Calendar collection


The collection contains approximately 51 calendars and 2 envelopes. The majority of calendars were published between 1883-1910 by the John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company and the New England Mutual Life Insurance Company. These two Boston- based companies incorporated themes into their calendar illustrations that celebrated events in the early founding of the Bay Colony and Boston's role in the launch of the American Revolution. The Hancock Company places John Hancock, signer of the Declaration of Independence and first Massachusetts Governor, as the central figure in the illustrations. In an early example of cross marketing the Souvenir Publishing Company used its own title, "Colonial landmarks of the old Bay State," for two calendars (1896-97). The A.S. Burbank Company created a calendar with removable postcards of historic Plymouth buildings and events. The Travelers and the Provident Mutual Life Insurance Company shifted the focus to the country's growth and western expansion in images of railroads, steamboats and stagecoaches. The Provident Company's use of the John Rogers group statuary in its 1939 calendar reminded the viewer of the importance of family and community relationships on the eve of World War II. All of the Rogers' pieces used in the calendar, except for one, are from the post Civil War era. Other calendars in the collection include several examples from Boston mural painters Mortensen and Holdensen, historic Woburn landmarks done for the Goddard Company and a Hiawatha illustration used by the confectioner Pepper Company in Peabody.
Among the illustrators and lithographers identified on the items are Edmund H. Garrett, Marshall Johnson, Frank T. Merrill and William Houghton Sprague Pearce. Edward Penfield the graphic designer and illustrator created the “Stencil Calendar” of animal images. The Currier & Ives lithographs, reproduced for the 1936 Travelers calendar, are dated from 1853-1871. The American print artists, represented in the 1937 Provident Mutual calendar, are listed in the item catalog record and cover the period 1821-1855.


Descriptive Terms


Physical Description

51 calendars, 2 envelopes

Collection Code


Collection Name

Ephemera collection

Reference Code


Record Details

Material Type



This collection is available for research.

Description Level


Language Note

This collection is entirely in English.

Preferred Citation

[Item identification.] Calendar collection (EP003). Historic New England, Library and Archive.

Processing Information

This finding aid was created by Mary Beth Dunhouse, 2013.

Rules and Conventions

This finding aid is DACS-compliant.



This collection is arranged into eight series: Series I. John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Co., Series II. New England Mutual Life Insurance Co., Series III. The Pepper Co., Series IV. Mortensen and Holdensen, Series V. S. B. Goddard & Son Co., Series VI. The Travelers, Series VII. Provident Mutual Life Insurance Co., and Series VIII. Miscellaneous.

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