Joan Russell Osgood, President
John Walker, Vice President
Heidi MacDonald Arnold
Susan Driscoll, Treasurer
Jean Bondarek, Secretary
Barbara Bangs MacNeil
June Anderson Murphy
Deborah Rich, Sandwich Town Archivist
Taylor White, Sandwich Town Clerk
The board meets monthly at 1pm on the third Tuesday of each month. Meetings are held in the MacKnight Room of the Sandwich Public Library.
Support FOSTA and become a member by making a $25 donation. Additional information is available here.
We would love to know what you think and suggestions are always welcome. Email FostaSandwich9@gmail.com.
The Founding of FOSTA
Richard J. Connor,
former Sandwich Library Director
Richard J. Connor: His Role in Founding the Friends of the Sandwich Town Archives
Until the founding of FOSTA, the town archives were a department of the town clerk, at that time Barbara George Walling. Barbara Luksanen Gill was the part-time archivist. The archives department was located in the attic of the Town Hall Annex across the street from the library. The attic storage room was referred to as the ‘dark hole of Calcutta.” One bare lightbulb hung from the ceiling and books were piled everywhere, some not even on shelves. Climate control was completely absent.
In 2003, the town select board, finance committee, and town administrator decided to withdraw funding for the town archives. It was then that Sandwich Public Library Director Richard J. Connor gathered stakeholders to discuss his proposal to create a "friends of" group to save the archives.
After the meeting, Richard immediately applied for the needed 501C3 tax exempt status so that FOSTA could begin requesting donations. A committee was formed based on the former “archives committee” that had been in existence in the 1970s and thereon for some years.
The committee's first task was to raise funds to pay the archivist's small salary since the town was no longer a support system. Another important task was addressing the desperate need to find proper storage for the archival materials on hand.
Richard Connor came to the rescue once again by providing a new home for the archives in the library's Dodge MacKnight Room.
Volunteers moved all the materials out of the Town Hall Annex attic and into the Macknight Room, a mammoth task. Committee member Kaethe Maguire vividly recalls Russell Lovell, the town's first archivist and already a senior citizen, carrying box after box down flights of stairs from the attic and across the street into the library.
Months of cleaning and organization followed. FOSTA members spent weeks, scrubbing, painting, and organizing to create some semblance of order.
In 2006 the library trustees voted to adopt the town archives as part of the Sandwich Public Library.
Past President, FOSTA
Any story about the founding of FOSTA must include the contributions made by Kaethe Maguire.
Her unwavering commitment to the historic preservation of our unique town and its many assets led her to serve as a member of numerous organizations, including the Sandwich Public Library Board of Trustees, Thornton Burgess Society Board of Trustees, Sandwich Old Kings Highway Historic District Committee, Sandwich Preservation Implementation Committee, Sandwich Tree and Landscape Committee, Sandwich Historical Commission, and of course the Friends of the Sandwich Town Archives.
Kaethe was one of the founders of FOSTA in 2003. She retired from FOSTA in the summer of 2023 after 20 years as a member and ten years as its president (2013-2023).
Under her leadership, during perhaps the busiest and most productive years since the founding of FOSTA, we increased our community outreach by creating a website and Facebook page; edited videotapes of townspeople that had been stored away in the archives and made them available to the public; wrote - and continues to write - articles about Sandwich’s history as part of
Kaethe Maguire, FOSTA President 2013-2023
the “From the Archives” series published monthly in The Sandwich Enterprise; videotaped interviews with townspeople for our “Tell Me A Story” program; instituted an annual high school scholarship in memory of beloved former archivist Barbara Gill; and in general worked to increase the visibility and funding in support of our wonderful town archives.
Kaethe’s guidance and “can do” approach kept our eyes and actions focused on the importance of being good stewards of the history of Sandwich, as exemplified by her service to all of the organizations she worked to support. FOSTA, the town archives, and the town of Sandwich are forever grateful.
Barbara Luksanen Gill, Town Archivist
Barbara Luksanen Gill was born on November 8, 1932 in Forestdale, the farming portion of Sandwich, to a Sandwich woman, Mabel Fish, with roots traced back to the founder of Sandwich, Edmund Freeman, and John Luksanen, whose ancestry was all Finnish.
Barbara earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology at Simmons College in Boston and worked in the science community of Woods Hole before she settled into the preservation, recording, and keeping of the family histories of the founding and early families of Sandwich, which today serves not only our community but that of the greater nation as descendants swarm to our archives all year to learn of their past. What a gift to all of us!
Barbara served as our second town archivist for 28 years before retiring in 2016. Her mind was like an accurate computer of all things historic, right up to her passing. Barbara’s many other interests included gardening, birding, and the long list of grandchildren and great grandchildren.
The late Barbara Gill, Sandwich Town Archivist until 2016. Photo courtesy of The Sandwich Enterprise.
Russell A. Lovell, Jr., Town Archivist
The late Russell A. Lovell, Jr., taken at 100 years of age.
Almost as soon as Russell A. Lovell Jr. arrived in Sandwich he and his wife, Penelope, began the preservation of historic assets for our ancient American town. The Smith-Hoxie House and the Grist Mill had already been restored (1959-60), but there was much to do, especially with regard to the written history of our Town founded in 1637.
In 1971 he was one of the founders of the Sandwich Historical Commission, which is the local arm of the Massachusetts Historical Commission.
In 1973 he was one of the movers to establish a town archive. He worked tirelessly, not only as our first archivist, but as the author of Sandwich, A Cape Cod Town, first published in 1984. He held the post of town archivist until 1988 when Barbara Gill took over for the next 28 years.
Julia Claire "Judy" Hendy
Sandwich born and raised, Judy Hendy was a friend, a member and contributor to FOSTA, sharing her knowledge of the town and its history.
Her relationship with FOSTA began when Judy was the assistant town clerk and attend meetings when the town clerk couldn't.
Judy continued to serve FOSTA after retiring and she created the Barbara Lukansen Gill scholarship which she coordinated each year with Sandwich High School.
Judy kept active with FOSTA until her death in May of 2021.
Judy Hendy remained a board member of FOSTA until her death in May 2021.