Friday night’s presentation of A Page Out of History:A Hampton Woman in the Needletrades 1859-1869 played to a full house.
It was a very cleverly written dramatic reading based on letters and personal papers of Mary Page Getchell; her brother, John Page, and her mother, Mrs. Susan Page. Cheryl Lassiter as the narrator, set the stage for the presentation. We learn of Mary, a plucky young woman who, tired of school teaching, purchased a millinery shop with her sister in Exeter. Restless to explore the world, she ventured to Illinois to set up another shop near her brother, but returns to New England upon the marriage of her sister to once again manage the Exeter business. She gave up shop keeping upon her own marriage. Taking place during the civil war years, we hear through their letters how the war affected the everyday lives of people in both parts of the country.
Besides Cheryl, there were five cast members. Elaine Weatherby and Owen Thomas, from Winnacunnet High School, portrayed Mary and John. Our own HHS members took the stage as well. Maggie Ginieres was Mrs. Susan Page. Candy Stellmach read an excerpt from Mary Page Getchell’s thoughts on women in the business world – eloquent words that still hold true today. John Stewart made a surprise appearance as Mark Twain. What talent!
In the audience were the great-great-nieces of Mary Page Getchell who traveled from Pennsylvania and New York State, and the current owners of the Page Homestead. With these connections to Mary in the audience it was easy to relate with the lives of those that lived so long ago, and think about our own family history. It also showed the importance of keeping that family history intact.
A special exhibit relating to Mary Page Getchell’s buisness has been mounted, along with her diary, letters and writings. Hats from the Page family and Civil War era dresses are on display from our clothing collection. There also is a Civil War exhibit connected to the Page family – Josiah Page who served and William Cole (husband of Mary’s sister Susan) who purchased a subsitiute to replace himself in the war.
We plan to do more events utilizing our archives, bringing new ways of looking at past events.