My blog has been changed to make it more appealing for those who have New England ancestors and want to see the area through photos. Things I’ll include are typical white New England churches, libraries showing their genealogical collection, historical societies, cemeteries, war memorials, in general, anything to do with history.

For four years I’ve blogged mostly about my personal genealogy in New England (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire), New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. I still will, can’t forget my own roots.

Please check out the labels on the right side for articles. The header tabs at the top are a work in progress.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Finally, What Was the Good Stuff in The Probate?

Etching of W. F. Poole
New York Times Obituary
A Bill of Appraisement of the Estate of William F. Poole, late of the County of Cook and State of Illinois, deceased was finally signed on 25 March 1895, a year after his death. The Will and Probate as well as the "The Longest Obituary I've Ever Seen" were discussed in previous posts, but I just have to share this with all the librarians who may have learned about him. Yes, he had assets, quite a lot in my opinion, but that isn't what interested me. I wanted to know if the Librarian of the Newberry Library in Chicago, Illinois had any books.

He sure did, 2,600 books, all valued at $1. That portion of his estate was worth $2,600. Why did he have so many books, did they belong to the library or were they actually his? And if they were his, was he going to give them away or donate to the Library. If they were his own, I wonder why didn't he just use the ones at the library and save his money.

Below are copies of the Bill of Appraisement, Agreement with Houghton, Mifflin and Co., and Appraisers' Estimate of the Value of Property Allowed to the Widow.


of the Estate of William F. Poole, late of the County of Cook and State of Illinois, deceased.
                   One lot of Books (2600 in number) at $1.00 per volume.
                                                                                      Total-         $2,600

             "Agreement between W. F. Poole and Houghton, Mifflin and Co. of Boston, Mass., dated September 30th, 1890, whereby Houghton/, Mifflin and Co. agree to pay royalty on all sales of 'Poole's Index to Periodical Literature.' The value of said contract is impossible to determine, but Houghten [sic], Mifflin and Company have paid to W. F. Poole from the time of the date of said contract, an average of $350.00 a year thereon."


ivy said...

Hello Barbara,

I am a fellow at the Newberry library currently doing some research on Poole's Index, which is how I happened to come across your blog. I happened upon some biographical information in the Newberry Library archives regarding the sale of William Frederick Poole's books after his death. Yes, they were his personal collection, and it was quite extensive. The family tried to sell them privately, but it seems as if that didn't work out and so a public sale was held in 1900; there is a copy of the catalog of the sale in the Newberry's collection (Catalogue of the valuable private library of the late William F. Poole, LL.D., Librarian of the Newberry Library, Chicago, Ill. -- ) The catalogue is quite extensive!

Hope this helps!

Barbara Poole said...

Ivy, thank you for taking the time to share the above information with me, as it answers the question to my blog. I see you are doing research on the Index, could you share light on what more is there to be said about him and his Index? I know there are many, many articles, and a book about him. On the genealogical side, of which I'm interested, there is very little about him and his family. Fortunately, I've had good luck with public records. I'm not sure if you've seen my other blog articles about my 2nd great-grandfather, WFP, if so, I hope there is something of interest...from a non-scholar. I'll be adding your comment into my blog. Thanks again.
Barbara Poole

ivy said...

Hi Barbara, I don't know that I can offer you more than what's already available. My work is more about the Index in the context of librarianship rather than Poole as a person, so I don't pay close attention to the biographical or genealogical details unless directly relevant to that. Sorry!

What i do know is this: Most of the records that contain information about him were preserved through institutional records, such as at the Newberry. His personal correspondence was not done on work time, so it wasn't kept by the libraries. As far as I know there aren't many personal letters or other insights into life beyond work. The Williamson biography is quite thorough, and his copious research notes from working on it are housed at the Newberry. If you ever find yourself in the Chicago area, I would definitely suggest looking into those files, as his notes have information about family trees and other information (they're not super organized, though!). Williamson's records do show that he tried to get in contact with family/descendants in the 1950s to see if they had letters or other records, but he did not turn up much.

I would be happy to send you whatever comes of my research, but it wouldn't be available for a while. I did happen to find that the sales catalog from Poole's book collection is also digitized on HathiTrust here, so you can see for yourself what books he had:

Hope this helps! Sorry I don't know more.

Barbara Poole said...

Goodness, thanks for the quick response. I think with any ancestor, a descendant would love to find a Bible, personal letters and such. Maybe there were some, but I'm thinking not. When I visited with the archivist at the Boston Athenaeum several years ago, she asked if I knew why he left "quickly" and alluded to a possible wrong doing or an affair. Of course I didn't know the answer, but always wondered. Yes, I'm familiar with the Williamson book. My father was born in the Chicago area, and WFP was born and buried not too far from me in Massachusetts. I doubt if I'll ever get to Chicago (but have bee in contact with the library several times). I've been in contact with the the other Poole line's descendant (I can tell you, they are private about the family.)
Thank you for the sales catalog, I quickly flew through it. Saw lots of familiar titles, and some books I use even now. He was a descendant of Anne Bradstreet (I saw he had a book of her poems).
Anyway, you've helped more than you know, and I'm so appreciative. Thank you Ivy, and good luck with your project. Barabara