I read with interest a recent article in the Daily Times regarding the Phillips Library Collections in Salem. Apparently a trove of local historical information pertinent to researchers and historians has been unavailable to the public recently and there is talk of moving the collection to a facility in Rowley. Previously it had been housed at the Peabody Essex Museum and there is great concern about moving it to Rowley.
As I have mentioned before, Gloucester is very fortunate to have several repositories of local historical information — three of the major ones are located within a city block of each other: Sawyer Free Library, City Archives and City Hall and the Cape Ann Museum Archives! I had the great good fortune recently to finally locate a detail regarding John Handran who won a Medal of Honor while serving in the US Navy, and later drowned while serving on the Schooner Cleopatra.
This notation in the January 1 1886 Cape Ann Advertiser seems to confirm that Gloucester’s John Handran had been presented the Medal of Honor by connecting this drowned John Handran to US Navy service. (Born in Newfoundland, married and started family in Gloucester) I have been searching for such a detail for a long long time in response to correspondence from a Canadian researcher specializing in Canadians who won the Medal of Honor from the United States.
Special thanks to the staff at the Cape Ann Archives who assisted me in finding this and allowing me to look through the actual 1886 newspaper for coverage of the sinking of the Schooner Cleopatra. They were as happy as I was to find this tidbit. That day, I strolled from the library to the archives and was able to get what I needed before the parking meter ran down. Gloucester indeed has a noble record of access to historical records and I would hate to ever face losing any of it and I wish those interested in the Phillips Library the best of luck.