Concord Stories from Special Collections is a new virtual series that highlights the rich holdings of the Concord Free Public Library Corporation’s William Munroe Special Collections through stories about Concord’s people and places from a variety of guests, including Concord residents, scholars, researchers, and curators.

Emerson’s Muses: Mary Moody Emerson and Sarah Bradford Ripley

Our featured guest on Thursday, November 12, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. was Victor Curran. In his presentation, "Emerson’s Muses: Mary Moody Emerson and Sarah Bradford Ripley," Victor told the stories of two brilliant women, Mary Moody Emerson and Sarah Bradford Ripley. Mary Emerson was born at Concord’s Old Manse in 1774, and Sarah Ripley died there 93 years later. Mary Emerson “danced to the music of [her] own imagination,” envisioning a nature-based spirituality that found its way into the transcendentalist writings of her nephew Ralph Waldo Emerson. Sarah Ripley—a scholar acclaimed by the President of Harvard—ran a school where she mentored a teenage Waldo Emerson. In this segment, both women stepped out of the shadow of the man they educated. [Watch Presentation]

 

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A Hopeful Heart: Louisa May Alcott Before Little Women

On Thursday, October 15, 2020 at 7:00 p.m., Deborah Noyes, author of A Hopeful Heart: Louisa May Alcott Before Little Women, published in September 2020,  discussed the book and read some of her favorite passages. [Watch Presentation]

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Alexander von Humboldt and the United States

The featured guest for our first installment on October 1, 2020 at 7:00 p.m., was Dr. Eleanor Harvey, the senior curator at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. In her presentation, Eleanor focused on the significance of including one of Concord Free Public Library’s paintings, The Philosophers Camp in the Adirondacks by William James Stillman in her exhibition Alexander von Humboldt and the United States: Art, Nature, and Culture at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in 2020 and the relationships between the Concord Transcendentalists and Humboldt. [Watch Presentation]

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