Frances & Mary Allen: Photographs
© Memorial Hall Museum, Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association
Postcard of the Allen House, old Deerfield, by an unidentified artist, c. 1905.
In the early 20th century tourists could find the soft-focus compositions of pictorialist photographers Frances and Mary Allen at the salesroom located in the front parlor of their Deerfield home. "There are," promised one Society of Deerfield Industries brochure, "views of the village street, of the old houses, with details of doorways and fireplaces that show the personal touches of the builders, farmers at work, children at play, and bits of the life of old times for which the place can supply endless settings."1 Both the interior and exterior of the Allen homestead was the backdrop to many of their photographs such as those documenting the 1910, 1913, and 1916 Old Deerfield Pageants performed on their property.
The Allen sisters acquired their 1734 old Deerfield home in 1894. Their uncle, Caleb Allen, had resided in the house in the mid-19th century. The house was built in 1934 by a saddle maker who also owned a shop on the property. The Allen sisters built a room to develop their photographs in 1903.