Creator: Alfred Mansfield Brooks; Ruth Steele Brooks; various
Dates: 1876-1973, unknown
Quantity:  3.5 linear feet (7 manuscript containers) 
Acquisition:  Accession #: unknown, 2165, and 2015.023 ; Donated by: Alfred Mansfield Brooks and Ruth Steele Brooks
Identification: A27 ; Archive Collection #27
Citation: [Document Title]. The Alfred Mansfield Brooks Papers and Photographs Collection, [Box #, Folder #, Item #], Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives, Gloucester, MA.
Copyright: Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be addressed to the Librarian/Archivist.
Language: English
Finding Aid:  Peter J. Brown, 2004

View the collection here


AMB was born in Michigan in 1870. His mother, Abby Davis Mansfield, died soon after and his father, George Byron Brooks, entrusted the infant to his dead wife’s mother, Abigail Somes (Davis) Mansfield of Gloucester. His grandmother, who was born in 1811, and his Great Aunt, Sarah (Somes) Mackay, who was born in 1789, before George Washington became President of the United States, both exerted a strong influence on the young Alfred. AMB, listening to their stories, calls them “memories of memories” which stretched from Washington to shortly after the death of President Kennedy. AMB died in Dec. 1963 age 94.

AMB was descended from three of the city’s best-known families – Davis, Somes, and Mansfield. All the families were active and extremely successful in the sea trade, but AMB took a different tack. Earning B.A. and Master’s degrees at Harvard in the fine arts, Brooks also studied at the School of Architecture and Planning (an offshoot of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in 1894 and 1895. Brooks became a professor of art in Indiana State University. It was then that he met his future wife, Ruth Bryce Steele. They were married in 1910.

Among his published works are: Architecture and the Allied Arts (1914); Dante, How to Know Him (1916); Great Artists and Their Works by Great Authors (1919); From Holbein to Whistler, Notes on Drawing and Engraving (1920); John Ruskin’s Letters to William Ward (1922); Architecture, Our Debt to Greece and Rome (1923); Readings in Art Appreciation (1931); two early novels, The Newell Fortune (1906) and Somes House (1909), and numerous articles on the fine arts and Cape Ann history. His final published work came 11 years after his death, Gloucester Recollected. (1974)

In 1922, Brooks was appointed professor of fine arts at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. Upon his retirement in 1937, he and Ruth moved back to Gloucester and into the Brick House at 21 Middle Street. It was then that he began his second career as an observer and historian of Cape Ann and his stewardship of the Cape Ann Historical Association.



The Alfred Mansfield Brooks and Ruth Steele Brooks papers were left to the Cape Ann Historical Association during his tenure as a curator and President of the Association. They include material from his career as a professor of fine arts and, upon retirement, his extensive involvement with the City of Gloucester. Ruth S. Brooks has contributed numerous magazine articles and one manuscript which complemented her husband’s book Gloucester Recollected.

Acquisition: Materials stored by AMB and Ruth S. Brooks

Accession # unknown

Addendum 1

Books & Pamphlets


Accession # 2165

Addendum 2

Books by George Brooks

Scrapbook & book by AMB



Accession # 2015.023


Addendum 3

Books in AMB’s library


I. AMB post-retirement involvement with Gloucester and the Historical Society

II. Articles and sketch book of Ruth Steele Brooks

III. AMB professional career as a professor of Fine Arts

An addendum of the books constitute the fourth series

IV. Library of AMB



Box #1, Series I

1. Christmas cards 1955

2. AMB journal – fund raising for White-Ellery House

3. Pamphlet, Cape Ann Scientific, Literary and Historical Ass. 1952

4. Fisheries of Cape Ann, Capt. Sylvanus Smith 1915

5. packet photos – Ellery House

6. New England Primer 1876

7. letter – The Woman’s Journal 1885

8. letter – Abby Davis Mansfield 1859

9. wedding invitation AMB 1910

10. original copy – speech 1878 re: Universalist Church

11. original copy – speech 1952, AMB to Historical Society

12. original copy – speech 1953, AMB to Historical Society

13. original copy – speech 1936, tribute to Davis sisters

14. manuscript – field work at Historical Society 1973

15. partial typed manuscript, AMB, Gloucester Recollected

16. hand written pages, AMB, Gloucester Recollected


Box #2, Series II

1. North American Review – July 1928, article “Travail in Travel”

2. notebook – Ruth S. Brooks (?)

3. sketch book – Ruth S. Brooks

4. Readers’ Digest – August 1928, reprint of “Travail in Travel”

5. Die Auslese – reprint from North American Review Dec. 1928

6. School and Society – Sept. 1921, “College and Sorority”

7. School and Society – July, 1928, “The Perfect Small House”

8. Keith’s Magazine – April 1925, “The Charm of Teakwood”

9. Keith’s Magazine – Feb. 1926, “Pansies for Your Thoughts”

10. Scribner’s – Jan. 1930, “The Professor and His Wife”

11. Scribner’s – May 1925, “The Organization Complex in our Colleges”

12. (2) notebooks (students’?)

13. Receipt from Fogg Art Museum for donated painting – landscape with thatched roofs, by Charles H. Moore

14. Love letters from AMB to RSB (2) Newspaper clippings of estate.


Box #3, Series III

Notebook – sketches.

Index – Divine Comedy Photos – (2)

2 books – detailed notes on architecture

notebook – course syllabus

article – Indiana Univ. Alumni Quarterly


Box #4, Series I, II, III

Series I Manuscript – Gloucester Recollected

Series II Manuscript - Gloucester Background through Hoosier Eyes

Series III Small note books – Dante, Divine Comedy – notes by AMB


Box #5 Series III

Notebooks – translations

Manuscript – Dante

Manuscript – Goodly

Fellowship of the Arts

Articles – Architecture & Art

Articles – School & Society; Ladies Home Journal

Articles - Contact with Britain during WWII (Seeds, radio broadcast)


Box #6, Series I, III

Manuscript – Gloucester Recollected

Manuscript – Puritan Sybarite

Notes – Dante, Divine Comedy


Box #7, Series I

Historic photos of Gloucester

Newspaper clippings – historical buildings


Box #8, Series I

Mixed collection of photographs of Gloucester


Addendum 1

Books & Pamphlets

The Faith of a Free Church, Frederick W. Perkins D4 FF7
The Pilgrim Spirit, George P. Baker Duplicate
Old South: the Romance of Early New England History, James O. Fagan 270 F13
Know Cape Ann, Edward V. Ambler Duplicate

Proceedings of the Boston Society of Natural History Mollusca, Charles W. Johnson

591.92 J63
Harvard College Class of 1894 378.09 H27
Ancient Caves of the Great Salt Lake Region, Julian H. Steward 974.0397 St3
Daughters of theAmerican Revolution Magazine, 1916 D11 FF9
Tercentenary of Mass. Bay Colony (2 copies) Duplicates
Univ. Pennsylvania Bulletin D25 FF11


Addendum 2 - Acc # 2165

Scrap book put together by Alfred Mansfield Brooks to A.L. Davis, 1886

Dante how to know him, A.M. Brooks


Addendum 3 - Acc#2015.023

Rasselas, Dr. Johnson, 1842, 6” x 3.75” hardback

The Book Hunter in Paris, Octave Uzanne, 1893, 9.25” x 6.5”