Rhode Island Stamp Issues and Covers 1846 to 1900
Three Free Franked Covers from Congressman Thomas Jencks
and  Senator Henry Bowen Anthony
(also a R.I. Governor)
To Noted Illustrator & Entomologist - Joseph Bridgham - Circa 1863-1871
(Scroll Down for Background History and Biographical Information)

Senator Henry Anthony
Free Frank Providence

Congressman T. Jenckes
Free Frank Lonsdale

Thomas Jenckes Cvr. #2
Free Frank Providence

NOTE: Senator Anthony, Congressman Jenckes and Joseph Bridgham were all graduates of Brown University. In addition, Joseph Bridgham was married to the daughter of Thomas Jenckes, (Florence Madeline Jenckes). It can be safely assumed that all three men were friends and contemporaries. I placed the approximate dates of the covers between 1863 and 1870, as Senator Bowen served from 1858-1884 and Congressman Jenckes served from 1863-1871. Much of Brigham's work was commissioned by the U.S. Government. It is highly probable that Jenckes and Anthony secured some of this work for him.

1) Henry Bowen Anthony was born in Coventry, Rhode Island on April 1, 1815. He attended private school in Providence and graduated from Brown University in 1833. He became the editor of the Providence Journal in 1838 and later one of the owners of the paper. He was elected Governor of Rhode Island in 1849 and 1850, but declined to run again in 1851 and resumed his work on the Providence Journal. He was elected as a Republican to the United States Senate in 1858 and served in that office continuously until his death on September 2, 1884. He is buried in the Swan Point Cemetery in Providence, Rhode Island.

2) Thomas Allen Jenckes was born in Cumberland, Rhode island on November 2, 1818. He attended public schools and graduated from Brown University in Providence in 1838. He studied law, was admitted to the bar and began his practice at Providence, RI in 1840. He served as a clerk in the State Legislature from 1840 to 1844 and was Secretary of the State Constitutional Convention in 1842. He served as Adjutant General for the State of Rhode Island from 1845 to 1855 and was a member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives from 1854 to 1857

Representative Jenckes was elected as a Republican to the United States Congress on March 4, 1863 and served until 1871. He was defeated in the election of 1870 and returned to his practice of law in 1871. Thomas Jenckes died in Cumberland, Rhode Island on November 4, 1875 and is interred at the Swan Point Cemetery in Providence, RI.

3) Joseph Bridgham was born on October 15, 1845 to Samuel Willard  and Eliza Fales Brigham in New York City. Joseph married Florence Madeline Jenckes, the daughter of Congressman Thomas Jenckes on June 18, 1870. He attended Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island and graduated in 1876 with a degree in architecture.

Joseph's mother was interested in entomology, (the study of insects) and she passed her passion for entomology on to her son. Over the years, Joseph began to spend more and more time in pursuit of this avocation and eventually he abandoned his architectural career all together and devoted his full time and energies to the study and illustration of insects with a particular emphasis on butterflies. (It is said that Bridgham had one of the most complete collections of butterflies in the world.) Bridgham enjoyed a reputation as one of the premier illustrators in the field of entomology and he was especially know for his drawings of microscopic images. 

Joseph Bridgham was employed as an illustrator by the United Sates Government and at colleges and institutions throughout the world. From 1889 to 1899, he worked with Professor William Farlow on illustrations of North American Fungi and also produced illustrations of North American flowers for Columbia College.

He also worked with and was a contemporary of Alexander Agassiz, (Naturalist and son of Louis Agassiz) and Professor Samuel Henshaw, (entomologist and Director of Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology).

Joseph Bridgham died in East Providence, Rhode island on April 12, 1915.

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