New England churches and meeting houses

Collection Type

  • Photography


ca. 1965

Location Note

Box: Albums 253, 265, 267



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A leather bound photograph album with white cover inscribed "Photographs" containing 331 3 1/2 x 3 1/2 black and white snapshots of New England churches and meeting houses (built between 1631-1830) and Boston architectural landmarks and "oddities" in and outside New England. Also includes some photograph clippings from magazines of Boston landmarks. Numerous communities are represented in this project. Photograph album belonged to Agnus Watkins ( 1897-1983). Miss Atkins graduated from Vassar College in 1919 with a major in Greek and Latin. She taught Latin at the Winsor School in Boston and traveled during her summer vacations and when she retired in 1963. She kept journals and photographs of her trips. Miss Watkins was the Aunt of the donor Nancy Hudnut. This album contains two of her projects. The first was to photograph New England churches and meeting hosues. The project was inspired by "Meeting House and Church in Early New England", a book by Edmund W. Sinnott published in 1963. Book is in the collection of Historic New England. Miss Watkins photographed the churches in Sinnott's book from Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts along with houses of worship for Friends and Shakers and some other oddities of her own finding. Included in the front of the album is a description of the type of church by year built and a letter dated 1967 written to Miss Watkins from Edmund W. Sinnott discussing his book and New England churches. The collection shows many types of churches and notes the location and year of construction. Some photographs have additional historical information on the back taken from the text of Sinnott's book. In some cases the architect and/or builder is noted as well ( such Charles Bulfinch, Asher Benjamin, Lavius Fillmore, Elias Carter and Isaac Damon.) The collection of church photographs creates a wonderful companion to the book by Sinnott as well as a resource on church architecture.

The second project is titled Boston Survivals (1631-1910). In her words " This photography project, done in the winter of 1965 was suggested by a chronolgoical list of surviving buildings appended to the text of "Boston: A Topograpical History ( to 1910) " by Walter Muir Whitehill published in 1963." Mr. Whitehill was the Director and Librarian at the Boston Athenaeum. Included is a letter dated 1965 from Mr. Whitehill to Miss Watkins regarding her project and commenting on the demolition of the Hollis Street church as well as dating of the Hancock House. In his words"... but by the amalgamation of that Methodist congregation with the people from the now-destroyed First Methodist Church in Temple Street, the West Church in Cambridge Street has been re-established a s a functioning church." He also comments on the dating of the Hancock House. Historic New England has Mr. Whitehill's books.

Locations of churches and landmarks include 11 communities in Maine, 59 communities in Massachusetts, 29 communities in New Hampshire, 40 communities in Vermont, 11 Friends and Shaker meeting houses, 18 religious oddities throughout the Northeast, and 103 Boston historic landmarks.


Descriptive Terms

churches (buildings)
historic buildings
meeting houses (religious buildings)
Shaker (Christian sect)
black-and-white photographs
photograph albums

Additional Identification Number

album number 253

Physical Description

1 photographic album; 11 by 14 inches

Collection Code


Collection Name

Photograph albums collection

Date of Acquisition

June 30, 2010

Reference Code


Acquisition Type


Image Dimensions

3 1/2 x 3 1/1 (HxW)(inches)


Boston (Suffolk county, Massachusetts)
Maine (United States)
New England (United States) [general region]
New Hampshire (United States)
Vermont (United States)
Massachusetts (United States)

Record Details


Watkins, Agnes, 1897-1983 (Photographer)

Material Type

black-and-white photographs
photograph albums

Other People

Watkins, Agnes, 1897-1983
Whitehill, Walter Muir, Mr.
Sinnott , Edmund W., Mr.


Historic Building
Meeting House

Description Level


Location Note

Box: Albums 253, 265, 267