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

A Finding Aid to the Florence and King Families Papers

Descriptive Summary

RepositoryMartha's Vineyard Museum
Gale Huntington Research Library
59 School Street
P.O. Box 1310
Edgartown, MA 02539
(508) 627-4441
Call NumberRU 422
Creator Florence family
Creator King family
TitleFlorence and King families papers
Date [inclusive]1848-1875, undated
Extent2 boxes + 2 oversize folders (1.103 cubic feet)
LanguageThe materials are in English.
AbstractThe collection includes sermons and notes of the Reverend John D. King (1822-1908), as well as correspondence between King and Florence family members, including: J. D. King, Mary H. King, Ortheman Dexter King, Augusta (King) Florence, and George A. Florence. In addition, there are four of Augusta King's diaries and sheet music composed by George Florence.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions to access.

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 422 Florence and King Families Papers.

Acquisition Information

The bulk of this collection was a gift of Mrs. George R. Robinson in 1989 (Accession no. 1989.038). The Memorandum of Text was purchased by the museum in 1932 (Accession no. 1932.030). John D. King's 1852 scrapbook and autograph book was the gift of Beulah T. Callaghan in 1976 (Accession no. 1976.018).

Custodial History

The materials donated by Robinson, (Accession no. 1989.038), were found in the attic of her home on Dempster Park in Oak Bluffs. The cottage, originally known as Oak Haven, was built by John D. King in 1869. King's books were found in the Callaghan home at 7 Siloam Avenue in Oak Bluffs.

Publication Information

Martha's Vineyard Museum

Gale Huntington Research Library
59 School Street
P.O. Box 1310
Edgartown, MA 02539
(508) 627-4441

Processing Information

Finding aid prepared by Joyce Cooper in October 2013 with assistance from Insley Julier. Finding updated by Joyce Cooper in October 2014 with assistance from Lara J. Ullman. Finding aid machine-encoded by Nathaniel Janick in November 2014.

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

Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Martha's Vineyard Camp Meeting Association


  • Autograph books
  • Correspondence
  • Diaries
  • Programs
  • Scrapbooks
  • Scores
  • Sermons

Geographic Name(s)

  • Oak Bluffs (Mass.)


  • Florence, Augusta King, 1843-
  • Florence, George A.
  • King, John D., 1822-1908
  • King, Mary H., 1821-1905


  • Camp meetings--Massachusetts--Oak Bluffs
  • Evangelistic sermons
  • Evangelists
  • Revivals--New England

Biography/Historical Note

John Dudly King was born in Leicester, Massachusetts in 1822 to John King and Sophia (Green) King. He had two sisters Augusta (1805- ) and Sally (1810- ). In October of 1842 John married Mary Hobbs Stetson (1821-1905) in Charlton, Massachusetts. They couple had five children: Mary Augusta, Ortheman, Mabel, Charles, and Nellie. J. D. King became a "licensed exhorter" in 1845. As an itinerant preacher his family moved often and he was frequently away from home. During the 1850s and 1860s much of King's travel was in the greater Hartford, Connecticut, and Providence, Rhode Island, areas.

In the early 1860s King made trips to preach at the Martha's Vineyard Camp Meeting Association in Cottage City, (later Oak Bluffs), Massachusetts, where he became active in the community. By 1870 a group of Methodist businessmen joined together to form the Vineyard Grove Company out of concern over the manner in which the area was developing. The Vineyard Grove Company's aim was to purchase property in the Highlands, bordering the Camp Meeting property, to protect it from encroaching commercial interests. J.D. King was appointed agent for the company and made his home in the Dempster Park area of the Highlands. His cottage, built in 1869, was called Oak Haven. In 1872, King established a Sabbath School at the Methodist Camp Meeting in Vineyard Grove. From 1879 to 1881 and again from 1887 to 1890, he was a revival pastor in Edgartown, Massachusetts. Both a clergyman and a scientist, he was appointed Director of the School of Microscopy at the Martha's Vineyard Summer Institute and taught microscopy in 1887. In his later years King became a resident of Oak Bluffs, where he married Emily F. Gardner Folger of Nantucket in 1906. John D. King died in Oak Bluffs in 1908.

Mary Augusta King, called Augusta, was born in Leicester, Massachusetts on October 26, 1843. As a teenager, Augusta King moved frequently with her family, living in New London, Connecticut, in 1859; Manchester Station, Connecticut, in 1861; and later attending boarding school in East Greenwich, Connecticut, in 1862. In 1863 she was in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, before joining a traveling acting troupe and marrying George A. Barrows in Newark, New Jersey, in September of that year. Shortly after marrying the couple changed their last name to Florence. George and Augusta Florence left the troupe in October of 1863 and settled near New Bedford, Massachusetts. Augusta (King) Florence gave music lessons and sang in concerts. George A. Florence wrote original music scores and played violin in the concerts. George and Augusta Florence continued to visit the King family home in Oak Bluffs and, in 1874, they built the Florence Dining Hall in the Vineyard Highlands. The business venture was short-lived. By 1880, Augusta Florence changed her name back to Mary A. Barrows and was working for a corset company. In January of 1882 she married for a second time to Sidney S. Hicks, son of Thomas and Juliette Hicks of New Britain, Connecticut. Mary Augusta and Sidney Hicks resided in New Bedford. The year of Mary Augusta Hicks' death is unknown.

Scope and Content Note

The collection contains sermons, a notebook on biblical texts, a scrapbook, an autograph book, musical compositions, diaries, and correspondence belonging to members of the King and Florence families. John D. King's pastoral writings include five of his sermons and a notebook entitled, Memorandum of Texts, containing his notes on bible passages. The scrapbook contains newspaper clippings of articles King collected for potential sermon topics. The autograph book has notes and bible passages from friends and family. Also included in the collection are letters King wrote to his daughter, Augusta (King) Florence.

Augusta King's diaries were written in the early 1860s, during her late teenage years. They paint a picture of a young girl's life; going to teas, making dresses, social outings, and her brother and friends going off to war. Her correspondence is primarily from her mother Mary H. King, dated 1866-1872. In addition, there are two concert programs featuring George and Augusta Florence and a composition book of original music scores by George A. Florence.


The collection is arranged by material type and therein in loose chronological order. Correspondence is filed by recipient.

Collection Inventory


J. D. King Autograph Book, circa 1850 


J. D. King Scrapbook, 1859-1866 


Memorandum of Text, 1848-1855 


J. D. King's Sermons, 1851-1855 


J. D. King's Sermons, 1863 


J. D. King's Sermons, undated 


Augusta King's Diary, 1859 


Augusta King's Diary, 1861 


Augusta King's Diary, 1862 


Augusta King's Diary, 1863 


Correspondence to Augusta King from J. D. King, 1859-1871, undated 


Correspondence to Augusta King from Mary King, 1866-1872, undated 


Correspondence to Augusta King from Various Senders, 1870-1873, undated 


Correspondence to J. D. King from Ortheman King, 1870 


Correspondence to George Florence , 1872-1875, undated 


Musical Score, 1871 

OS GEN 715

"The Caledonians," (Musical Score), undated 

OS GEN 716

Marriage Certificate and Concert Programs, 1863,1874, undated 


Florence Receipts, 1864-1875, undated 


Booklet and Receipts for Florence Dining Hall , 1874 


Unidentified Material , undated 


Material is illegible.