Bicycles, Babies, and Circus Parades: A Glimpse at Life and Leisure in Late Victorian Tuscaloosa

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We have just added a new digital collection to the UA Libraries’ Digital Collections — selections from the Perkins Family Papers (Perkins Family Papers, 1813-1928, mss no. 1127). The Perkins digital collection consists of 294 incredible photographs of a broad array of subjects, including intimate family photographs, photographs of rivers, people, buildings, activities, and much more — including images the circus coming to town! The image above captures the Jim Robinson Circus Parade in downtown Tuscaloosa.

A Picnic in the Park

The Perkins online collection offers a unique glimpse into leisure life and activities in late Victorian America. The Perkins Family Papers spans the period from 1813 to 1928, with the bulk of the collection being from the 1840s to the 1910s.

The Perkins Family Papers as a whole consists mainly of photographs and correspondence between family members. Within the collection, there are diaries, ledgers, a scrapbook, an unpublished novel, printed invitations, death notices, receipts, legal documents and other financial papers, and memorabilia. The Perkins collection relates to Stephen C. and Carolina A. Perkins; their son Julian C. and his wife Mamie Kennedy Perkins, and their children: Edwin, Brook, Julian H., and Maud. The majority of the correspondence and papers were generated by Caroline A. Perkins and Mamie Kennedy Perkins and concern mainly family matters.

The finding aid for the entire collection is available at

The digitization of this collection was made possible by EBSCO Industries.

“Mrs. Perkins & her Wheel”

The family life of Julian and Mamie Perkins and their children are well documented in pictures compiled by their son, Edwin. Here are a few fun highlights Edwin captured that are part of the nearly 300 photographs now available online.

“Fancy Bicycle Rider”
“Baby Dan” and the family dog — with someone behind them camera shy!

Brook K. and Julian Herbert Perkins in their HMS Pinafore costumes

Brook K. Perkins and his cat, Wang
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