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Alice Marston scrapbook


Held at: University of Delaware Library Special Collections [Contact Us]181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Delaware Library Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Alice Marston was born on March 23, 1868, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Joseph R. Rhoads and Alice Sellers. She married Henry Ward Marston, an insurance agent, on June 19, 1890. As is not uncommon for a woman of her position, little biographical information about Alice Marston is readily available. Alice had five children, four of whom survived past childhood: Randall, Henry, James, and Alice. She died on December 7, 1939, in Lower Merion, Montgomery, Pennsylvania.

Henry Ward Marston and his older brother, John, were partners in a New England Life Insurance Company agency, Marston & Wakelin. The Marston family had been in the Philadelphia area for at least three generations. In 1902, the Protestant Episcopal diocese of Pennsylvania honored John and Henry's grandfather, John Marston, for his Sunday school and mission work. John Marston, Jr., Henry and John's father, encouraged Henry to improve his spelling by keeping a daily diary in 1875. Henry, about fifteen at the time, recorded everyday activities and described events leading up to the opening of the Centennial Exhibition of 1876.

Biographical information derived from the collection.Boyd's Philadelphia Blue Book. Philadelphia: C.E. Howe Co., 1886, 1903, 1913.Gopsill, James. Gopsill's Philadelphia Business Directory. Philadelphia: James Gopsill's Sons, Pennsylvania, U.S., Death Certificates, 1906-1968 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2014. Accessed, March 23, 2022.Alice R Marston in the 1910 United States Federal Census | Accessed, March 23, 2022.

The Alice Marston scrapbook, 1896-1906, chronicles a decade of Marston family life, revealing information about the social, cultural, and leisure activities of an ordinary upper-middle-class Philadelphia family at the turn of the twentieth century. This one-volume scrapbook includes approximately 150 photographs, tintypes, engraved wedding invitations, handmade party favors, artwork, scraps, postcards, programs from cultural and charity events, newspaper articles, and correspondence. Alice Marston, wife of Henry Ward Marston of Overbrook, Pennsylvania, collected and preserved these materials chronologically, over the period from 1896 to 1906. Occasionally, she captioned items with remarks about prominent Philadelphians whom the Marstons saw socially. The scrapbook pulls together into one place a variety of information about turn-of-the-century Philadelphia society, and sets them in the context of national news events.

The scrapbook contains examples of early twentieth- century social ephemera, such as wedding invitations, calling cards, and programs from charity and cultural functions. Alice Marston saved programs from the Castle Square Opera Company, Broad Street Theatre (where she saw William Gillette perform the role he made famous, Sherlock Holmes), Chestnut Street Opera House, Congress Hall, Willow Grove Park summer outdoor band concerts, and the Academy of Music, where the Philadelphia Orchestra performed. Programs from the Walnut Street Theatre's 1902-1903 season contain colored covers and advertisements. Alice included programs from St. Alaph's Protestant Episcopal Church in Bala, Pennsylvania, the Haverford Grammar School Athletic Association, "Class Day Exercises" at St. Mary's Hall in Burlington, New Jersey, and Army/Navy football games. She saved newspaper clippings about the bombing of the U.S.S. Maine (1898), Queen Victoria's death (1901), and President William McKinley's assassination (1901). She also kept reviews of cultural events, and articles about actors, opera stars, and prominent Philadelphians.

Examples of Alice Marston's and others' artwork appear on handmade luncheon invitations. Correspondence includes a letter about a stormy ocean voyage from Philadelphia to Ireland in 1900, and postcards from Italy and a German ocean liner. Alice saved chromolithographed scraps and items such as parlor word games.

The scrapbook is in fragile condition. With a number of bulky programs and items laid in, the boards of the volume are detached. Many of the news clippings and papers are brittle; some items were folded and have broken into pieces. Mylar sheets and sleeves have been inserted to protect some photographs.

A strength of the collection is its nearly 150 photographs. They chronicle not only Marston family history, but also leisure activities, clothing, vacation places, sporting activities, children, and pets. Photographs document interiors and exteriors of the family home, summer vacations in Cape May, and vacations at Minnewaska Mountain Houses (in Ulster County, New York), Buck Hill Falls, and Tom's River. Family members are photographed golfing, sailing, swimming, and horseback riding. Some photographs show children playing cricket, while another shows an unusual ice-skating chair. There are many examples of fashion, including bathing, yachting, and golf attire.

Several prominent Philadelphia names appear in the scrapbook. Alice saved materials related to George B. Roberts, President of the Pennsylvania Railroad and member of St. Alaph's church; Benjamin F. Stevens, President of New England Mutual Life; Joseph R. Rhoads, prominent Philadelphia financier; as well as the Rhodes, Ingham, Bringhurst, Logan, and Coates families.

Box 1: Shelved in SPEC MSS manuscript boxes

Gift of the Moyerman Family, 1972

Processed by Karen E. Ryder. Finding aid updated and encoded by Jaime Margalotti, March 2022.

University of Delaware Library Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
Finding Aid Date
2022 March 23
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections Department, University of Delaware Library,

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