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Saturday, February 8, 2020, at 2 p.m.
Lecture: Canal Fever in New Hampshire and Vermont

New England had an intense but short-lived fascination with canal building in the first decades of the 1800s, when travel by road was slow and arduous and railroads had yet to be developed. Waterways offered a faster, easier way of transporting goods and people. Navigational improvements on both the Merrimack and Connecticut Rivers presented great opportunities to New Hampshire and Vermont, setting off a brief period of canal fever. Great plans were laid to link Lake Champlain with the Connecticut and Merrimack Rivers, and even to the harbor at Portsmouth. Somewhat unexpectedly, the coming of the railroads dampened these dreams, and it was steel rails that ultimately linked these watersheds, not canals and locks. This richly illustrated talk by transportation historian Frank J. “Jay” Barrett Jr. will explore this important slice of regional history. Admission is free for Society members; $7 for nonmembers.

Saturday, February 29, 2020, at 2 p.m.
Lecture: Abby Hutchinson’s Sweet Freedom Songs: Songs and Stories of the Struggle for Abolition and Women’s Suffrage

Deborah Anne Goss appears as Abby Hutchinson Patton, recalling mid-19th-century U.S. and New Hampshire history and performing rousing anthems, heartfelt ballads, and humorous ditties sung during the struggles against antislavery and for early women’s rights. In the 1840s and 1850s the Hutchinson Family Singers strongly influenced the opinions of the era with their popular songs, promoting healthy living and social justice—most prominently the abolition of slavery. Participants are encouraged to join in the singing of the choruses or to read aloud a poem or political diatribe of the time. This free presentation is a Humanities to Go program, made possible, in part, by New Hampshire Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Jenn Walton
Assistant Director of Education & Public Programs