Scope and Contents note
This collection is comprised of photo albums primarily featuring the European travels of Gertrude Plaisted and her mother, Mabel Plaisted, in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Photos of architecture —especially churches and cathedrals—are some of the most prevalent in the collection. Many images depict city life and local inhabitants, while others capture the grandeur of the physical scenery. Additionally, a number of photos are art reproductions of Italian sculptures and paintings. Photos of note include those featuring a young Gertrude Plaisted posing or exploring, as well as select pictures that highlight the living conditions of local inhabitants. While many of the collection’s pictures appear to have been taken by Gertrude’s mother, Mabel, these should be distinguished from the professional photographs of art and cities also found in the albums. Many of the photos are accompanied by handwritten labels and descriptions. While the majority of the albums are undated, the materials that do have date labels are noted in the finding aid. A few loose photographs were found tucked into the photo albums, and these materials have been moved to separate folders and labeled with the album from which they came. The collection also includes an informal autobiography written by Gertrude about her life and experiences. This document features a timeline of Gertrude’s major life events.
Gertrude Plaisted was born on June 29, 1890, in Augusta, Maine. Her parents were Mabel and Harris Plaisted. Harris served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1875 to 1877, and was governor of Maine from 1881 to 1883. When Harris died in 1898, Mabel and Gertrude, who was then seven years old, decided to take a trip to Europe. This journey produced many of the photographs featured in this collection. In addition to her childhood trip to Europe, Gertrude also spent time living in Pennsylvania, Tennessee, South Carolina, Florida, and Kentucky. Gertrude was trained as a secretary, and she held diverse secretarial positions throughout her life, including jobs at the Baldwin School in Bryn Mawr, the Bank of New York, the Bowdoin College Art Museum, the Luther Gulick Camps, and as assistant to Frederick Parkhurst and Percival Baxter—two governors of Maine. Gertrude spent the end of her life at the Hillhouse Convalescent Home in West Bath, which is where she produced the brief autobiography found in this collection. She died on March 15, 1985.