[Massachusetts Photography:] Souvenir of the Coaching Parade, Greenfield 1897.
Rare album of 35 mounted photographs documenting a parade of carriages, floats, and bicycles inspired by Saratoga Springs Race Course
Rare photographic souvenir album with 35 mounted albumen photographs documenting a coaching parade and fair held in Greenfield, Massachusetts, the county seat of Franklin County.
Horse drawn coaches, carriages, parade floats, and decorated bicycles formed an elaborate parade of men, women, and children representing various clubs and associations from throughout the county. A troop of 50 Revolutionary War soldiers added to the celebration.
Here we see a greenery-decked, ox-drawn parade float upon which Miss Frances Saxton represents the “Seal of the [Franklin County Agricultural] Society.” Three bicycles linked together, and decorated with flowers, form the “Immortelle Bicycle Team” of Misses Allen, Perkins, and Cutler.
Some of the more fantastic floats include those of “Queen Mab,” “Cleopatra’s Barge,” “Neptune’s Car,” drawn by bicycles, and the rather sweet “Butterfly Float” in which a little girl in a white dress, seated in a small leafy coach adorned with butterflies, is drawn along by two white bicycles pedaled by boys dressed all in white.
Local groups represented with floats in the parade include the “Montague Grange,” the “Green River Glee Club,” and the “Entre Nous Club” with whom rides “Uncle Sam.” Thematic floats include the naval “Battleship White Squadron,” “Red Men” (Native Americans in a canoe), a “Wedding Group,” the “Old Stockade” of 1760, and—something quite current—a float entitled “Klondyke,” a reference to the Klondike Gold Rush which just began the previous year.
Carriage and coaching types seen in the album include an English Drag, two large coaches—“Tally Ho”—a barouche, and various traps. The extensive use of bicycles is also to be noted.
According to contemporary newspaper accounts, the fancy parade of carriages and their elaborate decorations were partly inspired by the horse parades at the famed Saratoga Springs, New York race course. Visitors there from Franklin County “...collected some helpful ideas on decoration of coaches and drags and the make up of floats. Of these there are to be numerous elaborate and artistic ones in the parade, both from Greenfield and from many surrounding towns.”¹
A rich late Victorian photograph album documenting the exuberance and creativity of an elaborate parade.
Description: [Massachusetts Photography:] Souvenir of the Coaching Parade, Greenfield 1897.
Greenfield, Mass.: Dunklee & Freeman, Official Photographers and Publishers; E.A. Hall & Co., Printers . 35ll. Photograph Album. 5½ x 7¾ inches. Publisher’s brown cloth; gilt title on upper cover; shoelace-tied; with 35 mounted albumen photographs. Thick photographic board leaves with printed captions, each leaf with a 3¾ x 5½-inch mounted photograph. Ownership inscription of W.C. Conant; visiting card of Chas. K. Pierce mounted on front endpaper. Lower cover dampstained; lacking ribbon closure at fore-edge; first leaf separated and several leaves separating from cloth hinges; mounts have toning or foxing, but photographs, in general, present clean and sharp.
Three copies in OCLC under two accession numbers: C/W Mars, Williams College, and Winterthur. Note. 1. Greenfield Gazette and Courier, September 11, 1897 (Greenfield, Massachusetts), p6.