Harriet L. Raymond (married surname Brosnan) was born in Bradford, Massachusetts in 1868. In 1882, at age fourteen, she left home to attend Abbot Academy. Immediately following her four years at Abbot, she created a scrapbook to detail her active involvement with its alumnae association. In 1905, Raymond moved to Newark with her husband. Given her scrapbook’s comprehensive, meticulous assemblage of alumnae material, it seems that she served as the Class of 1886’s record keeper.
Although it is more than 130 years old, the scrapbook remains in great shape. It has relatively little wear and no rips on any of its pages. Raymond organized its contents chronologically, beginning in 1886 following her graduation, and ending in 1947 with a letter entitled “This Book – And How it Started.” Dimensionally, the book is significantly larger than others from the time, allowing for a greater storage capacity of photographs, writing, and memorabilia from this time period.
The first page of the scrapbook is marked by a ribbon with an “AA ’86” sign on it. While the book generally reveals little about her time at Abbot, the continual appearance of school-related symbols and figures demonstrates that which she held dear, even following her graduation. Raymond lived in Smith Hall, and the scrapbook boasts a collection of pictures of the dorm through 1926, detailing its evolution after her years at Abbot. She also includes typed poems that adroitly describe different parts of Abbot’s campus such as the “Sanctuary,” and the “Bird Bath.”
Additionally, her scrapbook contains many pictures, tributes, and poems written by and for several Abbot Academy faculty members including Philena McKeen, Bertha Bailey, and Alice Twitchell. Raymond reveals her highest praise for these women in their deaths. Next to memoirs of Miss Bailey and Miss McKeen, she devotes hymns specific to each woman, conveying her appreciation of both former headmistresses. Accordingly, she includes an article commending Miss Twitchell, the school’s Volunteer Fund Director, and a member of the Class of 1886, for her financial involvement in the Academy.
Raymond keeps a pervasive record of everything related to the Class of 1886. Extensive meeting minutes reveal the members’ eagerness to commemorate their time at Abbot and to bolster the relationships formed as a result. Raymond keeps an extensive familial record of all club members, scrupulously recording every new marriage, child, grandchild, and death within the community. In 1941, she penned in the first two great-grandchildren (4th generation)!
Continuing the theme of transformation, Raymond’s scrapbook has photos from every Reunion she attended, the majority of which have only women as subjects. Interestingly, the girls’ difference in dress is most evident during the Progressive era. In the 1910s, for instance, they wear only white, a choice that Raymond claims as “purposeful” in a blurb. Also noteworthy, most members of the Class of 1886 moved to cities following their time at Abbot.
by Philip Matteini, class of 2019
Scrapbook Box 126