The Ladies Charitable Society of West Boxford, 1862

Andover has a tradition as an area that played a great part in the Anti-Slavery movement. It served as a stop on the Underground Railway and was home to Harriet Beecher Stowe when her husband was employed as a professor at the Andover Theological Seminary. Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison and Sojourner Truth visited her at the “Stone Cabin” as well. This short article from the Andover Advertiser is not linked to the Anti-Slavery movement, but gives a short report on a gathering of the Ladies Charitable Society of West Boxford. As another of the reform movements, this society raised money to better the area’s poor. They mention the activity of providing “tableaux” as an evening’s entertainment. The lesson that accompanies these sources makes use of this activity as well.

The Ladies’ Charitable Society of West Boxford held a Fair and Festival in the vestry1 of the Church on Wednesday evening, Feb. 12 inst2. The evening was fine, the sleighing superb, and everything combined to make the occasion as pleasant as possible. Of course there was a crowd as is usual when the ladies of this Society undertake to entertain their friends. Though the numbers were too great to permit of “free navigation,” especially on the part of the ladies, yet every one seemed to be in the best of humor, and to enjoy themselves as well as they could desire. The refreshments were served in a style unexceptionable, and were abundant enough to withstand the repeated and prolonged assaults of hungry foes. The Tableaux3 were especially good, though comparatively few were able to see them. We learn that a second exhibition took place on the evening of the following Friday, when,

“Those, who looked,
Now looked the more,
And those looked hard,
Who had not looked before.”

On the whole, we have the best of reasons for saying that the (af)Fair passed off both pleasantly and profitably – the net proceeds 4 amounting to $126.50. The ladies of the Society return their thanks to the friends of the neighboring towns, and of the East Parish of Boxford who so kindly gave “aid and comfort” on this occasion. Bless the ladies, “May their shadows never be greater.”

1 Vestry = church meeting room
2 Inst. = “instant,” –lately
3 Tableaux = “tableaux vivant” people imitating a picture
4 Net proceeds = amount of money raised before paying for refreshments, etc.


Andover Advertiser, Andover Massachusetts (February, 1862). Andover Historical Society, Andover, MA.