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See the World in a New Way: A Brief History of the Stereoscope

Tia Antonelli

For some time in the early nineteenth century, the eyes were a focal point of scientific research. Scientists were fascinated by what our eyes could do, both individually and in tandem with one another – what were the limits? What can someone see with two eyes versus one eye? During this period of interest, scientists discovered “binocular vision,” which is when a person with two eyes looks at an object through both eyes at once, and sees the object with more dimension as they see it with the left- and right-eye perspectives at once. In light of this revelation came the stereoscope. 

a vintage, portable stereoscope and stereoscopic slide

A vintage portable stereoscope and stereoscopic slide, as on display at The Gibbon House, NJ.

The stereoscope was first invented in London, 1838 by Charles Wheatstone, and was a box-shaped device with eye-lenses, wherein one could look into the box and view images on stereoscope slides. These slides had two different perspectives of the same image, each situated in front of the eye-lenses, so when one looked into the box they would see a three-dimensional projection of the image. The development and success of the stereoscopes was concurrent with the development of photography; in order for the illusion to be effective, the images need to be essentially identical in everything aside from perspective. An artist can achieve this with simple figures, but it becomes more difficult as the images become more detailed and complex. (1) In the late 1850s, Oliver Wendell Holmes, a doctor and essayist based in the Northeast region of the United States, agreed that photography was a necessity for the stereoscope’s illusion, stating that “[t]he first effect of looking at a good photograph through the stereoscope is a surprise such as no painting ever produced. The mind feels its way into the very depths of the picture.” (2)

Wheatstone’s original stereoscope was roughly the size of a table. David Brewster changed the design to make it smaller, so one could bring the device up to their eyes, and this ultimately led to its increase in production and popularity, both throughout Europe and the United States. (3) In fact, some believe that the stereoscopic craze hit the U.S. harder than Britain. (4) They were still new to the states in the 1850s, one Ohio newspaper claiming it was a new invention by someone other than Wheatstone; however, as quickly as they appeared, the business boomed. (5) For the nineteenth century, this invention was a marvel.  Frequently, it was used in schools for both science and humanities courses – as early as the 1860s, students in the United States would use them in addition to microscopes in biology classes, and to study maps in geography classes. (6) Albert E. Osborne, who wrote in-depth on the use of stereoscopes in education, claimed that “[a]lmost every child knows what a stereoscopic photograph is, its weight, and of what material it is made.” (7) This further suggests that students physically interacted with this technology and that they were commonly available in classrooms, which speaks to the growing popularity.

an advertisement in a newspaper for stereoscopic slides/views

New York Times, June 16, 1860.

Additionally, stereoscopes provided entertainment. With a box and some slides, one could pretend they were traveling to other countries and see other sites without leaving the comfort of their own home. The Gems of American Scenery, for instance, advertised about 100 European scenes, and 40 Egyptian, as well as slides (or “views”) with photographs of scenic landscapes in the United States, for about $3-5 a dozen.  During the Victorian era, a time of Western colonial expansion and rule, the idea of “exoticism” drew people in, so it could be that the stereoscope aided in fulfilling this desire, as one could go almost anywhere and see almost anything with little effort. Overall, people were highly satisfied with stereoscopes and their multiple uses, with one anonymous author writing “no description of ours will do justice to the beautiful results of the most beautiful of all the arts.” (8)

The stereoscope was a product of scientific discovery used to show the illusions of binocular vision, and was additionally utilized by people in Europe and the United States for general education and entertainment. Today, stereoscopic technology is still used in the medical field to view X-rays, as well as in entertainment. (9) The popular “View Master” toy, which Sawyer’s Photo Services debuted at the New York World’s Fair (1939-40), is essentially a re-imagined stereoscope, and the popularity of this toy has persisted for almost a century. (10) Additionally, the mechanics of 3-D movies are based upon stereoscopic technology. Despite stereoscopes being invented in the early nineteenth century, their presence and impact on the scientific, educational, and entertainment fields is still visible today.

Sources:

(1) Brewster, David. The Stereoscope; Its History, Theory, and Construction: with Its Application to the Fine and Useful Arts and to Education. United Kingdom: John Murray, 1856, 6.

(2) Holmes, Oliver Wendell. “The Stereoscope and the Stereograph,” The Atlantic, June 1859, 5.

(3) Thompson, “Stereographs Were the Original Virtual Reality.”

(4) Green, Harvey., Becker, Howard Saul., Southall, Thomas W.. Points of View, the Stereograph in America: A Cultural History. United States: Visual Studies Workshop Press, 1979.

(5)  “New Invention.” Ohio Observer, April 21, 1852. Nineteenth Century U.S. Newspapers.

(6)  “Resident Editors’ Department.: THE MICROSCOPE AND THE STEREOSCOPE.” 1864.Massachusetts Teacher and Journal of Home and School Education (1856-1871) 17 (2) (02): 73. and W, F. P. 1860. “XVI. EDUCATIONAL MISCELLANY.: NEW AIDS TO THE STUDY AND TEACHING OF GEOGRAPHY. WHAT IS GEOGRAPHY? A FEW PERTINENT EXAMPLES. OCEANIC INFLUENCES. WHY HAS NOT THIS METHOD PREVAILED? DESCRIPTION OF THE INDEPENDENT SERIES. PARTICULAR DESCRIPTION OF THE MAPS. ASIA AND PROFILES. EDUCATIONAL USES OF THE STEREOSCOPE. DEDICATION OF THE EVERETT SCHOOL-HOUSE. ADDRESS OF EDWARD EVERETT. FEMALE EDUCATION. THE LOWE PRINTING PRESS AND OFFICE.” The American Journal of Education (1855-1882) (23) (12): 623.

(7)  Osborne, The Stereograph and the Stereoscope, 29.

(8) “MISCELLANEOUS.: SCIENTIFIC. THE STEREOSCOPE: ITS WONDROUS BEAUTY AND POWER.” 1859.New York Observer and Chronicle (1833-1912), Dec 22, 405.

(9)  “Stereoscope | Optical Instrument.” Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d.

(10)  National Museum of American History. “Sawyer’s View-Master,” Smithsonian Institute, n.d.

See the World in a New Way: A Brief History of the Stereoscope2022-04-23T10:52:19-04:00

A Spoonful of False Promises: Patent Medicines and George H. Whipple & Son Drugstore

Brittney Ingersoll

In 1870, George Henry Whipple and Edwin F. Brewster started Whipple & Son Drugstore in Bridgeton, NJ on the corner of Broad and Fayette Street. Although the partnership was short-lived, with Whipple purchasing Brewster’s interest in the company only a year later, the store flourished into a successful operation for a number of decades. Whipple’s store sold a variety of medicines, some being patent medicines. Patent medicines were easily accessible and affordable cure-alls, that promised amazing health and healing in a bottle. While patent companies made promises of grandeur, the promises tended to be empty with either the individual continuing to suffer, die, or heal on their own. ‘Quackery,’ ‘nostrum,’ ‘tonics,’ and ‘pseudo’ are some of the words used to either describe or synonymous for patent medicines. Historian James Harvey Young described the popularity of patent medicines and medical quackery as being “Aided by medical ignorance and a remolding of economic patterns, shrewd entrepreneurs, pioneered promotional techniques which, in the atmosphere of Jacksonian democracy, were expanded and elaborated as the common man sought common relief for his common ailments.”(1) Whipple and many others who earned an income from patent medicines were able to do so due to the development of capitalism, consumerism, growth of distrust and anti-intellectualism, and the lack of medical understanding throughout the nineteenth century.

Whipple was born sometime in 1841 and served in the 24th Regiment, New Jersey Volunteers Company H in the Civil War from September 1862 to July 1863. On February 1, 1866, he married Clara H. Borden and had five children, with three living to adulthood. (2) His son, Oscar K. Whipple, joined the Whipple Store and become a partner in 1895. Together, they ran the business until March 22, 1910, when Whipple died and Oscar K. continued operating the store alone. (3) The Bridgeton Evening News printed a detailed obituary that ended with “In the death of Mr. Whipple, Bridgeton loses a substantial businessman and a patriotic citizen.” Several months after Whipple’s death, the Bridgeton Evening News later again printed a description of Whipple and his store, informing the readers that: “This is the only store in Bridgeton where one can procure the justly celebrated ‘Rexall Remedies’ and in fact. George H. Whipple & Son are dealers in the ‘best of everything’ in their line. A laboratory for the careful compounding of prescriptions is maintained at the highest standard of efficiency.” (4) The city appeared to have thought highly of their Mr. Whipple and George H. Whipple and Son Drugstore.

Rexall Remedies was potentially one of many patent medicines that were available at George H. Whipple and Son Drugstore. Another item with the Whipple’s name attached to it was Hood’s Sarsparilla, which was manufactured by C.I. Hood & Company in Lowell, Massachusetts, founded in 1875. Hood promised that their medicines could purify blood in addition to cure edema, heart disease, rheumatism, and a variety of other illnesses. (5) Patent companies promised to heal and improve society, yet their products were not as effective as they claimed. Instead, the medicines ultimately could only give consumers peace of mind, a sense of control, and at times a hangover due to the amount of alcohol contained in some of the medicines. 

Society changed drastically as capitalism developed throughout the 1820s and 1830s, changing where people lived and their labor. Initially, apprentices had lived with their craftsmen who taught them how to make items. The process was then divided to speed up production with several people taking on different roles in the creation of an item, ultimately losing their ability to become a skilled artisan. The splitting of tasks and population growth in cities led to large-scale manufacturing and the introduction of factories. Due to the number of people, workers became disposable and work security scarce. Manufactured goods and printing developments led to businesses and companies creating needs and problems that sometimes had not previously existed to sell items. Individuals could be healed or transformed through a monetary transaction of new items, turning them into the person that they desired to be. Patent medicines were one of many items needed for society to become exactly who they wanted to be for a couple of dollars. (6)

Overall, American Society preferred patent medicine over treatment by trained medical physicians due to mistrust society had developed during the beginning of the nineteenth century. The popular practice of bleeding and bloodletting scared people from seeing a physician for treatment. The growth of anti-intellectualism also played a role in the distrust of physicians. Many came to believe that the “plain man of common sense seemed superior to the trained expert.”(7) Mistrust in trained physicians also derived from religion. Male doctors treating obstetrical cases was prohibited, as was anatomical study done by dissecting cadavers – both due to religious reasoning. Pseudo doctors took advantage of these insecurities, portraying themselves as being an “average joe” and further reaffirming the fear of expert doctors. (8)

Patent medicines were available in shops, at Wild West Shows, Carnivals, Traveling Medicines Shows, and from pitchmen. Performances served as large-scale advertisements aimed at inspiring desire and need for the medicines among potential customers. Racial imagery tended to be used in advertisements. Librarian Matthew Chase states that ” Traveling medicine shows relied a great deal on the advertising value of racial imagery, particularly in term of ethnic caricature performances.”(9) Entertainers often used blackface and redface during patent medicine performances. In some shows and ads, medicines were linked to Indigenous cultures and traditions or faraway countries such as China, Turkey, and Egypt. Society believed that the appropriation of cultures and traditions of Native Americans, of different countries, and ancient times made the medicines more effective. The use of racial imagery was also used in printed ads for patent medicines. Advertisements, pamphlets, and entertainment spread knowledge of patent medicines to large audiences.  (10)

For the most part, ingredients were rarely ever listed on the bottles and containers of patent medicines, leaving the consumer ignorant of what they were consuming. Some concoctions contained large doses of alcohol and dangerous additives. Due to the questioning ingredients, some states began to crack down, forcing patent medicines to include a list of the ingredients on the bottles. Between 1905-1906, journalist, Samuel Hopkins Adams, wrote several articles on the horrors of nostrums, describing them as the “Great American Fraud.” Adam’s articles were compiled into a small book that aided in the passing of the Food and Drugs Act in 1906. The new act prohibited misleading or false information on the label regarding the ingredients or the identity of the drug. Six years later, the Sherley Amendment went further banning labels from including false and fraudulent claims. Educating the public was also an initiative to aid in combatting the use of harmful patent medicines. The Food and Drugs Act forced patent medicine companies to be transparent with their customers and helped in protecting the health of Americans. (11)

George H. Whipple and Son Drugstore was one of the many spaces that sold these highly desired patent medicines. Anti-intellectualism, distrust of doctors, religion, and lack of medical understanding made patent medicine the only viable option for treatment or sustainable health. Printing and cheap entertainment helped further spread knowledge and entice individuals to purchase patent medicines. During a time when medical treatment was still questionable and inaccessible for many, patent medicines offered some sort of comfort and give a sense of control during those times of poor health.

Sources:

    1. James Harvey Young, “Medical Quackery in the Age of the Common Man,” in The Mississippi Valley Historical Review, Vol. 47, No. 4 (Mar., 1961), p. 579
    2. Find a Grave has George Henry Whipple as being born in August of 1841. There are many contesting accounts of his birth. Census records note his birthday as 1842 and 1843. Since the cemetery stone lists 1841 as his birthdate, I feel that that is the best date to use, but have not found sources to confirm August. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/156861493/george-henry-whipple : accessed 30 January 2022), memorial page for George Henry Whipple (Aug 1841–22 Mar 1910), Find a Grave Memorial ID 156861493, citing Old Broad Street Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Bridgeton, Cumberland County, New Jersey, USA ; Maintained by Spaceman Spiff (contributor 46783007); “New Jersey, County Marriages, 1682-1956,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VWRS-P5Z : 23 February 2021), George H Whipple and Clara H Borden, 01 Feb 1866; citing Cumberland, New Jersey, New Jersey State Archives, Trenton; FHL microfilm 1,289,243.; “New Jersey Deaths and Burials, 1720-1988”,database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FZZN-KHZ : 19 January 2020), Carrie D. Whipple, 1873.; “New Jersey, Deaths, 1670-1988,” database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:Q2SZ-1NFY : 15 May 2020), Jennie E. Whipple, 29 Mar 1867; citing Death, Bridgeton, Cumberland, New Jersey, United States, Division of Archives and Record Management, New Jersey Department of State, Trenton; FHL microfilm 004208606.; Bridgeton Evening News, March 23, 1910
    3. Bridgeton Evening News, March 23, 1910; Bridgeton Evening News, September 20, 1910.
    4. Bridgeton Evening News, September 20, 1910.
    5. Jessica Griffin, “Hood’s Sarsaparilla, Lowell, MA,” in Old Main Artifacts, (January 21, 2014), https://oldmainartifacts.wordpress.com/2014/01/21/hoods-sarsaparilla-lowell-ma/
    6. “A Market Revolution,” Smithsonian: National Museum of American History Behring Center, https://americanhistory.si.edu/american-revolution/market-revolution#:~:text=In%20the%201820s%20and%201830s,transportation%20like%20the%20Erie%20Canal.
    7. James Harvey Young, “Medical Quackery in the Age of the Common Man,” in The Mississippi Valley Historical Review, Vol. 47, No. 4 (Mar., 1961), p. 581
    8. Ibid., p. 581
    9. Matthew Chase, “Cures and Curses: A History of Pharmaceutical Advertising in America,” University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences, https://library.usa.edu/cures-curses-exhibit
    10. James Harvey Young, “Chapter 11: The Pattern of Patent Medicine Appeals,” in The Toadstool Millionaires: A Social History of Patent Medicines in America before Federal Regulation, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, March 8, 2015); Brooks McNamara, “Pitchmen, High and Low,” in Step Right Up, (University: University of Mississsippi, 1995), p. 19-42; Matthew Chase, “Cures and Curses: A History of Pharmaceutical Advertising in America,” University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences, https://library.usa.edu/cures-curses-exhibit
    11. James Harvey Young, “Arthur Cramp: Quackery Foe” in Pharmacy in History, Vol. 37, No. 4 (1995), (American Institute of the History of Pharmacy), p. 176-182; J.W. Kille, in A Comprehensive Guide to Toxicology in Nonclinical Drug Development (Second Edition), 2017, https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/pure-food-and-drug-act

Further Sources:

https://melnickmedicalmuseum.com/2013/03/27/19ctreatment/

https://historynewsnetwork.org/article/149661

https://www.hagley.org/research/digital-exhibits/history-patent-medicine

https://www.librarycompany.org/doctor/rosen.html

A Spoonful of False Promises: Patent Medicines and George H. Whipple & Son Drugstore2022-05-08T10:31:04-04:00

Nameless Faces of the Past

Brittney Ingersoll

Today, old photographs can be found in attics, basements, antique shops, and even archives that showcase people whose identities have been lost to time. Although their names may be gone, we can still learn so much from their pictures. The details of the images themselves and the types of photographs provide information that allows us to better understand the past. While it would be helpful to know who the people in the photographs were, the photographs still have historical value.

Types of Nineteenth-Century Photographs

The nineteenth century was the century of photography. The first type of photography available was the daguerreotype (c. 1840-1860), which was highly expensive, making them only accessible to the wealthy members of society. Due to their value, the photos were not simply tools to capture images of loved ones, but they also reflected the financial status of those who could afford to have their picture taken. Daguerreotypes phased out to more affordable forms of photography: (in chronological order) tintypes (c.1856-1867), carte de visite (c.1854-1910), and cabinet cards (c.1867-1895). Each is more sustainable than daguerreotypes, which were made of glass and incredibly fragile,  as well as prone to fading – losing not just the names but sometimes the faces as well. (1)

Tintypes followed daguerreotypes and were, as the name suggests, developed on thin sheets of tin. Tintypes can be found in very small sizes – leading one to question their size and if they were made for a certain purpose. Not all were created with the intent to be put on display in the traditional sense. Some tintypes were cut very small to be used in brooches and/or lockets. Images of loved ones could be worn and carried with the person. Their size provides clues to the photo’s purpose. Was the tintype made for a lover’s locket, to be kept with them at all times? (2)

 

Reading the Images

While identities may be lost, much can still be gained from the images themselves. Scholars have developed a form of study called “Visual Culture,” defined as “…the study of the social construction of visual experiences, and also the visual experience of social constructions.” (3) Through the study of images, one can learn the social standards and beliefs of the time as well as the significance of the images within that society. Images at their most basic level are just shapes and lines, constructed together to create different meanings and ideas. Through visual culture, images, like written documents, are analyzed to gain a more complete understanding of the past. (4)

For example, one can gather what people found important or how they wanted to present themselves through the analysis of photos. People displayed their status through the items they purchased and possessed. Nineteenth-century sociologist Thorstein Veblen coined this phenomenon “conspicuous consumption,” the process in which people purchased items to proclaim their status and association with the middle-and upper -classes. People would dress their best in photographs that were then put on mantels and displayed in homes, further reinforcing their position within society. These symbolic items of wealth were also potentially meant for the photographer, to help demonstrate that they were not capturing the image of an average person. (5)

Photos in which people wore their best clothing was potentially a message of who they were and where in society they belonged. They also could have used photographs to claim a higher status by posing in their best attire and implying they were more wealthy than they were. This would make the photograph a tool for lower-class people to reflect their aspirations. (6)

Some photographers possessed costumes and props for people to dress up and take on personas and identities that were unlike their own for the pictures. But, why? Why did people wish to dress up and be someone else? So much can be surmised  – was it purely for fun? Did it give them a chance, even for a moment, to escape from their own lives? How different was their character versus their reality? Did the costume allow them to feign power that was unattainable due to class structures, racism, and or sexism? Dressing up may have been strictly for fun for some, and it may have been a moment of escape for others. And if it was an escape, what does it tell us about the world those in the photographs existed in? (7)

Conclusion

Photographs without names are pretty common within the Cumberland County Historical Society’s archives. Local families donate old photos of past family members, but other than a possible familial association, little additional information is known. Sometimes family associations are unknown. While names and exact dates may be lost, so much can still be learned from these photographs. Just look closer!

Sources:

(1) Janice G. Schimmelman, “The Tintype in America 1856-1880,” Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, New Series, Vol. 98, No. 2 (2007); “What is a Daguerreotype?” Daguerreobase, http://www.daguerreobase.org/en/knowledge-base/what-is-a-daguerreotype ; Tracee Hamilton, “How to Date Old Photos,” AARP, https://www.aarp.org/relationships/genealogy/info-11-2011/dating-old-photos.html ; Colin Harding, “How to Spot a Carte de Visite,” The National Science & Media Museum, https://blog.scienceandmediamuseum.org.uk/find-out-when-a-photo-was-taken-identify-a-carte-de-visite/

(2) “Ambrotypes and Tintypes,” Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/collections/liljenquist-civil-war-photographs/articles-and-essays/ambrotypes-and-tintypes/

(3) “Introduction” A Critical Overview of Visual Culture Studies: Seeing High & Low : Representing Social Conflict in American Visual Culture, Patricia Johnson, Ed. (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2006), p.2

(4) Ibid.

(5) Thorstein Veblen, The Theory of the Leisure Class, (New York: Penguin Books, 1994).

(6) John Berger, “The Suit and the Photograph,” About Looking, (New York: Pantheon Books, 2011).

(7) Janice G. Schimmelman, “The Tintype in America 1856-1880,” Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, New Series, Vol. 98, No. 2 (2007).

Nameless Faces of the Past2022-05-08T10:30:55-04:00

An Ancestor of the Salem Witch Trials in Fairfield, NJ: Rev. Noyes Parris and the Fairfield Presbyterian Church, 1692-1748

Brittney Ingersoll

Working in a research and genealogical library, it is common for people to be excited to share their ancestry and the great figures of the past that they are related to. Seldom, though, do you hear of the sketchy individuals lurking amongst the branches of people’s family trees – those family members who have left a black mark in history. While people are thrilled to share the lineage they are proud of, those dark parts tend to be hidden in the notes and sources of the family’s genealogy research. Why? Is it because we feel ashamed of the bad parts of our family history? Do we feel responsible for those actions and those people within our trees that we do not approve of?

In 1724, Rev. Noyes Parris began his service at the Fairfield Presbyterian Church in Fairfield, Cumberland County, NJ. He worked at Fairfield for only a short time – leaving in 1729. During that period he also served on the Philadelphia Synod, a governing power within the Presbyterian Church. His departure seemed to be a hasty one as his absence at a synod meeting on September 18, 1729, was questioned. It was then that the synod was notified that he had “disorderly withdrawn, and gone to New England, under imputation of scandal.” The details of Parris’ scandal have yet to be uncovered. (1)

What Parris thought of his family history is unknown,  although some sources cannot discuss his life without mentioning his father – Rev. Samuel Parris of Salem, Massachusetts. Within Samuel’s Salem household, some seven years before Parris’ birth,  the historical event known as the Salem Witch trials began. 

Between February of 1692 to May 1693, Salem, Massachusetts was plagued with hysteria and jealousy that caused nineteen individuals to lose their lives. The birth of the witchcraft accusations occurred in Rev. Samuel Parris’ home when his daughter, Betty Parris, and his niece, Abigail Williams, were having fits that were assumed to be supernatural attacks on them. This conclusion was drawn after the local doctor was unable to diagnose the girls. Three women were accused of using witchcraft against the girls – one of them being Tituba, Rev. Parris’ slave. Throughout the duration of the Salem Witch Trials, over 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft. (2)

Rev. Samuel Parris

Although the trials seemingly were fueled by fear and the village’s devotion to God, historians have shown this was not fully the case. Salem was divided into three sections – the town, the village, and an area in between – Ipswich. The town of Salem was on the bay and was metropolitan due to its access to trade. The rural village was cut off from the ports and did not have access to the same financial opportunities as Salem Town. The people of Ipswich existed simultaneously in both areas – they were close enough to the town and benefitted from the financial ventures of it and also were connected to the village. Economic rivalry and challenges of societal norms played a large part in the trials and those who either benefitted from the financial success of the Salem town or who unintentionally broke from the norms of society were the most susceptible to being accused of witchcraft. (3)

The financial growth of the town was seen as a threat to the village’s religious piety. Because of the success of the people of Ipswich, many of the accused happened to live there. Women were also vulnerable to accusations – especially if they were older, single, and financially well-off, which led them to be independent. While some men, such as Giles Corey, were accused of witchcraft, the defendants were overwhelming women. (4)

After the trials, the families of the victims who had lost their lives during the trials filed lawsuits against Parris. The village was in turmoil due to Rev. Parris’ presence – he eventually was dismissed in 1697 and moved to Concord, Massachusetts. Two years later, on August 22, 1699, Noyes Parris was born in Newton, MA to Rev. Samuel Parris and his second wife, Dorothy Noyes. Rev. Parris died on February 27, 1720. His death was described as “ …choking in the blood of the witchcraft victims…” in the Biographical sketches of graduates of Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, vol. 6. (5)

Noyes Parris attended Harvard University, a school that his father did not finish. After leaving Fairfield in 1729, Noyes returned to New England – serving as Chaplain of the Castle William in Boston. After failing health, he moved to Sudbury to live with his brother, Samuel. Roughly around 1748, Noyes Parris died. He, like all of us, possessed a family history that he may not have been proud of, and for a short time, his lineage connected Fairfield to the Salem Witch Trials.

Sources:

Image: Rev. Samuel Parris, WikiCommons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Samuel_Parris.jpeg

(1)Lawrence C. Roff, Fairfield Presbyterians: Puritanism in West Jersey from 1680, (New Jersey: Adams Printing Specialties, 1980), p. 6; Records of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America Embracing the Minutes of the Presbytery of Philadelphia, from A.D. 1706 to 1716, Minutes of the Synod of Philadelphia, from A.D. 1717 to 1758, Minutes of the Synod of New York, from A.D. 1745 to 1758, Minutes of the Synod of New York and Philadelphia, from A.D. 1758 to 1788, (Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1841), p. 93

(2) Rebecca Beatrice Brooks, “Reverend Samuel Parris: Was He to Blame for the Salem Witch Trials?” History of Massachusetts Blog, (Accessed 10/06/2021), https://historyofmassachusetts.org/reverend-samuel-parris/.

(3) Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum, Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft, (Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1976)., Carol F. Karlsen, The Devil in the Shape of a Woman: Witchcraft in Colonial New England, (New York: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 1989).

(4) Ibid.

(5) Rebecca Beatrice Brooks, “Reverend Samuel Parris: Was He to Blame for the Salem Witch Trials?” History of Massachusetts Blog, (Accessed 10/06/2021), https://historyofmassachusetts.org/reverend-samuel-parris/., Biographical sketches of graduates of Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, vol. 6., Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston, MA, Call Number REF. LD2139 .S5

An Ancestor of the Salem Witch Trials in Fairfield, NJ: Rev. Noyes Parris and the Fairfield Presbyterian Church, 1692-17482022-05-08T10:30:35-04:00

The Mystery of the Buried Box

Brittney Ingersoll

The Cumberland County Historical Society received a donation in November of a small little metal box (2.25 in x 1.25 in ), with cards in it for a Tak-A-Tik company in Bridgeton, NJ that was owned by Isadore William Goldberg. This small little box found buried in the ground led us to learn more about individuals and businesses in Bridgeton that we are excited to share!

 

Who was Isadore William Goldberg?

On October 18, 1888, Isadore William Goldberg was born in Rahway, New Jersey, to Russian-Jewish immigrants Max and Esther. Isadore was the eldest child out of seven children. His siblings, from oldest were Katie, Minnie, Ida, Maurice, Gertrude, and Rose. By 1905, the Goldbergs were living in Bridgeton, New Jersey. Three years later, Isadore married Katherine Goldberg of Bridgeton at Atlantic City on November 15, 1908. Together they had four children, Margaret, Bernice, Susan, and Joseph. Sometime between 1941 and 1946, Isadore married a second time, to a woman named Marion.(1)

Business History:

By 1905, Max owned and operated a variety store in Bridgeton, New Jersey at 42 E. Commerce Street. Isadore worked for his father until about 1914 when he started the Gastine Company. Around 1914, Isadore had opened up his own shoe shop on 31 South Laurel Street, he ran his shoe shop while starting the Gastine Company. (2)

Gastine Co. sold gastine tablets that were advertised as being able to save gasoline and remove carbon. Bridgeton Evening News reported that Gastine tablets were exported all over the world – Yemen, China, Philippine Islands, Belgium, Canada, and South Africa. Isadore hired field representatives to further push the product. In September of 1919, Isadore closed his shoe shop – selling all of his stock to an export business. He used his shoe shop as a temporary store for Gastine Company. 31 South Laurel Street only housed Gastine for a month, when Isadore purchased 24 Cedar Street, where the Gastine Company plant was to be constructed and the old school would be used for storage and packaging. The Gastine Company spread across the country and by 1920 the firm planned on opening 200 stores.(3)

In 1921, while running the Gastine Company, Isadore started the Tak-a-Tik Company that manufactured small boxes made of some form of metal that were meant to hold tickets. The patent for the ticket holders was filed on May 12, 1921 and was given patent number 150.619. The company appears to have been short lived as nothing further has been mentioned of it.(4)

When exactly Isadore’s work with Gastine ended is unknown. But by 1928, Isadore had returned to his father’s department store, Goldberg’s Department Store on 37-47 E. Commerce Street. Ads for Gastine Co. in Bridgeton continued to be printed in the newspapers and in 1938 Isadore filed a patent for “…doing business as The Gastine Company.” (5) A Federal Trade Commission Decisions report of July 1, 1950 to June 30, 1951, stated that Isadore was no longer allowed to advertise Gastine – expanding:

8084. Preparation for Automotive Machinery – Improving Qualities. –

Isadore W. Goldberg, an individual operating under the trade name of The Gastine Co., with his principal office and place of business located in Bridgeton, N.J., advertiser-vendor, engaged in the business of offering for sale and selling a product for use in automotive machinery, designated “Gastine Tablets,” in interstate commerce, entered into an agreement, in connection with the offering for sale, sale and distribution thereof, to cease and desist from disseminating any advertising in regard thereto which represents directly or by implication:

That Gastine Tablets have any beneficial effect on the performance of automotive engines. (1-22663, Dec. 15, 1950) (6)

Isadore took over his father’s business, after his passing. Between 1940 and 1945, Isadore opened a new furniture store at 114 Broad street. Isadore continued acting as vice president of the store at 37-47 E. Commerce. Isadore died in Miami Beach, Florida on February 15, 1952 at age 63. The stores that became a family business continued to operate after Isadore’s death. (7)

Sources:

  1. Isadore W. Goldberg’s WWI Draft Card; Bridgeton, NJ Census Records 1905; “No Change in Name for Fair Bride,” Bridgeton Evening News (Nov. 16, 1908).; “Bridgeton Merchant Dies in Miami Beach, Fla,” The Millville Daily, (Feb. 15, 1952). Bridgeton City Directories 1940, 1945, 1947.
  2. Bridgeton, NJ Census Records 1905; “No Misrepresentation Here!,” Bridgeton Evening News, (Sept. 18, 1914)
  3. “Foreign Shipment,” Bridgeton Evening News, (Nov. 24, 1916); “New Field Representative,” Bridgeton Evening News, (July 9, 1919); “Retires from Shoe Business.” Bridgeton Evening News, (Sept. 24, 1919); Plant for the Gastine Co.” Bridgeton Evening News, (Oct. 4, 1919); “New Firm Plans to Open Some 200 Stores,” The Morning Call, (Paterson, New Jersey), Aug. 4, 1920
  4. Bridgeton City Directory 1921-1922; Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office (January 1922), p. 223; XIX
  5. US Patent Office November 22, 1938
  6. Federal Trade Commission Decisions: Findings, Orders, and Stipulations July 1, 1950 to June 30, 1951 Vol. 47 “Agents,” The San Francisco Examiner, (Nov. 15, 1931); Bridgeton City Directory 1928-1929; Bridgeton City Directories 1930-1931, 1937-1938, 1940, 1945, 1947, 1949, 1950-1951, 1953
The Mystery of the Buried Box2022-05-08T10:30:19-04:00

ANNOUNCEMENT FROM THE CUMBERLAND COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY CURATOR: COVID-19 AND FALL EVENTS

Due to the closure and cancellation of winter and spring events, I felt it was necessary to write directly to you about the occurrences of the Cumberland County Historical Society. Our closure, though work has continued but at a slower pace, has allowed us to re-evaluate how we can adapt and function within this new world, leading us to assess our online presence. During the closure, we started a YouTube channel and have posted videos spotlighting Potter’s Tavern, our recent make-up exhibit at the Gibbon House, and uploading recordings of past author series. More videos are in the works! To view the videos, go to YouTube.com and type “Cumberland County Historical Society NJ”. We are the first channel to pop up!

The virus, state protocols, and the concern over everyone’s welfare has caused us to examine our fall events. Unfortunately, after attempting to organize the 49th Annual Artisans’ Faire and Marketplace, forces outside of our control have made it impossible to move forward with the event this year. We are deeply saddened by having to make this call. The Artisans’ Faire is an enjoyable and fun event that we look forward to year after year. While we are upset at the cancellation of the Faire, we move forward knowing next year’s Faire will be a huge event!

As of right now, we do not have dates for 2021 Hearthside Dinners. We will re-evaluate whether or not holding the dinners are possible at a later date.

We are moving forward with our Annual Business Meeting, which will be held on November 7, 2020 at 4:30 p.m. at the Greenwich Baptist Church, located at 928 Ye Greate St, Greenwich, New Jersey 08323. Due to COVID-19, a dinner will not be offered after the meeting, nor will there be a speaker this year. Because of the changes to the program, there will be no cost for attending the meeting.  We are happy to accept donations which will be given to the Greenwich Baptist Church for allowing us to use their facility.

Although we are looking forward to the day that COVID-19 is a thing of the past, we do not want to continue waiting and lose more time hoping for the old normal. As we move onward, we are working on how we can still hold programs within the world of masks, social distancing, and a pandemic. Which has led us to the conclusion that the best way, while ensuring the safety of our staff, volunteers, and visitors, is to do some events virtually. The virtual events will be the Halloween Ghost Walking Tours and Christmas in Greenwich. While this is and will be very different, we are excited by the challenge to try something new, and to continue growing as an institution!

ANNOUNCEMENT FROM THE CUMBERLAND COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY CURATOR: COVID-19 AND FALL EVENTS2020-08-29T15:28:53-04:00
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