I came from a family of archivists. Not the kind that went to school for it or worked in a library, it runs in our blood to save, to collect, to file away for safe keeping. Over a hundred years of passing down artifacts of our family's history now waits in boxes in my Grandmother's garage. Over the past few months I have slowly been helping my Grandma go through these boxes of letters, diaries, photographs, and miscellaneous family items. The amount of things saved is simultaneously amazing and utterly overwhelming. For instance, why did my great-grandfather feel the need to have twelve copies of our family tree and twelve more of his brother-inlaws family tree? Mostly what we fave found is fascinating and sometimes heartbreaking; a bible that came over with the Kean's from Scotland in 1723, a medical kit, a recipe for jellied-calves foot and on the back a journal entry from the day the American Civil War ended, a dried rose placed on someones coffin in 1901, details from my great-great-grandfather Robert E. Noel's train wreck written on the back of an envelope, all of my great-grandmother's diaries, and photographs so many photographs of my family... a hundred years of holding on to where we came from.
All of these pictures are of medical instruments belonging to Dr. Andrew Kean, doctor to Thomas Jefferson.