21 Oct Finally, we know the contents of that Boston Old State House time capsule
If you are as avid a reader of the Big Statues blog as we hope, then you will have read a recent story about the unexpected discovery of a time capsule in a lion statue in Boston that had been taken down from the city’s Old State House for restoration. It was only relatively recently that the time capsule’s existence was even confirmed, and now, we know exactly what was inside it.
That’s because, to the interest of clients everywhere of bronze statue makers like ourselves, the capsule’s century-old contents were finally recently removed by archivist for The Bostonian Society, Elizabeth Roscio. Indeed, according to spokeswoman Heather Leet, no one at the society had expected them to be in much immaculate condition.
The full list of contents from the 1901-dated time capsule – only about the size of a shoebox – ranges from letters, newspaper clippings and photographs to political campaign buttons and even a presidential message on U.S. foreign relations. The Bostonian Society, which is responsible for the historic Old State House’s upkeep, confirmed that the items would shortly be put on public display.
Despite the capsule having been opened on October 9, concerns about potential damage to the items as a result of any improper handling meant that they were not removed at first. Indeed, according to Leet, Roscio “was initially wary” of opening the capsule, having “thought it would just be a bunch of mold.” Instead, “You open the box, and it’s like they put the stuff in there yesterday. Everything looks like it was just written yesterday.”
Leet described the box’s sealed letters, photographs and newspaper articles as all being in near-perfect condition. The letters have yet to be opened, however, due to fears that the envelopes could be damaged, meaning that they will probably be steamed open.
“One of the coolest things”, according to Leet, was a William McKinley-Theodore Roosevelt campaign button, McKinley being the early 20th century president who was assassinated only months after the placement of the time capsule in the lion’s head. The then vice-president, Roosevelt, succeeded him.
Another surprising inclusion was a mysterious red book, bearing the inner title Foreign Relations of the United States and the sub-title The Annual Message of the President of the United States. The box also contained photographs and business cards of local elected and appointed officials, and even two nails, one from the Old State House and the other from the Old South Church, another historic Boston building.
The capsule is clearly a fascinating treasure trove for any history buff to savor, and as leading bronze statue makers here at Big Statues, we certainly look forward to the public show of its contents – as well as the results of the final restoration of the iconic lion statue.