New Hampshire Bar Journal
2011 Summer, Pg. 44.
Concord Judge Was A History Buff - and a relentless collector
New Hampshire Bar JournalVolume 52, No. 2Summer 2011Concord Judge Was A History Buff - and a relentless collectorBy Megan De VorseyNote: Megan DeVorsey, a NHBar member and afaculty member at the UNH School of Law, wrote this article, originally published in the Concord Monitor on November 8, 2009, in conjunction with a NH Supreme Court Society Exhibit on Judge Page Reprinted with permission.
In 1935, the Boston Herald published this provocative headline: "Judge Rushes Through Flames to Rescue Ancient Documents." The judge was Elwin Page. The documents in peril were records dating to the founding of the First Congregational Church in Concord in 1730. And the incident sums up Page perfectly: a mild-mannered man who would nonetheless risk life and limb to preserve the historic record, a caped crusader ensuring that history was available to all.
Page is the author of Abraham Lincoln in New Hampshire, the newly republished book chronicling Lincoln's single trip to the state in I860. But he was much more than that. A state Supreme Court justice in the 1930s and '40s, Page was an amazing collector and cataloguer of local artifacts big and small. He was a theater buff and an autograph hound. He helped create the Concord Room at the Concord City Library and he stocked it with memorabilia from the past.
My first insight into Page came from my house, formerly his house, on Cambridge Street in Concord. In the living room, bookcases line every possible wall. They are not ornamental - these are bookcases built for a purpose. After arranging our novels on the shelves, we learned that the room once held the library of a judge, a prominent Lincoln scholar who had published several books.
We quickly acquired the first book in our Page colleciionjudicial Beginnings in New Hampshire 1640-1700. Initially I saw this book merely as a treasure connected to the history of our house. Now that I know more about Page, I realize that this book is the product of his effort to organize the colonial court records deposited by the state in the basement of the New Hampshire Historical Society. He organized these records into 30,429 files, and his filing system is used today at the State Archives.
Page's love for history was such that he grieved when he learned that ajosiah Bartlett letter was being sold out of state, and he petitioned Gov Francis...