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Featured Exhibitor: Elizabeth Kelly-Griswold

Elizabeth Kelly-Griswold is the owner of BlueMango Books and Manuscripts, where she collects and sells primarily early American primary source manuscripts. This collection includes journals, diaries, account books, and bibles. Elizabeth loves finding stories and connections in the material she collects. A big part of being able to sell these items is researching what they mean and the people involved. She uses platforms like Findagrave in order to do extensive research on the people mentioned in these books and manuscripts. Oftentimes, she’ll go on Ancestry and try to connect family members to important pieces of their history that she happens to find. In Elizabeth's words, it's important for her to “connect the past with the present.” At the moment, she's a current member of the Bucks County Antique Association, and she closely works with local historical societies in order to connect local towns to glimpses of their history.

A significant part of Elizabeth's journey is her interest in genealogy, biology, and the environment. She set off for college at the University of Wisconsin where she graduated with a degree in water resources and fisheries management. Her original career was as a fisheries biologist in both Wisconsin and Minnesota, where she focused on lab research. She credits a lot of the skills that help her focus on researching history nowadays, to the attentiveness and levels of observation she held in the lab setting.

In 2011, Elizabeth moved to Pennsylvania where she began attending local auctions. It was here on Saturday mornings that she began buying and collecting bibles in hopes of eventually researching and selling them. A big part of this process included genealogy and connecting these bibles with descendants of the family lines in which they came from. This was all very different for Elizabeth, she came from a family of physicians, but there was always a value placed on history. She remembers looking at old medical journals, recipes, and photos of her ancestors as they went through their medical careers. This part of her journey didn’t take off until a few years before she was contemplating full retirement. Currently, she spends her time between her three children and her grandchildren when she isn't collecting and researching. She wants others to know. “It's never too late to start a second career and do what you love and love what you do.”

Elizabeth is looking forward to exhibiting at the upcoming Northampton Fair for the first time. She loves New England and Historic Deerfield in particular, often calling it a home away from home. She’ll be participating in the Inaugural Philly Book Fair in December, and she's exhibited at other fairs and auctions as well.

She is extremely excited to showcase some of the manuscripts, bibles, and books she's come across recently, and will have a collection full of history, meaning, and connection for others to look at. One of the things she will be bringing with her is a medical manuscript titled Orange Vermont from Andrew Field in the 1840s who was a doctor in the country to the poor, for the births of babies, and much more. She also will be bringing a collection of eight diaries from Samuel Williams who lived between 1812 to 1884 as a missionary to China and as a Chinese Language professor at Yale. She will have a 1749 English Dictionary from the London Print up for exhibit. This was owned by the Goddard family, starting in 1753, one of the men in this family was an early immigrant to the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and he passed this dictionary down through generations of his family.

Elizabeth will have much more up for exhibit, and she’s excited to share the story behind these stories with others as passionate about history as she is. “It’s fascinating to me to read and to study about the lives that have gone before us.”

*The first photo featured above is a 1785 livery stable manuscript

*The second photo featured above is from Elizabeth's Instagram @bluemangobooksandmanuscripts of calligraphic family records from the Moyer Family of Hilltown, Bucks County PA

*The photo to the left is the Americana Manuscript, a family account book from Isaac Sanderson in Whatley Massachusetts from 1801-1830. Son to Ruth and Joseph Sanderson, Isaac lived from 1757-1849. His great grandmother was Ann Alcock Foster from 1617-1692, who died in a Salem Prison after being tortured in the notorious Salem Witch Trials.

Written By: Meghan Cenci on November 23rd, 2022


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