Sunday, May 29, 2011

Albert Francis's Obituary

(This post is part of a series about my research of Fitchburg architect H.M. Francis)

This week at the Historical Society, I was able to see a facsimile of Albert Francis's obituary.
While obituaries do not make for happy reading, they provide very valuable information about a person's life and activities.
They are especially valuable for historical research in that they provide a general timeline of accomplishments, occupations and their residences.
Fig. 1: Albert Francis's Obituary (01/03/1946)
The new information I was able to learn from this obituary was that Albert was instrumental in designing the original Oak Hill Country Club building as well as being a resident architect at Yale University from 1927 - 1932. His tenure at Yale may explain why I could not find him in the 1930 Census for Fitchburg.

By comparing this obituary (dated 1946) with information from Historic Homes and Institutions (dated 1907) a general biography of Albert can be constructed with names and societies he belonged to.

Fig. 2: Information about Albert from Historic Homes and Institutions of Worcester County

In addition to being a Republican, Albert was a Free Mason and a member of the Fitchburg Merchants Association and the Columbian Club of Fitchburg.
These small tidbits of information concerning a person's membership to clubs and organizations helps build a better understanding of that person's character and community pursuits. It also highlights civic activity and professional networking that are still alive in today's social climate.

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