Notes on collections at the RIHS
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving! As we all prepare ourselves for the fun-filled frenzy of family gatherings and eating too much, the Rhode Island Historical Society would like to share some Thanksgiving recollections from one of our former librarians, Edwin Martin Stone (1805-1883).
Stone was born in Framingham, Massachusetts, the son of Martin Stone and Sally (Coolidge) Stone. The family moved to Vermont when he was eight, then to western Pennsylvania and Indiana. He returned to Massachusetts as a young man and worked as a printer and journalist in Boston before becoming a Congregational minister in Beverly, Massachusetts, serving from 1834 to 1847. He moved to Providence in 1847 to serve with the Ministry at Large through 1877. In 1851 he was appointed as the volunteer cabinet keeper (librarian) of the Rhode Island Historical Society and served from 1851 to 1880.
In his diary entry dated November 30, 1848, Stone describes in fond detail the Thanksgivings of his childhood:
You can tell from his writing that he spent a good deal of his life speaking and preaching to others. He painted vivid images of what his family gatherings looked and felt like. For many of us we can relate to the warm feelings Stone describes when writing of his grandparents, obviously loved for their distinct personalities.
He goes on to describe how much he would like to relive those days.
The cooking and cleaning furies many of us experience as adults around the holidays often makes the memories of childhood holidays such simple affairs. Gathering around in the kitchen with grandparents and other relatives and feasting on good food. Who wouldn’t want to relive those feelings?
Stone’s Thanksgiving entry in his diary concludes with a description of his 1848 Thanksgiving Day festivities. As an adult he preached in Beverly, Massachusetts before moving to Providence to serve the poor communities as a member of the Ministry at Large.
The R.I.H.S. collections contain hundreds of diaries that offer individual insights into historical events and time periods as well as personal accounts of family traditions and activities such as Mr. Stone.
– Michelle Chiles, Robinson Research Center Coordinator