Coal County Connections


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Coal County Connections

Coal County Connections: How finding an 1800s autograph album led to a quest to find its signers in coal patch towns of northeastern Pennsylvania
By Melanie Akren-Dickson


“Coal miners, Midwestern schoolteachers, Civil War veterans, and the daughters of a Philadelphia industrial magnate – what could they possibly have in common?

In the 1880s-19s they all signed Mary Boyd’s autograph album.  Mary lived in a coal patch town in the anthracite coal fields of northeastern Pennsylvania and over the course of 14 years she had those around her fill her album.

Using online records, historical documents, newspaper articles, and family records, an amazing amount of information was found about the neighbors, friends, and family who signed Mary’s Album.

Those Who lived in the region of the coal breakers were hardy, resilient people.  Discovering the life stories of those who signed Mary’s album gives us a fascinating glimpse into the world in which they lived.

Previously titled “This, Their Friendship’s Monument”, this revised edition has over 60 additional images and is now in color.”