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News New England and Beyond

Blooming History

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the gardens at the Bowen House in Woodstock, Connecticut. The original boxwood parterre garden comprises twenty-one flower beds, bordered with six hundred yards of dwarf boxwood. The layout follows the theories of Alexander Jackson Downing, author of influential books on home design, and incorporates his method of planting annuals in ribbons or solid blocks of color, known as "carpet bedding".

New Membership Benefits
As part of its outreach efforts, we are very excited to offer revised benefits to our members, including features that will give those who cannot attend our programs or visit the properties easier access to SPNEA's resources. The lavishly illustrated magazine Historic New England replaces the newsletter and will be sent free to all members. Benefits tied to SPNEA's website,, offer access to staff and collections through on-line events, bulletin boards, and screen savers. There will be discounted admissions to a number of history museums across the country, including Colonial Williamsburg and Old Salem. Our member surveys have told us that not every member wishes to receive SPNEA's scholarly journal, Old-Time New England; henceforth it will be sent to members renewing at the Contributing level and higher. Please check our website for availability of new benefits this summer.

New Talent
Well-known Boston-area photographer Dana Salvo has been appointed staff photographer at SPNEA, where his skill will be in great demand as the museum increases its visibility through exhibitions and publications. Salvo has exhibited his work widely and received honors, including two Fulbright Scholar Awards. He is the author and photographer of Home Altars Of Mexico, published by the University of New Mexico Press.

Ellis Antiques Show
SPNEA will be featured in this year's Ellis Antiques Show to be held November 1 through November 3 at the Park Plaza Castle and Convention Center in Boston. SPNEA's exhibit will showcase four collectors with highly personal approaches to collecting--William Sumner Appleton, Henry Davis Sleeper, Bertram Kimball Little, and Nina Fletcher Little.


Caring for the Wallpaper Collection

Thanks to a documentation grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, SPNEA's Collections Department will be cataloging and rehousing its notable wallpaper collection over the next two years. The catalogued collection will be available online, where users will be able to learn about the history of wallpaper, find advice on caring for historic wallpapers, and determine what types of wallpaper are appropriate for different architectural periods.

Major Gift to Beauport
An anonymous donor has given $1.45 million to SPNEA for Beauport, the fantasy house created in Gloucester, Massachusetts, in the early twentieth century by interior designer Henry Sleeper. The gift, which is restricted to endowment, will enable SPNEA to plan improvements over the long term. Caroline Stride, Chair of the Beauport Advisory Committee, comments, "Beauport was already designated for intensive proactive preservation next year. This gift will help launch the effort to do what is needed on every front-- in interpretation and visitor services, care of house and landscape, conservation of collections, and renewal of the interior. The house will recapture the magic it had in Sleeper's day. This is the beginning of a new era for Beauport and a great show of support for SPNEA."

Timber Frame Goes Up

A timber frame was recently constructed as part of an addition to the carriage barn at the Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm, Newbury, Massachusetts. The addition, which will serve as a visitor center, replaces sections destroyed in the last century by fire. The photograph shows part of the structural frame, called a "bent" being walked into place after being lifted by a crane. Funding for the project has been provided by the Mary Alice Arakelian Foundation, the Abbot and Dorothy H. Stevens Foundation, and an anonymous donor.

News New England and Beyond