This Week at MHS: Maine Patriots and Genealogy Workshop

Maine Memory Network #11621

As we celebrate Patriot’s Day today, we remember not only Lexington and Concord, but also Maine’s role in the early battles of the American Revolution. Through letters, engravings, and maps, the Maine Memory Network online exhibit, Liberty Threatened: Maine in 1775, explores some of the events of 1775, including disputes between patriots and loyalists, escalating conflicts in Falmouth (Portland) and Machias, and Benedict Arnold’s march through Maine to Quebéc. View the exhibit.

At left is an illustration for Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s famous poem The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere from The Complete Poetical Works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow with numerous illustrations/ Boston : Houghton, Mifflin and Company; James R. Osgood and Company, 1880 (which can be found at the MHS Library). The poem is from Tales of a Wayside Inn.

Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

He said to his friend, “If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,–
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm.

Today’s e-Connection “This Week at MHS” highlights an excellent genealogy workshop happening this coming Saturday, April 23rd from 10-11:30am. The workshop, Using AmericanAncestors.org,  will be lead by Ryan Woods, Director of Internet Technology at New England Historic Genealogy Society.

Psssst! MHS is leading a trip to Boston to visit NEHGS on May 14- details here.

Join us for an insider’s look into this extensive new online genealogy resource. NEHGS recently launched their flagship website, AmericanAncestors.org. This new online resource has more than 3,000 digitized collections and more than 135 million records covering New England, New York, and other areas of family research dating back to 1620. This workshop will offer strategies for maximizing your search experience as well cover tips and techniques for navigation and personalizing your online experience. Registration required. Fee: MHS Members: $15; Non-Members: $25. To register, please call 774-1822.

Coming up in a few weeks is our annual gala event, the Mad Hatter Affair.

We hope to see you all there!

Saturday, May 7, 2011
Location: The Woodlands, Falmouth, Maine

Reservations Required. 
Call 207-774-1822 for details and
to purchase tickets. 

Details and Ticket Prices Online

View Auction Items Online

The Real Impact of “Paul Revere’s Ride”

Illustration and poem, Paul Revere's Ride, ca. 1880

In the most recent issue of The American Scholar, Harvard University professor of American history Jill Lepore offers a keen analysis of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s most famous–and one of his most widely debated–poems, “Paul Revere’s Ride.”

“How Longfellow Woke the Dead” examines how the poem was read in Longfellow’s day as a “bold statement of his opposition to slavery” and why it deserves to be taken more seriously than it has been by scholars over the years. Timely, given that the poem was published on the eve of the Civil War (while ostensibly being about the Revolution), and that we are about to begin marking that war’s Sesquicentennial.

Lepore simultaneously redeems Maine’s most famous poet from the various critics, particularly in the 20th century, that made a sport out of “shooting down Longfellow’s [so-called] greeting-card verse.” After all, there’s nothing wrong, she explains, with being a poet who “loved writing poems that everyone would read, poems that everyone could read, poems in which people, unsophisticated people, even little people, might find pleasure and solace.”

Amen to that!