Important discovery of previously unpublished photos of Anna Alcott Pratt and John Bridge Pratt

Read the Boston Globe story about this discovery,
first revealed on this blog.

I am thrilled to be able to reveal, for the first time, previously unknown photos of Anna Alcott Pratt and John Bridge Pratt to you.

Approached by local researcher

I was recently contacted by Ray Angelo, an amateur botanist and former resident of Concord. Forty years ago Mr. Angelo’s passion led him to the journals of Henry David Thoreau, and flora manuscript of Thoreau’s friend, Minot Pratt. Using these works, Mr. Angelo retraced the steps of these men in locating the various plants and wild flowers they had recorded.

Rediscovering Minot Pratt

Brook Farm “The Hive;”, from

In the course of his study, Mr. Angelo became fascinated with Minot Pratt who not only was the father of John Bridge Pratt, but also one of the founders of Brook Farm (along with George Ripley, Nathaniel Hawthorne and others), the most successful of the many nineteenth century utopian experiments. Upon seeking out the grave site of Minot Pratt at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Mr. Angelo was dismayed to discover that there was no marker for Minot there. There was only a stone for John Pratt’s older brother Frederick (the only Concord resident to be drafted into military service for the Civil War). Thus began Mr. Angelo’s longing to have a proper stone installed at the grave site for Minot.

A quest yields a discovery

Anxious as well to find some image of Minot Pratt, Mr. Angelo this year conducted an extensive genealogical study in the hopes of finding a descendent that could help. It was this quest which led to the discovery of a photo album including the then unknown photos of Anna and John.

After Mr. Angelo sent me small reproductions of the photos, I contacted Kristi Martin, a Boston University doctoral candidate in American Studies and licensed tour guide of the historical homes of Concord. I then helped Mr. Angelo connect with Jan Turnquist, executive director of Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House. A field trip to Mr. Angelo’s lovely home rewarded us with views of these photographs along with Mr. Angelo’s fascinating account.

Was Mr. Angelo successful in securing a proper marker for Minot Pratt?

The answer lies in his fascinating illustrated account which features photos of present-day Alcott/Pratt descendants:

Click on this link — 00 guest post by Ray Angelo – Following Genealogical Trails2

Kristi Martin offers a fascinating analysis of the photographs and the importance of this discovery to Alcott scholarship — click on this link — The Importance of the Newly Identified Alcott-Pratt Photographs by Kristi Martin2

Other information

Visit Ray Angelo’s website at where he has a number of papers online which you can read, including his biography on Minot Pratt.


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11 Replies to “Important discovery of previously unpublished photos of Anna Alcott Pratt and John Bridge Pratt”

  1. This is so incredibly cool!!!! To find secrets from history by such active pursuit and to have that pursuit sparked by a feeling of connection with the past….It’s exciting, inspiring, and it brings the past into our presence. So great! It gives a bit of hope to those who want to explore trails of info from the past…

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