Guide to the Bigelow and La Farge Families Tuckernuck House Journal, 1904-2007

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Research Library at the Nantucket Historical Association. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the internet.


William Sturgis Bigelow owned property on Tuckernuck Island, at which he frequently entertained guests until his death, when he willed the property to the La Farge family. This collection contains the Bigelow and La Farge house journal recording visitors and events from 1904-2007.

Collection Details

Collection Number:
Bigelow and La Farge Families Tuckernuck House Journal
La Farge Family; and Bigelow, William Sturgis, 1850-1926.
Nantucket Historical Association
Material is in English.

Information for Users

Restrictions to Access: No restrictions. Open for research.

Restrictions to Use: No usage restrictions.

Copyright Notice: Copyright is retained by the authors of items in this collection, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Preferred Citation: Bigelow and La Farge Tuckernuck House Journal, Nantucket Historical Association.

Acquisitions Information:

Gift of Christian Nicolas and the La Farge family. Digitized by NHA in 2019 (RL2019.53).

Sensitive Materials Statement:

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual’s private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the Nantucket Historical Association assumes no responsibility.

Related Collections

  • MS245 Dr. William Sturgis Bigelow Papers, 1908-1975, Nantucket Historical Association.

Subject Headings

  • Personal Names
    • La Farge family.
    • Bigelow, William Sturgis, 1850-1926.
    • Lodge, George Cabot, 1873-1909.
  • Topical Terms
    • Tuckernuck Island (Mass.)

Biographical Information

Henry Jacob Bigelow (1818-1890) of Boston, Mass., purchased land on the West Head of Tuckernuck Island near North Pond from Charles Dunham in 1866, and built a house in 1871. His son William Sturgis Bigelow (1850-1926), a Buddhist and collector of Japanese art, began frequenting the house every summer in the 1890s, improving the property with a kitchen, a library, a darkroom for photography, telescopes, and a freshwater bath. Before he became too ill to travel to Tuckernuck in 1912, he hosted friends for summer retreats, including members of the La Farge family, the Dunham family, and the Cabot Lodge family, which included two of his closest friends, Henry Cabot Lodge (1850-1924), United States senator for Massachusetts, and his poet son George Cabot Lodge (1873-1909, known as “Bey” to Bigelow). When Bigelow retired from Tuckernuck, the Dunham and La Farge families maintained the house. Upon Bigelow’s death in 1926, he willed the property to the La Farge family. Due to the eroding shoreline, the La Farge family relocated parts of Bigelow’s house to more stable ground on the eastern end of the island in 1944. After significant renovations, the La Farge family reopened the house as a retreat for family and friends, continuing Bigelow’s tradition of journaling during the summers.

Scope and Content

The collection consists of one journal documenting visits, bird hunts, fishing trips, weather, weddings, and other house parties at the La Farge family property on Tuckernuck. Scope of log varies between yearly, weekly, and daily entries. Early entries include poems by George Cabot Lodge, newspaper clippings, Japanese illustrations from William Sturgis Bigelow’s collection, and photographs of visitors. Later entries include photographs of island scenes and birds, as well as obituaries of the heads of the La Farge family and other frequent house guests. A 1962 map of Tuckernuck Island is included as the frontispiece.


DO-565/1: Tuckernuck Log Volume 1, 1904-2007

Processing Information

Originals retained by donor.

Processed and Finding Aid by Alex McGrath, February 2020.

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