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April, 1902


January, 1903

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Published by
\ Somerville, Mass.

Vol. 1

No. 1

.<.^^Q. 9p:.^


^^ '-'^No^PRIL, 1902

'>3>^^ RECEIVED ^U


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lPubli3hc^ b\> the

Somerville Historical Society
Somerville, Mass.

Wellington- Wild Coal Co.

„. COAL oo

For Domestic and Steam Uses

General Office : 7 Central Street, BOSTON

Craigie's Bridge, E. Cambridge Union Sq., Somerville

149 Medford St., Chariest own Oilman Sq.. Somerville

34 Warren Ave., Charlestown 226 Main St., Charlestown

511 Main St., Charlestown


nanufacturers and Perailers of

HAT5 and rUR5


92 Bedford, cor. Kingston St.

and 229 Washington St









Manufacturing and Supply Co.


Csssius Hunt & Co.

Wholesale and Commission Dealers in

Ocean, LaKe, River, and Pond

120 and 122 South i^arKet Street, Boston




Photographic Supplios

We carry one of the largest and most complete lines in
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Special department for Developing and Printing.


Cutlery, Fishing Tackle,
and Photographic Goods

374 Washington St., (opp. Bromfield St.) BOSTON

We Guarantee to Sell j Facts About

Fine I Wall Papers

Wall Papers

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All Papers shown you in Sample Books
are marked to sell for double the regular
price. Most of the leading manufactur-
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JLO\Ver \ °^^ sample books. Books with the same

patterns as those shown you are in the
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Than any other Concern) in your county. Call and see our im-
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in this Country / tems for season of 1902.


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Telephone Connection Next door to Washington Street

-« msuRnncE ^

Mercantile Fire and Marine Ins. Co., of Boston
American Central Ins. Co,, of St, Louis, Mo.
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Albany Ins. Co., of Albany, N. Y.



Telephone 2179

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12 i Water Street, 'Boston, Siiass.


Plants and Flowers for all Occasions Grower to Conswmer

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Branch — 283 Main Street, Charlestown. 510 High Street, West Medfora

Rose and Carnation Farm — Woburn 3 Telephones


8 City Hall Avenue, Boston

Roses, Carnations, and a large assortment of season-
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Decorating, and all kinds of Design work, at short
notice. Prices reasonable

Telephone No. 3779-4 Main



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^ Ice Cream ^

Of the very Finest Quality cut and put up in
Boxes, a specialty for Fairs and Churches at
special rates.

Prices sent promptly on application.

Telephone 209, Charlestown.

Officers of Somerville mim&\ Society.



First Vice-President,

Second Vice-President, .

Third Vice-President,

Recording Secretary,

Corresponding Secretary,


Librarian and Curator, .

Charles D. Elliot,

J. 0. Hayden, Chairman,


L. Roger Wentworth,

1)l$toric Sites.

Dr. E. C. Booth.

essays and Jiddresses.

John F. Ayer.
Luther B. Pillsbury.
Levi L. Hawes.
Seth Mason.
Florence E. Carr.
Mrs. V. E. Ayer.
Oliver Bacon.
Alfred M. Cutler.

Anna P. Vinal.
Charles D. Elliot,

L. B. Pillsbury, Chairman,
John F. Ayer,
Charles D. Elliot,

Cibrary and Cabinet.

Alfred M. Cutler, Chairman,
Levi L. Hawes,


B. B. D. Bourne, Chairman,

(With one other to be chosen by the committee.)

Press and Clippings.

Anna P. Vinal, Chairman,
M. Agnes Hunt,

Marion Knapp.


Mrs. Barbara Galpin, Chairman,
Sam Walter Foss,

Anna P. Vinal,
Lizzie F. Wait,
Mrs. V. E. Ayer.

L. P. Sanborn,
Mrs. H. E. Heald.

Chas. W. Colman.

Mary A. Haley,
Lucy M. Stone,

Frank M. Hawes,

Seth Mason, Chairman,
Mrs. L. B. Pillsbury,

Sara A. Stone,
Nelson H. Grover,
Charles I. Shepard.


Mrs. H. E. Heald.

military Hecords.

Col. E. C. Bennett, Chairman,

The President,

Levi L. Hawes.


The First Vice-President,

Mrs. E. S. Hayes,
Miss E. A. Waters,

John H. Dusseault,

The Treasurer.




Elbridge Streeter Brooks, the subject of this memorial, was
born in Lowell April 14, 1846. His father, Elbridge Gerry
Brooks, was a prominent minister in the Universalist church,
and one of the organizing spirits of that denomination. Later
he became the first general secretary of the Universalist general
convention. The elder Brooks, who had the reputation of being
a fearless, upright, earnest, and eloquent preacher, received the
degree of doctor of divinity from Tufts College. The mother,
Martha Fowle (Alunroe) Brooks, was a cultivated and home-
making Christian gentlewoman, descended from the Munroes,
who fought so bravely at Lexington, and whose farm lands and
grist mills Were near the site of General Putnam's earthworks on
Prospect hill.

The Rev. Anson Titus, in an appreciative article, printed in
the Somerville Journal, February 21, 1903, thus speaks of Mr.
Brooks' ancestors : —

"Mr. Brooks was of rugged Puritan ancestry. His paternal
family was of the best of ancient Kittery on the coast of Maine;
his maternal ancestry was of Charlestown and Lexington stock.
His father was a man forceful and eminent in the ministry of the
Universalist church. His grandfather, Oliver Brooks, was of
Eliot, Me., but who, with his wife, Susan Home, resided in Ports-
mouth, N. H. The great-grandfather was William Brooks, who
was among the first to respond to the alarm from Lexington, and

was a soldier on these hills of Somerville at Fort No. 1 ; probably
at Bunker Hill, and certainly was present during the large part
of the siege of Boston.

"The patriot, William Brooks, was a private in Tobias Fer-
rold's company, the regiment of Colonel James Scammon, during
those eventful days. Before the war of the Revolution closed, he
married Mary Gowell. His other ancestors, Joshua Brooks and
William Brooks, in ancient Kittery, allied themselves with the
Fogg and Staple families, and wrought valiant service in defend-
ing the border lands between the civilization of the towns of New
England and the wilderness."

Portions of Mr. Brooks' early boyhood were passed in Bath,
Me., and Lynn, Mass., where his father had parishes, and when
thirteen years of age he moved with his parents to New York
city, v^^hen his father assumed charge of a parish in the metropolis.

In 1861 Mr. Brooks entered the Free academy, now the
college of the city of New York, taking excellent rank in litera-
ture, history, and the classics, but left in the middle of his junior
year to enter the publishing house of D. Appleton & Co. as a

We next find him in the publishing" houses of J. B. Ford &
Co. and Sheldon & Co. In the fall of 1876 he took charge of
the English educational and subscription department of the
German publishing house of E. Steiger & Co., remaining there
until December, 1879, when he joined the editorial stafif of the
Publishers' Weekly, the organ of the book publishers' trade.
From 1883 to 1885 he was connected with the stafif of the Brook-
lyn Daily Times as reviser, literary editor, and dramatic critic,
and in the latter year was invited to become one of the associate
editors of the St. Nicholas.

Mr. Brooks removed to Boston in 1887, to join the newly-
formed publishing corporation of D. Lothrop company as editor
to the corporation. He remained there till the death of Mr.
Lothrop, and the business troubles of the house in 1893. Upon
the reorganization of the concern, in January, 1895, he returned

to the post of literary adviser^ which he held up to the time of
his death. He removed to Somerville in 1887, and had ever
since lived here.

That Mr. Brooks' books should be mainly historical and
patriotic naturally follows from the nature of his ancestry and
the quality of the Yankee blood which flowed through his veins.
Of the seventy minutemen in line at the battle of Lexington,
eleven were relatives on his mother's side. Three of the names
on the monument erected to the memory of the fallen heroes were
those of blood relations ; the first is that of Ensign Robert Mun-
roe, his great-great-uncle. His great-grandfather also partici-
pated in the battle. His paternal grandfather was a jolly priva-
teer in the war of 1812, and it is not to be wondered at that Mr.
Brooks had his share of fighting blood. That he should spend
his last years on such historic ground as Prospect hill is singu-
larly appropriate.

Always during his business and editorial life he was a busy
wTiter. His object seemed to have been to instruct and interest
the young people. His first marked success was the series of
"Historic Boys" and "Historic Girls," which originally appeared
in the St. Nicholas Magazine in 1885 and 1886. His first book
was written as a labor of love, and presented the life of his father,
who died in 1876. The volume was published in 1881.

The titles of other volumes which he has placed before the
public, and which have been read so widely, are as follows : 'Tn
Leisler's Times," "In No Man's Land," "Storied Holidays,"
"The American Indian," "The Story of the American Sailor,"
"The American Soldier," "Chivalric Days," "The True Story of
the United States of America," "The True Story of Christopher
Columbus," ''A Boy of the First Empire," "The Century Book
for Young Americans," "The Children's Lives of Great Men,"
"The True Story of George Washington," "The True Story of
Abraham Lincoln," "The True Story of U. S. Grant," "The True
Story of Benjamin Franklin," "The True Story of Lafayette,"
"The Story of New York," "In Blue and White," 'The Bov


Life of Napoleon," "Great Cities of the World," "Out of Doors
with Tennyson," and "Longfellow Remembrance Book."

Some of his latest books were "Under the Allied Flags: A
Boy's Adventures in China During the Boxer Revolt"; "With
Lawton and Roberts"; "In Defense of the Flag: A Boy's Ad-
ventures in Spain and Cuba in the War of 1898" ; "The Story of
the Nineteenth Century" ; and "The Story of Our War with

In a conversation several years ago, Mr. Brooks said that
his favorite work was writing historical stories. "My point," he
continued, "is that boys and girls have been the same in all ages
of the world. They have grown better, of course, as the world
has progressed — I am optimist enough to believe that — but their
essential natures are the same. In writing for them, it is my
endeavor to throw aside the dead bones of history, and to put a
living, everyday interest into the historical story.

"T believe in leading children gradually, and that you cannot
begin too early with healthful and instructive reading, especially
that of a patriotic nature. I like to work for the boys and girls ;
it is very satisfactory in many ways, though there are some dis-
couragements. One thing I never do, and that is 'write down'
to children ; they know more than their elders give them credit
for, and the proper way is to write to lift them up.

"Most of my books lean toward the boys. Girls will read
a boy's book, but boys, as a rule, won't look at a book that is in-
tended for girls.

"I have now as many as fifteen books in my mind which I
hope in time to write." Since this remark, made nearly seven
years ago, Mr. Brooks has completed about a score of books.

One of his most popular volumes, "The Century Book for
Young Americans," an extremely readable book on the Ameri-
can government, which was issued a few years ago by the Cen-
tury company, had the unprecedented sale of 20,000 volumes in
the first three months after its publication.

In December, 1891, Mr. Brooks wrote a prize story, pub-


lished in the Detroit Free Press, entitled "A Son of Issachar," of
which Mr. Brooks said : "It was written to see if a rehgious novel
would have a chance with a secular public, and the result easily
proved that such was possible. I maintained, as is seen in the
case of 'Ben Hur,' that there is no ground so favorable for a real
romance as Bible history."

Mr. Brooks was a member of the Authors' Club of New
York, which includes the leading authors of the country, and
also of several historical societies. At the time of his death he
was first vice-president of the Somerville Historical Society.
While his writings were very widely read, he was of a retiring
disposition, and evinced a strong dislike of notoriety and display.
He received the honorary degree of master of arts from Tufts
College in 1887. He leaves a wife and two daughters, the Misses
Geraldine and Christine Brooks, both of whom resided with their
distinguished father. Miss Geraldine Brooks has already made
a mark in historical literature, having published two volumes.

Mr. Brooks died Tuesday morning, January 7, 1902, at his
home, 44 Walnut street. Funeral services- were held on the
following Thursday at 2 o'clock. In the large gathering of
friends present were men and women prominent in literary walks
of life. The services were conducted by the Rev. William H.
Pierson^ pastor of the First Unitarian church, and included read-
ing from the Scriptures, the reading of extracts from Mr. Brooks'
works, and prayer.

Among the floral tributes were those from the Somerville
Historical Society, and a wreath of violets and roses "from a few
of the many Somerville boys who loved his books."

After the services the remains were taken to Mount Auburn
for cremation. The pall-bearers were Irving Bacheller, Frank
Hoyt, Henry Morill, the last two representing the Lothrop com-
pany, and Arthur T. Kidder, of Somerville.

The following is from the tribute of Sam Walter Foss. It
appeared in the Somerville Journal for January 10, and our
biographical sketch of Mr. Brooks is also quoted from that
paper : —


]£lbriC>oc Streeter Broofis as a uaritcr anb 3Frteu^

The death of Elbridge S. Brooks will be lamented through-
out the Eng^lish-reading world ; for he was an author of estab-
lished fame, at the height of his productive period, with an appar-
ent prospect of producing as many good books in the future as
he had already produced in the past. The gulf stream of his life
had not as yet flowed into the Arctic winter of age. His powers
were unabated, his literary designs many, and his genial enthu-
siasms and high ambitions as warm as ever. So it is natural for
the literary world, and for the thousands who had learned to
await the appearance of his successive books, to feel sorrow at
his death. But sorrow for the author by the world at large can-
not approach the grief of his friends, who knew the man himself.
Of course the people who were brought into frequent contact
w^ith Mr. Brooks knew that he was an author of many works that
had secured the approbation of the reading world. But we who
knew him by intimate contact seldom thought of him as an
author at all. He had none of the affectations of authorship ; he
was utterly without lettered pride; he never "talked like a book,"
and he never posed like a celebrity. Success that makes small
men vain never contracted the largeness of his heart or soul.
His heart was like a wayside inn, where every traveler could rest.
Those who knew the man could understand why his books found
so many responsive readers. He reached men because he loved

Mr. Brooks is chiefly known as the author of books for the
young. This popular conception of him is based on good rea-
sons, but we should not be misled by it. His books are certainly
books very popular with the young, but no man or woman is too
old to find them readable. He was wise enough to know that a
healthy boy is a man in his hopes, and a good man is a boy in
his memories. A man without a boy's heart in his breast is as


tragic a failure as a boy without a man's manliness in his nature.
Mr. Brooks knew this, and so, very sensibly, he wrote for young
people very much as he w^ould write for older people. When he
wrote a book the boy in his heart dictated to the man in his brain,
and so the book was a book that either a man or boy would
read. He knew, what some writers of juveniles never learn,
that a boy becomes wise very young. So he knew better than to
write patronizingly to his youthful readers. He never stood on
a high pedestal and shouted moral platitudes down to them. He
never told them to be good. He made them good, in the only
way that a man or a boy can be made good, by making them
think good thoughts. His fiction, in the highest sense of the
word, is true ; but his history is never fiction. He took unusual
pains to verify all historical statements and allusions. He was a
voluminous writer, but he was not voluminous at the expense of
accuracy and painstaking labor. He had a genius for hard


Somerville was honored in being the residence of such a
man. He sent out work from here that traveled far and reached
many firesides. Thousands knew him through his books and
called his books good. We who knew the man also call his
books good ; but we call the man better than his books.

At a meeting of the council of the Somerville Historical
Society, held Wednesday evening. January 8, to take action on
the death of Elbridge S. Brooks, first vice-president of the so-
ciety, a committee, consisting of President John F. Ayer, ex-
President Charles D. Elliot, and Vice-President L. B. Pillsbury,
was appointed to represent the society at the funeral ; a commit-
tee was also appointed to prepare a suitable memorial of the

Under the auspices of this society a memorial service was
held Sunday afternoon, February 16, in the Unitarian church, on


Highland avenue, in honor of the late Elbridge Streeter Brooks,
story-writer and historian. Besides the other exercises there
was prayer by President Capen of Tufts College; introductory
remarks by John F. Ayer, president of the Historical Society;
addresses by J. L. Harbour, one of the editors of the Youth's
Companion ; Hezekiah Butterworth, author and editor, and Rev.
William H. Pierson, JNIr. Brooks' pastor; and the singing of a
hymn written by Sam Walter Foss.

a&t)res5 b^ 5obn jf. Hper

'At the time of the organization ot the Historical Society,
Mr. Brooks was elected a vice-president. His work as a writer
of historical books and his interest in all things historical in his
adopted city clearly entitled him to this recognition.

"His interest in the society never wavered. As a member
of the council, his training, his occupation, and his practical ideas
Vv'cre of great and increasing value as the years went by.

''Because of these things, primarily because of his acknowl-
edged ability as a writer of authentic history for the young, pre-
senting, as he did, the study of history in its most attractive form
to the impressible minds of youth, because of his modesty and
gentlemanly bearing, because of the honorable record he had
made among his contemporaries, and more especially because of
his upright and manly life in our midst, we, as an organization,
have thought it eminently fit and proper to come up here to-day
and lay upon this altar an offering of our appreciation and regard.

"Nor would we forget the cherished family of our friend, —
the home he loved, now, alas ! so desolate ; but, in so far as it is
possible, we desire to extend our heartfelt sympathy, and so pene-
trate the gloom with a ray of sunlight, it may be, not incompatible
with the changed conditions of the one, or the extreme unutter-
able loneliness of the other.


"Such a man, living in our midst, diligent, painstaking, un-
selfish, gifted with the power to interest and instruct the youth
the country over in the great movements and events of the past,
and able to clearly set before them, the characters, the command-
ing greatness of the famous men of our nation, as fit objects for
their respect and emulation, may peradventure be doing as much
for the future of the country, for the city's good name at hcwne
and abroad, for the cause of good citizenship, as he who gives of
his abundance to establish institutions of learning, or for philan-
thropic or charitable purposes, — as much as the individual legis-
lator or statesman, it may be, or even as much as he who draws
his sword in his country's defense, or for the cause of humanity.

"The Somerville Historical Society was honored by the
official connection with it of Elbridge Streeter Brooks. It de-
sires to go upon record as appreciating his interest in the
organization, his tireless industry in research, his devotion to
and his success in the writing of many historical books."

a^^ress b^ 3. X. 1f3art»our of tl3c l^outb's Com*


"I feel it to be a great privilege to be given the opportunity
of paying a brief tribute of afifection and respect to the memory
of a man like Elbridge S. Brooks. I wish that I might more fitly
say all that I would like to say and all that ought to be said about
him. I am glad that there are others here who can say better
than I the true and tender words you have come to hear in
memory of Mr. Brooks. I have but one thing to regret in con-
nection with my acquaintance with Mr. Brooks, and that is the
fact that I knew him for such a little while. But from the first
day of my meeting with him I felt that I had known him for a
long time, and we did not meet as strangers. And now that he
has gone from us, I think of him as of some comrade of many


years, and I am sure that I shall miss him quite as much as many
of you whose privilege it has been to know him long before
that privilege was mine.

"I have seen Mr. Brooks under varying conditions. I have
been a guest in his home, and he has been a welcome guest in my
own home. I have seen him at his desk and in the social world.
I have seen him in health, and I have seen him when the precious
heritage of health was no longer his. But I have never seen him
when he was not brave, and cheery, and kindly. He knew, as I
knew, the last time I saw him, that the end was not far distant,
but there was no complaint and no repining. I remember that
when I said good-bye to him the last time I saw him, and I added
that I hoped that he would feel better very soon, he smiled, but
shook his head. A less courageous man, a man of less self-poise,
and serenity, and sweetness of spirit, would have made some out-
cry against the cruel hand of fate that held the decree of death
for him at a time when life seemed fullest of hopes and of har-
monies. The memory of Mr. Brooks' unfailing calmness and
courage in those last days will give many of us more faith and
more courage for our own battle. He seemed in his outward
attitude to be verifying the words of one of our modern poets,
■who has written that : —

" 'Death is delightful. Death is dawn —
The waking from a weary night
Of fevers unto truth and light.'

'Tt was but yesterday that I picked up a magazine for the
young, and I found in it, under the title of 'Safe Books for the
Young,' several of ]\Ir. Brooks' volumes. The world can ill
afiford to lose a man who is writing safe books for the young in
an age when so many unsafe books for our boys and girls are
being written. The world never needed a man like Elbridge
Brooks more than it needed him when he was taken away.
When he went out of this life, many a man lost a steadfast and


sympathetic friend, and the world of hterature a potent power for
good. The loss to those who were allied to him by ties of kin-
ship and loved him best no man may measure.

"A man of high ideals and tireless energy, Mr. Brooks
could not be other than a useful man in the world. Interested in
all that counts for anything in the uplifting of humanity, ready to

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