7:30 pm - (Berwick Academy)

An era when news in New England was carried through both Native American and English networks, and rumors could produce shivers of fear, will be the subject of a talk presented by the Old Berwick Historical Society. Dr. Katherine Grandjean will discuss her recent book, American Passage, which revisits the story of early New England’s settlement through the dark, confused world of communication. Image courtesy Rhode Island Historical Society.

In the colonial world, news was currency. But it was often unreliable. Native and English networks were tangled, and rumors repeatedly sent shivers of fear across the region. Grandjean draws on surviving letters and stories from early New England and the Piscataqua to explore the role of communication in colonization. 

Dr. Grandjean will shed new light on the subject of early communication and its impact on the settlement of New England.  Admission is free and open to the public. Donations are gratefully accepted.

“In the colonial world, news was currency. But it was often unreliable,” said Nina Maurer, consulting curator for Old Berwick Historical Society. “Communication is an underlying theme of our lecture series, and communication between the first immigrants to our region and indigenous people is a focus of our upcoming exhibit, Forgotten Frontier.”

The world of communication in early colonial New England's was often dark and confused, said Maurer. Grandjean draws on surviving letters and stories from early New England and the Piscataqua to explore the role of communication in colonization.

Grandjean is Assistant Professor of History at Wellesley College. Her research explores the North American encounter between colonial and indigenous peoples, as well as the history of American violence. She is the author of numerous articles on war, encounter, and print culture in early America. American Passage (Harvard University Press, 2015) is her first book.

Preceding the lecture, Berwick Academy is holding an opening reception for the new exhibit, Weaving Community, an exhibit of Native American baskets by artists of the Wabanaki Nations, at 6:00 p.m. in the Jackson Library Gallery, on the second floor of the Jackson Library building at the center of campus. The exhibit is a collection of baskets from the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor, local gallery owners, and area collectors.

Those curious to learn more about how the Native Americans and the English navigated trade on the New England frontier are invited to join a history hike on Saturday, April 8, 2017 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Orris Falls Conservation Area, near the border of South Berwick and Wells. Historian Neill DePaoli will describe the pivotal role of the beaver fur trade at Newichawannock (today’s South Berwick) in the 1600s and the influence of English trade on Wabanaki culture. The hike is presented in partnership with Great Works Regional Land Trust and sponsored by South Berwick Pharmacy/Seacoast Compounding.

The OBHS lecture series coincides with a new Counting House Museum exhibit opening in June, entitled Forgotten Frontier: Untold Stories of the Piscataqua, about eight diverse characters who competed for control of their destiny in this region 400 years ago. OBHS lectures are generously sponsored by Kennebunk Savings.

 

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