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(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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Deerfield, Massachusetts' most famous photographers were the sisters Frances and Mary Allen, who loved to take carefully composed photographs of New England life. They amassed tens of thousands of images during their long careers (1885-1920). Here, they have taken one of the town's most sage-looking men, George Sheldon (1818-1916), its local historian and representative to the Massachusetts Senate, and posed him with a little boy. The boy was Mark Allen (1893-1971), the photographers' nephew. Sheldon is wearing a tri-corner hat and shoes with silver buckles, accoutrements of the 18th century, while the boy is dressed in a sailor suit, typical for 1898. They are standing in the doorway of Sheldon's home, the Sheldon-Hawks house, one of Deerfield's oldest (built 1671). It had been purchased in 1708 by George's great-great grandfather, Ensign John Sheldon (1658-c. 1733). The photograph was used for a number of illustrations, including George Sheldon's poetic account of Deerfield's "Little Brown House," first published in 1898.
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