In 2014, the Brookline Historical Society (BHS) was given a tiny photo album — 3″ wide by 3.75″ high — with postage stamp-sized photos of 48 Brookline and Boston children, most of them girls. Written inside the front cover was a name, Mamie Williams, and a date, March 16, 1882. Who were these children? What was the connection between them? What became of them as adults? And why were the photos so small?
On Sunday, November 6, 2022 at 7:30PM EST on Zoom, Ken Liss, president of the Brookline Historical Society since 2009, will describe how research led to answers to these questions and to some fascinating stories about Brookline and Boston women in the Victorian era. The research also uncovered information about a particular type of 19th century photograph called the gem tintype.
Liss researches, writes, and gives presentations and walking tours covering many aspects of Brookline’s history. The retired librarian recently served as Head of Instruction at the Boston University Libraries from 2014-2021. He had previously served as a librarian at Boston College, the Harvard Business School, at a nonprofit organization, and a library software company.
He writes a blog (https://brooklinehistory.blogspot.com) and also contributes to the Brookline Historical Society’s website: (https://brooklinehistoricalsociety.org). He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Online resources about tintype gem photographs include:
- View the Brookline Historical Society gem tintype album here: “Mamie Williams 1882 Gem Tintype Album“
- “Repeating tintype gem portraits” — Smithsonian National Museum of American History
- “The Iron Plate in American Photography 1853 – 1880” by Dr. Janice Schimmelman & Photographic Historical Society of Canada (PHSC)
Images courtesy of the Brookline Historical Society and Ken Liss.