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‘Snow-Bound Weekend’ takes place Feb. 11 and 12

Snow-Bound Weekend, a dramatic re-creation of John Greenleaf Whittier’s famous poem, “Snow-Bound,” takes place Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 11 and 12, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the poet’s birthplace, 305 Whittier Road, Haverhill.

The cast includes Augustine J. Reusch Jr. as John Greenleaf Whittier. Watch the snow-bound Quaker family and friends, in full period dress, play the scenes from the famous poem. Enjoy light refreshments, apple cider and coffee as you listen to music and poetry in the warmth of the shoe shop.

Whittier originally conceived Snow-Bound as a means of conveying to his niece, Elizabeth, the challenges of life in early nineteenth century Haverhill. Similarly, visitors to the birthplace during Snow-Bound Weekend will experience the warmth emanating from the poet’s own farmhouse hearth as they savor the scent of apples roasting by the fire,” say organizers of the event.

Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, $5 for children 7 to 17 and free for children under 7.  Parking is not be allowed at the birthplace, but free parking and a shuttle are available at Biggart’s Ice Cream, just off I-495 at Exit 52, Route 110. No reservations are necessary. For more information, call 978-372-8351.

Snow-Bound was first published Feb. 17, 1866.

And, for the winter fireside meet,
Between the andirons’ straddling feet
The mug of cider simmered slow,
The apples sputtered in a row,
And, close at hand, the basket stood
With nuts from brown October’s wood.

Award-Winning Video to be Shown at Whittier Meeting

Sunday, June 12, 2016, 2 p.m.

Thomas Gradzewicz presents his video, “The Abolitionist Poet: John Greenleaf Whittier,” during the 131st summer meeting of the Haverhill Whittier Club Sunday, June 12.

The documentary recently earned Gradzewicz and his wife, Fran, of Methuen, a second place award from Northeast Region of the Alliance for Community Media. It features interviews with well-known teacher-curator at the Whittier Birthplace, Augustine “Gus” Reusch and former Amesbury Whittier Home Museum President Cynthia Costello.

The presentation, open to the public, takes place Sunday, June 12, 2 p.m., at Whittier Birthplace, 305 Whittier Road, Haverhill. Refreshments will be served.

For more information, email Whittier Club President Margaret Toomey at mtoomey181@comcast.net or call (978) 373-3979.

 

Nine Authors in Haverhill for Release of ‘Snowbound with Zombies’

New Book Inspired by Whittier’s Interest in Local Superstitions

HAVERHILL (Sept. 15, 2015)—Nine authors will be present at Whittier Birthplace next month for the formal release of a new anthology of supernatural stories inspired by poet John Greenleaf Whittier.

“Snowbound with Zombies,” compiled and edited by David Goudsward, will be formally released during the event, offered in conjunction with Haverhill’s 375th Anniversary and Essex National Heritage Area’s Trails and Sails. Participating authors include Judi Calhoun, Roxanne Dent, Suzanne Dent, David Goudsward, Scott Goudsward, John McIlveen, Gregory L. Norris, Faye Ringel and Kristi Petersen Schoonover. Other contributors include best selling novelist Christopher Golden, former local writer Tracy L. Carbone and Vermont folklorist Joseph A. Citro. Books are available for sale and authors will be available to autograph copies and exhibit their other titles.

“Whittier, beloved icon of pastoral poesy, is occasionally remembered as a fiery abolitionist or a crusading journalist, as well he should, but his first book was not a collection of his poetry, but an 1831 collection of local superstitions,” Goudsward said, explaining the rationale behind the book. “Whittier’s ‘The Legends of New England’ includes retellings of tales such as a schoolmarm whose murdered child briefly appears just long enough to drive her to confess, a demon fiddler who forces a party to dance until their legs wear down to bloody stumps, and various references to the Robert Burns poem ‘Tam o’ Shanter’ with its witches sabbath in a haunted church. By the time ‘The Supernaturalism of New England,’ his second book of folklore, was released in 1847, he was an accomplished folklorist, even if the word ‘folklore’ had not come into common usage,” Goudsward said.

The authors’ day takes place from 1 to 3 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 26, at Whittier Birthplace, 305 Whittier Road. Refreshments and free tours of the 327-year-old birthplace are available.

 

Sixth Annual Whittier Celebration Marks 150th Civil War Anniversary

Susan Lenoe portrays Harriet Beecher Stowe

AMESBURY (Sept. 15, 2015)—Storyteller Susan Lenoe portrays Harriet Beecher Stowe during the Sixth Annual John Greenleaf Whittier Celebration Saturday, Sept. 19, from 7 to 8 p.m., at the historic Friends Meetinghouse, 120 Friend Street, Amesbury.

Presented by Amesbury’s Whittier Home Association, Lenoe’s performance marks the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War. Whittier moved from Haverhill to Amesbury in 1836.

“This year’s celebration will be devoted to Whittier’s significant involvement and dedication to the abolitionist and anti-slavery cause. As a founding member and early agent of the American Anti-Slavery Society, Whittier wrote poetic tributes, labored as an editor, ran for public office, and later was influential in the establishment of the Liberty, Free Soil, and Republican parties,” a statement said.

Similar to Whittier, Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote accessible, emotionally charged verses to promulgate her shared religious and political convictions. “Such as in Stowe’s Uncle Tom's Cabin,” says Whittier’s president Chris Bryant, “the story urges readers to trust their feelings—not pronouncements from received authorities such as the church and the state—to lead them to correct moral actions.” Stowe will reminisce about her role in the abolitionist movement, her family joys and trials, and her life in Andover, where she lived for 12 years.

The evening is dedicated to Jon “Ben” Pickard, Whittier scholar, great-grand-nephew of John Greenleaf Whittier, and longtime friend and supporter of the Whittier Home. Pickard passed away Aug. 19.

Tickets are $20 or $10 for students and may be purchased online in advance, via PayPal at www.whittierhome.org, or purchased at the door on the night of the event. For more information call (978) 388-1337.

 

Celebrating Haverhill—Art in Whittier’s Barn

Greater Haverhill Arts Association invites public for exhibition and sale

HAVERHILL (July 7, 2015)—The Greater Haverhill Arts Association presents “Celebrating Haverhill—Art in Whittier’s Barn,” a display and sale of fine arts with live painting, this weekend.

The exhibition, celebrating Haverhill’s 375th anniversary, begins Friday, July 10, at 11 a.m. and continues from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, at Whittier Birthplace, 305 Whittier Road, Haverhill. A special reception also takes place Saturday afternoon from 2 to 4.

Some artists will paint and sketch the historic surroundings during the exhibition and sale. There is more information at www.haverhillartassociation.org.

 

Haverhill’s Whittier Birthplace opens for 121st season

Museum also offers free downloads and free admission during special events

HAVERHILL (April 28, 2014)—Whittier Birthplace opened this week to its 121st season. Again this year, Whittier Birthplace offers free admission to the nation’s active duty military personnel, including National Guard and Reserve, and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Curator Augustine Reusch provides tours Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. Admission price is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors (62 and over) and students (18 and over) and free for children (12 and under) and Whittier Club members. In addition, the public may download a free Freeman Memorial Trail guide at www.johngreenleafwhittier.com. The self-guided trail features 13 stations on the Birthplace property—each a landmark cited in Whittier’s poetry or his many biographies. Other free downloads include Whittier’s Autobiography and Red Riding Hood in the online gift shop.

“The trustees again invite the public to tour this famous house museum and take advantage of the many free resources available online. Whittier was a popular and successful poet during his lifetime, but perhaps his most important legacy is his activism in support of equal rights. He fought slavery and advocated for women’s voting rights, placing his life at risk championing these causes on the national stage,” said Tim Coco, president of the Trustees of the John Greenleaf Whittier Homestead.

Whittier Birthplace offers free admission to all active duty military personnel and their families from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The military program is part of Blue Star Museums, in collaboration with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Blue Star Families and the Department of Defense.

Thomas Whittier built the home in 1688 during America’s First Period of European settlement (1625-1725). It opened to the public for the first time in 1893 when former Haverhill Mayor James H. Carleton purchased the house and land and presented it to the Haverhill Whittier Club.

For more information, visit www.johngreenleafwhittier.com.



Amesbury Home Opens May 3

AMESBURY, Mass. (April 27, 2014)—The John Greenleaf Whittier Home Museum opens weekly for guided tours on Saturdays May 3, through October 25.  In addition, special tours and groups can be accommodated by calling (978) 388-1337 or (978) 465-5964.

Saturday tours run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (last tour at 3:30 p.m.) If  you are interested in conducting research, an interview or any other activity that is time sensitive, please contact the Amesbury home. 

The Whittier Home, one of the “Amesbury Treasures,” located at 86 Friend Street, Amesbury, is the home where John Greenleaf Whittier lived with his sister, Elizabeth, also a poet, his mother Abigail and Aunt Mercy from 1836 until his death in 1892. As a committed Abolitionist, faithful Quaker, creative thinker, environmentalist and freedom lover, Whittier published inspired poetry most of his life and is famed for his poem “Snowbound, “ and especially his anti-slavery activism.

Visit the home and see the family furnishings, artifacts and memorabilia, along with the gift shop’s publications of John Greenleaf Whittier’s works and his history.  One can also take an online (virtual) tour by visiting the website:  www.whittierhome.org   

Relatively new on the website is the J. G. Whittier Curriculum Guide, a valuable teaching and research tool resulting from an IMLS (Institute of Museum Library Sciences) grant.  It is a free download.

For more than 100 years volunteers of the Whittier Home Association have been stewards of this historic house museum, maintaining the property and collections, and striving to educate others about the life, legacy and works of J.G. Whittier.

Admission: Adults $6.00; Students (age 7 – 17) and seniors $5.00; Children under 7 free. Group rates on request. 

Proceeds help toward upkeep and maintenance of museum and garden where public teas are held each summer:  July 17, and August 21, this year.

The major annual fundraiser is Celebrating Whittier, Saturday Sept. 13.

An updated calendar of events is at www.whittierhome.org.



John Greenleaf Whittier Home Museum Hosts Tea in the Garden Series

Amesbury, MA - Wednesday Sept. 5, 2 p.m. (rain date Sept. 6)

Whittier’s love of nature was clearly exhibited in his garden. Today, the descendents of the purple gentian, monarda, and grapevines he wrote about still bloom. The WhittierHome Museum, 86 Friend Street in Amesbury, MA will be offering its' final old-fashioned tea party for 2012 on Wednesday, Sept 5, 2 p.m. (rain date Sept 6). Join us for traditional tea fare including elegant tea service (hot or cold), lemonade and our assortment of savory sandwiches and delectable desserts. Please visit our website, whittierhome.org, to purchase tickets on line and see upcoming events.

Deadline for reservations is Monday, Sept. 3 by calling 978-388-1337 . Sharon Netzley, a classical guitarist, will provide lovely background music and the home will be open for tours. Hope Cole is chairwoman of this event.

Proceeds benefit the upkeep of this National Historic Monument, where many programs are held and folks come to learn more about the famed poet, abolitionist, legislator, a leader in the fight against slavery nationwide, states President, Cynthia Costello.

Whittier Birthplace opens free to military families

HAVERHILL —The museum birthplace of John Greenleaf Whittier is offering free admission to all active duty military personnel and their families through Labor Day, Sept. 3. Free admission days are also planned for the general public through early October.

Whittier Birthplace has joined Blue Star Museums, a collaboration among the National Endowment of the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense and more than 1,500 other museums across America. The free admission program is available to active-duty military and their family members (military ID holder and up to five family members). Active duty military include Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and active duty National Guard and active duty Reserve members.

“Many military families have limited time together, have limited budgets and often find themselves in unfamiliar parts of the country. Free admission to Whittier Birthplace gives these deserving families a welcome and economical destination while they are in the area,” said Tim Coco, president of the Trustees of John Greenleaf Whittier Birthplace, during the Whittier Club’s 127th annual summer meeting Sunday.

Coco also announced the Birthplace is participating in 17th Century Saturdays, part of the Escapes North program, a cultural tourism initiative led by the North of Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Peabody Essex Museum. The program offers free admission to the general public between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. July 1, Aug. 4, Sept. 1, and Oct. 6, 10 a.m. Seventeenth Century Saturdays celebrates Essex County’s extraordinary collection of homes, buildings and artifacts from America’s First Period (1625–1725) of European settlement.


Tribute to Poet Whittier and Lydia Ayer takes place June 7

HAVERHILL —A tribute to Lydia Ayer and John Greenleaf Whittier will take place at the gravesite of Lydia Ayer at 10 a.m., Thursday, June 7, at Walnut Cemetery, off Kenoza Street.


The late trustee and journalist Barney Gallagher, who began this tribute more than 20 years ago will be honored and remembered on the occasion, said Whittier Birthplace Curator Augustine J. Reusch Jr. Ayer was Whittier’s childhood sweetheart and memorialized in his poem, “In School Days.”

Fifth grade students from Bradford Elementary School will take part in the presentation, reading “In School Days” and other Whittier poetry.

The public is welcome to attend.

The Trustees of the John Greenleaf Whittier Homestead are responsible for managing the farmhouse museum and more than 70 acres of property associated with the birthplace of the famed poet, abolitionist, editor and politician. The house, constructed in 1688 by Thomas Whittier, is substantially the same as when the poet lived there between 1807 and 1836.

In School Days (excerpt)

He saw her lift her eyes; he felt
   The soft hand’s light caressing,
And heard the tremble of her voice,
   As if a fault confessing.

“I’m sorry that I spelt the word:
   I hate to go above you,
Because,”—the brown eyes lower fell,—
   “Because, you see, I love you!”

Still memory to a gray-haired man
   That sweet child-face is showing.
Dear girl! the grasses on her grave
   Have forty years been growing!


Making History: 17th Century Saturdays Program Returns to Showcase North of Boston Region’s First Period Architecture

Click here to download the flyer containing map and location addresses

May 23, 2012, Essex County, MA – Homes and buildings across Essex County dating from the nation’s “First Period” are once again opening their doors to the public as part of 17th Century Saturdays. The program which encourages residents and visitors to explore the lives of early settlers in Essex County, will be held from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. on the first Saturday of every month through October. Now in its fifth year, 17th Century Saturdays has 25 sites participating with tours, special events, family programs and more on June 2, July 7, August 4, September 1, and October 6. Enjoy free admission and programming at all sites on June 2; regular admission fees apply July through October.

The public can walk though homes and around the grounds with knowledgeable guides to learn what daily life was like more than 300 years ago when early colonists settled places like Salem, Ipswich, and Newbury to farm, fish, trade, and raise their families. 17th Century Saturdays is a program of the North of Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau. Please visit www.northofboston.org for a complete list of participating sites and to learn about other regional events.

The North of Boston region has more historic houses built during America’s “First Period” of architecture (1625-1725) than any other region in the U.S. Nearly 200 examples of these treasures exist, many of which are still privately owned, and 17th Century Saturdays will highlight 25 of these structures in partnership with Historic New England, Peabody Essex Museum, Trustees of Reservations, and others. [See list below for all locations.]

The following sites (alphabetical by town) are participating in 17th Century Saturdays. Open 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. unless otherwise noted. Free admission and programming on June 2:

Amesbury, MA

Macy Colby House, c. 1654
257 Main Street
June, July, August, Sept., Oct.

Beverly, MA

The Balch House, c. 1636
448 Cabot Street
June, July, August, Sept., Oct.

The Hale Farm, c. 1694
39 Hale Street
June, July, August, Sept., Oct.

Danvers, MA

Judge Samuel Holten House, 1670
171 Holten Street
June, July, August, Sept., Oct.

Gloucester, MA

The White-Ellery House, 1710
245 Washington Street
June, July, August, Sept., Oct.

Haverhill, MA

John Greenleaf Whittier Birthplace, 1688
305 Whittier Road
June, July, August, Sept.

Ipswich, MA

Paine House at Greenwood Farm, 1694
Jeffrey’s Neck Road
June, July, August, Sept., Oct.

Whipple House, 1677
1 South Village Green
June, July, August, Sept., Oct.

Marblehead, MA

17th Century Walking Tour, 1629-1720
Beacon Street at Norman Street
Tour from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.
June, July, Sept., Oct.

Newbury, MA

Coffin House, 1678
14 High Road
June, July, August, Sept., Oct.

Dole-Little House, c. 1715
289 High Road
June & Oct.

Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm, c.1690
5 Little’s Lane
June, July, August, Sept., Oct.

Swett-Ilsley House, c.1670
4 High Road
June, July, August, Sept., Oct.

North Andover, MA

North Andover Historical Society
Parson Barnard House, 1715
179 Osgood St.
June, July, August, Sept., Oct.

Newburyport, MA

Old South Church, 1756
29 Federal Street
June

Peabody, MA

Nathaniel Felton Jr. House, 1700
(Peabody Historical Society) Felton-Smith Historic Site
43 Felton Street
August, Sept.: tours at 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. only


‘Snow-Bound Weekend’ takes place Feb. 11 and 12

Click here to download the flyer

HAVERHILL — Snow-Bound Weekend, a dramatic re-creation of John Greenleaf Whittier’s famous poem, “Snow-Bound,” will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 11, and noon to 4 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 12, at the poet’s Haverhill birthplace.

The biennial re-creation features the Whittier family and friends, in full period dress and performing scenes from the famous poem. The cast includes Augustine J. Reusch Jr. as John Greenleaf Whittier and Patricia Feller as Narrator. Outside, horse-drawn sleigh or wagon hayrides will be provided and, in the shoe shop, poetry will be read and period music performed. The last performance of “Snow-Bound” begins at 3:30 p.m. Hot apple cider and donuts are served.

Whittier originally conceived Snow-Bound as a means of conveying to his niece, Elizabeth, the challenges of life in early nineteenth century Haverhill. Similarly, visitors to the birthplace during Snow-Bound Weekend will experience the warmth emanating from the poet’s own farmhouse hearth as they savor the scent of apples roasting by the fire,” say organizers of the event that began in 1995.

Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, $5 for students ages seven to 17, and free for children six and under. Parking is not allowed at the birthplace, but free parking and a shuttle will be available at Francis H. Maroney Inc. and Biggart’s Ice Cream. Both are located just off I-495 at Exit 52, Route 110. For more information, visit www.johngreenleafwhittier.com.

The Trustees of the John Greenleaf Whittier Homestead are responsible for managing the farmhouse museum and more than 70 acres of property associated with the birthplace of the famed poet, abolitionist, editor and politician. The house, constructed in 1688 by Thomas Whittier, is substantially the same as when the poet lived there between 1807 and 1836.

Snow-Bound was first published Feb. 17, 1866.

And, for the winter fireside meet,
Between the andirons’ straddling feet
The mug of cider simmered slow,
The apples sputtered in a row,
And, close at hand, the basket stood
With nuts from brown October’s wood.



Augustine J. Reusch Jr. portrays John Greenleaf Whittier during the 47th Annual VFW Santa Parade, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2011. The theme of the parade was “Celebrating Haverhill’s Treasures.”


Coco becomes president of Whittier trustees

Tim Coco

HAVERHILL, Mass. (11/18/11) — Tim Coco was elected president of the Trustees of John Greenleaf Whittier Homestead at Wednesday’s annual meeting of the 118-year-old trust, succeeding Dr. Raymond F. Comeau.

The Trustees of the John Greenleaf Whittier Homestead are responsible for managing the farmhouse museum and more than 70 acres of property associated with the birthplace of famed poet, abolitionist, editor and politician John Greenleaf Whittier. The house, constructed in 1688 by Thomas Whittier, is substantially the same as when the poet lived there between 1807 and 1836. The birthplace is the setting of his most famous poem, Snow-Bound.

“Difficult decisions must be made in the years ahead as expenses needed to maintain a 323-year-old farmhouse increase while revenues remain nearly flat,” Coco said. “I believe one solution is raising awareness of Whittier’s importance. Although his poetry was popular, Whittier’s stronger contributions to society were his successful efforts toward achieving equality and justice for all. He advocated both for the abolition of slavery and women’s suffrage long before those became popular political positions.”

Coco is president and chief executive officer of COCO+CO. Inc., an advertising agency. He is also the founding president of Public Media of New England Inc., operator of WHAV; a director of the Merrimack Valley Economic Development Council; director of the Haverhill Citizens Hall of Fame; and a member of the Occupational Advisory Board at Northern Essex Community College.

Besides Coco, others elected were Arthur H. Veasey III, vice president; Marcia Rogers, treasurer; Richard J. Sheehan Jr., secretary; and Elinor Curtin Cameron, Shirley Osgood-Bailey, James P. Cleary III and Glen Hamilton, trustees. Comeau and Bernard J. Gallagher were elected to the newly formed posts of trustees emeritus. Augustine J. Reusch Jr. continues as museum curator.

Comeau was presented with a certificate of appreciation along with a 1909 edition of Whittier’s collected works.

Whittier Birthplace formally opened in 1893 after former Haverhill Mayor James H. Carleton purchased the house and land and donated it to the Haverhill Whittier Club, founded in 1886.


Fifth grade students honor poet Whittier and his sweetheart

In School-days

Still sits the school-house by the road,
   A ragged beggar sleeping;
Around it still the sumachs grow,
   And blackberry-vines are creeping.

Within, the master’s desk is seen,
   Deep scarred by raps official;
The warping floor, the battered seats,
   The jack-knife’s carved initial;

The charcoal frescos on its wall;
   Its door’s worn sill, betraying
The feet that, creeping slow to school,
   Went storming out to playing!

Long years ago a winter sun
   Shone over it at setting;
Lit up its western window-panes,
   And low eaves’ icy fretting.

It touched the tangled golden curls,
   And brown eyes full of grieving,
Of one who still her steps delayed
   When all the school were leaving.

For near her stood the little boy
   Her childish favor singled:
His cap pulled low upon a face
   Where pride and shame were mingled.

Pushing with restless feet the snow
   To right and left, he lingered;—
As restlessly her tiny hands
   The blue-checked apron fingered.

He saw her lift her eyes; he felt
   The soft hand’s light caressing,
And heard the tremble of her voice,
   As if a fault confessing.

“I’m sorry that I spelt the word:
   I hate to go above you,
Because,”—the brown eyes lower fell,—
   “Because, you see, I love you!”

Still memory to a gray-haired man
   That sweet child-face is showing.
Dear girl! the grasses on her grave
   Have forty years been growing!

He lives to learn, in life’s hard school,
   How few who pass above him
Lament their triumph and his loss,
   Like her,—because they love him.

HAVERHILL, Mass. (6/2/11) — A Tribute to Lydia Ayer and John Greenleaf Whittier will take place at 10 a.m., Thursday, June 9 in Walnut Cemetery, Kenoza Street, Haverhill, at the grave site of Lydia Ayer.

Under the direction of Whittier Birthplace Curator Augustine J. Reusch Jr., fifth grade students from Bradford Elementary School will recite Whittier’s poem, “In School Days,” in memory of Lydia Ayer, Whittier’s childhood sweetheart. The public is welcome to attend. There is no charge

Two students will be dressed as Ayer and Whittier respectively, while other students will read poems about John Greenleaf Whittier. A bouquet of flowers will also be left at the grave site.

Whittier (1807–1892) was born and raised in Haverhill, Massachusetts at his family’s farmhouse built by ancestors in 1688. His first printed poem appeared in 1826 in the Newburyport Free Press, where anti-slavery activist William Lloyd Garrison served as editor. With Garrison’s encouragement Whittier joined the abolitionist cause and later became one of the founders of the Republican Party. He also served as a state legislator during 1835 and 1836, edited a number of newspapers and was associated with the Atlantic Monthly Magazine from 1857 until his death.

Whittier is best known for his poem Snow-Bound, written in 1866. He received an Honorary Doctorate of Law degree from Harvard in 1886.

The Birthplace was formally opened to the public in 1893 after former-Mayor James H. Carleton purchased the house and land and presented it to the Haverhill Whittier Club.


Whittier Club Summer Meeting Features ‘Priscilla and the Hollyhocks’

Click here to download the flyer

HAVERHILL, Mass. (4/6/11) —“Priscilla and the Hollyhocks,” with Marie Rawlings and the Calvary Baptist Youth Choir, will be performed during the summer meeting of the Haverhill Whittier Club at 2 p.m., June 12th at Whittier Birthplace, 305 Whittier Road.

Marie Rawlings, fiddler and storyteller, narrates the musical adaptation of Anne Broyles’ “Priscilla and the Hollyhocks.” She will be joined by the Calvary Baptist Youth Choir. The presentation is free to the public, but donations will be accepted. Those wishing to attend should bring lawn chairs. Visitors may also attend early and bring a picnic lunch to enjoy on the grounds.

The story is based on true events in the life of a young slave girl who was sold away from her mother. Her only gift from her mother is the talent of making dolls from hollyhock flowers. She is purchased by a Cherokee family and forced to accompany them on the “Trail of Tears.” Through a chance encounter with a man she met years before, she is purchased by Basil Silkwood and set free.

Through song, story and drama, the audience will hear this little known tale of young Priscilla. As Priscilla finds her freedom, spectators will hear her tale of sorrow and longing.


Whittier Birthplace and Calvary Baptist present ‘Priscilla and the Hollyhocks'

Click here to download the flyer

HAVERHILL, Mass. (2/10/11) —In observance of Black History Month, Calvary Baptist Church and John Greenleaf Whittier Birthplace are sponsoring a musical adaptation of Anne Broyles’ “Priscilla and the Hollyhocks.” The presentation takes place at 1 p.m., Sat., Feb. 19 at Calvary Baptist Church, 13 Ashland St., Haverhill.

Marie Rawlings, fiddler and storyteller, narrates the tale. She will be joined by the Calvary Baptist Youth Choir under the direction of Joseph Devoe. The program is free to the public and suitable for all ages. In the event of snow, the program will take place at 1 p.m., Mon., Feb. 21. Parking is available in the lot next to Calvary Baptist Church.

The story is based on true events in the life of a young slave girl who was sold away from her mother. Her only gift from her mother is the talent of making dolls from hollyhock flowers. She is purchased by a Cherokee family and forced to accompany them on the “Trail of Tears.” Through a chance encounter with a man she met years before, she is purchased by Basil Silkwood and set free.

Through song, story and drama, the audience will hear this little known tale of young Priscilla. As Priscilla finds her freedom, spectators will hear her tale of sorrow and longing.


‘Snow-Bound Weekend’ takes place Jan. 16 and 17

HAVERHILL, Mass. (1/1/10) — Snow-Bound Weekend, a dramatic re-creation of John Greenleaf Whittier’s famous poem, “Snow-Bound,” will take place from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 16 and 17 at the poet’s birthplace in Haverhill.

The re-creation will feature the Quaker family and friends, in full period dress, playing the scenes from the famous poem. The cast includes Augustine J. Reusch, Jr. as John Greenleaf Whittier, Elizabeth Patterson as Mary Whittier and Patricia Feller as Narrator. Outside, sleigh or wagon hayrides will be provided, period music performed and farm animals will be on display.

Whittier originally conceived Snow-Bound as a means of conveying to his niece, Elizabeth, the challenges of life in early nineteenth century Haverhill. Similarly, visitors to the birthplace during Snow-Bound Weekend will experience the warmth emanating from the poet’s own farmhouse hearth as they savor the scent of apples roasting by the fire,” say organizers of the event.

Admission is $8 for adults and $5 for seniors and children under 14. Parking will not be allowed at the birthplace, but free parking and a shuttle will be available at Francis H. Maroney Inc. and Biggart’s Ice Cream. Both are located just off I-495 at Exit 52, Route 110. For more information, call (978) 373-3979.

Snow-Bound was first published Feb. 17, 1866.

And, for the winter fireside meet,
Between the andirons’ straddling feet
The mug of cider simmered slow,
The apples sputtered in a row,
And, close at hand, the basket stood
With nuts from brown October’s wood.


John Greenleaf Whittier poetry vigil on Dec. 16 to 17

HAVERHILL, Mass. (11/21/07) — A 24-hour poetry vigil honoring the 200th birthday of poet John Greenleaf Whittier will take place at the Whittier Homestead in Haverhill, beginning at noon on Sunday, Dec. 16 and ending at noon the following day.

Participants will take turns sitting by the fire in the poet’s own farmhouse and reading poetry aloud throughout the night. Readers will be scheduled in 15 minute time slots. During the 24 hour reading, the museum doors will be open to the public. At the end of the vigil, cake and hot cider will be served to celebrate the poet’s birthday.

“Having a vigil captures the sacrifices Whittier made in his life as an abolitionist and labor rights activist. It will take at least 96 readers to fill 24 hours, a small number compared to the lives that were impacted by Whittier's life works,” said the curator of the birthplace.


John Greenleaf Whittier Homestead to host Wet Paint Auction

HAVERHILL, Mass. (10/9/07) — Haverhill’s first Wet Paint Auction will be held on Saturday, October 20, at the John Greenleaf Whittier Homestead at 305 Whittier Road.

Local artists will spend the day painting on the grounds. The public is welcome to observe throughout the day. A panel of judges will choose paintings to be included in a live auction later in the evening.

The evening reception begins at 6 p.m. and includes hors d’oeuvres, cash bar, music, door prizes and a silent auction. A live auction of juried pieces will begin at 8 p.m. Reservations are $25 per person.

Those interested may visit www.johngreenleafwhittier.com for more information. The Web site includes an artist registration form and biographies of participating artists.

This 200th anniversary event is hosted by the Trustees of the John Greenleaf Whittier Homestead. All proceeds benefit the continued restoration and maintenance of the poet’s birthplace.


Whittier portrait loaned to national gallery

HAVERHILL, Mass. (11/21/06) — A portrait of John Greenleaf Whittier, one of the premiere fireside poets of the 19th century is now on permanent loan and display at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.

Whittier’s portrait was selected to honor his work as a leading abolitionist.

The portrait is of Whittier at age 25. The portrait is on display as part of a collection entitled “American Origins, 1600-1900.” It is being shown in the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture.

The portrait was painted in 1833 and is part of the abolitionist series. The Whittier portrait is on permanent loan from the Whittier Homestead in Haverhill.

“The museum is delighted to have this portrait of Whittier as a young man. He can be found in the abolitionist group,” said Beverly Cox, of the Smithsonian.

Whittier’s portrait is hanging in Gallery 122 in the American Origins collection. Others famous Americans in the same collection include John Quincy Adams. A portrait of Margaret Fuller, another famous poet of the 19th century, is hung next to Whittier.

In return for loaning the portrait to the Smithsonian, the Smithsonian provided the Birthplace with an exact copy of the original painting. The copy has been framed and can be viewed in the family room of the birthplace.


Whittier Birthplace to honor James Hazen Carleton

HAVERHILL, Mass. (11/18/02) — Former Haverhill mayor and philanthropist James Hazen Carleton (1818-1893) will be formally remembered and honored by the Trustees of the John Greenleaf Whittier Homestead at a ceremony beginning at 3:45 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 20.

The effort to recognize Carleton began as an attempt by local residents to restore the Carleton fountain, now located near Winnekenni Basin. Carleton donated the fountain to the city in 1892 and it was originally located in Gale Park, said Bernard Clohisy, chairman of the restoration effort. The fountain was moved to its current location in 1914, he said. Because of the poor condition of the fountain and the estimated high cost of restoration, the effort to preserve the fountain ended in early 2001.

At the request of Clohisy and other members of the restoration effort, a brass plaque was recently installed on the Whittier home. The inscription proclaims, “Preservation of the John Greenleaf Whittier Birthplace would not have been possible without the generosity and dedication of the Honorable James Hazen Carleton. A friend of the poet and classmate at Haverhill Academy, Carleton purchased and endowed Whittier Birthplace in 1891 for the benefit of the public.”

Carleton presented the birthplace to the Haverhill Whittier Club in 1893. He also provided funds for its maintenance. The club established the Trustees of John Greenleaf Whittier Homestead as a private, non-profit trust to manage and maintain the property.

“The Whittier Homestead is an outstanding example of the old New England farm, located on its original site, is substantially the same as when the Poet lived there in 1807 until 1836. The homestead is the setting of his most famous and beloved poem Snow-Bound. Many settings from his poems are recognizable to those who have read them,” according to materials provided by the Haverhill Whittier Club.

Carleton also contributed to the Haverhill Public Library, Hannah Duston Monument, Haverhill City Hospital, YMCA, Carleton College in Minnesota (named for William Carleton of Charlestown, Mass.), Linwood Cemetery and many other charitable endeavors.