We had a very successful Annual Membership Meeting this evening and we’d like to thank everyone who participated, attended, and made it a nice event.
Our meeting kicked off with our Secretary, Carol Rice, giving the minutes from our 2017 meeting, followed by our Treasurer, Dave Baker, giving the financial and building report.
We spoke about ways for members to become involved and a variety of upcoming events and projects, and then it was time for our Vice President, Nancy Schlanser, to talk about our extensive collection of Peg Doore information and artifacts.
Next, Trustee Julie DeMont gave a detailed explanation and history of the artifacts we have displayed relative to Gertrude Brinkle’s art and the life and legacy of Emily Bissell, as well as explaining the beautiful quilted piece she herself made and that is also on loan to us for the summer.
Our primary presentation for the evening was given by Holly Bancroft Brown, who grew up on Paris Hill and lives here still, having raised her own family here. Holly’s grandmother, Florence Hastings, lived well past her 100th birthday and was an incredibly gifted artist and maker. Holly brought breathtaking examples of her work, including quilts, hooked and braided rugs, tole painted pieces, and some reverse painted glass work. Holly’s presentation was filled with poignant remembrances of her grandmother and her work, historical highlights many of us didn’t know, and lots of funny anecdotes that kept everyone laughing. Holly’s mother, Mary Alice Bancroft, was also with us, making the connection to family and history even better. It should be mentioned that Holly is very creative herself, a gifted sewer, quilter, and interior designer.
Here are some pictures from Holly’s presentation, with captions.
Overall, it was a great evening and again, our sincere thanks to everyone who attended. We also are getting a very good response to our call for membership and donations, and we sold the first of our Peg Doore notecards, a sampling of which is below. We have twelve designs in all. They are 6 for $12 or 12 for $20.
We will be open again next Thursday, July 5th, from 1-4 PM if you’d like to purchase a set of your own or just see our summer exhibits.
For our membership application and schedule of events, click HERE.
Thanks for reading and have a great July 4th holiday!
Come see us, Thursday, June 14th from 1 to 4 PM for our opening day of the summer season. We have just completed putting our display cases together for our summer theme, “Arts, Crafts, and Collections” and our docents are ready to share their knowledge and our new exhibits with you.
Featured in the large curved display case is the graphic art, screen printing, and weaving of former Paris Hill resident, Peg Doore. These items range from note cards to table accessories to aprons and bags. Many on the Hill have Peg Doore art in their collection of housewares, and vintage Peg Doore items can be found for sale to collectors on eBay, Etsy, and other vintage and antique venues still. Along with the examples of her work we also have a notebook for your perusal with information about the artist, her life, and pictures of her with her creations and at the loom. Should you fall in love with any of her botanical or architectural designs, we have a treat for you…
Available at the Historical Society and also at Founders’ Day this year will be sets of reproduction Peg Doore designed note cards, made by special permission. We have twelve designs total which we have broken in to two six-card collections for you to choose from, or buy both for an even better price. Come in and see these beautiful cards, perfect for all occasions. We also have Peg Doore gift wrap, featuring the historic homes and public buildings on Paris Hill, which offers you a unique way to wrap presents this year! NOTE: If you are far away and can not purchase note cards in person, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how we can help you.
To go with our July 17th talk by Dr. Martha McNamara on Pedro Tovookan Parris, we have on display a photographic print of Pedro’s mural of his journey from Rio de Janeiro to Paris Hill and also a copy of a framed photograph of him. This will help you put a face with his name and story prior to our program.
Also on display this year is some beautiful art and pithy poetry by Gertrude Brinkle and a display on her contemporary, Emily Bissell, who introduced the Christmas Seals program in the United States and who was a summer resident of Paris Hill. We also have a gorgeous small quilt by Gertrude Brinkle’s great-niece, our trustee and past president Julie Demont, and a small hooked rug by Beth Miller who lives in the Parris House.
Here is our calendar of events for 2018:
Every Thursday 1 – 4 PM OPEN at our building on Tremont Street.
June 28th – Annual Membership Meeting, 7 PM, 48 Tremont Street: We will talk about the season, enjoy refreshments, and are also excited to announce that we will have a short presentation by lifelong Paris Hill resident Holly Brown about her own creative work and that of her grandmother, Florence Hastings, whose work has also been featured at the Bethel Historical Society. We’ll hear about quilting, rug braiding and hooking, and more.
July 17th – Talk by Dr. Martha McNamara of Wellesley College on the life and art of Pedro Tovookan Parris, 7 PM, First Baptist Church: Dr. McNamara is the foremost expert on the life of former-slave, artist, and public speaker Pedro Tovookan Parris who was brought to Paris Hill to live with the Parris family in the mid 1800s.
July 21st – Founders’ Day, 10-2 on the village green and at our building on Tremont Street: The Historical Society building at 48 Tremont Street will be open from 10 – 2 and we will also have a spot on Hannibal Hamlin Drive where you will be able to purchase Peg Doore note cards and gift wrap, and other items that we will have for sale. Stop in to the building or see our docents at the gift table on the green to ask questions about Paris Hill history as well.
August 11th – Paris Hill Music Festival, 10-2, 48 Tremont Street: We will be open to visitors to the Paris Hill Music Festival on this day, so in addition to enjoying great music at the church, please stop by and see us.
August 25th and 26th, Saturday and Sunday, 12 – 4 each day, Paris Hill Artists and Makers Show, Paris Hill Community Club: We will be displaying a variety of art and craft work from artists and makers of Paris Hill both past and present. This is the venue where we will be able to display items too large for our home building on Tremont Street and from a wider variety of Paris Hill artists and makers. We hope to have some of our living artists on hand to answer questions and present their work. Continue to follow us on Facebook and our website for more details on this event.
We are happy to report that we received a wonderful response to the call for artists, makers, and collectors in our last newsletter submission, hearing from quite a few of our members and residents with offers of items and expertise for our summer theme, “Arts, Crafts, & Collections.” We are planning to start re-contacting those who responded soon to talk about how they can participate in our exhibits and programs this summer. In the meantime, here are some save-the-dates:
Starting June 14th we will be open again this summer on Thursday afternoons from 1-4 PM. We will also be open on Saturday, July 21st from 10 – 2, for Founders Day and on Saturday, August 11th from 10 -2, on the weekend of the Paris Hill Music Festival. Stay tuned for an announcement possibly adding another Saturday open date for June.
Thursday, June 28th at 7 PM will be our annual membership meeting at the PHHS building on Tremont Street. We are just starting to prepare our display cases with artistic creations from both our distant past and present which will be ready to view by our opening day, so be sure to come and get one of the first looks at the new exhibits. We will also serve refreshments. Not yet a member? You can become one by following the directions at the end of this article!
Tuesday, July 17th at 7 PM, at the First Baptist Church we will welcome Dr. Martha McNamara, Director of the New England Arts & Architecture Program at Wellesley College, to speak about the life and art of Pedro Tovookan Parris. Dr. McNamara will be giving a 45 minute presentation with a 15 minute Q&A session, after which we will have refreshments in the church hall.
Pedro Tovookan Parris was an ex-slave, captured in East Africa in the 1840s, taken to the slave trading hub in Zanzibar, then to another hub, Rio de Janeiro, where the ship he was on, the Porpoise, was reported to the authorities. Virgil D. Parris, then the United States Marshall for Maine, became involved in the case and eventually adopted Tovookan and brought him to live here on Paris Hill at the Parris House (now 546 Paris Hill Road). He became an artist, speaker, and member of the community. Tovookan was buried in the Knoll Cemetery, behind the Parris House, in 1860 at age 29 after succumbing to pneumonia. In our collection are the diaries of Arabella Rawson Carter, sister in law and sister, respectively, to Virgil and Columbia Parris, in which she chronicles Tovookan’s illness and death.
This is only a fraction of his story which is a remarkable piece of African American history in Maine and has been written about extensively. Dr. McNamara is working on an exhaustive contextual biography of Tovookan. Her research on his life has taken her all over New England and even to the UK and we are very excited to have her share her knowledge with us.
TBD, August: We are still determining the exact dates for our August event, which will be an art and craft exhibit featuring both antique and vintage items from our collection and private collections on the Hill, and contemporary works from some of the living artists and makers among us. We will announce all the details on this program on our website at www.parishillhistoricalsociety.org and on our Facebook page.
In keeping with our theme, we are also working on having beautiful Peg Doore reproduction note cards made that will be available for sale this summer and beyond. Sale of these cards will benefit the society and help support our programs while offering purchasers something truly unique and lovely as gifts or for personal use.
To keep up to the minute with everything that’s happening with the Paris Hill Historical Society, both during our summer season and the rest of the year, please “like” us to join our Facebook community at https://www.facebook.com/parishillhistoricalsociety/. This is a great way to interact with us and with others who follow our page because they love the village and its history.
If you would like to become a member, support our mission of preserving and promoting Paris Hill history, and possibly become more involved, please click here.