Friends of Sandwich Town Archives
Helping to Preserve the Historical Treasures of Sandwich, Massachusetts
Feb-Jun 2021 Newsletters
Aren’t we lucky? June weather for the month of May! How rare on Cape Cod that follows the heating and cooling of the Ocean and thus is usually 3 weeks behind Boston for warmth and blooming bushes.
Joan Russell Osgood is working on a multipart oral history video with Sandwich TV on an infamous, unsolved Sandwich Murder that involves rum runners off our shores during prohibition. Can’t wait to see that presentation online. Joan has been researching this for a long time!
I am still researching important historic structures that we have lost. My next for June will be “Who Burned Down the Freeman Farm House?” This was a terrible tragedy of arson. Stay tuned for details. I think this too will have to be in installments. I spent some time plowing through the vast Freeman Farm archival files and have oodles of information. It is a fascinating history of the family farm of the founder of Sandwich, Edmund Freeman.
As I reported in my last newsletter, FOSTA lost a longtime member and lifelong Sandwich resident, Judy Hendy in early May. Judy’s professional input from her years as Ass’t Town Clerk was valuable to us. Judy also handled the Barbara Luksanen Gill Annual Scholarship in memory of our former beloved Archivist and Judy’s lifelong friend.
We are actually down two members right now. We are a convivial group and meet once a month. Since the closing of the library and since Covid struck we have been meeting at my home out on Goose Point in East Sandwich. Kathy Ellis calls it a ‘commute’ to get out here but I do provide various beverages and treats. Of course, she is speaking as an intown Jarvesville person!
We were meeting outside last summer and then we moved inside with masks and were well-spaced. It seems to work out just fine. If interested in the support and preservation of our town archives email me and we can discuss a possible spot for you on our committee. email@example.com
Just in case you do not know who is currently on this committee we are:
Sue Driscoll-treasurer, Joan Russell Osgood-Secretary, Deb Rich-Archivist, Jean Bondarek, Barbara Bangs MacNeil, Kathy Ellis, and I am Kaethe O. Maguire-president.
Happy finally spring everyone! I write this on a non-rainy day. Just remember come July and August we will long for a few rainy days for our gardens.
Even though the current home of the Town Archives in the Sandwich Public Library is not open right now and may not be open until September, the renovation of the building is going well. And, FOSTA is still churning along to preserve your precious historical records, documents, films and photographs.
As last reported, Deb, our archivist, has found a well-respected company to digitize and host our historic newspaper collection. So that is one big step for the preservation and public accessibility.
Additionally, Joan Russell Osgood has found an amazing man who has done tape restoration work for all manner of credible institutions to salvage our old oral history tapes from decades past. What a delightful find this is! Everyone enjoys listening the voices from the past describe life in Sandwich from generations ago...
In spite of the interruption of having the library building inaccessible, the work of the Friends of your Sandwich Town Archives continues. Most of archival materials are packed away in climate-controlled pods, but now we look forward to making this material available through digitizing on the Archives website.
On a sad note, I must report that long time FOSTA member, lifelong Sandwich resident, Judy Hendy passed away on May 6th at age 88.
Judy wore many elected, appointed and volunteer hats while living in Sandwich which benefited young and old alike. For our FOSTA group she oversaw the memorial FOSTA scholarship for her lifelong friend, Barbara Luksanen Gill.
Over the years Judy contributed many facts and stories about Sandwich the way it used to be that are precious to us all. Our condolences are extended to her whole family. She will be missed.
Seated is Judy Hendy in a photo taken in 2020 at a FOSTA meeting.
Standing left-right are Treasurer Susan Driscoll and Board Members, Kathy Ellis and Barbara MacNeil.
Welcome to another Cape Cod version of Spring. Yes, I know, a mixed blessing. But, we are blessed with a good long lovely autumn!
I just received a report from our archivist, Deb Rich, on progress toward steps necessary to prepare for digitizing many of Sandwich’s precious old documents and newspaper films.
The hard-working librarians, all in their temporary quarters at the Sand Hill School on Dewey Avenue, are making wonderful inroads into having all documents scanned in preparation of digitizing. This includes a few items with which you may be familiar. The Percival Diary and the Freeman Diary, both full of personal first-hand accounts of life in Sandwich a so very long ago, are being made ready for digitizing.
Also, the extremely useful “Family Sheets” created by former Archivist, Barbara Luksanen Gill, will be scanned individually. These are so important to people who come from out of state to research their old Sandwich roots. We hope to be able to post them by Family Surname.
Deb has settled on a good highly rated company to do all this digitizing work; however, they want the all the materials to be digitized all at once, so we must wait until this summer to be able to gather together all the old newspaper films now in storage. This will include the old Broadsider from the 1970s and ‘80s.
As you probably know, much of the whole library is in storage while the renovation is going on at 142 Main Street. The target date for the work to be completed is August.
I hope you are taking the time to check the website updates. We just added my story on the first Quaker Meeting House in East Sandwich after the arrival of a few Quakers from England to spread the word. Since Sandwich was not ultra conservative Puritan Boston or Plymouth, the people were open to new, more tolerant ideas. Check it out under our “Did You Know” section at www.fostasandwich.com.And yes, there are a few old photos from 1885. I know how you all love old photos! Who doesn’t?
Best to All.
Kaethe O. Maguire
President of the Friends of the Sandwich Town Archives (FOSTA).
Had your shot or shots yet? Think Spring! And safer days ahead as long as the non-maskers stay away from us! This week is unusually cold, but it will pass, and even though Cape Cod is 3 weeks behind our friends over the bridge for a Spring Bloom, it is coming!
Our Annual Appeal, very delayed on account of Covid, is going very well and we are grateful to all of you. This money is particularly earmarked for digitizing archival materials.
The librarians in their temporary quarters at the Sand Hill School have spent the winter scanning old vital documents from the Archives which will then be digitized and made available to all for free through the FOSTA website. Town Archivist Deb Rich is orchestrating this whole thing. Films of more old newspapers will also be available to all as well.
Do any of you remember the original Sandwich Broadsider, created by Bill and Laurie Chase? Publications from the many years the Chases ran the Broadsider, extracted from film which they kindly donated to the Town Archives, are being digitized and will eventually be accessible though the FOSTA website.
I hope you all saw the giant 350th Sandwich anniversary cake article in the recent Sandwich Enterprise article by FOSTA member, Barbara Bangs MacNeil, owner of the famous MacNeil’s bakery for years. If you missed it, look to our website.
We will soon be presenting a wonderful video through our website of a long interview with Howard “Fizzie” Crowell, a Sandwich icon recently lost to us. We have been working with Paula Johnson, Executive Director of Sandwich Community TV on this project.
Joan Russell Osgood has also been working with Sandwich Community TV on an amazing story of the murder of a well-known Sandwich man from the 1920’s!
I am starting a little series on historic homes now lost to us. I know you all like old photos and I have been able to find a few of each house in our archives. The first home featured will be that of William and Priscilla Allen, who hosted the first Quaker meetings after the introduction of the Society of Friends in 1656 and before the first Quaker Meeting House was built.
The next home with be the Tupper Home, lost to us in 1921 through arson…. Remember we offer an array of Historic gifts for sale on our website as well.
Best to all,
Kaethe O. Maguire
President of FOSTA
Even writing 2021 instead of 2020 gives me have a bit of hope that this new year will be better for all of us. For one thing, 2021 will bring us a whole newly renovated public library and Town Archives area.
Good news from FOSTA on our new annual fund drive for the archives and specifically for digitizing important documents, old newspaper films and other important items we want to bring forward to the public for free, is going well. You have come through for us once again and we are so encouraged by your generosity even tho most of our Town Archives are in storage right now. The envelopes are still coming in and we are so grateful!
After the majority of donations have been received we will be drawing names for our annual prize raffle. For every $25. Donated your name goes into a big glass bowl for the drawing. So people who donate $100. Have 4 chances to win. Our prizes are really interesting this year. One special offering of an out of print Cape Cod book of maps from 1880. I bought one of these, used, myself on line and it was $41.! Our 2 offerings of this book are new and in sealed wrapping.
If you still wish to donate to FOSTA, simply write a check to FOSTA or to the Friends of the Sandwich Town Archives and mail it to P O BOX 576 Sandwich 02563.
Be sure to check our website at www.fostasandwich.com and our Facebook page for newly written articles and old photos. We have been hard at work to bring new little-known items to you on Sandwich’s historic past.
As you may know, our archives, in abbreviated form right now, and our archivist, Deb Rich, are located on Dewey Ave. at the former Sand Hill School.