Fitz, Newton (Lawrence, MA)

This collection is entirely composed of one small account book.  A label on the front leaf reads “Sold by John C. Dow Bookseller, stationer, dealer in black books, stationery, school books, prayer books, Bibles, paper hangings, border, & etc. No. 5, Merchants’ Row Essex Street, Lawrence.” 

The original purpose of this book seems to have been used my Newton Fitz to keep track of the accounts of his music students.  The dates listed seem to range from 1853-1858.  Later programs and newspaper clippings were pasted on top of many of the accounts.  These programs include concerts that Mr. Fitz and his family attended as well as concerts that he alone or he in concert with his wife performed.  These programs date from 1856-1859.  The newspaper clippings are about Mr. and Mrs. Fitz’s last several concerts and contain regrets that the family will be leaving Lawrence soon.

The pages are hand-numbered through page 62.  A few pages later is an “Inventory of Effects” dated Jan. 1, 1856.  This includes lists of household items with values, “bills due considered good”, and “debts payable.”  Next are some childlike drawings in pencil with the name of Mary Alice Fitz at the top.  There is a short half page journal in purple ink: “Columbia Lizzie Smith commence work Sept. 22, 1879.”  This journal talks about the Fitz family again.  A few pages later there are, what appears to be, homework in English and penmanship in both pencil and red ink.  Turning the book upside down there now appear drawings in pencil and paste-ins with notations saying house nos. and room names.  Turned right sides up again they are on top of accounts back to the 1850s in blue ink.  Next is a watercolor painting of trees and a daisy (sun?).  A notation follows dated May 17, 1884 about writing a sonata.  There are a few notes written and that is followed by a grocery list.  Finally, on the last four pages of the book, are lists of Latin verbs with translations in three colors of ink.

Newton Fitz was born around 1834 in Massachusetts.  He married Clymana Williams.  He provided private lessons in either or both piano and voice the City of Lawrence, MA during the 1850s.  He was also the organist and choirmaster at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church and a music teacher at Oliver High School.  He performed a number of concerts in Lawrence sometimes as an accompanist, at other times with his wife and others.  He moved to Mobile, Alabama, November 1, 1859 and lived there in Ward 2. He is listed in the Mobile directory of 1861 as an employee of the J.H. Snow Music Company, which sold pianofortes, organs, and sheet music and repaired and tuned pianos.   He performed at least one concert at the Catholic Cathedral there.   He served the Confederacy in the 42nd Alabama Infantry, co. I.   He settled in Norfolk, Virginia and was last in the city directory in 1900.  He was a member of the Pickett-Buchanan Camp of Confederate Veterans in Norfolk, Virginia

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