Concord Stories from Special Collections
Concord Stories from Special Collections is a 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.
John Hanson has been collecting and studying early New England epitaph verse for years. This presentation will share some representative verse from local gravestones and discuss their sources, including Scripture, hymnody, lyric poetry, and epitaphs made to order for a particular individual. The presentation will consider these epitaphs in the context of the work of one eighteenth-century Concord stone carver, Ithamar Spauldin, and his remarkably detailed account book, preserved in the William Munroe Special Collections at the Concord Free Public Library.
John Hanson is a Berkshires native and business executive in Cambridge. He is the author of a soon-to-be-released book, Reading the Gravestones of Old New England, available online or from your local independent bookstore. [Watch Presentation]
Join us online for the next episode of Concord Stories from Special Collections. Our featured guest is Leslie Perrin Wilson, author of “This Is the Life”: The Diary of Jennie McLeod, published recently by Moonglade Press. In her book, Leslie paints a vivid picture of the life and times of Jennie McLeod, a 20th-century college girl from the mill town of Clinton, Massachusetts. Leslie is a writer on local history for both scholarly and general audiences, and she has published numerous articles and books. Leslie served as the curator of Concord Free Public Library's Special Collections for 23 years. She retired in July 2019. She and her husband live in Clinton, Massachusetts, in the house Jennie McLeod occupied for half a century. In this episode, Leslie will discuss her new book and read a selected passage. [Watch Presentation]
The New England town form of municipal government is unique and has a rich history in the region. Concord is one of the oldest (and finest!) examples of this type of town. The Town of Concord Archives preserves the Town's documents and records from its incorporation in 1635 through the present day. These governmental records often provide context and chronology to the many rich collections found in Special Collections. Tune in to find out from Town of Concord’s Municipal Archivist, Nathanial Smith, when Louisa May Alcott first registered to vote or how the Board of Health reported on the Spanish Flu in the Annual Town Reports. [Watch Presentation]
In this Episode 4 of Concord Stories, our guest Bill Bailey will talk to us about his efforts in the 1980s to document new immigrants' voices in Concord.
While serving on the Concord Historical Commission, Bill Bailey set out to conduct nearly seventy interviews with immigrants from Ireland, Canada, Norway, Italy, Russia, and Poland. Bill is the former History Department head at Concord Academy, where he taught and inspired students for 35 years from 1967 through 2002. He is a graduate of Columbia College and has a master’s degree in history from Columbia University. In late March of 2020, Bill returned to Concord after living in New York City for nearly two decades. We invite you to listen and learn more about his important documentation project. [Watch Presentation]
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]
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]
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]