Perkins Family
Papers, ca. 1939-1996


Quantity: 2 boxes (2 cubic ft.)
Access: Open to research. White cotton gloves must be worn when handling photographs.
Acquisition: Gift of Jane Wilcox, August 12, 2010
Processed By: Kayleigh Paster, Student Assistant, University at Albany for Manuscripts and Special Collections, March 2015

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Biographical Note:

Robert G. Perkins was born on July 22, 1918, to Margaret Bessant and Frank Perkins of Hoboken, Hudson County, New Jersey.  Margaret and Frank had three children: Frank, Robert G., and Daisy. Margaret had three children from a previous marriage to William Jostsom: Janet, Mildred, and Betrum [?]. When Margaret married Frank, her three children were given their step-father’s surname. Mildred appears to have died young; Janet married Harry Meurer of Jersey City, Hudson County, New Jersey. As a young man Robert Perkins lived in Parsippany-Troy Hills, Morris County, New Jersey, as well as in Jersey City with Janet and her husband. Perkins served in the United States Army during World War II (August 8, 1942- January 20, 1946) achieving the rank of corporal.

Mary E. Harrington was born in 1918 to Mary E. Carrington (1898-1991) and William H. Harrington (1894-1962) of Brooklyn, New York, who were married in New York City on June 20, 1917. In addition to Mary, the Harringtons had three other children: Margaret A. Wilber, Catherine E. Wuest, and William Harrington, Jr. Between 1915 and 1924 William Sr. worked as a tugboat pilot in the New York City harbor. He then worked for the Consolidated Edison Company in New York City until he retired in 1959 and moved with his wife to Durhamville, Oneida County, New York.

Robert G. Perkins and Mary E. Harrington married sometime in the early 1940s and had two children: Robert William Perkins and William Francis Perkins. Robert and Mary initially lived in Brooklyn before moving to Jersey City, where they raised their sons. For 25 years Robert was a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 3, of New York City. In 1976 he and Mary moved from Jersey City to Whiting, Manchester Township, Ocean County, New Jersey, and in 1980 he retired from his job as an electrical foreman. Robert G. Perkins died on September 19, 1982, in Toms River, Ocean County, New Jersey, and Mary E. Perkins died on September 29, 2007, in Woodbourne, Sullivan County, New York.

Provenance Note:

A book included with the papers, The Volume Library: A Concise, Graded Repository of Practical and Cultural Knowledge Designed for Both Instruction and Reference, was removed from the papers and catalogued separately.

Scope and Content Note:

The Perkins family papers date from about 1939 to 1996 and pertain primarily to the years that Robert and Mary Perkins lived in Jersey City, New Jersey, and Whiting, New Jersey. The collection consists of family photographs and religious memorabilia, but also includes some financial records. The photographs are housed mainly in five albums with one loose set of color photographs of members of the Perkins family, dating from the mid-1960s through the early-1980s. The religious memorabilia consists primarily of books and certificates relating to the religious education of Robert W. and William F. Perkins during their early years, as well as Mass cards for Robert G. Perkins following his death in 1982, plus a number of sympathy cards sent to the Perkins family following Robert’s death.

The financial materials are mainly Mary’s household account books, receipts, and financial notes (1977-1996).  Additional materials related to Mary include religious memorabilia, newspaper and magazine clippings, and a sketchbook used by Mary during her teenage years. Also included are Robert G. Perkins’s union membership cards and a sketch of an electrical system. 

Harrington family materials consist primarily of postcards dating from the late 1930s and early 1940s, when the family lived in Brooklyn, New York. These postcards were addressed to Margaret and Catherine Harrington, Mary Perkins’s sisters. Also present is an “in memoriam” card for their father, William H. Harrington.

Box and Folder List:

Box Folder Description
1 0 [Biographical information]
1 1 Class photograph, n.d.
1 2 Photographs, n.d.
1 3 William F. Perkins – Grammar school diploma, 1959
1 4 William F. Perkins – Sunday missal book, 1960
1 5 William F. Perkins – School autograph book, 1964
1 6 Robert W. Perkins – High school diploma, 1963
1 7 Mary E. Perkins – Sketchbook, 1934-1941
1 8 Mary E. Perkins – Account book, 1977-1981
1 9 Mary E. Perkins
  1. Budget book, 1981
  2. Bills, 1988-1989
1 10 Mary E. Perkins – Accounts, 1990-1992
1 11 Mary E. Perkins – Household Account Book, 1993-1996
1 12 Mary E. Perkins
  1. Receipts, 1995
  2. Notes on taxes, 1985
1 13 Camping memorabilia (decals), n.d.
1 14 Ephemera, ca. 1957-1978
  1. News clippings
  2. Financial materials
  3. Union membership
  4. Robert W. and William F. Perkins
  5. Religious
1 15 Religious ephemera, n.d.; includes a couple “in memoriam” cards
1 16 Robert G. Perkins
  1. Electrical Union World, March 1973
  2. Vocational Report, ca. 1980-1982
  3. Electrical system sketches, n.d.
  4. Notes, n.d.
1 17 Ephemera, ca. 1937-1942 and n.d.
  1. News and magazine clippings
  2. Notes (Mary E. Perkins)
  3. Harrington family postcards
1 18 Sympathy cards and news clippings re: death of Robert G. Perkins, 1982
1 19 [Perpetual?] Roman Catholic Mass enrollment for Robert G. Perkins, 1982
1 20 [Perpetual?] Roman Catholic Mass enrollment for Robert G. Perkins, 1982
1 Loose Memory book for funeral of Robert G. Perkins, 1982
  1. Notes listing the names of people who gave gifts and Mass cards
  2. Memoriam cards and cards from floral arrangements
  3. “Thank you” notes signed by Mary E. Perkins.
2 Loose [Perpetual?] Roman Catholic Mass enrollments for Robert G. Perkins (8 items)
2 Box 1 Pocket-sized religious memorabilia (5 volumes); includes Boy Scout registration cards for William F. Perkins
2 Loose Family photograph albums (5 volumes)
2 Box 2 Family photographs (131 items)
Last Updated: May 24, 2021