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We are proud to present….
“The Women of Marblehead”
A new book by Marblehead historian Robert Booth, published by theMarblehead Female Humane Society.
The Marblehead Female Humane Society has published a new book, The Women of Marblehead, in connection with its 200th Anniversary celebration this year.
The book is 200-plus pages in length, with more than 60 illustrations, and tells the story of Marblehead in the 1800s with special focus on the role of women an
d their evolution from dependency to self-sufficiency. Subtitled A Women’s History of Marblehead, Mass., in the 19th Century and of The Marblehead Female Humane Society and Its Activities from 1816 Forward, the book was commissioned by the Society and written by historian Robert Booth.
The Women of Marblehead traces the history of the town through the perspective of girls and women in each generation, starting with the very hard times of the early years and the War of 1812 and its aftermath, which led to the formation in 1816 of the Marblehead Female Humane Society as a means for women to help other women and their children.
Booth tells the story of Marblehead’s transformation from a seafaring town to a shoe manufacturing center, and of how women were able to earn their own livings and to pay for construction and ongoing expenses of four new churches starting in the 1830s. Women led in running the Underground Railroad before the Civil War, in operating the new machinery introduced in the shoe factories, in striking against the owners, and in taking to the streets in temperance marches. In 1889, 31 years before women got the vote in America, a woman was elected to the town’s School Board. The main story closes as Marblehead became a summer resort.
Readers will recognize familiar names and will enjoy the many illustrations depicting Marblehead and Marbleheaders in the 1800s. Also included is material written by Martha Bessom Gorman that discusses the role of the Society in the 20th century.
“I found the rise of Marblehead women from the poverty and oppression of the early 1800s to the self-empowerment of the 1830s and onward to be an inspiring story,” said Booth. “The Female Humane Society, then as now, provided help to those who needed it and inspired women to improve their own lot. Many of the stories and events were a revelation to me, since so little had been written about women in this town, which, in the days of seafaring, had both a large majority of females in it, and very few men around for the nine months per year that they were at sea. As such, it was like no other place, and Marblehead women were not like others—they had to deal with terrible losses of their men at sea and in war, to be resourceful in raising fatherless children, and to earn their own way in life starting with shoe-making in the 1820s.”
“In ‘The Women of Marblehead,’ Bob has given us new reasons to appreciate Marblehead’s history and those who have come before us. Their strength, their resolve, and their compassion continue to inspire us,” said Lee Weed, the Society’s directress. “We thank Bob for his fine work and for his meaningful insights on our shared history…must-reading for everyone interested in Marblehead.”
The book was designed by Peter Schalck of Flat Rock Creative and published by Maple Press.
About The Author
Robert Booth works as Executive Director of the Center for Clinical Social Work, a national credentialing and advocacy organization in the field of behavioral healthcare. He is a native of Marblehead, where he resides with his family. He was educated at public schools, Harvard College, and Boston University.
He is the author of the guidebook Boston’s Freedom Trail and contributed a chapter to Salem: Place, Myth, and Memory, recently re-released in paperback by the University Press of New England.
In 2011 St. Martin’s Press (Thomas Dunne Books imprint) published his nonfiction story about Salem in the period 1815-1830, Death of an Empire. A repeat visitor to the Boston Globe bestseller list, this work was named Best Book of New England History in 2012 by the New England Society of the City of New York.
His nonfiction Mad For Glory, a book about American intervention in the Pacific in 1813, was brought out by Tilbury House Publishers in November, 2015.
Marblehead Female Humane Society Announces
Year-Long Celebration of its 200th Anniversary
With Preview of Its New Logo Designed by Bob Baker
Marblehead, Mass. – The Marblehead Female Humane Society [MFHS], the oldest philanthropic organization in Marblehead and among the oldest in Massachusetts, will be celebrating its 200th Anniversary throughout 2016.
“For 200 years, the Marblehead Female Humane Society has remained faithful to its original mission of Marbleheaders helping Marbleheaders,” said Lee Weed, the organization’s directress. “Since its founding, The Society has continued to quietly and respectfully help Marblehead residents in need.”
On November 19, 1816, the Marblehead Female Humane Society was formally organized by a membership of 125 women with the objective of helping the indigent, sick and infirm at home.
The idea for the Marblehead Female Humane Society was first proposed by Reverend John Bartlett in response to the town’s unusual level of poverty after Thomas Jefferson’s Embargo of 1807 and its impact on fishing and commerce; the devastation of The War of 1812; the seizure of American ships and impressment of American sailors into the British Navy, and the year of “no summer” in 1816 when there was a frost every single month of the year causing gardens and crops to fail, according to a brief history of the Society written by Martha Bessam Gorman in 2003. “There was definitely a great need for an organization to help the poor,” Gorman wrote in her book.
Bartlett came to Marblehead in the spring of 1811 as the pastor of the Second Congregational Church. A graduate of Harvard College, he was already well-known in Boston where he had served as Chaplain of the Almshouse of Boston from 1807 to 1810, and had initiated the movement which resulted in the founding of McLean Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, according to Gorman’s history.
Barbara Miller and Judith O’Leary are the co-chairpersons of the MFHS 200th Anniversary Celebration.
As the society was looking forward to the 200th Anniversary Celebration, the group turned to Marblehead resident Bob Baker, founder and president of Baker Advertising, to design the organization’s first logo. Baker’s career has spanned publishing, advertising and prose writing. A recognized advertising and creative talent, he is a winner of New England advertising’s top creative award – The Hatch Awards Best of Show, was named one of “The Top 10 Creatives in New England” by Ad East, and honored by The Advertising Club of Boston for a career of excellence in advertising combined with excellence in the arts. In Marblehead, he is well known for the foot outline-with-holly-on-toe logo he designed for The Marblehead Chamber of Commerce’s Christmas Walk, for the seagull logo for Marblehead Savings Bank, and the now-iconic sailboat in the wine glass for The Landing Restaurant.
For The Marblehead Female Humane Society’s logo design, Baker, whose specialty is branding, was inspired by the strength and generosity of the early 19th century Marblehead women. In addition to designing the striking logo, he also created the eloquent theme line, “A beacon of hope and help since 1816.”
Baker says, “When I heard what The Society’s mission was and how it’s still advancing that mission, I found it incredibly impressive.” And so the creative process began.
Baker says, “I woke up in the middle of the night and I’m thinking, you know, this organization is a ray of hope to society.” On a bedside notepad, he drew a descending ray. “The ray has to have a source,” he said, and so he drew a circle atop it. “That source could be the sun — but, if you add a base to it, you have a lighthouse — or, a Victorian woman. Then add the horizontal lines and they become the passage of time or even the waters of Marblehead Harbor and the Atlantic Ocean.”
The tagline came just as easily to him, he says. “The ideas just flow. I call it a gift. It’s not me. I’m a funnel.”
“We saw so many layers of meaning in Bob’s logo,” O’Leary said. “Bob’s design is rich with time-honored significance and yet it is simple and elegant. It resonates with history — a 200-year history.”
Baker says he strives for simplicity in his designs. “‘Simplify’ is the essence of my whole creative mission. It’s my motto. It infuses me.”
The unveiling of the logo heralds the beginning of a year-long celebration that includes the publication of a book MFHS specially commissioned to be written and researched by Marblehead author and historian Bob Booth that is scheduled for publication in the spring; a lecture series in conjunction with the Marblehead Museum, and a 19th century inspired tea party in September, according to Miller.
In February, MFHS will issue an invitation to the Marblehead community to join the historic organization during the Society’s 200th Anniversary Celebration year. Membership is open to men and women. And the Society still maintains membership dues at 10 cents per month or $1.20 per year as first established in 1816. Donations of any amount are always appreciated.