Free Soil Party Reunion Papers, 1877-1921


Free Soil Party Reunion Papers, 1877-1921


This collection details the events leading up to and following the reunion of the Free Soil Party in Hingham, Massachusetts. The Free Soil Party existed between 1848 and 1852 with the purpose of ensuring that new lands acquired by the United States did not allow slavery. The reunion was organized by Samuel Downer of Hingham and several other Free Soilers for August 9, 1877. It was meant to bring together dedicated party members in order to celebrate their accomplishments and reminisce about the past. It took place at Downer Landing in Hingham. The collection primarily consists of letters to and from Samuel Downer regarding the reunion. There are also several invitations to the reunion and related pamphlets and images.

This project is made possible thanks to a grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Library Services and Technology Act administered by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.

Collection Items

Photograph of the camera obscura exhibit building at Melville Garden
This photograph shows several men standing and sitting on the steps to the Camera Obscura (Camera = Room, Obscura = Dark). They are all wearing formal clothing. The building sits on top of a steep hill with trees and rocks on it. There is a…

Photograph of the Café and Music Hall at Melville Garden
This photograph shows the Café and Music Hall which were located on Otis Street at Melville Garden. Several male guests can be seen siting and standing outside near the buildings. There are multiple outdoor decorations, including a fountain, and…

Photograph of a building at Melville Garden
This photograph shows a group of men, wearing formal clothing, standing around a two-story building at Melville Garden. The upper story is only partially enclosed by a roof. The ground floor is completely enclosed, and appears to be a some sort of…

Photograph of the pier at Downer's Landing
Those photograph shows a group of men, women, and children standing on the pier at Downer's Landing. They are all wearing fancy clothing. Behind them are several elaborate gazebos and partially enclosed structures. The pier was located next to the…

Photograph of a Bridge at Melville Garden
This photograph shows an ornate bridge located over a road at Melville Garden. The bridge is in the tudor style and has high turrets. Through the trees, a road and large fence can be seen going under it. There is writing on the top of the bridge,…

Photograph of the Melville Garden's Clambake House
This photograph shows the exterior of the Clambake House located at Melville Garden. The long, two-storied building can be seen on the right, along with two smaller structures. Benches, ponds, decorative fountains, and decorative plants can also be…

Downer Family Coat of Arms
This image depicts the Downer Family Coat of Arms. It includes images of peacocks, shaking hands, and wings. The family motto on the coat of arms is "A Cruce Salus," which translates to "from the cross of salvation." The family colors are green,…

Photograph of Samuel Downer
This image is a portrait photograph of Samuel Downer. It shows him as an older man with a beard, and he is wearing a suit and tie.

Silhouette of Thomas Melville
This image is a silhouette of Thomas Melville. He was a merchant in Boston, a member of the Sons of Liberty Party, and a participant in the Boston Tea Party. He was the grandfather of Nancy Melville, who was Samuel Downer's wife.

Massachusetts Regular Free Soil ticket broadside
This broadside advertises the Free Soil Party ticket for the state of Massachusetts. Stephen C. Phillips is running for Governor and John Mills for Lieutenant Governor. Those running for senator are Jesse Pierce, Milton M. Fisher, and Edward L.…
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