The Robert H. Grasmere Local History Center

The work on this important center for Maplewood’s archives steadily progressed through the dedication of Marilyn White and her volunteers Mallory Gordon, Kristen Mulgrew and Sarah Webb. In 2011 they concentrated on the overall organization of the collections in the space available in an effort to make it convenient for use. Their specific focus was on archival housing for the Grasmere and Herman collections documents and their gradual inventory in Excel with keywords and finding aids to ease retrieval of desired information.

Inquiries continue to grow as more people learned about this Maplewood resource, now listed on the Maplewood Memorial Library’s new website. Examples this year ranged from questions about former residents by family members now living elsewhere, including a Hedden descendent, serious researchers such as an historian checking on the former Maplewood business Vulcan Razor Company’s use of the arm and hammer logo, homeowners and realtors interested in the history of houses, and a Maplewood resident researching Maplewood’s musical history for a TV series she was writing for HBO. The collections were also used as a source for Durand-Hedden House exhibits and the National Register nominations for the Municipal Building and Memorial Park.

There were numerous acquisitions. The largest was the major legacy gift from the Woman’s Club of Maplewood of their Members Chats, scrapbooks, photos, pamphlets, etc. Former Maplewood resident John Elwood donated the souvenir program for the Porgy and Bess production mounted by producer Cheryl Crawford at the Maplewood Theater in 1941 in anticipation of its use for a future exhibit at Durand-Hedden. He also secured a colored copy of the rare 1898 Valley View development prospectus for us. Early bank books from the Maplewood Bank were salvaged and preserved and their contents recorded by Wes White.

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Membership in the Durand-Hedden House & Garden Association is open to all. Please consider your membership an invitation to join us as a volunteer or docent educator.