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Historic New England celebrates Pride Month

May 26, 2021

Pride Month is celebrated every June as a tribute to those involved in the 1969 Stonewall Uprising. While many parades and festivals are postponed, Historic New England offers special programs to participate in the celebration.

Portrait of Henry Davis Sleeper

Pride Tour at Beauport, the Sleeper-McCann House

Saturday, June 5, 3:30 – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, June 19, 3:30 – 5:00 p.m.
Beauport, the Sleeper-McCann House, 75 Eastern Point Boulevard, Gloucester, Mass.

Beauport tells the story of celebrated interior designer Henry Davis Sleeper, a gay man in the early twentieth century. Tour the house to learn about Sleeper’s family and friends, and hear readings from books and letters written by Sleeper and his social circle. Discover the challenges facing historians interpreting LGBTQ+ history.

Please call 978-283-0800 for more information. General admission is $25.

Please note: All guests must wear a mask on the property and maintain six feet of social distance.

Dr. Wendy Chapkis

Querying the Past: The LGBTQ Maine Oral History Project – a virtual presentation

Thursday, June 10, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.

Join Dr. Wendy Chapkis, Professor of Sociology and Women & Gender Studies at the University of Southern Maine, for Querying the Past: The LGBTQ Maine Oral History Project. Learn about the journey of collecting these histories and their importance in enriching understanding of the LGBTQ community and researching LGBTQ history.

The link to the program will be included in the order confirmation. Tickets to this event free; donations are encouraged. Become a member today to help us continue to offer free programs for all to enjoy.

Portraits of Sarah Orne Jewett and Annie Fields

Sarah and Annie: Pride Tour at Sarah Orne Jewett House

Saturday, June 12, 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Saturday, June 26, 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Sarah Orne Jewett House, 5 Portland Street, South Berwick, Maine

I am yours most lovingly. S.O.J.” Sarah Orne Jewett (letter to Annie Fields 1882).

Sarah Orne Jewett found the love of her life in Annie Fields. An unlikely couple to start, the flower of Boston society and the writer made of “South Berwick dust” shared a decades-long relationship of mutual respect and nurturing. On this special tour of Sarah Orne Jewett House Museum, hear in the words of Jewett and Fields themselves, from letters they wrote one another and in diary entries, about their special bond.

Please call 207-384-2454 for more information. Admission is $15.

Please note: All guests must wear a mask on the property and maintain six feet of social distance.

Gilbert Stuart portrait of Clementina Beach

Cocktails with the Curators at the Eustis Estate

Sunday, June 20, 5:30 p.m.
Eustis Estate, 1424 Canton Avenue, Milton, Mass.

At least six of the artists, subjects, and patrons highlighted in the special exhibition Artful Stories: Paintings from Historic New England would likely identify as LGBTQ+ today. In celebration of Pride Month, co-curators Nancy Carlisle and Peter Trippi present a lively overview of the exhibition and explore the fascinating life stories of these individuals while audience members enjoy socially distanced drinks and refreshments on the terrace. Guests are able to enjoy the exhibition at their leisure starting at 4:00 p.m. before the curators’ conversation starts at 5:30 p.m.

Please call 617-994-6600 for more information. Admission is $50.

Please note: All guests must wear a mask on the property and maintain six feet of social distance.

Telling an LGBTQ+ story at Beauport

Site Manager Martha Van Koevering and Professor R. Tripp Evans discuss the importance of interpreting Henry Davis Sleeper’s life as a gay man in the early twentieth century at Beauport, the Sleeper-McCann House.

The above clip is part of Make History with Historic New England. Watch the full video.

Earlier Pride Month Programs

Rainbow colored books on a shelf of archival files

Pride in the Archives – a virtual presentation

Wednesday, June 2, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. EDT
The Cape Ann Museum and Historic New England present Pride in the Archives, a participatory discussion on the challenges and rewards of interpreting LGBTQ+ history based on archival materials.

This virtual panel discussion starts with the story of Eastern Point residents Piatt Andrew, Henry Davis Sleeper, and their circle of friends— collectively known as “Dabsville” — and continue with a consideration of Andrew and Sleeper’s friendship with neighbors John Hays Hammond Jr. and Leslie Buswell referencing archival documents from the collections of Cape Ann Museum and Historic New England.

Tripp Evans, author of Grant Wood: A Life, will be joined by Martha Van Koevering, site manager of Beauport, the Sleeper-McCann House, and Trenton Carls Archivist/Librarian at Cape Ann Museum. The trio discusses how these specific examples provide a window into both the importance and the difficulties of actively collecting, crafting, and sharing LGBTQ+ history.

Free for Historic New England members, $10 for the general public
Registration for this program is via Eventbrite. Please click here to register.

In Print: Boston’s LGBT Publications during the Gay Liberation Movement – a virtual presentation

Thursday, June 3, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.

Panelists Amy Hoffman, Dallas Denny, Shane Snowdon, Michael Bronski, with moderator Russ Lopez, explore the grassroots LGBTQ+ periodicals that originated in Boston during the modern gay liberation era and evolved to become critical resources for LGBTQ+ communities all over the country.

How did these magazines, journals, and newsletters influence and inform self-identity, politics, and activism nation-wide? What kind of ideological debates played out in the pages of these publications? We will explore why Boston was a good incubator for this particular type of activist media, while also examining how these periodicals worked to amplify the unique concerns and demands of LGBTQ+ communities nationally.

This program is presented by Massachusetts Historical Society, the History Project, and Historic New England. Please visit the Massachusetts Historical Society website to register. The program is free.