Sharing two treasures from our collection

Staff members Amy Nelson and Elizabeth
Roscio show collection pieces to Colin Meloy
Our library had a special guest earlier this week!  Grammy-nominated band The Decemberists were in town for a show on Wednesday, September 23 and singer/songwriter/guitarist Colin Meloy stopped by the Old State House for a tour of our galleries, a trip up to the tower, and a visit to the library to see some of our 18th-century archival treasures.

Colin had limited time at the library, so I pulled two of our most important items out of storage to share with him.  The first was our copy of the Declaration of Independence, which I wrote about in a previous post.  The other was our copy of Paul Revere's famous print, The Bloody Massacre perpetrated in King Street, Boston, March 5, 1770, by a party of the 29th Regiment.  This print is one of only about 25 versions still in existence, and we are thrilled to have a copy in our collection.  Revere engraved and distributed this print which depicts the event that would become known as the Boston Massacre.  Revere’s interpretation takes a patriotic approach, and below the image are eighteen lines of verse beginning with "Unhappy Boston! See thy Sons deplore, Thy hallowed Walks besmeared with guiltless Gore."

Colin takes a close look at Revere's print
This 1770 print is from the second state, in which the clock on First Church reads 10:20 rather than 8:10 as in its first state.   Even though it is 245 years old, it is in great condition!  There has been some paper repair in the corners, but the colors are still very vivid. One of my favorite things to point out about this print is that since they were hand colored, each version differs slightly from the others.  For example, there is a small dog in the foreground of the print, standing amidst the fray.  In our version, the dog is very detailed but it has not been colored in.  In most versions, the dog is painted brown, and in some versions it also has spots!  

Our library and archives are open by appointment only, but you don't need to be a famous musician to conduct research in our collection.  Appointment requests can be sent to me by email. If you can't visit us in person, be sure to follow along on our blog, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to see glimpses into our collection!

By Elizabeth Roscio, Library and Archives Manager