Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 19th and 20th century

Carroll Family Archive

[Partially illustrated]. Comprised of more than 90 pieces of ephemera, photographs, documents, diaries, and other items related to multiple generations of the Carroll family of Jones Avenue in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

The bulk of this archive belonged to Addison Sydney Carroll (1849-1925), a prominent Portsmouth ledgeman renowned for his pioneering work with controlled explosives. Carroll's most notable achievement was the blasting of Henderson's Point from the Piscataqua River, which he oversaw while working as lead ledgeman for the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. He also earned local acclaim for blasting rock used in the building of the breakwater at the Isles of Shoals and blasting ice off of the Dover Point bridge and Newburyport Bridge during an historic freeze.

This archive includes Carroll's diary (1884) recounting daily life and blasting activities; a journal with notes on blast depths, dynamite quantities, exploders and other information related to his work as a ledgeman (1905); miscellaneous papers related to blasting and the Navy Shipyard; a cabinet photo, two cartes-de-visite (cdv), and two real photo postcards of Carroll; a trade card advertising Carroll's "Stone and Brick Mason Work, Wet and Dry Blasting"; several large cabinet photos of the construction of the coffer damn and other blasting activities at Henderson's Point; a leather wallet with Carroll's name and occupation stamped on the inside; and many documents, photos, and other items.

Also contained in this archive are papers and other items belonging to Carroll's children and descendants, including two leather wallets owned by his son, Edison Sydney Carroll (1864-1964). The wallets are filled with local business cards, photos, receipts, and papers documenting Edison's work as assistant ledgeman to his father and, later, machinist and motion picture operator at the Navy Yard. Also included is the diary of Addison Carroll's daughter, Lillian (1875-1892), written at age seventeen in 1892, the year she died. Lillian's diary recounts daily life in Portsmouth with many anecdotes about school, friends and family, ice skating, the Music Hall, playing cards, going to the circus, and more.

An assortment of documents, ship launch photos (1924), manuscripts, newspaper clippings and printed books from later descendants rounds out this archive. Titles include The Centennial Battle of Bunker Hill by Richard Frothingham (1875); two issues of Industrial Department Life Buoy, Navy Yard Portsmouth, NH (1918 and 1919), Flying Tigers Guide to Shanghai (1945); Cradle of American Shipbuilding, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (1980); Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Bicentennial Souvenir Book; Navy Day, U.S. Navy Yard, Portsmouth (1937); Surrender at Sea: A Compilation of the Stories of the Surrender of the Nazi Submarines as Presented over WHEB, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, by Charlie Gray (1945).

  • Condition: Condition reports are available upon request. The absence of a condition report does not imply an object is free of imperfections. Bidders are encouraged to inspect items in person or through a knowledgeable representative. If you have questions about condition, please contact Bray & Co. before placing your bid.

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April 13, 2024 10:00 AM EDT
Portsmouth, NH, US

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