The Ladies Social Circle holds a benefit for the Universalists of West Acton

The Ladies’ Social Circle OF WEST ACTON, WILL HOLD A LEVEE AND FAIR FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE UNIVERSALIST SOCIETY… South Acton, Mass.: Acton Patriot Press, 1875.
Broadside on thin stock, 42”h x 29”w at sheet edge, uncolored. Bit of offset and edge wear, but strikingly good for such a large and fragile object.

A very large, handsome and rare broadside promoting an 1875 “levee and fair” to benefit the Universalist Society of West Acton, Massachusetts.

The West Acton parish of the Universalist Society of West Acton was established in 1858 and constructed its own meeting house in 1868. In October 1875 the Reverend I. C. Knowlton was named the new pastor, a position he held for the next fifteen years. (Harold R. Phalen, History of the Town of Acton, (Cambridge: Middlesex Printing, 1954), p. 414)

This broadside promotes a December 1875 fundraising event on behalf of the Universalist Society, staged by the Ladies’ Social Circle of West Acton. Following eight lines of eye-catching headline type, the broadside describes the evening’s “entertainments” and “attractions,” including songs, speeches, a “smiling match,” and—my favorite—“a rich and costly Alarm Clock to be given to the Yankee who makes the Best Guess as to when it will Strike.”

I seen a very similar broadside for an 1870 “levee” on behalf of the Universalist Society of West Acton, so this may have been an annual event.

In all, a rare survival suggesting that civil society was alive and well in 1870s Acton.

OCLC 925277468 (American Antiquarian Society only, as of December 2018).