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Guide to the Eleanor Parmenter Churchill Papers, 1924-1992

Collection number: MC 144

Size: 7 boxes (2 cu.ft.)

About Eleanor Parmenter Churchill

Eleanor Parmenter (1914-1994) was brought up with the Shakers at East Canterbury for several years along with several other orphaned and abandoned children. While at Canterbury, Eleanor attended school taught by Sister Marguerite Frost. She worked alongside the Shaker sisters and participated in many aspects of life at the Village, including the Shakers’ numerous plays, parades, and day trips. In 1939 Eleanor left Canterbury and shortly thereafter she married Sam Churchill. Until Sam’s death in 1971 the couple frequently visited and corresponded with the Shaker sisters. Eleanor eventually remarried (Dick Schopp), and she continued to maintain contact with the remaining sisters until the passing of Ethel Hudson, the last Canterbury Shaker, in 1992. Eleanor died in 1994, the victim of a car accident.

About the Eleanor Parmenter Churchill papers

The Eleanor Parmenter Churchill Collection contains materials relating to Churchill’s childhood with the Canterbury Shakers, newspaper clippings and articles about the Shakers, and her correspondence with various Shaker sisters after leaving the Village. It also includes well over a hundred photographs, many of which document life at Canterbury from 1926 to 1940 as well as three cassette tapes of telephone conversations and interviews with the Shakers.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

This collection is open.

Copyright Notice

Contents of this collection are governed by U.S. copyright law. For questions about publication or reproduction rights, contact Special Collections staff.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Eleanor Parmenter Churchill Papers, 1924-1992, MC 144, Milne Special Collections and Archives, University of New Hampshire Library, Durham, NH, USA.

Acquisitions Information

Purchased from Scott De Wolfe, Alfred ME, dealer (Accession number: 95.024)

Collection Contents

Series I: Correspondence, 1929-1983

Box 1
Box 1, Folder 1 Arthur Bruce, cards, undated
Box 1, Folder 2 Ida F. Crook, 1958
Box 1, Folder 3 Aida Elam, 1946-1955
Box 1, Folder 4 Aida Elam, 1956-1957
Box 1, Folder 5 Aida Elam, 1958
Box 1, Folder 6 Aida Elam, 1959
Box 1, Folder 7 Aida Elam, 1960
Box 1, Folder 8 Aida Elam, 1961-1962
Box 1, Folder 9 Aida Elam, birthday and Christmas cards, undated
Box 1, Folder 10 Edith Eunice, undated
Box 1, Folder 11 Marguerite Frost, 1929-1968
Box 1, Folder 12 Irving Greenwood, undated
Box 1, Folder 13 Rebecca Hathaway, 1950-1951
Box 1, Folder 14 Rebecca Hathaway, 1956-1958
Box 1, Folder 15 Rebecca Hathaway, birthday and Christmas cards
Box 1, Folder 16 Alice M. Howland, 1964-1967
Box 1, Folder 17 Alice M. Howland, undated
Box 1, Folder 18 Emma B. King, 1940-1948
Box 1, Folder 19 Emma B. King, 1952-1954
Box 1, Folder 20 Emma B. King, 1955-1956
Box 1, Folder 21 Emma B. King, 1958-1963
Box 1, Folder 22 Emma B. King, 1964
Box 2
Box 2, Folder 1 Bertha Lindsay, 1965-1982
Box 2, Folder 2 Bertha Lindsay, 1963-1981
Box 2, Folder 3 Bertha Lindsay, cards, 1971-1983
Box 2, Folder 4 Mary Alice McCoy, undated
Box 2, Folder 5 Alice McNear, cards, undated
Box 2, Folder 6 Arthur F. Nevers, undated
Box 2, Folder 7 Lillian Phelps, 1967
Box 2, Folder 8 Evelyn Polsey, 1932
Box 2, Folder 9 Evelyn Polsey, 1940
Box 2, Folder 10 Evelyn Polsey, 1943
Box 2, Folder 11 Evelyn Polsey, 1944-1946
Box 2, Folder 12 Evelyn Polsey, 1947
Box 2, Folder 13 Evelyn Polsey, 1948
Box 2, Folder 14 Evelyn Polsey, 1949
Box 2, Folder 15 Evelyn Polsey, 1950
Box 2, Folder 16 Evelyn Polsey, 1951
Box 2, Folder 17 Evelyn Polsey, 1952
Box 2, Folder 18 Evelyn Polsey, 1953
Box 2, Folder 19 Evelyn Polsey, 1954
Box 2, Folder 20 Evelyn Polsey, 1955
Box 2, Folder 21 Evelyn Polsey, undated
Box 2, Folder 22 Evelyn Polsey, Birthday cards, undated
Box 2, Folder 23 Evelyn Polsey, Christmas cards, undated
Box 2, Folder 24 Evelyn Polsey, Easter cards, undated
Box 2, Folder 25 Evelyn Polsey, other cards, undated
Box 3
Box 3, Folder 1 Helena Sarle, 1947-1954
Box 3, Folder 2 Beatrice Stackpole, undated
Box 3, Folder 3 Lena Thomas, undated
Box 3, Folder 4 Louisa F. T?, 1931-1932
Box 3, Folder 5 Miriam Wall, undated
Box 3, Folder 6 Josephine Wilson, 1925

Box 3, Folder 7 Mary Louise Wilson, cards, undated
Box 3, Folder 8 From various Shakers, undated
Box 3, Folder 9 From various girls at Shaker community, undated
Box 3, Folder 10 Between various Shakers, undated
Box 3, Folder 11 Miscellaneous birthday cards, not identified, undated
Box 3, Folder 12 Miscellaneous, Christmas cards from the Canterbury Shakers, undated
Box 3, Folder 13 Miscellaneous, 1930-1937

Series II: Miscellaneous, 1937-1992>

Box 3
Box 3, Folder 14 Autographed sentiments written to Eleanor from the Shakers, the Shaker children, and other friends, 1937-1940
Box 3, Folder 15 Blank cards and postcards, undated
Box 3, Folder 16 “Canterbury Shaker Sweater,” pattern, 1989
Box 3, Folder 17 The Canterbury Shakers,” Vol. 2 #1; Vol. 6 #1, 1982, 1986
Box 3, Folder 18 Catalogs from the Shaker Workshops, 1972; 1983
Box 3, Folder 19 Funeral programs, 1938-1965
Box 3, Folder 20 Invitations to parties, undated
Box 3, Folder 21 “The News,” various issues, 1988-1992
Box 3, Folder 22 Newspaper clippings and articles about the Shakers, undated
Box 3, Folder 23 Paintings (watercolor) by Helena Sarle, undated
Box 3, Folder 24 Programs and pamphlets from Canterbury, undated
Box 3, Folder 25 “The Shaker Legacy,” calendar, 1991
Box 3, Folder 26 Shaker School, commonplace book kept by Eleanor Parmenter while in school, undated
Box 3, Folder 27 Shaker School, composition book kept by Eleanor Parmenter that describes various paintings (art history), undated
Box 3, Folder 28 Shaker school, misc. items, undated
Box 3, Folder 29 Transcriptions of poetry and music, undated (**also see Box 6 and Ovsz Box 1)

Series III: Photographs (mostly undated), 1800s-1979

Subseries A: Individuals

Box 4
Box 4, Envelope 1 Sister M. Catherine Allen (sepia, 8 x 4cm, half of postcard)
Box 4, Envelope 2 Sister Flora Appleton and unidentified woman (black and white, 8 x 11 1/2cm)
Box 4, Envelope 3 Elder Arthur Bruce (3 photos: black and white, 9×12; black and white, 5×8, black and white, 5×8, with negative), 1933; 1957
Box 4, Envelope 4 Antoinette Chandler
Box 4, Envelope 5 Eleanor Parmenter Churchill
Box 4, Envelope 6 Sam Churchill
Box 4, Envelope 7 Martha Coombs
Box 4, Envelope 8 Dorothea Cochran
Box 4, Envelope 9 Aida Elam
Box 4, Envelope 10 Edith Eunice
Box 4, Envelope 11 Ethel Frost
Box 4, Envelope 12 Marguerite Frost
Box 4, Envelope 13 Eva Gardner
Box 4, Envelope 14 Irving Greenwood – includes pictures of buildings on Mt. Washington taken by I.G.
Box 4, Envelope 15 Rebecca Hathaway
Box 4, Envelope 16 Ethel Hudson
Box 4, Envelope 17 Emma King
Box 4, Envelope 18 Bertha Lindsay
Box 4, Envelope 19 Mary Alice McCoy
Box 4, Envelope 20 Ethel Phelps
Box 4, Envelope 21 Lillian Phelps
Box 4, Envelope 22 Evelyn Polsey
Box 4, Envelope 23 Helena Sarle
Box 4, Envelope 24 Gertrude Soule
Box 4, Envelope 25 Gladys Stanley
Box 4, Envelope 26 Miriam Wall
Box 4, Envelope 27 Pet dogs (Rex and Dewey), a cat, and a Holstein cow
Box 4, Envelope 28 Unidentified individuals

Subseries B: Groups

Box 4
Box 4, Folder 29 Photos including Eleanor Parmenter Churchill:
Envelope 1 Eleanor, Elsie Dunlap, Anna Dunlap, Shirley Dunlap, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sister Marguerite Frost, 1927
Envelope 2 Eleanor, Laura, Peggy Roberts, Hazel Tourtelot(?), Emmeline Van Gilder, Rex playing in a pile of hay
Envelope 3 Eleanor and Sister Marguerite Frost
Envelope 4 Elizabeth Gilbert, Beatrice Stackpole, Eleanor, Shirley Dunlap, Anna Dunlap, and Elsie Dunlap
Envelope 5 Front row: Rosamond, Ellen Walker, Hazel Smith, Marion Hoyt Middle row: Unidentified, Eleanor, Lena Thomas Back row: Sister Marguerite Frost, Beatrice Stackpole
Envelope 6 Front row: Marion Hoyt, Hazel Smith, Ellen Walker Middle row: Eleanor, Rosamond, Lena Thomas Back row: Beatrice Stackpole, Sister Marguerite Frost
Envelope 7 Auntie ? and Eleanor
Envelope 8 Mary Alice McCoy, Miriam Wall, Bertha Lindsay, Alberta Hudson, Hazel Smith, and Eleanor
Envelope 9 Alberta Hudson, Martha Coombs, Eleanor waving while standing on a metal fence
Envelope 10 Eleanor, Martha Coombs, Alberta MacMillan (Hudson), Aida Elam, Evelyn Polsey, Edith Eunice (cast of a play?)
Envelope 11 Eleanor and Alberta MacMillan (Hudson)
Envelope 12 Beatrice Stackpole, Alberta MacMillan (Hudson), Eleanor, standing: Martha Coombs with bedspreads in the background
Envelope 13 Eleanor, Evelyn Polsey, Aida Elam in dining room
Envelope 14 Sammy Churchill, Evelyn Polsey, Helena Sarle, two unidentified friends of the Shakers
Envelope 15 Margaret Elwell, Eleanor, Pat Patterson, March 1962
Envelope 16 Eleanor, Bertha Lindsay, Gertrude Soule, 1988
Envelope 17 Bob ?, Eleanor, Ralph ?
Envelope 18 Group shot of 39 children (2 copies)

Envelope 19 Eleanor with Evelyn Polsey in the Radio Room
Envelope 20 Sammy and Eleanor Churchill, 1942
Envelope 21 Eleanor and Evelyn Polsey standing outside under a tree
Box 4, Folder 30 Photos of Shakers:
Envelope 1 Evelyn Polsey and Aida Elam, in kitchen, with wagon of Shaker Brick Oven Baked Beans, and outside buildings (5 photos)

Envelope 2 Evelyn Polsey and Helena Sarle, standing and seated outside (2 photos)

Envelope 3 Aida Elam at the piano and Lillian Phelps at the organ (2 photo postcards)

Envelope 4 Emma King and Rebecca Hathaway, standing
Envelope 5 Anne Baker, Edna Fitts, Lucy Shepard, Julia Briggs, seated outside building
Envelope 6 Edith Eunice and Ida Crook, standing outside building
Envelope 7 Jessie Evans and Mary Alice McCoy standing outside building
Envelope 8 Ursala Gillette and Bertha Lindsay(?) with float for a Shaker parade
Envelope 9 Miriam Wall and Aida Elam, knitting at desks
Envelope 10 Anne Baker (Fannie Fellon?) and Lilliam Phelps, seated
Envelope 11 Sarah Frances Wilson and Jennie Meade, seated
Envelope 12 Bertha Lindsay and Lillian Phelps making poplar baskets
Envelope 13 Lucy Hunt and Aida Elam at the piano
Envelope 14 Marguerite Frost with camera and Evelyn Polsey standing
Envelope 15 Bertha Lindsay and Marguerite Frost with school children
Envelope 16 Unidentified individual, Sister Blanche, Josephine Wilson (seated)
Envelope 17 Left: Marguerite Frost, Mary Louise Wilson, Antionette Chandler Right: Unidentified, Frieda Weeks, Edith Eunice.

Envelope 18 Evelyn Polsey, Helena Sarle, Aida Elam, outdoors (2 photos)

Envelope 19 Mary Alice McCoy(?), Miriam Wall, Bertha Lindsay, standing outside a building
Envelope 20 Evelyn Polsey, Alice Howland, Aida Elam, Rebecca Hathaway, Helena Sarle, Emma King, indoors, 1955 (2 photos)

Envelope 21 Alice Howland, Mary Alice McCoy, Helena Sarle, Evelyn Polsey, a friend, Ethel Eunice, Arthur Bruce, seated, picnicing
Envelope 22 Emma King, friend, Marguerite Frost, Aida Elam, Evelyn Polsey, Ethel Eunice, Unidentified, Helena Sarle, Rebecca Hathaway, Alice McNear(?)
Envelope 23 Evelyn Polsey and Marie, standing outside
Envelope 24 Evelyn Polsey, standing and Sam Churchill, weeding in the garden
Envelope 25 Josephine Wilson with a friend, standing outside
Envelope 26 Bertha Lindsay, Gertrude Soule, and Dick Schopp, Feb. 1986
Envelope 27 Helena Sarle and Rebecca Hathaway, standing outside
Envelope 28 Shaker Orchestra: Marguerite Frost (sax), Alice Howland (violin), Ethel Eunice (Sax), Aida Elam (cello), Frieda Weeks (piano), Evelyn Polsey (violin), Helena Sarle (trumpet)
Box 4, Folder 31 Photos of the “Shaker children”:
Envelope 1 Evelyn Polsey and Emily Colby as children
Envelope 2 Front row: Ellen Walker Razzi, Hazel Smith Eaton, Rosamond Start Alger Back row: Beatrice Stackpole, Marguerite Frost, on steps of a building
Envelope 3 Ellen Walker, Marion Hoyt, Rosamond Start, Lena Thomas, Helen Hoyt, Hazel Smith, Unidentified, outside (2 photos)

Envelope 4 Peggy and Gertrude Roberts, outside a building
Envelope 5 Rosamond Start Alger and Hazel Smith Eaton, with irons in laundry room, 1988(?)
Envelope 6 Helen Hoyt, Rosamond Start Alger, and Hazel Smith Eaton, in drying room, 1988(?)
Box 4, Folder 32 Tour Groups at Shaker Village:
Envelope 1 Bud Thompson taking a group through the Village, 1980
Envelope 2 Nola Stokes taking a group through the Village, 1984
Envelope 3 Group at the Shaker Village, 1988

Subseries C: Events

Box 4, Folder 33 Dogsled, group shots
Box 4, Folder 34 Graduation, 1930
Box 4, Folder 35 Hampton Beach, Franconia Notch, and Boer’s Head trips, ca. 1930
Box 4, Folder 36 Hurricane of 1938 1938
Box 4, Folder 37 Reunion, Shaker Village, 1979
Box 4, Folder 38 Trip to Shaker Camp on Lake Winnisquam, 1927
Box 4, Folder 39 Unidentified play or program, people dressed as angels
Box 4, Folder 40 Unidentified play or program, people dressed as Indians
Box 4, Folder 41 Other scenes of plays and parades

Subseries D: Scenes of Canterbury Shaker Village

Box 5
Box 5, Folder 1 Stereoscopic views of Canterbury Shaker Village, 1800s
Box 5, Folder 2 Buildings at Canterbury Shaker Village: Horse Barn; Old Church; Lower Mill; Sister’s Shop; Shaker’s Shed; Barns; Dwelling House; Garage and Electric Light Plant; Basket Shed; Laundry; Syrup Shop; Saw Mill; Infirmary; Office
Box 5, Folder 3 Inside buildings at Canterbury Shaker Village: Chapel; Kitchen; Power House; Radio Room; Dining Room; Laundry Room; Old Church; Cow Barn; Dairy
Box 5, Folder 4 Outside scenes of the Shaker Village
Box 5, Folder 5 Shaker furniture

Series IV: Material items, 1927-1987

Box 6
Box 6, Folder 1 Shaker stuffed toy zebra, undated
Box 6, Folder 2 Shaker bean bag toy clown, undated
Box 6, Folder 3 Shaker stuffed toy dog, undated
Box 6, Folder 4 Linen handkerchief with needle point flower done by Rebecca Hathaway, undated
Box 6, Folder 5 Brown swatch of cloth with pink needle point design, undated
Box 6, Folder 6 Shaker fine work lace, undated
Box 6, Folder 7 Needle holder with “Eleanor” written on the front, undated
Box 6, Folder 8 Spoon owned by Evelyn Polsey, undated
Box 6, Folder 9 Potholder made by Myra Green (age 102), undated
Box 6, Folder 10 Yellow needle and pin sharpener shaped like a strawberry, undated
Box 6, Folder 11 Blue and green ibid, undated
Box 6, Folder 12 Eleanor’s hair saved from first cutting, 1927
Box 6, Folder 13 Cassette tape (Sony HF 90): Bertha Lindsay and Gertrude Soule taped telephone conversations, 1986-1987
Box 6, Folder 14 Cassette tape (Compact cassette C-90): Christmas greetings from Bertha Lindsay, Dec. 1986
Box 6, Folder 15 Cassette tape (Memorex dBS 60): Ray Lajoie, Barney Larri, Norman, Robbie Bertha Lindsay and Gertrude Soule, undated
Oversize Box 1
Oversize Box 1, Item 1 “Scrapbook I [Eleanor Parmenter] filled at the Shakers,”1926-1939
Oversize Box 1, Item 2 Scrapbook of newspaper clippings and mementos about and from the Shakers, 1950s-1992
Oversize Box 1, Item 3 Student’s Certificate for the Palmer Method of Business Writing granted to Eleanor Parmenter in 19301930

One Response to “Guide to the Eleanor Parmenter Churchill Papers, 1924-1992”

  1. courtney vargas Says:


    My grandmother is Hazel Smith (Eaton). I have noticed you have some pictures of her. I was hoping very much to see them. Is there any way I could get an electronic copy of some of her old photographs? I would like to share them with her family.

    thank you so much, courtney v.