YARMOUTH — The Yarmouth Historical Society spring lecture series will feature letters from the 1600s, stories from the 1700’s, and drawings and artifacts cherished and handed down from Yarmouth and North Yarmouth residents.
By the end of the series, the society hopes to attract volunteers to share the town’s history with others.
The first lecture will take place on Monday, March 23, and will be an overview of Yarmouth’s history.
Sharon Sauerwald, the society’s museum educator, has been working on the spring series since she started working at the society in October. Her position was made possible through a national Institute of Museum and Library Services grant, now in its second year.
“The purpose of the grant is to promote educational programs for the schools and community,” Sauerwald said.
She has already given talks to students at Harrison Middle School and plans to meet with Boy Scouts, the Village Improvement Society and other community groups.
In addition to working to organize the town’s extensive historical records, Sauerwald
also manages the University of Southern Maine digital database for the
art history faculty. She received her second bachelor’s degree in art education from USM in 2004 after retiring from a career in heath services. She said working part-time at USM and the Historical Society is a “great marriage.”
“These jobs complement each other, and work very well for me,” Sauerwald said.
The series of three presentations on Yarmouth’s history will be supplemented by digital recordings of residents reading letters and past accounts of Indian attacks, life on sailboats, and the travels of past Yarmouth residents.
Al Payson, Linc Merrill, Peter Haynes and Bob Vilburn are Yarmouth residents who have volunteered their time and their voices to read for the presentations.
“We have a letter from 1862 from a man to his daughter,” Sauerwald said. “There is also an account of Walter Gendall’s death in 1795. He was killed in an Indian attack.”
She said the society has documents from hundreds of years ago as well as drawings and accounts from a more recent time.
“Our documents span from the 1600s to 1980s,” she said. “It is all history, and the stories are original and amazing.”
The second lecture, scheduled for March 30, is called “The Power of Water,” and will include details the harbor and mills along the Royal River. Sauerwald said the stories surrounding the sea-faring community are plentiful, with accounts of wives accompanying their husbands around the world.
“These stories are filled with such exciting information,” she said. “I will try to keep the lectures reasonable, but there is so much to tell.”
The third lecture, “Main Street Stories,” will be held on April 6 and will include stories of the people who lived and worked in town.
“The people who lived in this area are fascinating, and I think residents will enjoy their stories,” Sauerwald said. “Each presentation will focus on a new group of people and their stories. There are so many people from Yarmouth’s history to discuss.”
The final presentation, “Interest, Information and Ideas,” will focus on volunteer opportunities at the Historical Society. Sauerwald said the session will give residents an idea of how to help the society in a number of ways. She said everything from stuffing envelopes to giving house tours would be helpful and appreciated.
All lectures will be held at the Log Cabin at 7:30 p.m. and are $3 per person for members and $5 per person for non-members. The volunteering program will be free.
In addition to the spring history series, the Historical Society will offer a Maine History Reading and Discussion Group once a month on Tuesdays starting on March 31. These meetings will be at 7 p.m. on the third floor of the Merrill Memorial Library. For more information on the spring public program or the reading and discussion group, call YHS at 846-6259.