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Collecting in a Pilgrim Town

Collecting in a Pilgrim Town: Collecting items from faraway lands had a long standing in maritime cultures like Duxbury’s, so it is perhaps not surprising that the town capitalized on its own tourist trade by selling keepsakes for visitors during the post-Civil war tourism boom. Souvenir china was particularly popular during the 1890s until the 1930s and typically made in Germany, England, and France. The overall designs were fairly uniform, but they came with a customizable center image ordered by the shops with the design they thought most marketable. Usually the images came from well-known postcards or popular engravings. For Duxbury, many of these would include its Pilgrim predecessors.

Duxbury had a number of shops during this era, catering to both year-round and summer residents. One featured in this exhibit is The Duxbury Pharmacy, opened in 1897 by Nelson M. Stetson and later run by Paul Chester Peterson, who took it over in 1907 and renamed it Peterson’s Drug Store. Peterson instituted a mail delivery service and produced his own Duxbury souvenirs.

Edward W. Winsor and William O. Peterson became partners in a general store in 1885 named Winsor & Peterson, also featured in this exhibit. An 1894 advertisement described its stock of “choice groceries, including all kinds of fancy biscuits, Formosa tea, mocha and Java coffee, Crosse and Blackwell’s pickles, jellies and jams of all kinds and canned goods of every description.” Upon Winsor’s death in 1899, William Peterson continued the dry goods store under the name W. O. Peterson’s until the 1920s.

Like today, printed souvenirs such as postcards, photographs, maps, and booklets commemorating historic sites were very popular. For Duxbury visitors, the most popular postcards in the early years of the 20th century were produced by A. S. Burbank of Plymouth. A popular book and map written by Henry A. Fish in 1924 was also sold to tourists who sought the original home sites of the earliest Duxbury settlers. Explore popular souvenirs collected throughout the years in this section of the exhibit.

Digging Duxbury

The quest for archaeological evidence of Duxbury’s Pilgrim past began with an 1833 dig, one of the earliest in U.S. history.

Coming to a Pilgrim Town

Coming to a Pilgrim Town

Duxbury’s Pilgrim history, combined with the town’s natural beauty, initiated a tourist boom.

Collecting in a Pilgrim Town

Collecting in a Pilgrim Town

The tourism boom brought another enterprise, the creation and sale of Pilgrim-themed souvenirs.

Lasting Legacy

Duxbury's Lasting Legacy

Duxbury never forgot its Pilgrim origins. How could it? The names continue to generate interest today.

This exhibition is divided into four themes: Digging Duxbury, Massachusetts; Coming to a Pilgrim Town; Collecting in a Pilgrim Town; and, Lasting Legacy.

Click the buttons to explore different parts of the town’s Pilgrim past and to view objects from the collections of the Duxbury Rural & Historical Society.

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All objects, text and materials in this digital exhibition are owned or copyrighted by the Duxbury Rural & Historical Society and may not be reproduced, copied or distributed without permission. © 2020, Duxbury Rural & Historical Society. All Rights Reserved. Please contact 781-934-6106 for more information.