Sometimes, history can seem like one huge mystery. Each fact is tied into a complex web, each artifact a clue. Sometimes, you can be confronted by a puzzling artifact, you can find clues about it, but have it still seem mysterious. Personally, I enjoy the objects that I know the least about, I find them fascinating and I love to discover as much as I can. This week’s Exhibit Highlight made me work for the information, but I loved every minute.
Though the Common Indecency Exhibit is not on display at the Historical Society currently, there are many wonderful objects we have yet to shed light on. The Exhibit Highlight this week is a pair of stockings, made of white cotton knit with a lacy pattern of stripes down the leg and foot. Knit into the tops of the stockings are the mysterious initials “J.R.D.” Who is this woman who wore the fashionable stockings?
Richard Chapell donated the stockings to the Historical Society in 1983. Born in 1928, Richard was a long time Andover business owner, and a board member of multiple committees and business boards. He was also part of the Andover Senior Center. Richard owned Andover Photo on Barnard Street, which he took over in 1978. He was born in West Hartford, CT, graduated from Williams College, and the Stamford Business School, and served in the army.
Someone in Richard’s family must have worn the stockings, but that is a fact that was lost in the web of time and information. For now, we can only wonder and continue to search for answers in the archives and books of the Historical Society.