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Friday, June 4, 2010

Calling All Campers!

"Canoeing at Camp Teconnet." From the New England Girls' Summer Camps Photograph Album.

These days are filled with happiness,
Encouragement, and zest.
Companionship we never lack,
Or chance to play—or rest;
No silly rules there are, and yet,
No doubt of loving care.
Each girl has opportunities
To serve, enjoy, and share.

—From a 1917 brochure about Camp Teconnet

In 2008, we made a lucky find in a rare book dealer’s catalog: a lovely New England girls' summer camp photograph album. We were utterly charmed by this album of black and white photos of girls at Camp Mascoma, in New Hampshire in 1916 and Camp Teconnet Maine in 1917. The unidentified teenage girl who created this album clearly had a wonderful time swimming, canoeing, and sitting around campfires with the friends she made, each with her own nickname like “Parsnips.”

The album also included material clipped from a promotional brochure about Camp Teconnet, which described camp life as “the wisest and sanest solution of the vacation problem for girls.” The brochure also proclaimed, “Physical measurements are taken at the beginning of the season for each camper and from these the 'Missus' and councilors form the foundation for the work with the individual, encouraging here and holding back there, so that the end of the season may bring its own reward in better health and physique.” These girls certainly do look healthy and fit!

You'll find a detailed description of this album here. If you'd like to look through the album yourself and reminisce about your own days at camp (or if you have any questions about the album), e-mail us at special-collections(at)duke.edu.

Post contributed by Kelly Wooten, Research Services and Collection Development Librarian for the Sallie Bingham Center of Women's History and Culture.

"Waiting for Dinner." From the New England Girls' Summer Camps Photograph Album.


  1. "Camp Mascoma in New Hampshire" did not exist in 1916. It was founded by Frank and Helen Moeschen in 1933 on Lake Placid in New York, and then moved to New Hampshire, on Crystal Lake in Enfield Center, N.H., in 1938.

  2. Thanks for your note about the history of Camp Mascoma. We consulted the scrapbook again, and at the beginning of the Camp Mascoma section of the scrapbook, the maker has written "Mascoma Camp, Enfield, N.H., Summer of 1916."

  3. Camp Mascoma was located on Crystal Lake in Enfield, NH as Paul said above. "Mascoma Camp" was most probably located on Mascoma Lake in Enfield, NH. Two completely different lakes/locations.

  4. Thanks for clearing up our confusion. We’d like to leave the post as is, without correction--so that we all remember how careful we need to be in our research (archivists included!).