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William T. Pierce travel diary and photograph album

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MC-0047

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

William T. Pierce, a civil engineer in Boston, Massachusetts, traveled from Boston to Europe in 1902. On the trip he kept a diary and took photographs of views and gardens and important buildings, bridges, and other engineering structures in various locations in Europe. He recorded his observations in the diary which also includes descriptions of the photographs he took. The photographs are organized in an album.

The black and white photographs in the album are numbered and most have labels. Notes in the travel diary are keyed by number to photographs. Locations represented in the album are Brighton, England; Rouen, France; Paris, France; Geneva, Switzerland; Vienna, Austria; Nussdorf, Austria; Budapest, Hungary; Prague, Czechoslovakia; Dresden, Germany; Berlin, Germany; Hamburg, Germany; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Antwerp, Belgium; Brussels, Belgium; Oostende, Belgium; Dover, England; Canterbury, England; Richmond, England; Thames River, England; and Queenstown (Cork), Ireland.


  • Creation: 1902


Access note

This collection is open.

Conditions Governing Use

Access to collections in the Department of Distinctive Collections is not authorization to publish. Please see the MIT Libraries Permissions Policy for permission information. Copyright of some items in this collection may be held by respective creators, not by the donor of the collection or MIT.


William Thomas Pierce (1854-1906) was a civil engineer who practiced in Massachusetts. In 1902 he traveled to Europe from Boston and while traveling kept a written and photographic record of engineering structures and scenes that interested him. Prior to his death he was the chief engineer of the Metropolitan Park Commission of Boston, Massachusetts.

William Pierce resided in Watertown, Massachustts. He was the son of John Q. A. Pierce and brother of Charles Q. Pierce, Edward B. Pierce, Myron Pierce, and Henry B. Pierce.

In February 1907, in the year after he died, the C. F. Libbie and Company of Boston managed the sale of William Pierce's personal and professional library.


0.3 Cubic Feet (1 manuscript box)

Language of Materials



Materials are stored off-site. Advance notice is required for use.

Source of Acquisition

The diary and photography album were acquired by Kenneth Robinson and given to the MIT Libraries. They were accessioned into the holdings of the Department of Distinctive Collections (formerly the Institute Archives and Special Collections) of the MIT Libraries in October 1979.

Processing Information note

When materials came to the Archives in 1977 from the MIT Libraries gifts office they were identified on Libraries gift slip as materials of William Joseph Pierce, class of 1908. However in 2015 when reviewing the collection description, a look at the album itself showed that it is signed William T. Pierce. William T. Pierce was a prominent civil engineer in Boston, the chief engineer to the Metropolitan Park Commission. Materials document a trip that was taken in 1902 (when William Joseph Pierce was still in high school). As the materials themselves contain detailed information about important civil engineering works in Europe (likely beyond the knowledge of a 16-year-old ) we concluded that the MIT Libraries and IASC were mistaken in their original description of the creator of the materials.

Title of collection changed to William T. Pierce, 9/2015.

It is not known what relation, if any, William J. Pierce is to William T. Pierce.

Guide to the Travel Diary and Photograph Album of William T. Pierce
Elizabeth Andrews
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Libraries. Department of Distinctive Collections Repository

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Libraries
Building 14N-118
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge MA 02139-4307 US