child, West Somerville, Mass. or Old Orchard, Me. Photographer’s Label: Whittemore’s Studio, West Somerville, Mass. & Old Orchard, Me.

USA – Connecticut – Hartford, Conn.

Unidentified Woman, Hartford, Conn. Photographer’s Label: Lloyd, 368 Main Street, Hartford, Conn. [Possible Peeples relative?]

Unidentified Child, Hartford, Conn. [Possible Peeples relative?]

Unidentified Man, Hartford, Conn., c. 1889. Photographer’s Label: Olsen Portraits, Hartford [Possible Peeples relative?]

USA – Illinois – Chicago, Ill.

Unidentified Woman, Chicago, Ill. Photographer’s Label: J. E. Waters, 414 E. 63rd St., Chicago

USA – New Hampshire – Milford, N.H.

Unidentified Child, Milford, N.H. Photographer’s Label: Perkins, South Street, Milford, N.H.

USA – New York – Lima, N.Y.

Unidentified Men, Lima, N.Y. Photographer’s Label: G. E. Bronson, Lima, N.Y.
Handwritten label (on back): Sue
[Were these men perhaps sons of a friend named Sue? They are wearing numerous prize ribbons.]

USA – New York – Manhattan, N.Y.

Unidentified Woman, New York, N.Y. Photographer’s Label: Hall, Broadway and 34th St., New York

CANADA – New Glasgow, Nova Scotia

Unidentified Woman, New Glasgow, Nova Scotia Photographer’s Label: Thomas Cook, New Glasgow, N.S. [Possible a Peeples relative?]

ENGLAND – Barrow-In-Furness, Lancashire, England

Photographer’s label:
H. J. Taphouse, Barrow-In-Furness

Unidentified Portraits by Unknown Photographers

Unidentified Child

Unidentified Child

Unidentified Man

This is one of my favorites:

Unidentified Man and Dog


Unidentified Man

Unidentified Man

Unidentified Women

Autograph Book of Maria Jane Peeples, Gloucester, Mass., 1889-1900

Maria Jane (Peeples) Publicover, Beverly Farms, Mass. Courtesy of Maria McClellan.

Maria Jane Peeples (nicknamed “Rida” by her family) was the daughter of Thomas Peeples and Jane Rogers of Nova Scotia. She married Willard Binnie Publicover at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Gloucester, Essex, Mass., 24 January 1894, by Rev. John Alvey Mills.

From 1889-1900, she kept an autograph book in which her friends, family members – and a presumably courting Willard B. Publicover (he has several signatures and notes over the years) – signed their names and wrote her notes and poems – funny, poignant, sage, or straight to the point. She began keeping the autograph book while a resident of Gloucester, Mass. – several of her relatives moved to Hartford, Conn., as the autograph book shows. Below are photographs of the individual pages of the book, accompanied by transcriptions.

The autograph book cover:

Cover of Maria Jane Peeples’ Autograph Book, c. 1890-1891

Sister(-in-law) Mary (McCormack) Peeples Autograph, Hartford, Conn. 12 October 1891

To Rida,

I wish you joy, I wish you peace, I wish your friends may still increase and may you ever remain the same unchanged in all except the name.

Your sister, Mary, Hartford, Conn. Oct. the 12, 1891


Cousin Hattie Rogers and E.R.’s autographs

When far from you I go, will you one thought on me bestow. And let your memory often past In good times had in Gloucester, Mass.

From Your Cousin, Hattie Rogers. Aug. 14, 1891


Hap[p]y thoughts makes a pleasant day

E.R. [possibly brother-in-law Ernest Robinson?]


Jennie M Campbell Autograph, 3 November 1891, Gloucester Mass.

Jennie M. Campbell Gloucester, Mass. November 3, 1891


Eldridge Peeples Autograph, 11 October 1891, Hartford, Conn.

To Rida,

Remember me for can you must, as long as you can bite a crust

And when you can no longer bite, think of me if you think it rite.

Eldridge Peeples, Hartford, Conn. Oct. 11, 1891


Madie A. Campbell Autograph, 3 November 1891, Gloucester, Mass.

Madie A. Campbell, Gloucester, Mass. Nov. 3, 1891


J. D. Peeples and Bessie M. Wilkinson Autographs

When scattered abroad are land and sea

’tis if truly we owe to each other

to write a firm line and say something kind

this is the [idea?] of your brother

J.D. Peeples, Hartford, Conn. October 11th 1891. [brother James D. Peeples]


In friendships fond garden

In some sacred spot

Plant for me a fond forget-me-not

Bessie M. Wilkinson, Charlestown, Mass. Aug. 11, 1891


Charles A. Hayden Autograph, 13 November 1889, Gloucester, Mass.

May heaven’s blessing be always yours, I shall ever pray

Your true friend and rector, Charles A. Hayden. Gloucester, Nov. 13th 1889


Richard L. Morey and Rhoda M. Rogers’ Autographs

Let bygones be bygones, I foolishly say

And let you be wise and forget them

But old recollections may be active today

And you can do naught but regret them

Though the present be pleasant, joyous and gay

And promising well for tomorrow

Yet you may love to look back on the years right away

Embalming your bygones in sorrow.

Advice from your friend, Richard L. Morey

Dec. 15th 1889.


To Maria

May gladness be your portion

May mirth come at your call

May you be glad & happy

And blessed in dower & hall,

Rhoda M. Rogers, #15 Mt. Vernon St., Gloucester, Mass. Aug. 12th 1891


Lewis R. Martin and Mrs. Thomas D. Peeples Autographs

Lewis R. Martin, 55 Elm St., Charlestown, Mass.


Your loving morther, Mrs. Thomas D. Peeples

Pirate Harbor

[U.S. Carried?] N[ova] S[cotia]


Ella F. Welsh and Willard B. Publicover’s autographs

“Let the casket of memory contain one pearl for me”

Yours truly, Ella F. Welsh Gloucester, Sept. 25, 1889


Willard B. Publicover

Brattle Sq. Hotel

32-34 Brattle Sq. Cambridge, Mass.


Mrs. W. Engelhard Autograph, 12 October 1891, Hartford, Conn.

May hope in its surety and peace in its calm

Descend on thy spirit and bring to it calm

Mrs. W. Engelhard, Hartford, Conn. Oct. 12th 1891


Eva Englehart and W. B. Publicover autographs

Go show you that my thought of your still lives

Eva Englehart, Hartford, Conn. Oct. 12th 1891


To Maria,

If you your lips would keep from slips, five things observe with care

Of whom you speak to whom you speak and how and when and where

Your friend, W. B. Publicover


Maggie W. McPhee and Gertie E. Robinson Autographs

Remember me when “far, far off, where the wood-chuck die of the whooping cough”

Maggie W. McPhee, Gloucester, Mass. Oct. 15th 1891


To Rida,

To write in your album dear sister you ask

It’s well it is not such a difficult task

All I can say is contained in one line

May the blessing of heaven forever be thine

Gertie E. Robinson [sister Gertrude E. (Peeples) Robinson]


Images of hands holding birds and flowers, pasted into Autograph Book

Henry A. Calder and Ella E. Peeples Autographs

Henry A. Calder [future brother-in-law Henry Calder]


When you are supping tea with B.

Think of your poor old sister E.

Ella E. Peeples

Sept. 14th 1889 [possibly sister Drusilla Peeples?]


Mrs. Lizzie Adams Autograph, 27 September 1889, Gloucester, Mass.

In memories wreath of roses

Twine one bud for me

Mrs. Lizzie Adams

Gloucester, Mass. Sept. 27, 1889


Helena M. Gilbert Autograph, Gloucester, Mass.

“I shall not die but live & declare the works of the Lord”

Helena M Gibert

Gloucester, Mass.


Nellie C. Donovan Autograph, Beverly Farms, Mass., 17 February 1900

Nellie C. Donovan

Beverly Farms, Mass.

Feb. 17, 1900


B. Phalen Autograph, 26 September 1889, Gloucester, Mass.

Prove your friends.

Yours, B. Phalen

Gloucester, Mass. Sept. 26th /89


Blank Page in Autograph Book With Print of Girl in Flowers

Maria J. Peeples, Printed Card

[Printed card, perhaps a calling card or dance card?]

Maria J. Peeples


Autograph of “A Friend” (Probably Willard B. Publicover), 12 October 1890

To Maria

Curved is the line of beauty

Straight is the line of duty

Walk by the last and thou shalt see

The other ever follow thee

A Friend,

October 12th 1890

[appears to be the handwriting of Willard B. Publicover]


J. P. Mac Innis Autograph, 17 August 1891, Gloucester, Mass.

Memory is dearer, when pleasures trouble does mar

Life’s charities, like light

Spread smilingly afar,

Blend us as friends together

With a life of sweet content

And may the future be for you,

In glorious sunshine spent.

J. P. Mac Innis,

Gloucester, Mass.

August 17, 1891


Blank page featuring print of angel

Maggie A. Martin Autograph, Charlestown, Mass.

Maggie A. Martin

55 Elm St., Charlestown, Mass.


Lena P. Mackie Autograph and Coded Message from W. B. Publicover

[Words in each corner:] Love, Hope, Faith, Charity

Oct. 3rd 1896

Dear Maria

Remember me when far away

And your words I cannot hear

But hope that we will meet some day

In our home beyond the skies

Your friend,

Lena P. Mackie

[numbers written in pencil, perhaps Maria’s attempts at decoding the following page:] 111191101718





[note written in code]

Jin. u. a.nsy

W. B. P5bl3c4v2r.

ia. C12v2l1nd. 87.

G145c2972r. M199.

[possible translation: January, W. B. Publicover, [#?] Cleveland St., Gloucester, Mass.]


Maria J. Peeples and Hattie Rogers Autographs

Maria J. Peeples

Gloucester, Mass.


One line is sufficient for memory

Hattie Rogers, Gloucester, Mass.

Aug. 13, 1891


Nellie B. B. Phelan and M. C. Pernette Autographs

Not enjoyment and not sorrow

Is our [destined great?] and way;

But to act that each tomorrow

Finds us father than today

Very truly, Nellie B. B. Phelan,

Mill Village, Nova Scotia

Gloucester, Mass. Sept. 26th 1889


To Maria,

Never trouble trouble till trouble troubles you is the advice of your friend,

M. C. Pernette

Mar. 19th/94


Maria J. Peeples’ Autograph Book with Ruler

Autograph books are a lovely way to capture a better understanding of the community around one person’s life, which can often be difficult to reconstruct when pursuing genealogical research. If anyone out there has additional details or stories about the individuals who signed this autograph book, please feel free to share!