Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Vintage ink blotter supporting Quigley for mayor of Chelsea

As we taken another big step today, with the New York primary, toward determining whether Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders will be the next U.S. president1, here's a vintage political advertisement in the form of a blue ink blotter.

It measures 6 inches by 3¼ inches and states:

Costly Experiment

I believe this ink blotter refers to a mayoral race in Chelsea, Massachusetts, many decades ago.

A man by the name of Lawrence F. Quigley, pictured at right, was Chelsea's 31st mayor (from 1922 to 1926), 33rd mayor (from 1928 to 1929) and 35th mayor (from 1932 to 1935). This advertisement might be part of Quigley's third run for mayor, circa 1931, as that's the one instance in which he followed an opponent's two-year term, as mentioned on the blotter. In 1932, he succeeded John J. Whalen as mayor. Both were Democrats.2

There is one other possibility. Andrew P. Quigley (Lawrence's son) served as mayor from 1952 to 1955.3 When he was elected, he was following a two-year term by fellow Democrat Joseph A. Melley.

So those are the two possible Quigleys. And the ink blotter is from sometime between roughly 1920 and 1950, it seems. (It could also, of course, be from a particular election that one of the Quigleys lost. They certainly ran for office often enough.)

1. Or perhaps it will be someone else, such as Jill Stein, Paul Ryan, Louie Youngkeit or Morris the Cat.
2. Side note: There is a Lawrence F. Quigley Memorial Hospital in Chelsea, Massachusetts. It began as the Soldiers' Home in 1882. It still operates as a facility for U.S. veterans and includes an Alzheimer's unit.
3. Andrew P. Quigley died at age 64 in 1990. The lede of his obituary in The Boston Globe stated:
"Andrew P. Quigley, who left his inimitable stamp on Chelsea politics, journalism and education in a career that spanned four decades, died Friday of cancer at age 64 in New England Deaconess Hospital.

"Mr. Quigley was a political prodigy, serving as a state representative when he was 22, as a state senator at 24, and as mayor of Chelsea at 25. Thirty years later he would purchase the faltering Chelsea Record and transform the newspaper into a forum for his colorful views. Finally, in 1986, he proposed a landmark partnership with Boston University designed to improve Chelsea schools."


  1. The clue may be the Allied Printing Trades Council logo found at the bottom of the card.

    Appendix 1 of this source indicates that the logo printed on this card was adopted in 1897 but was apparently superseded by other logo(s) as of 1940: http://www.docspopuli.org/articles/UnionBug.html

    If so, the campaign of the younger Quigley would have used a more recently adopted logo. Thus, although this is far from a definitive conclusion, the "costly experiment" may very well have been by process of elimination the 1930-1931 mayoral term of John J. Whalen.

    Lawrence F. Quigley was subsequently elected to two two-year terms, 1932-1935.

    The number "16" next to the logo represents the particular shop number which printed the card. As to which shop that represents, that is a mystery for another day.

    For the same or similar logo printed on various other cards from the early part of the century, see for example:



  2. Hi there! Wonderful to read this. I am the youngest grandson to the late Mayor Lawrence F Quigley. My father was Lawrence F Quigley Jr. He passed away in 1983 when I was 8 years old. I never got a chance to meet my grandfather as he passed before I was born.
    If anyone has access to this card or stamp, I’d certainly like to purchase it!
    Thank you kindly for your work to remember history!
    Graham Quigley