Martha’s Vineyard Mass. Memories Road Show materials now online

I have dozens of photographs taken out my back door because I live in the most beautiful place in the world. Location: Sengekontacket, 2013. Contributor:Bonnie Stacy.

“I have dozens of photographs taken out my back door because I live in the most beautiful place in the world.” Location: Sengekontacket, 2013.
Contributor: Bonnie Stacy.

The photographs and stories gathered at the Martha’s Vineyard Mass. Memories Road Show are available online now for research.

Held at the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center on October 25, 2015, the event was organized by the Vineyard Haven Public Library in association with the five other town libraries on the island. The event was made possible by additional support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Twin Oaks Inn, Mansion House on Martha’s Vineyard, and the Steamship Authority. Two dozen local volunteers collaborated with a team of UMass Boston staff members and “Roadies” from past Mass. Memories Road Shows to welcome nearly 100 adults and children with connections to the island.

'My sister and her husband, Richard and Vivian Mitchell of East Orange and Morristown, New Jersey first came to Martha's Vineyard in 1942. One of the young African American families who gave up the New Jersey shore and Jones Beach in New York for a love of Martha's Vineyard. In spite of the 8-hour drive, a prefab cottage was built over many weekends, and the summer residence for three generations was set. They bought into Waterview Farm community at its inception in 1968. Their heirs, Roger Mitchell, Claire, Ray, Kendall, Christopher Walker (along with many family and friends) continue the love affair every summer that Richard and Vivian began with Martha's Vineyard, Mass. Submitted by Claire Walker. Pictured: Vivian Mitchell, Richard Mitchell. Contributor: Joseph Campbell.

“My sister and her husband, Richard and Vivian Mitchell of East Orange and Morristown, New Jersey first came to Martha’s Vineyard in 1942. One of the young African American families who gave up the New Jersey shore and Jones Beach in New York for a love of Martha’s Vineyard. In spite of the 8-hour drive, a prefab cottage was built over many weekends, and the summer residence for three generations was set.” Pictured: Vivian Mitchell, Richard Mitchell. Contributor: Joseph Campbell.

Many participants shared photographs and stories of themselves and their families at home or at play around the island. Other individuals contributed memories of attending school concerts, theater performances, and other community gatherings. Life at work on the island– in fishing fleets, fire departments, public schools, and on the set of “Jaws” in 1974–is also documented in the collection. Several images document local businesses such as the S.M. Mayhew Co. store and C.B. Stark jewelers.

Several people brought materials documenting creative and artistic endeavors on Martha’s Vineyard over the decades. In addition, a significant number of items in the collection portray residents enjoying and exploring the natural beauty of the island landscape: playing on the beach, circumnavigating the island with friends and colleagues, or just taking in the view outside their doors.

'This is a photo of the original Gayhead Fire Department in 1959. My father is second from the left. In 1978, I became the first female on the island to become a volunteer fireman. My father gave me his badge, number 16. In 1988 I became the first woman assistant fire chief on the island. The man in the headdress is Napoleon Madison, medicine man of the Wampanoag tribe in Gayhead. His son, Luther Madison, 3rd from the right, eventually became the next medicine man. Donald Malonson, 3rd from the left, was the fire chief. Pictured, from back to front, left to right: Horation Malonson, Jeff Madison, Bill Ryan, Larry Spitz, Donald Malonson, Napoleon Madison, Joe Horiagon, Luther Madison, Grover Ryan, Jesse Smalley. Location: Gayhead.' Contributor: Barbara Bassett.

“This is a photo of the original Gayhead Fire Department in 1959. In 1978, I became the first female on the island to become a volunteer fireman. My father gave me his badge, number 16. In 1988 I became the first woman assistant fire chief on the island. The man in the headdress is Napoleon Madison, medicine man of the Wampanoag tribe in Gayhead. His son, Luther Madison, eventually became the next medicine man. Donald Malonson was the fire chief. Pictured, from back to front, left to right: Horation Malonson, my father Jeff Madison, Bill Ryan, Larry Spitz, Donald Malonson, Napoleon Madison, Joe Horiagon, Luther Madison, Grover Ryan, Jesse Smalley.” Contributor: Barbara Bassett.

The video interviews collected at this event are still being processed; a separate notice will be posted when they are available.

Browse the Martha’s Vineyard Mass. Memories Road Show collection.


The Mass. Memories Road Show is a statewide digital history project that documents people, places and events in Massachusetts history through family photographs and stories. In partnership with teams of local volunteers, we organize public events to scan family and community photographs and videotape “the stories behind the photos.” The images and videos are indexed and incorporated into an online educational database. Since its launch, the project has gathered more than 8,000 photographs and stories from across the state. It is supported in part by the Patricia C. Flaherty ’81 Endowed Fund at UMass Boston.  

University Archives & Special Collections in the Joseph P. Healey Library at UMass Boston was established in 1981 as a repository to collect archival material in subject areas of interest to the university, as well as the records of the university itself. The mission and history of UMass Boston guide the collection policies of University Archives & Special Collections, with the university’s urban mission and strong support of community service reflected in the records of and related to urban planning, social action, alternative movements, community organizations, war and social consequence, and local history related to neighboring communities. To learn more, visit blogs.umb.edu/archives.

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Mass. Memories Road Show heads to Martha’s Vineyard on Sunday, Oct. 25

Martha's Vineyard MMRS final flyerWhen: Sunday, October 25, 2015 | 10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Location: Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center | 130 Center Street | Vineyard Haven, Mass.

Do you have a connection to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts? Do you live or work in Martha’s Vineyard? Are your roots in Martha’s Vineyard? Do you spend summers in Martha’s Vineyard or do you vacation there? Share your memories and take your place in Massachusetts history at this free, public event.

Please bring 1-3 photos in their original format (digital or print photographs) and your stories to be recorded. We will scan unframed pictures and copy digital images and return the images back to you. All images will be added to the online collection at openarchives.umb.edu. Preserve your memories of this wonderful island!

Read more about this event here.

The Mass. Memories Road Show is a statewide digital history project that documents people, places, and events in Massachusetts history through family photographs and stories.

The Mass. Memories Road Show is produced by the Joseph P. Healey Library at UMass Boston and is co-sponsored by the Patricia C. Flaherty ’81 Endowed Fund.

Local funding for the Martha’s Vineyard Mass. Memories Road Show is provided by Friends of Island Libraries, and a grant from the Martha’s Vineyard Cultural Council. Additional support provided by The Mansion House Inn and Twin Oaks Inn.

For more information, contact Amy Ryan at 508-696-4211 (ext. 11) or by email at amyryan@clamsnet.org. Or visit the the Martha’s Vineyard Mass. Memories Road Show planning committee’s informational website at www.vhlibrary.org/MMRS.shtml.

Download the flyer for the Martha’s Vineyard Mass. Memories Road Show here and remember to share it with your friends and family members!

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