Updated: Dec 2, 2022
Cover of The Poets' Album compiled in 1864 for the Brooklyn Sanitary Fair; from the collection of the Longmeadow Historical Society
I wanted to share the item in our collection at the Longmeadow Historical Society that first helped me begin to piece together the connections between one of the world’s most celebrated poets and two cousins who shared a name and a deep connection to Longmeadow.
If asked to pick my favorite piece in our collection at the Storrs House Museum, without a doubt I would pick this 1864 “Poets' Album” containing handwritten and autographed poems and poem excerpts submitted by prominent 19th-century poets and writers. The writings were contributed to raise money for the Brooklyn Sanitary Fair, a fundraiser organized to benefit wounded Union Soldiers during the Civil War.
Hand-drawn and colored Title Page
The Brooklyn Sanitary Fair took place over two weeks in February and March of 1864 at the Academy of Music in Brooklyn, NY. It was an enormous affair featuring entertainment, food, art displays, and vendor booths selling countless donated items to help ease the burden of soldiers who were wounded fighting for the Union cause. It is estimated that Fair raised $300,000 (equivalent to $5.1 million today) for the Union soldiers.
Contributed by Melissa M. Cybulski, Longmeadow Historical Society Board Member
Originally published February 10, 2022