Real Men Don’t Rehearse…with Justin Locke of the Boston Pops!

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The Foxborough Historical Society is pleased to announce Justin Locke as our November speaker. Justin spent 18 seasons playing bass in the Boston Pops before becoming an author, playwright and speaker. In his presentations, Justin shares an honest first-hand look at the inner workings of major orchestras, and the remarkable people who play in and conduct them.

Justin is the author of several programs for family audiences that have been done all over the world, in such notable venues as the Theatro Municipal of Rio de Jeneiro and Berlin Konzerthaus. He has been an author @ google; he has co-hosted the Jordan Rich show on CBS Radio and he has been featured on Chronicle HD. His books include “Real men Don’t Rehearse” and “Principles of Applied Stupidity”.

He will have some of his books available after the lecture.

Be prepared for some laugh-out-loud behind-the-scenes tales of musical disasters, as well as some intriguing insight into the often magical world of people who make music for a living, Join us, Tuesday, November 22, 2016, 7:30 p.m. at the Boyden Library Community Room, 10 Bird Street. Historical Society meetings are free and open to the public.

There are no meetings scheduled for the Foxborough Historical Society in December, January and February of 2017. Our next meeting will be on Tuesday, March 28, 2017.

 

 

 

Gary Hylander presents Hail to the Chief: Bay State Presidents at our October Meeting!

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The Foxborough Historical Society is pleased to announce Dr. Gary Hylander will be our speaker at our October meeting. In the spirit of election season, Dr. Hylander will be presenting Hail to the Chief: Bay State Presidents.

Please join us as we discuss the personalities, politics and elections of four Massachusetts born presidents: John Adams, John Quincy Adams, John F. Kennedy and George H. Bush. As part of our conversation, we will evaluate the legacy of each president and their ranking among presidential historians.

Gary L. Hylander, PhD, is presently an adjunct professor of history and education at Framingham State University and a program supervisor of student teachers at Boston University.

The meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 25th at 7:30pm in the Community Room at the Boyden Library and is open to the public.

For more information please visit our website at foxboroughhistoricalsociety.org. Visit us on Facebook at facebook.com/foxborohistory or follow us on twitter.com/foxborohistory.

The Realities of New England Hurricanes kicks off the 2016 – 2017 season!

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The Foxborough Historical Society is pleased to announced Foxborough’s own Glenn Field will speak at our September meeting to kick off our 2016 – 2017 season!

The Realities of New England Hurricanes

New England hurricanes are very different from the kind of hurricanes that you’ve read about or that strike Florida or the Caribbean. You will learn why the structure is different and thus, how our safety and preparedness rules are different in some ways. People of my generation remember Hurricane Gloria in 1985 and Hurricane Bob in 1991…and we think those were ‘real’ hurricanes. However, this sense of reality is warped, since it has now been 62 years since the last major hurricane (Carol) that struck New England. This presentation will take you back to the days of the 1938 Hurricane, Connie, Diane, Carol, etc. and show what a true hurricane really can do!

Glenn Field has been the Warning Coordination Meteorologist (WCM) for the National Weather Service (NWS) Forecast Office in Taunton, MA since October, 1993. As WCM, he is responsible for ensuring that customers of weather forecasts and warnings are able to receive the products and that they understand what they mean. He gives many presentations to police, fire,
emergency managers, and school groups and always listens to suggestions for improvement of services. Also, he is responsible for coordinating and implementing new procedures at the NWS, for the quality assurance of products, and is in charge of the SKYWARN volunteer weather observers program. Also, Glenn works with towns to enable them to become “StormReady,” another National Weather Service community preparedness program.

Prior to coming to Taunton, Glenn was a Lead Forecaster at the NWS in Raleigh, NC; a Forecaster at the NWS in Milwaukee, WI; and a Satellite Meteorologist at the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service’s Synoptic Analysis Branch in Washington, D.C. Glenn holds a M.S. Degree in Meteorology from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, where he also received his B.S. in both Meteorology and Economics (the 2 sciences that one can’t predict, he jokes.)

Glenn will present The Realities of New England Hurricanes on Tuesday, September 27th at 7:30 pm in the Community Room at the Boyden Library. Our meetings are free and all are welcome!

For more information, please visit www.foxboroughhistoricalsociety.org or email [email protected]

Braids and Bonnets: The straw hat era in Foxborough with Jack Authelet!

This hand-drawn lithograph, a story in itself, shows the many hat styles sold wholesale by the Union Straw Works which were then ornamented by local manufactures for retail sales. (Foxborough Historical Commission photo)

This hand-drawn lithograph, a story in itself, shows the many hat styles sold wholesale by the Union Straw Works which were then ornamented by local manufactures for retail sales. (Foxborough Historical Commission photo)

“Braids and Bonnets: The straw hat era in Foxborough”
At its final meeting of the season on Tuesday evening, May 24, the Foxborough Historical Society will examine the town’s straw hat industry – which put Foxborough on the map.
The straw hat industry in America started with a young girl admiring an imported bonnet in a store window.  She could not afford to purchase it, so she made one of her own, later documented to be the first straw hat made in America.
She had friends in Foxborough and shared her skills.  The rest is history.  Foxborough was soon on its way to becoming the “Straw Hat Capital of the World.”
Town Historian Jack Authelet will share the story of the straw shops in Foxborough, the “cottage industry” of women braiding straw at home, and the enormous factories that one day would rise as many women came to town, some from abroad, others from nearby states, for the “pretty work” offered by the factories.
It brought Foxborough its most robust economy since incorporation, gave rise to many civic improvements, and employment to thousands.  “It was the American Dream for many,” notes our town historian, “but it was so much more than just making hats.  It was the emergence of women as a social, political and economic force within the community.”

The local industry had a humble beginning of straw hats fashioned by the hands of children.  It ended 200 years later in the hands of yet another young lady who finally had to close the last shop operated by three generations of her family making hats in Foxborough.

The fascinating and abundantly illustrated story of the local straw hat industry will be shared at the Foxborough Historical Society on Tuesday, May 24, at 7:30 pm, in the first floor meeting room of the Boyden Library at the corner of Bird and Baker Streets in Foxboro center.

This presentation marks the final official appearance at the historical society of Foxborough Town Historian Jack Authelet.  Former editor of the Foxboro Reporter and published historian, Authelet has made important contributions to the history of Foxborough through his abundant original research.  He has spoken at the historical society twice each season.

There is parking under the library, around Foxboro common and on nearby streets.  Do not park in the Aubuchon lot.
Events of the Foxborough Historical Society are free and all are welcome.  Those interested in joining should ask for an application form at the meeting.  The annual fee is $8 for individuals, $10 for families.  For further information, call Patrick Lyons at 508-543-3728, or email [email protected].

 

With many small straw shops operating in town, owners decided to join in forming one large operation, the Union Straw Works, and soon they were dominating the industry. The factory was on Wall Street, site of the present Post Office. (Foxborough Historical Commission photo)

With many small straw shops operating in town, owners decided to join in forming one large operation, the Union Straw Works, and soon they were dominating the industry. The factory was on Wall Street, site of the present Post Office. (Foxborough Historical Commission photo)

Discovering Family History

Ancestral Village in France

Have you ever wanted to know about your family history?  Where your ancestors lived, occupations or events that may have taken place during their lives?  If so, perhaps we can help you recapture the past.

Paul Godin, long-time Foxborough resident and member of the Foxborough Historical Society, says, “I’d like to share my experiences with you at our April meeting and take you on a journey to discover family history.”

“Once you get started, genealogy can be a motivating and satisfying hobby.  It is almost impossible to let it go.  Some people even find that they are related to well-known people.”
“There are many resources which are available now that were not forty years ago,” Godin reports. “If I knew in the elementary grades what I know now about certain events and ancestors, history would have meant much more to me as a student.”
“By the way, my name is Paul Godin, a.k.a. Chatillon, Beauséjour, Bellefontaine and Gaudin, all names that appear in my family history.”
So come spend some time with us at the next Foxborough Historical Society meeting which will be on Tuesday, April 26, 2016, at 7:30 p.m. in the Community Meeting Room (first floor) of the Boyden Library at the corner of Bird and Baker Streets in Foxboro center.
There is parking under the library, around the common and on nearby streets.  Do not park in the Aubuchon lot.
Those interested in joining the Foxborough Historical Society should ask for an application form at the meeting.  The annual fee is $8 for individuals, $10 for families.  For further information, call Patrick Lyons at 508-543-3728, or email [email protected].

FOXBOROUGH HISTORICAL SOCIETY TO OBSERVE THE IRISH EXPERIENCE

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The month of March in general, and the days around March 17 in particular, are usually a happy time for the Irish and their friends.  These days.
This was not always the case.  Popular lecturer Christopher Daley will speak about the Irish experience in America at the March meeting of the Foxborough Historical Society.
“No Irish Need Apply – A History of the Irish in Boston” is a 90-minute slide lecture in which the many facets of the early Irish experience in Boston are examined.
Daley begins with the story of the Irish who were brought over unwillingly as indentured servants in the mid-17th Century.  Then the first real migration of the Irish in 1718.  The arrival of the Scot-Irish or the “Ulster Irish” will be discussed.

Next, we will explore the slow pre-famine trickle (1820’s) of Irish Catholic immigrants coming into Boston as well as the corresponding increase in anti-Irish/Catholic sentiment within Boston beginning with the notorious Pope’s Day celebrations.  Then the discussion will turn to the burning of the Ursuline Convent in 1834 in Charlestown and the Broad Street Riot of 1837.
In the third quarter of the lecture, the massive wave of immigration into Boston after the “Great Potato Famine” will be examined, including the condition of the new arrivals, the neighborhoods they settled, how they banded together, the kinds of work they did to survive and their eventual assimilation into American culture.
Finally, there will be a discussion of the rise of the Irish within the sphere of Boston politics and the emergence of the “Ward Boss.”

Additionally, Daley will give short vignettes on famous Irish political leaders such as Patrick Collins, Hugh O’Brien, Martin Lomasney, Patrick J. Kennedy, John “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald, and of course, the old “Rascal King” himself, James Michael Curley.
The meeting will take place on Tuesday, March 22, at 7:30 pm in the lower level of the Boyden Library at the corner of Bird and Baker Streets in Foxboro center.There is parking under the library and on nearby streets. Please do not park in the Aubuchon lot.
Those interested in joining the Foxborough Historical Society should ask for an application form at the meeting.  The annual fee is $8 for individuals, $10 for families.  For further information, call Patrick Lyons at 508-543-3728, or email [email protected].

The FHS teams up with the Senior Center for this month’s program!

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Author Michael Tougias will appear at the Foxborough Senior Center on Wednesday, February 17, at 2:30 pm to give a slide presentation on his new book “The Finest Hours: The True Story of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Most Daring Sea Rescue.”
The Disney Corporation made a movie based on the book, which stars Chris Pine and Casey Affleck (released January 2016). This program is sponsored jointly by the Foxborough Historical Society and the Foxborough Senior Center.
Admission is free and everyone is welcome.
On February 18th, 1952 an astonishing maritime event began when a ferocious nor’easter split in half a 500-foot long oil tanker, the Pendleton, approximately one mile off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Incredibly, just twenty miles away, a second oil tanker, the Fort Mercer, also split in half. On both fractured tankers men were trapped on the severed bows and sterns, and all four sections were sinking in 60-foot seas.

Thus began a life and death drama of survival, heroism, and a series of tragic mistakes. Of the 84 seamen aboard the tankers, 70 would be rescued and 14 would lose their lives.
Michael Tougias, co-author of “The Finest Hours,” will use slides of the storm, the sinking tankers, the rescues, the victims, the survivors and the heroes to tell the story of this historic event. Tougias will describe the harrowing attempts to rescue the seamen, especially focusing on four young Coast Guardsmen who must overcome insurmountable odds to save the lives of 32 crewmen stranded aboard the stern of the Pendleton.
“I enjoy doing these programs,” says Tougias, “because I like to transport the audience into the heart of the storm so that they ask themselves ‘what would I have done.’  With a slide presentation, the viewer can visually relive the adventure.”
Tougias goes on to say, “This event was– and still is– the greatest and most daring sea rescue ever performed by the Coast Guard, and it happened right here off the New England coast. I felt this episode of heroism and tragedy needed to be told in its entirety because it’s an important piece of overlooked history.
A book signing will follow the program; the presentation is suitable for all ages. NY Times bestselling author James Brady (Flyboys and Flags of Our Fathers, says “The Finest Hours recounts incredible heroism…A Gripping Read.” “The Finest Hours” has been the #4 bestselling non-fiction book in New England according to the New England Booksellers Association.
This special event takes the place of the regular monthly meeting of the Foxborough Historical Society which generally meets elsewhere, on the 4th Tuesday of the month, and in the evening.
Those interested in joining the Foxborough Historical Society should ask for an application form at the meeting. The annual fee is $8 for individuals, $10 for families.
For further information, call Patrick Lyons at 508-543-3728

Dr. Gary Hylander speaks at tonight’s meeting

THE WORST DISASTER IN U.S. NAVY HISTORY – SINKING OF THE USS INDIANAPOLIS DURING WORLD WAR II.
The Foxborough Historical Society at its January meeting will feature popular lecturer Dr. Gary Hylander discussing the tragic sinking of the Navy cruiser, USS INDIANAPOLIS, which led to the greatest single loss of life at sea in the history of the U.S. Navy.

1280px-USS_Indianapolis_(CA-35)_underway_in_1939The U.S. Navy heavy cruiser USS INDIANAPOLIS (CA-35) underway in 1939.  Her sinking in the Pacific in 1945, as World War II approached its end, led to the greatest naval disaster in U.S. history.  (Source: Wikipedia and the National Archives and Records Administration; U.S. Navy photo)
At 12:14 am, in July 1945, after delivering parts for the first atomic bomb to the United States air base at Tinian, the INDIANAPOLIS was torpedoed by the Imperial Japanese Navy, sinking in twelve minutes.  Of the 1,196 crewmen aboard, approximately 300 went down with the ship.  The remaining 900 men faced exposure, dehydration, saltwater poisoning, and shark attacks while floating with few lifeboats and almost no food or water.  Since this was a secret mission, the Navy learned of the sinking when survivors were spotted four days later.  Only 317 survived.
The ship’s captain, Charles Butler McVay III, survived and was court-martialled and convicted of “hazarding his ship by failing to zigzag” despite overwhelming evidence that the Navy itself had placed the ship in harm’s way, despite testimony from the Japanese submarine commander that zigzagging would have made no difference, and despite that fact that, although over 350 U.S. Navy ships were lost in combat in World War II, McVay was the only captain to be court-martialled.  Materials declassified years later add to the evidence that McVay was a scapegoat for the mistakes of others.
In October of 2000, following years of effort by the survivors and their supporters, legislation was passed in Washington and signed by President Clinton expressing the sense of Congress, among other things, that Captain McVay’s record should now reflect that he is exonerated for the loss of the USS INDIANAPOLIS and for the death of her crew members who were lost.
In July of 2001 the Navy Department announced that Captain McVay’s record had been amended to exonerate him for the loss of the INDIANAPOLIS and the lives of those who perished as a result of her sinking.  The survivors are thankful that after so many years, the good name of their captain has been cleared, and the dead have been honored.

The Foxborough historical society will meet Tuesday evening, Jan. 26 at 7:30 pm at the Boyden Library in Foxboro center, first floor meeting room. Use the Baker Street entrance.
Parking is available at the library, on nearby streets and around the Common.  Do not park in the Aubuchon lot.  Admission is free and everyone is welcome.
Those interested in joining the Foxboro Historical Society should ask for an application form at the meeting.  The annual fee is $8 for individuals, $10 for families.
For further information, call Patrick Lyons at 508-543-3728

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“Clutter: Why do we buy so much?”

The evolution of marketing – and its influence on our buying behavior. The November meeting of the Foxborough Historical Society features member Dave Downs looking at the root causes of clutter in our lives. In an earlier program Dave focused on the consequences of clutter – and how clutter takes over our lives.

We rationalize:  “We might need it someday; it’s historically significant; we inherited the object from a loved one; it just needs a little repair… and so on.”  These are just a few reasons why we find it so hard to let go of our STUFF.

At the November meeting Dave will focus on where all that clutter comes from in the first place and why we allow it to enter our lives. He will talk about several additional BIG reasons why Americans have so much “stuff.” In this new program, the emphasis is on stopping the flow of stuff entering our homes! “We can’t resist bargains, sales, yard sales; we receive gifts we don’t really want.”

We are consuming twice as much as we did just forty years ago!

Americans spend four times as much time shopping as Western Europeans!

Dave’s purpose is to motivate the audience to acquire less, and therefore to be less burdened. Participants will learn how advertisers use techniques such as developing shopping habits, planned obsolescence, slogans, and the use of credit to motivate people to purchase ever more. He will use humor and amusing stories from his own experience to engage and inform the audience.We will be challenged to finish jingles and slogans, many of them decades old, to demonstrate the power subconscious advertising has over our actions.

“Don’t squeeze the ……”

“See the USA in your …….”

“What takes a licking and keeps on ticking?”

The audience will leave the presentation recognizing why they acquire certain items.  They (we) will hopefully reverse the tendency to bury ourselves in “treasures!”

The meeting will take place Tuesday evening, Nov. 24 at 7:30 pm at the Boyden Library in Foxboro center, first floor meeting room.  Use the Baker Street entrance.

Parking is available at the library, on nearby streets and around the Common.  Do not park in the Aubuchon lot. Admission is free and everyone is welcome.

Those interested in joining the Foxboro Historical Society should ask for an application form at the meeting.  The annual fee is $8 for individuals, $10 for families.

We hope to see you there!!

A Legendary Local speaks about Legendary Locals!

Legendary Locals

The Foxborough Historical Society’s October meeting welcomes veteran newspaperman Jeffrey Peterson, currently publisher of the Foxboro Reporter and the Sun Chronicle. Relying heavily on newspaper files and Foxborough Historical Commission archives, Peterson introduces readers not only to the movers and shakers who made headlines over the past two centuries but also to scores of common people with decidedly uncommon stories; E.H. and B.B. Bristol, brothers whose Foxboro Company ushered in decades of unprecedented prosperity. Peterson’s book includes outsized personalities like Betty Friedmann, Al Truax, and Herb Seltsam; lanky Gene Conley, Boston Red Sox pitcher and Boston Celtics center; Alex and Sonja Spier, who fled postwar Europe to establish a local real estate empire; beloved Deerfield Academy headmaster Frank Boyden.  Also, renowned educators John Ahern, Mabelle Burrill, and Steve Massey! Images and biographical text on these and other remarkable residents provide a delightful retrospective documenting the rich and spirited community of Foxborough over the years.

Jeffrey Peterson, longtime editor of the Foxboro Reporter, is now publisher of both the weekly Reporter and the daily Sun Chronicle in Attleboro.  A lifelong Foxborough resident, Peterson is pleased to offer this photographic history of his hometown. And, we can’t wait!

Join us Tuesday night – 7:30pm – at the Boyden Library Community Room!