Monday, January 21, 2013

Education Update: 8 Bells Lecture on Middletown History

Dr. Christine Haverington /U.S. Navy Photo
The museum's most recent 8 Bells Lecture focused on the history of Middletown, the town north of Newport in Rhode Island.   Dr. Christine Haverington, presented an overview of her book Middletown, a very informative piece about the “middle town on Aquidneck Island," published this year as part of the Images of America series. Prior to 1743, Middletown was the northern portion of Newport, a town founded in 1639 that joined the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations in 1663.

Dr. Haverington, a recent transplant to the Narragansett Bay region, offered fresh eyes to this project and was able to create a wonderful pictorial overview of Middletown. The tone of the book follows the philosophy of Images of America which chronicles the history of towns across the country through the eyes of its inhabitants.   She discussed the  families that opened old photo albums to tell their histories, the various historical societies that opened their files, and the military archives - all resources that she was able to mine and stitch together to inform the research for the book. 

Since the book essentially tells the story up to the 1950s, Dr. Haverington hopes to write a larger work that is more encompassing.  As can be imagined, there was a lively discussion following the presentation. Many in the audience added their own stories and provided more fodder for the next effort.

Upcoming lectures in the 8 Bells Series include Dr. David Skaggs presenting Oliver Hazard Perry: Honor, Courage, and Patriotism in the Early U.S. Navy on February 14, followed on March 14 by Terri Arthur presenting her book Fatal Decision: The Story of Edith Cavell.  For more information, please contact the Naval War College Museum at 841-2101/4052. 

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