Friday, October 3, 2014

52 Ancestors: # 39 Eugene Brackley (1912-2003)

Eugene Clayton Brackley, my third cousin 2x removed, was born on this date in 1912 in Milton, Massachusetts, the third of three children born to Ralph Almon Brackley and Ella Lewis, and their second son.

He grew up in Stoneham, Massachusetts, where he printed and distributed a neighborhood newspaper, "The Elm Street News." According to the 1930 U.S. Census, he and his family lived at 104 Elm St. in Stoneham.

104 Elm St., Stoneham, Massachusetts - Today
(Google Maps Street View)

Along with running cross-country for Stoneham High, Gene was the editor of the school magazine. He continued, following graduation in 1930,  to write for local newspapers and sold some poetry to a Maine magazine.

Gene married Winifred Louise Mitchell of Somerville in her hometown in 1934. He married a second time Dorothy Eaton Smith in 1940 in Malden. Gene had three daughters.

As a young adult, Gene took night courses at Boston University, Boston College, and Northeastern University. In 1943, he began working three nights a week at The Boston Globe sports desk. Three years later, he was hired full-time.

A "slot man" positioned in the slot of a horseshoe-shaped copy desk

As a "slot man," he was responsible for managing the copy desk and for assigning a local story to an editor for correcting and for writing the headline. Quoting from his obituary:

"A modest, soft -spoken man with a laser eye for flaws in a story, grammatical and otherwise, Mr. Brackley won the respect of reporters for the gentle manner with which he corrected their work. Colleagues admired his capacity for remaining calm under the most stressful deadlines..."

"...Although Mr. Brackley had no college degree, his curiosity and insatiable appetite for reading - his personal library numbered 3,000 volumes - made him unusually well-educated."

He worked at The Globe for 28 years, until his 1974 retirement. In retirement, he and his wife lived in Costa Rica for three years. They also had homes in Pemaquid Point and Phillips, Maine, before moving to St. Augustine, Florida in 1997.

Gene lost his wife of 62 years, Dorothy, while living in Florida in 2002, and so moved back to the home of his daughter in Williamsburg, Massachusetts. It was in Williamsburg that Eugene died in 2003.

Photo credit:

Old copy desk


1920 US Census; Census Place: Lowell Ward 8, Middlesex, Massachusetts; Roll: T625_712; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 242; Image: 598.

1930 US Census; Census Place: Stoneham, Middlesex, Massachusetts; Roll: 929; Page: 16B; Enumeration District: 0466; Image: 668.0; FHL microfilm: 2340664.

1940 US Census; Census Place: Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts; Roll: T627_1608; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 9-227. Massachusetts, Birth Records, 1840-1915 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013. Massachusetts, Marriage Index, 1901-1955 and 1966-1970 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-Current [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2011.

Jack Thomas, Globe Staff. "EUGENE BRACKLEY, 90, GLOBE ART CRITIC, EDITOR." The Boston Globe (Boston, MA). The New York Times Company. 2003. HighBeam Research. 3 Oct. 2014 <>.

"What's a slot man?" (


This is the 39th in a series, “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks,” coordinated by Amy Johnson Crow at

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