Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Charles Alcott Flagg

Charles A. Flagg (1870-1920), C.A., is an example of someone with no progeny who is forgotten. We ran across him first within the context of The Massachusetts Magazine. He was a regular contributor starting with Vol. 1, No. 2 with an article on "Massachusetts Pioneers in Michigan" that we will look at further. 

In our last post, we mentioned that C.A. gave a nod to Dr. Frank's in the introduction of his book, Alphabetical Index of Revolutionary Pensioners Living in Maine, with respect to Dr. Frank's work on Massachusetts regiments. 

Two things motivate this post. 

  • C.A.'s work is quoted in the SSP of Maine (soldiers, sailors) quite extensively. However, there is also this little note by the editors (curators) of the work: 

      This list is full of errors. It contains names of men who did not serve in the Revolutionary War. The ages are wrong in many cases, as are the dates of death. 

    This SSP work was published in 1982 which was decades after the work of C.A. Too, technology was quite a bit different in the two periods. There is another factor, next bullet. But, this comment was done by the General Genealogist of S.A.R. (sorry bunch of guys?) who ought to have known better. It's one thing to make such remarks (which are without any foundation) in private; to leave them in a reference that is expected to get attention is another thing (very unprofessional).

    Reading the comment gave us pause. What was that? Why? We didn't know how to respond at the time. But, since then we have done a little research. We give a little bio of C.A. after this pause here. Plus, the image shows some of his work that is on-line. C.A. was the librarian for American History at the Library of  Congress, among other things. BTW, in favor of the S.A.R. folks, they did note that other people had errors and corrected them. Okay, editors are for that purpose, for one thing. We could go on but won't. 
  • A couple of years ago (January of 2018), we noted that it was 100 years before that "The Massachusetts Magazine" published its last issue. At that time, we surmised about the Spanish Flu, especially in how Dr. Frank would have been busy. Very much so. There was also the drain of resources and funds related to WWI. But, then, we looked at C.A.'s biography and saw that he had died in 1920. We will look at the specifics, but it is very likely that the publication of his work was after he died. The S.A.R. folks could have looked that up. Also, given that it was within the period of the flu, did he have complications related to the pandemic? 
Anyway, C. A. Flagg's work stands on its own. He was a graduate of Bowdoin. Then, he did post-graduate studies in Library Systems. We are talking the latter part of the 19th Century, so it would be interesting to see what was involved. But, C.A. served as a librarian at the New York State library in Albany, NY. Too, he spent time at the Library of Congress in DC. There he was the expert in American History. Then, C.A. went to Bangor, Maine and was librarian there. That is where he did a lot more research, some of it resulting in the index of pensioners mentioned in this post. 

This graphic lists some of C.A.'s work (from uPenn). 


We'll get back to work looking at specifics of the Revolutionary period. History is told top down by the victors and mostly ignores the small people. Technology, now, can revert that and lift proper views to focus. That's one of our goals. Or, from another view, events from 400 years ago and 250 years ago can still have relevance to our lives. 

There ain't nothing new under the sun, essentially. 

Remarks: Modified: 12/25/2020

12/25/2020 -- C.A. was part of the editorial board for the TMM from the beginning. T.F. Waters was the Editor. 

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