On July 26, 2005 a shoebox of materials that had been found in an attic crawlspace in the Ezra Cutting House at 22 Pleasant Street was turned over to the Marlborough Historical Society.
In late September of 2007 the Society received an e-mail message from Eric Crockwell, a resident of Marlborough completing coursework at the Graduate School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Rhode Island. Eric was enrolled in a course on the Administration of Special Collections, Archives, and Manuscripts and was looking for a suitable project. After meeting with a Trustee of the Society, Eric volunteered to go through the box of materials from the Ezra Cutting House and use this as a model for the way in which similar donations could be handled in the future.
Eric accessioned the box, creating a new electronic accession form in the process, organized the materials, created a finding aid for researchers, and reported on his research to the board and to those assembled at our annual "Stories from the Attic" meeting on January 22, 2008. (View upcoming programs and events here.)
To provide some context for the materials, Eric also conducted research on the previous owners of the house, the Cutting Family and the Bigelow Family, two of the early prominent families in Marlborough.
Here are excerpts from Eric’s report:
"Box Contents: The contents consisted primarily of financial documents related to the Morse and Bigelow Company, the L&L Bigelow Company, the personal property and finances of Lewis and Lambert Bigelow and the personal finances of Ezra and Ellen Cutting. The dates of these records ranged from the early 19th century through the early 20th century. The box also contained three Boston Almanacs from the mid-19th century and several artifacts, including a World War I service Medallion.
"House Research: Since the box had been discovered in a crawl space of an attic, it was important to learn about the history of the house.
"The house is known as the Ezra Cutting House. It had been built in in 1876 - 1877 and was sold to Ezra Cutting by the late 1880s. After Ezra Cutting died in the 1890s the house remained in the possession of his wife, Ellen, until 1938. During this period she lived in the house with her two children and in 1909 took in a boarder who worked as a clerk at the Morse and Bigelow Store. In 1938 ownership passed onto Lambert Bigelow and it remained in the Bigelow family until the year 2000. In 2005 the then current owners discovered this box in the attic crawl space and donated it to the Marlborough Historical Society."
(Learn more about historic houses and other buildings in Marlborough here.)
A detailed report on the contents of the box is in the nine-page finding aid; more information on the accession is in the completed accession form.