2020 Archival Newsletters
Rather than toasting in the New Year on Dec. 31st I think we should all toast the END of 2020!
What a year it has been. On the whole we are pretty lucky to live in Sandwich in a relatively safe town where the virus, until recently, has been pretty tame. But the warning is out there now as we end this tough year, be safe, wear the hated mask and follow the rules!
FOSTA has managed to meet one way or another for just about every month. We continue on Zoom for January. We didn’t want to lose our momentum as I see some committees have sadly done, and we are pushing forward with our preservation work for our incredibly old and valuable documents for the benefit of all.
Have you ever read the Old Sandwich Observer on line, free thru both the Archives website and through the FOSTA website at fostasandwich.com? It is really fun to read the way life was in Sandwich from 1846 thru about 1899. While you are trapped inside this winter, give it a try.
DO any of you remember the old Original Sandwich Broadsider weekly newspaper? It was created by Bill and Laurie Chase. We are hoping to turn those microfilmed pages into readable format thru digitizing.
While the library has been relocated to the Sand Hill School and only a small selection of our archival material was allowed to follow our Archivist, Deb Rich, she is taking advantage of this down time to scan in many archival documents with the help of other librarians at the Sand Hill. This is the first essential step toward digitization of these precious materials.
People have asked if we are going to apply for a Community Preservation Act (CPA) grant for this digitizing. We certainly will and did apply and receive money to digitize the Sandwich Observer and hope to do the Sandwich Independent; however, the CPA amount of money has been greatly reduced now because our tax to support the CPA went from 3% to 2%, At a recent Town Meeting it was voted to use the 1% to help with our waste water problems. Under 3% you can only participate in the first round of distribution of money for our Town. Only those who pay 3% as we used to, are eligible to participate in rounds 2 and 3.
So…….we can certainly could use your help to modernize our archives. I hate to admit it, but we are far behind many towns in the process of digitizing our records. Any donations are appreciated and a check can be written and sent to FOSTA at P O Box 576 Sandwich 02563.
Best to all. Wishing you peace and good health.
Kaethe O. Maguire President of FOSTA.
One of our energetic members, Barbara Bangs MacNeil, has completed a project of photographing each and every Historic Asset on the North side of town and filing those photos with all the homes files that began with Russell Lovell in the early 1970’s.
Historic Assets refers to a list of historic places that are given Historic Asset numbers by the Massachusetts Historical Commission in Boston. These records include a photo of the home and all the architectural features including the names of the owners from the beginning of construction if possible and at the time of the survey. They have a complete record of the ‘historic assets’ of every town in the Commonwealth. It is incumbent on the Historical Commission of every town to keep these files up to date. In this case it has been done by volunteers for FOSTA.
Photos for the historic assets on the South side of town were updated in the early 2000’s by FOSTA members and should be done again.
Needless to say, many of these homes have gone through demolition by neglect and been taken down, some have been rebuilt and changed drastically and some, mercifully, have been beautifully maintained.
It is good to have updated photos of our assets. These are popular files in the Town Archives for not only members of the Sandwich Historical Commission, but for the Sandwich Old King’s Highway Historic District as well.
While working in the archives over the years I have witnessed many a visitor from far off places who come in to request photos of their old family homestead.
FOSTA is now kicking off the annual appeal to support the Town Archives after a long Covid delay. Our hope is to be able to digitize many old records and films to make them available to the public over the NET for free through the Sandwich Town Archives website with a link at the FOSTA website as well.
Once again, we are offering prizes and each person who donates $25. Each donor will have his or her name dropped into a box for the drawing to be held at the end of the Annual Appeal campaign. Each $25. Increment allows the donor to have another chance at winning.
This year we are offering 2 new copies of the 1880 map in a bound book; two copies of Christie Lowrance’s book on Thornton Burgess and two B&W copies of the 1939 hand drawn Jenny Jones map depicting Sandwich Village in detail in 1825, the year the Deming Jarves Glass works opened in Sandwich.
The members of the Friends of the Sandwich Town Archives (FOSTA) have been busy researching and adding material to our Facebook page and to our website. (fostasandwich.com).
We know that everyone loves to look at old photos and we are adding a great many fascinating photos with identification. You will especially enjoy all the additions to the “Did You Know” section of the website.
Joan Osgood has written an absorbing piece on wolves in Sandwich, yes, wolves which drove farmers just crazy with the killing of their sheep and other livestock.
Kaethe Maguire has added sections to her History of the Mail in Sandwich. Do you recognize any of the old Sandwich names or places where post offices were set up around town?
We will kick off our annual appeal just after the election. Our goal this year is to be able to digitize more of our old Sandwich records and make them available over the NET to all.
Right now you can read the Sandwich Observer on line through a link on our website page under “Historic Newspapers” on the first page. The software is good and makes researching Sandwich in the 1800s to about 1900 very easy.
People reported everything to the newspaper in the ‘olden days’. No privacy then and there was no internet! No visitor to town or a visit out of town by a local went unreported. Some of the material is downright hilarious, give it a try.
Kaethe O. Maguire-President of FOSTA.
It seems hard to believe but FOSTA has existed since 2003 when the Town ceased to fund the Town Archives, then housed in the dark dismal attic of the Sandwich Town Hall Annex. Richard Connor, now retired Director of the Sandwich Public Library, came up with the idea of creating a nonprofit organization to support our Town Archives and pay the part time salary of our Archivist, Barbara Luksanen Gill. Richard also enabled the move to the MacKnight Room of the Sandwich Public Library to better open this important source of Sandwich history to the public.
I can still see the incredible assembly line of workers packing boxes in the attic and then braving the flight of stairs and crossing Main St. to deliver these materials to the MacKnight room. Russell Lovell, already a very senior citizen carried box after box without seeming to be struggling a bit. I chose to be a packer. Of course it took weeks, months to reorganize all this material that had been stashed all over that attic for lack of proper space. Barbara never complained, but I bet she was overwhelmed as she sat surrounding by boxes and tried to make order.
FOSTA has come a long way from the desperate days to raise enough money to keep the archives open, but the public rose to the challenge. People who maybe could not afford a donation of $25, for ‘membership’ somehow found the money to keep beloved Barbara Gill at her desk.
In the past year FOSTA has established not only a Facebook page but a new website! . This was all ably facilitated our website designer, Sarah Bassett. We are so excited to share all those old stories and photos of life in Sandwich in a by gone era. The Facebook page has provided a nice link to the public and enabled us to sell some of our historic items to fund the needs of the Archives.
Additionally, we are working closely with Town Archivist, Deb Rich, to digitize important old newspapers and records to make them all more easily accessible to the public. CPA grant money is funding this project.
Joan Russell Osgood has continued to provide us with one stimulating oral history after the other and these are all available on our website. What a treasure to record these memories of people who experienced Sandwich in another time and many of whom descend from early settlers.
Barbara Bangs MacNeil has taken on the task of updating photos for our historic asset files (houses, monuments, structures, etc.) for the north side of Sandwich. Other members of FOSTA, myself included, took updated photos of South Sandwich and Forestdale some years ago.
The Following can be ordered thru the Town Archives by a couple of different methods. Fostasandwich9@gmail.com or contact Archivist Deb Rich at the Sandwich Archives directly at 508-888-0625 x 302. See our website for photos of these items. www.fostasandwich.com
1. The original 1909 Dodge MacKnight water color of his back yard at Hedgerow in East Sandwich called the “Kitchen Garden” has now been reproduced to benefit the Sandwich Town Archives. MacKnight left 9 original prints to the Public Library. This print can never be reproduced by anyone else.
2. FOSTA has also reproduced the map of Sandwich Village as it appeared in 1825 at the time of the opening of the Glass Works. Jane Bradford Jones, known as Jenny Jones, drew and hand watered colored this map in 1939 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the incorporation of Sandwich in 1639. It is also available for sale in either black & white for your own artistic pleasure.
Lastly, FOSTA was able to re issue Russell A. Lovell Jr’s 1984 Sandwich, A Cape Cod Town with additional text and pictures contributed by Mr. Lovell just a few years ago and is now on sale for $24.95. Mr. Lovell was thrilled to see this book re published in his life time.
We have just begun a new website series called “Did You Know?” full of old photos and historical information you may never have even heard of about Sandwich! Our first issue will be a timely subject. MAIL. We will discuss the beginning of mail service to Sandwich on the cusp of the outbreak of the Revolutionary War.
Joan Russell Osgood has created a very entertaining piece on Wolves in Sandwich!
We are adding material and old photos every day and very excited to be bringing all this history your way.
Best to all, Kaethe O. Maguire
President of FOSTA