Tuesday, July 23, 2013

New acquisition: don't steal my fruit!

This broadside is one of my favorite recent acquisitions.  It's a reward poster created in 1874 by the selectmen of Dracut (a small town in northern Massachusetts near the New Hampshire border), offering a $25 reward to those who help arrest and conviction perpetrators of destruction of town property or for the violation of a particular Massachusetts statute.  The statute at issue, Section 83 of Chapter 161 of the General Statutes, provided for a $100 fine or 3 months in the House of Corrections for anyone convicted of stealing or otherwise absconding with fruit, flowers, trees, etc. from someone's orchard or nursery.  I suppose there must have been a problem with this type of trespass and thievery in the town at this time!

$25 Reward Poster for Trespass and Stealing Fruit
 I was curious if the specific provision is still on the books, as it would make for a nice exercise in statutory research for our students.  It is indeed!  The penalty has risen to a potential $500 fine or 6 months in the House of Corrections, but otherwise it's essentially the same. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Digging in the Brooker Collection: A Family History

I just ran across this charming item while preparing documents for digitization in our so-called "Brooker Collection."  This is a detailed history of the Fuller family, starting with the Thomas Fuller's arrival in Salem Village in 1638.  It's a very personal family history, carefully documenting marriages, moves, and new additions to the family.  It's a lovely multi-page document, tied at the top edge with a pink ribbon.

The Robert E. Brooker III Collection of American Legal and Land Use Documents: 1716-1930 is an a collection of special documents and manuscripts donated to the Boston College Law Library by Robert E. Brooker, III, in 2004.

The collection, which Mr. Brooker painstakingly acquired over many years, features approximately 2,500 documents and manuscripts. Focused primarily on Boston and the New England area and spanning two centuries, the Brooker Collection provides abundant opportunity for the study of early American land use and transfers, law and legal systems, town governance, family matters and daily life.

Please take a look at the digital collection (scroll down to "Brooker Collection") of these documents.  New documents are being added all of the time thanks to the hard work of many folks who have worked to digitize important historical documents here at Boston College.  A special shout out to Naomi Rubin and Betsy McKelvey who have been working for years to make this content available to researchers and other interested parties.