(Written by Katina Fontes)
On October 20th the Sudbury Historical Society showcased a pop-up exhibit in tandem with a fundraiser to kick-off Phase III of the Campaign to Make History. I had the pleasure of assisting SHS Executive Director Sally Hild in the curation of the exhibit and very much enjoyed sorting through the vast SHS collection to pull together documents and artifacts to tell a sliver of the Sudbury Story. Sally and I settled on a few items from 8 collections – Babe Ruth & 20th Century Baseball, Hattie Goodnow, Vintage Beverage Containers, Postcards, Media, 20th Century Sudbury Schools, Sudbury Laboratory, and Textiles.
The individual collections were themselves interesting, but in laying out the objects and creating the placards, we realized the overlap of stories was even more intriguing. For example, Babe Ruth owned “Home Plate Farm” at 558 Dutton Road, which he subsequently sold to Esther and Herbert Atkinson, founders of the Sudbury Laboratory. Thus the property itself served as a connector of time and place to the two stories! Similarly, we pulled out a few primers from our schools collection and noticed the tiny, beautiful signature of Hattie Goodnow in a couple of the books! In addition to being a talented photographer, Goodnow was both a student and teacher in the Sudbury schools.
For many event attendees the highlight was a recently digitized film from the 1933 Men’s Club. The video itself was a wonder to watch as it included locations familiar to many of us, including Town Hall, but with faces long since forgotten. However, a few of our members recognized one or two of the people featured in the film and are in the process of reaching out to others who might potentially fill in the gaps.
It is said that all of us are connected to one another by no more than six degrees of separation – that it takes just a few steps to find a connection to any one person in the world or history. It appears that barely a couple degrees separate the SHS collection of artifacts and documents that tell story of our town’s rich history.