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Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm Reading Club perseveres

Mar 27, 2020

SPL reading club group picture

This March, nine members of the 1919 Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm Reading Club gathered for the first virtual meeting of the 101-year-old organization. “This group, notable for its strong-willed, opinionated women, has carried on for a century – we weren’t going to let anything stop us from holding our monthly meeting,” said Historic New England Regional Site Administrator Bethany Groff Dorau.

A little background

The core members of the original reading club were Agnes, Margaret, and Amelia Little, the last generation of the Little family to live at Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm in Newbury, Massachusetts, and their cousins, friends, and neighbors. Every Monday, beginning September 8, 1919, the group gathered and took turns reading aloud. One member of the reading club recalled that they would read for two hours and then have tea, sandwiches, and cookies. The group kept records of their meetings and correspondence. These are now housed in Historic New England’s archives.

And today…

The current group, led by Groff Dorau, includes several relatives of founding members. As a nod to their roots, the group’s reading list still focuses on New England authors and themes. However, there are a few differences: now they meet monthly rather than weekly and have shifted from reading aloud to reading individually and then meeting to discuss their ‘book of the month.” Currently the meetings are virtual, but the shared laughter and love of reading remains the same.

Nice historical note

In September 2019, the Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm Reading Club received recognition from Massachusetts Governor Charles Baker on its centennial. This was a lovely way to celebrate and particularly appropriate as Baker’s grandmother was a founding member.