Readers of my book, Larz and Isabel Anderson: Wealth and Celebrity in the Gilded Age, often ask me where they can view more photography of “Weld,” the Anderson’s summer home in Brookline, Massachusetts. The mansion was torn down in 1955 and then, until the publication of my book in 2016, largely forgotten. The book has sparked a new interest in the Andersons’ life in Brookline, and it’s one of the most frequent inquiries I receive from readers.
To assist my readers, book groups, students, and others interested in archival photography of both the interiors and landscapes of “Weld,” I’m please to provide here links to the three best online collections that I know of, and that I used for my own research. (Click on the hyperlinked collection names below to access each.)
Digital Commonwealth | Boston Public Library This is a very important collection, which includes the interior B&W photographs taken by Boston photojournalist Leslie Jones in 1948-49 to document the Anderson estate during legal proceedings related to Mrs. Anderson’s will. This collection informed much of my description of the mansion’s interiors during the last years of Mrs. Anderson’s life.
Library of Congress | Frances Benjamin Johnston Collection In the 1920s, Frances Benjamin Johnston was commissioned to photograph gardens and landscapes for a book. As part of that commission, she photographed the gardens and grounds of the Anderson estate. These spectacular photographs, colorized at the time the photographs were made, are a stunning reminder of the beauty of the estate when it was in full bloom.
Brookline Historical Society This is a very eclectic collection of photographs related to the Anderson estate, including a few photographs of the estate after Mrs. Anderson’s death. Some of the materials shown in this collection are also in the collection of Historic New England.
I hope you enjoy these photographs!
Recent photograph of what was once a walkway that led through a dense bosquet of pine trees leading to Larz and Isabel’s beloved Italian Garden (1901), designed by Charles A. Platt, on the grounds of their summer home, “Weld,” in Brookline, Mass. The Library of Congress collection linked above has a photograph of what this looked like during the Andersons’ lifetime. (Photo by Skip Moskey, 2013.)