“Miss Perkins” invites you for a tour

Miss Perkins at the door… well actually, it is Jennifer who portrays Miss Perkins who will be greeting you at the door and providing a tour of the Shaw Mansion with a special perspective.

Jennifer Emerson has done a great deal of research to create the role of “Miss Jane Perkins” as she lived in this house in 1876 (and sold the house to the historical society in 1907), and we have offered “first-person interpretive performances” staring Jennifer in the role of Miss Perkins. These “Tea with Miss Perkins” performances have been very popular over the past three years. The cast of characters grew to include the maid, and “Mother” – Mrs. Perkins, and occasionally a brother or two.

The tours on these Saturdays, however, will feature Jennifer in the “third-person” sharing with our visitors some of the intimate knowledge she has gleaned in her research. Although Jennifer will be in her “period attire” (as her dress and accessories are accurate to the time we prefer that phrase to “historic costume”), she will not be trying to maintain the role of Miss Perkins. So you won’t be seeing the ghost of Miss Perkins, but you will be gaining some truly hidden information.

This unique opportunity to learn more about our community and our past is only available for a limited time. This will be an ideal time to return to the Shaw Mansion and bring your visitors for a “limited edition” experience.

NLCHS Annual Meeting ~ 18 September 2011

The Work of Women on the Home Front: Handwork and Organizing During the Civil War

Please join us for the 141st annual meeting of the New London County Historical Society which will be held at the Shaw Mansion, Sunday 18 September, beginning with a wine and hors d’oeuvres reception at 4 pm followed by the business meeting at 5:15.

Lynne Bassett, an internationally known expert on 19th century textiles, will be the featured speaker sharing her research on the work of Ladies Aid Societies in Connecticut towns during the Civil War.Lynne Bassett

During the business meeting of the society board members and officers will be elected. In addition to the usual reports, the board has recommended amendments to the bylaws which will be voted on by the membership. Please  go to NLCHS Proposed Bylaws Revisions 2011, a pdf document, to review and print out a copy of the “marked-up” revisions. These changes substantially update the current bylaws to contemporary legal standards.

The presentation will begin at 6 pm. Bassett, a textile and costume historian, is author of: Massachusetts Quilts — Our Commonwealth, and, Textiles for Clothing of the Early Republic, 1800-1850, and has worked as a curator of textiles for Old Sturbridge Village and the Connecticut Historical Society.

Regarding her current research Lynne writes that she is deep in her study of  “Civil War textiles, and how textiles were integral to the struggle—from the social and economic tensions between southern cotton plantation owners and northern cotton mill owners, to textiles that kept the soldiers clothed, warm, and dry.  The symbolism of flags, and the role of women on the homefront, who spent every possible moment sewing and knitting garments, rolling bandages, and scraping lint for men on the frontlines and in the hospitals, is an important part of the story.  Through textiles we can understand how the war affected civilians and soldiers, as well as the military and political leaders who generally get all the attention.”

Tickets $20 for members. Call today to make reservations: 860.443.1209.

NLCHS Annual Meeting ~ 12 September

NLCHS Annual Meeting ~ 12 September

The Debut of our New Classroom, plus:

 Jane Perkins Revealed

Please join us for the 140th annual meeting of the New London County Historical Society which will be held at the Shaw Mansion Sunday 12 September beginning with an hors d’oeuvres and wine reception at 4 pm followed by the business meeting at 5:15.

Following the business meeting Jennifer Emerson and Penny Havard will share with members the process and the research that went into creating the “persona” of Miss Jane Perkins.Secrets of a locked trunk

Let’s say that “someone” has an idea to create a new first-person interpretive program for a unique historic site, that will “bring to life” an actual individual who once lived at the historic site. How do you make the idea into reality? How do you construct a life from the past? How do you make your interpretation of that individual believable? How do you create the clothes that will evoke the past, and position this individual in a certain time and place with a particular social standing and point of view? How do you create a setting where this person from the past would have an opportunity to be in conversation with people from the present? Come find out.

The “Tea with Miss Perkins” program was recently featured at the Annual Conference of the Connecticut League of History Organizations. With the theme, “Bring on the Drama: Theater and Costumed Interpretation at Historic Sites,” more than 100 history practitioners were interested in finding out more.

Jennifer and Penny created two presentations for the conference that outlined the creation of Miss Perkins and the creation of the costuming for the production. For our annual meeting they will share their presentations with our members.

Starting from, “What do we really know about Jane Perkins?” Jennifer put in hours of research time —  part detective, part playwright, part actor, Jennifer’s inspiration will be revealed.Miss Perkins

Penny’s task was not so much mystery, but was daunting nonetheless; with her considerable knowledge of fashion from the period, how did she take what Jennifer found out, translate that information and create a dress and accessories that would help to tell the story? And a second dress for the maid … there’s a lot to this story.

Tickets $20 for members. Call today to make reservations: 860.443.1209.


Miss Perkins around 1864.

Jane and Ellinor 1876 [2010 really]

90 Years for the 19th Amendment ~ Women’s Right to Vote

90 Years for the 19th Amendment ~ Women’s Right to Vote

SuffragettesThe March Second Sunday program celebrates the 90th Anniversary of the League of Women Voters. Connecticut LWV President, Jara Burnett, will share the story of the effort to pass the 19th Amendment, approved in 1920, and the story of  the organization that pushed for that change: the National American Womens Suffrage Association, which became the League of Women Voters in 1920.

In its 90 years the non-partisan league has campaigned for increased understanding of public policy issues, efforts to achieve an open governmental system that is representative, accountable and responsive to the people, and has hosted local and national candidates debates.

The program will take place at the Shaw Mansion beginning at 2pm on Sunday 14 March. The program is free for members of the New London County Historical Society and for members of the League of Women Voters, $5 for others. Refreshments will be served following the program.

The Shaw Mansion has been the headquarters for the New London County Historical Society since 1907, and is located at 11 Blinman Street, close to the intersection of Bank and Tilley Streets in New London.