Thayer Family Makes An Enormous Multifaceted Object Donation To The Farmington Historical Society

Thayer Family Makes An Enormous Multifaceted Object Donation To The Farmington Historical Society

To be honest I don't even know where to start with this extremely important donation to the Museum of Farmington History. 

Last year, after the nation began to shut down, because of Covid-19, we received a phone call from Sylvia Thayer, daughter of James (Jim) and  Beulah Thayer, long time residents, leaders, and benefactors of Farmingtion. Beulah's death was in 2012 and Jim passed away before her and Sylvia was finishing up going through their effects and was ready to donate remembrances to the society. Sylvia said she had about fourteen boxes of items to donate and that there might be a few more.


I have to tell you that generally when people make memorial donations for their family members, the donations are normally quite small. Sometimes I'm fortunate to get a few photos and few personal items to add to the collection. Sometimes it is just an article or obituary. I never feel like I get a very good representation of who someone was in life. Even with Sylvia's warning of the number of boxes to be gifted I was prepared to be underwhelmed, because of past experiences.

I was very happy I was wrong and very pleasantly surprised by the sheer amount, condition, and diversity of objects Sylvia was donating to the Farmington Historical Society. I don't know how much work Beulah did before her death to 


categorize and correlate and box these items, but even if she did a fair amount of that herself, Sylvia still had a tremendous amount of work to do just to assemble all these things for preservation in the museum.

This gift collection contains more than twenty boxes. Large boxes of photos, letters, travel diaries, news clippings, articles, mementos, and cards. Some are serious, staged representations and others are casual, unrehearsed everyday representations of Beulah and her family and friends and what life meant to her.

There are some lovely original representations of "Thayercrest, " in various mediums in the donated collection. There are also many photos of the house, gardens, and events held at the house, as well as events held here in town.


It is likely to take years for me to even to know the depth of all the donations in this gift collection. Beyond that, even without seeing all the items and knowing all of their associations and connections, I can tell you that we will learn just as much about our town and other people in it, as we will learn about Beulah. She was very socially active and politically active as well. She and her husband served on so many boards and held so many offices it would be very hard account for them all. She was locally minded, but was also held an keen interest in our region and New Hampshire at large. When you live an active life that touches so many people, those actions and those people become part of your personal story.   

The Society and I are honored to be the stewards of the this gift collection.

Kyle Leach, Curator
Farmington NH Historical Society
Museum of Farmington History

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