Guide to the Mary Van Arsdale Papers, circa 1930-2008

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.


Mary “Fuddy” Van Arsdale was a writer, photographer, and painter in Nantucket, Mass. This collection contains her writings and family photographs from 1930 through 2008.

Collection Details

Collection Number:
Mary Van Arsdale Papers.
circa 1930-2008.
Van Arsdale, Mary.
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: [identification of item], in the Mary Van Arsdale Papers, Nantucket Historical Association.

Acquisitions Information:

Gift of an anonymous donor (RL2019.14).

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.

Subject Headings

  • Personal Names
    • Van Arsdale, Mary.
  • Topical Terms
    • Essays – Nantucket (Mass.)

Biographical Information

Mary Elizabeth Lumbert Van Arsdale was born in Nantucket, Mass., in 1920. She often went by the nickname “Fuddy.” In the 1940s, she married Francis William “Van” Van Arsdale, who was enlisted in the U.S. Navy and stationed on Nantucket to build the airport and navy base. Throughout her life, she lived on ‘Chicken Hill,’ at 16 Prospect Street. In addition to her writing and photography, she also painted with oils, which she sold at the annual Sidewalk Art Show on Broad Street. She was active in the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Women’s Auxiliary, and, along with her husband, served as deacon of the Unitarian Church. Van Arsdale died in Nantucket on 12 September 2008.

Scope and Content

Collection consists of essays, poems, and photographs by Mary Van Arsdale. Essay file contains manuscript drafts and notes. Photograph files include individual Polaroids and prints by Van Arsdale, along with a scrapbook family photo album.


Folder 1: Essays and Poemsundated

Folder 2: Polaroids and photo prints, 1978–2008
Album 1: Family photo album, circa 1930–1990

Processing Information

Processed by Alex McGrath, March 2020.

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