Mrs. W. Berry Tourist Home

The Berry House at 42 Division St. as depicted on the 1921 Sanborn map for Newport.

The Berry House at 42 Division St. as depicted on the 1921 Sanborn map for Newport.

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The Berry House at 42 Division St. in Newport.

The Berry House at 42 Division St. in Newport.

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Known Name(s)

Mrs. W. Berry


42 Division St. Newport, RI

Establishment Type(s)

Tourist Home

Physical Status


Detailed History

The Mrs. W. Berry Tourist Home at 42 Division St. was owned by William T. and Mary Gustine Berry. Both of mixed-race parentage, they were born in Maryland and may have migrated to Newport alongside many other African-Americans seeking refuge from the Jim Crow era. Born in 1868 and 1872 respectively, the pair were part of a unique generation from the South that was born after slavery was abolished when Reconstruction guaranteed some level of equality, even in the border state of Maryland. Census records suggest that the Berrys arrived in Rhode Island in around 1885, seven years after Reconstruction “officially” ended. 

On March 14, 1910, William T. Berry entered into an agreement with Bertrand G. Jamieson to purchase a house at 42 Division St. Jamieson was from Chicago and had purchased the property from Alice Carr that same day, suggesting that Jamieson was in some way helping the Berrys with the sale. The extent of the relationship between Jamieson and the Berrys in unknown.

According to the US Federal Census, the Berrys were living at 42 Division St. in 1910. That year, William was 42 and worked as a waiter at the Bellevue Inn (where he possible met Jamieson). Mary was 38 and worked from home as a dressmaker. Their five children, all born in Rhode Island, were Guinice, 15, William L, 13, Edward, 11, Audrey, 8, and Altan, 6. Other residents in 1910 included Mary’s sister, Rebecca Nelson, who was 44 and worked as a stewardess at a club house.

The sale went through four years later, on April 8, 1914, and is confirmed by the 1921 map, which documents the Berrys as the owners of 42 Division St. 10 days later, Berry transferred the property into his and his wife’s name jointly. They held the property until July 25, 1945, when William sold it to Leo B. Amado.

The Mrs. W. Berry Tourist Home was listed in The Green Book for only one year, 1939. Given the duration of their residency, from 1910 to 1945, whether they preferred not to list in The Green Book or whether operating a tourist home itself was unprofitable is still unknown. 

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