Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum
Frank Cousins Glass Plate Negatives Collection, 1890-1920
Frank Cousins (July 1, 1851-June 6, 1925) was born in Salem. In 1868, after working as a cash boy in the dry goods store of J.B. & S.D. Shepard, he and his brothers opened a general store located at 170-174 Essex Street. After his brothers' deaths, Cousins continued to operate the store, calling it "Cousins' Bee Hive," and—being particularly interested in the area’s colonial architecture—started publishing photographic views of Essex County. The success of his business allowed him to photograph around and outside the country, and he published several works on colonial architecture as well as photographic albums.
The Frank Cousins Collection of Glass Plate Negatives includes 2,669 photographs (mostly glass negatives) ranging in size from 6.5 x 8.5 inches to 8 x 10 inches. The subjects of the images include landmarks and architecture of Salem and other towns in northeastern Massachusetts, as well as Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City, and other metropolitan areas of the eastern United States and locations abroad, the latter especially with relevance to the life of Nathaniel Hawthorne. There are also paintings, engravings, furniture, objects, and interior views from historic homes and museums, including the Peabody Museum and the Essex Institute.