59 School Street, Box 1310, Edgartown MA 02539 - 508.627.4441
Martha's Vineyard Museum MV Museum

A Finding Aid to the Edith Blake Research Papers, circa 1870-1987

Descriptive Summary

RepositoryMartha's Vineyard Museum, Gale Huntington Research Library
59 School Street
P.O. Box 1310
Edgartown, MA 02539
Call NumberRU 176
Creator Blake, Edith
TitleEdith Blake research papers
Datecirca 1870-1987
Extent4 boxes + 1 1/2 box + 5 oversize folders + 1 flat file (2.404 cubic feet)
LanguageThe materials are in English.
AbstractThe collection contains black-and-white photographs, card photographs, stereographs, a stereoscope, postcards, pamphlets, publications, souvenir viewbooks, correspondence and research materials created by Edith Blake related to the Martha's Vineyard Camp Meeting Association (MVCMA) in Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts and one map of Edgartown, Massachusetts, circa 1950-1960.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use and Reproduction Restrictions

Requests to reproduce material from this collection should be directed to the library's staff. Reproduction fees may apply.

Preferred Citation

Martha's Vineyard Museum, RU 176, Edith Blake Research Papers.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Edith Blake in 1993. (Accession no. 1993.089)

Publication Information

Martha's Vineyard Museum

Gale Huntington Research Library
59 School Street
P.O. Box 1310
Edgartown, MA 02539

Processing Information

Finding aid prepared by Caleb Williams July-August 2013 with assistance from Insley Julier. Revised by Insley Julier in October 2013. Machine-encoded by Nathaniel Janick April 2014.

 Creation of this finding aid was sponsored by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Related Materials

Related Materials

See also, photograph collection and glass plates.

Index Terms

Corporate Name(s)

  • Martha's Vineyard Camp Meeting Association
  • C. H. Shute & Son


  • Black-and-white negatives
  • Black-and-white photographs
  • Card photographs
  • Correspondence
  • Newspapers
  • Pamphlets
  • Postcards
  • Publications
  • Research notes
  • Stereographs
  • Stereoscopes
  • Viewbooks

Geographic Name(s)

  • Cottage City (Mass.)--History
  • Edgartown (Mass.)--Maps
  • Martha's Vineyard (Mass.)--Pictorial works
  • Oak Bluffs (Mass.)--History

Personal Name(s)

  • Adams, S. F., 1844-
  • French, J. A. (Jotham A.), 1834-1898
  • Hough, Henry Beetle, 1896-
  • Shute, Charles H., 1818-1877
  • Shute, Richard G., 1844-1923
  • Weiss, Ellen (Ellen B.)


  • History--Massachusetts--Martha's Vineyard

Biography/Historical Note

Edith Sands Graham Blake, 1926-, was a published author of multiple books and periodical articles, and also served as a staff member for the Vineyard Gazette until 1969. After she resigned, she continued to write stories and take pictures for the paper, and also contributed to  Yankee,  Sail,  On the Sound, and  Nature Magazine. Originally from New Jersey, Edith Blake was born to Philip Sands Graham, 1900-1959, and Eleanor Belmont Degener, 1905-1998. Her association with the Vineyard began when her grandparents, Robert Graham and Edith Sands, met as summer residents of Edgartown. Beginning in the 1950s, Edith Blake spent her summers here with her daughter Edith Sands Blake, 1946-. Edith G. Blake's published works include,  Making of the Movie Jaws (1975) and  Doorways, Lanterns and Fences of Martha's Vineyard: A Photographic Essay (1969). Blake avidly studied and wrote on the subject of architecture, especially that of the cottages in Oak Bluffs. This research led her to work with Ellen Weiss, as the two hoped to produce an authoritative volume on the unique architecture of the campground. Although the project was ultimately abandoned, Weiss would later use and expand upon the pair's research for her dissertation topic, which became the foundation for her publication:  City in the Woods: The Life and Design of an American Camp Meeting on Martha's Vineyard, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987). In 1979, Edith Blake married long-time Vineyard Gazette editor Henry Beetle Hough, 1896-1985.

Scope and Content of Collection

The collection is comprised of notes, correspondence and black-and-white photographs which chronicle Edith Blake's 1971-1980s research related to the history of the Martha's Vineyard Camp Meeting Association (MVCMA), a religious association in Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts. The collection also includes negatives, stereographs, postcards, souvenir viewbooks and publications, ranging from circa 1870-1982. Also in the collection are 23 newspapers; 22 Seaside Gazette issues from 1873-1874, and one Martha's Vineyard Herald from 1897.

Edith Blake provided a number of the photographic images used in Ellen Weiss' book: City in the Woods: The Life and Design of an American Camp Meeting on Martha's Vineyard. These images were either taken by Blake personally, or reproduced from glass photographic plates in the collections of the Dukes County Historical Society (predecessor to the Martha's Vineyard Museum). The images in Series I were taken by Blake in the 1970s and 1980s, while the ones in Series III are historical, card photographs and stereographs dating from the 1870s through the early 1900s.


  • Series I: Research Papers and Images, 1971-circa 1987, undated
  • Series II: Publications, Pamphlets, and Brochures, circa 1870-1982
  • Series III: Images, 1870s-1980s, undated
  • Series IV: Newspapers, 1873-1874, 1897
  • Series V: Stereoscope, undated

Collection Inventory

Series I. Research Papers and Images, 1971–circa 1987, undated 

Scope and Content

This series largely consists of original photographs created as part of the research undertaken for the publication, City in the Woods. Most of the images are black-and-white, 8 x 10 inch glossy prints, which have writing directly on the front or back of the image. These annotations provide instructions to the printers regarding cropping and other production details. In some instances, these notations were made on sticky notes. The series also contains research notes for the publication, including drafts of several passages and correspondence with area libraries and institutions regarding research on historical subjects. In addition, there is a rough, hand-drawn map of Edgartown, Massachusetts, circa 1950-1960, which does not relate to the camp ground materials. The map is based on an 1858 Walling map.


Materials are arranged in original order.




Photographs, 1971–circa 1987 


Photographs and Papers, 1979, undated 


Papers, 1971-1973, undated 


Research Notes, Correspondence and Drafts, 1971–circa 1987 


Photographs, 1971–circa 1987 


Note: These images were not used in the publication City in the Woods. Oversize item removed.


Contact Sheets, Negatives and Photographs, 1971–circa 1987 


Map of Edgartown, circa 1950-1960 


ObjectID 1993.089.002


Series II. Publications, Pamphlets and Brochures, circa 1870–1982 

Scope and Content

This series consists of nine publications, including turn-of-the-century souvenir viewbooks containing reproductions of photographs and short pamphlets, 1921-1982, containing historical information about Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard, and the Camp Meeting Association. There is also an 1880 publication that more closely resembles a newspaper or periodical.


Materials are arranged chronologically.


Clark, David. The Way Rev. Moses L. Scudder Secured a Cottage at Martha's Vineyard: A Plain Statement of Facts., circa 1870 


Denison, Frederic. Illustrated New Bedford: Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. Providence, RI: J.A. & R.A. Reid., 1880 


Fifty Glimpses of Martha's Vineyard Island. New York: Rand McNally., 1897 or 1900 


Dunbar, George E. Martha's Vineyard: Views of Cottage City, Vineyard Haven, Gay Head, Edgartown., 1904 


Murphy, John F. Sixty Views of Cottage City: Vineyard Haven, Gay Head, Edgartown and Innisfail., 1904 


Richardson, G. W. Oak Bluffs, Edgartown and Vineyard Haven: Their Points of Interest, Hotels and Stores. Oak Bluffs Association., 1921 


Lobeck, A. K. Brief History of Martha's Vineyard Camp-Meeting Association. Oak Bluffs: The Association., 1956 


LeBaron, Ira W. The Campmeeting at Martha's Vineyard. Nashville: Parthenon Press., circa 1958 


Reade, Florence H. The First Hundred Years of Trinity Episcopal Church: 1882-1982., 1982 


Series III. Images, 1870s–1980s, undated 

Scope and Content

The images in this series include black-and-white photographs, card photographs, postcards, and circa 75 stereographs. Series III largely consists of historical photographs, dating from the 1870s through the first decade of the 1900s, that were gathered from various sources in the course of Blake and Weiss' research. These images were used for reference purposes but did not appear in the published volume. Many of the stereographs were produced by local island photographers, including: S. F. Adams, 130 Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs; Charles H. Shute & Son, Edgartown; and, R. G. Shute, Edgartown. Others were produced by off-island photographers located in Massachusetts, including: Joseph W. Warren, No. 36 South Main Street, Fall River; Brownell & Adams, No. 37 North Main Street, Fall River and 39 Purchase Street, New Bedford; Horace Patridge & Co., 51 Hanover Street, opp. American House, Boston; S. F. Adams, New Bedford; and, the Gravure Section, New Bedford Sunday Standard. Additionally, there are boudoir-sized, card photographs by J. A. French of Keene, New Hampshire. Images include scenes of Oak Bluffs and the campground, streets, townscapes, building interiors, the skating rink, boardwalk, churches, homes, vessels, beaches, hotels, and ferry boats.


Materials are arranged in original order.


Postcards, 1952 


Card Photographs and Postcards, circa 1870s–1920s 


Photographs and Postcards, 1900–circa 1987 


Card Photographs, 1871-1898 


Note: Largely by J. A. French.


Photographs, 1948-1958, 1971-circa 1987 


Photographs, 1971-circa 1987 


Photographs and Postcards, circa 1880s–1930 


Stereographs, circa 1880s–circa 1910s 


Stereographs, circa 1880s–circa 1910s 


Series IV. Newspapers, 1873–1874, 1897 

Scope and Content

This series consists of 23 Martha's Vineyard newspapers dating from 1873-1897, bulk 1873-1874. Nearly all of the newspapers are the periodical; Seaside Gazette, 1873-1874, however there is a single issue of the Martha's Vineyard Herald, 1897.


Materials are arranged in chronological order.


Seaside Gazette, Vol. 2, No. 1, 1873 July 11 


Seaside Gazette, Vol. 2, No. 2, 1873 July 15 

Seaside Gazette, Vol. 2, No. 5, 1873 July 25 

Seaside Gazette, Vol. 2, No. 6, 1873 July 29 

Seaside Gazette, Vol. 2, No. 8, 1873 August 05 

Seaside Gazette, Vol. 2, No. 9, 1873 August 08 


Seaside Gazette, Vol. 2, No. 11, 1873 August 15 


Seaside Gazette, Vol. 2, No. 12, 1873 August 19 

Seaside Gazette, Vol. 2, No. 15, 1873 August 26 

Seaside Gazette, Vol. 2, No. 16, 1873 August 27 

Seaside Gazette, Vol. 2, No. 17, 1873 August 28 

Seaside Gazette, Vol. 2, No. 18, 1873 August 29 


Seaside Gazette, Vol. 2, No. 20, 1873 September 01 


Seaside Gazette, Vol. 3, No. 1, 1874 July 07 

Seaside Gazette, Vol. 3, No. 8, 1874 July 31 

Seaside Gazette, Vol. 3, No. 9, 1874 August 04 

Seaside Gazette, Vol. 3, No. 10, 1874 August 07 

Seaside Gazette, Vol. 3, No. 11, 1874 August 11 


Seaside Gazette, Vol. 3, No. 12, 1874 August 14 


Seaside Gazette, Vol. 3, No. 14, 1874 August 21 

Seaside Gazette, Vol. 3, No. 15, 1874 August 25 

Seaside Gazette, Vol. 3, No. 16, 1874 August 26 


Martha's Vineyard Herald, Vol. XVIII, No. 34, 1897 January 21 


Series V. Stereoscope, undated 

Scope and Content

The series consists of a single object in two pieces. The date and place of production of this stereoscope are unknown, however stereoscopic images were popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s.


Stereoscope, undated