Upcoming Events » A Knot of Relations: Henry, Eliza, Andrew, and Gustavus

May 19, 2010 7:00 pm
Pollard Memorial Library
401 Merrimack St.
Lowell, MA
Susan Fougstedt

Raised in Dracut, Ann Fox Chandonnet often wondered about the pewter candlesticks on her grandmother’s sideboard—candlesticks bearing Cyrillic writing on their bases.  She has solved the mystery of those candlesticks and much else in her new book, “Write Quick”: War and A Woman’s Life in Letters, 1835-1867. This nonfiction book is a portrait of Eliza Bean Foster, a mill girl who married a house painter.  When her

husband, Henry Foster, served in the 26th Massachusetts Infantry, he wrote dozens of letters to Eliza.  She also saved letters from her brother, Andrew Bean, who was serving with the 5th Maine Volunteers.  More than 150 previously unpublished letters from Henry and Andrew, as well as members of the extended family network, shed light on links to Abraham Lincoln’s Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Gustavus Vasa Fox, to whom the candlesticks were given during a diplomatic mission to Russia.  Chandonnet will speak about the links among these family members, their ties to Lowell and the Boott Mills and their various roles during the Civil War.

Ann Fox Chandonnet was born in Lowell, raised in Dracut, graduated from Lowell State College and earned a master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin.  She is the author of more than a dozen books, including a food history, Gold Rush Grub, and a travel guide, Alaska’s Inside Passage.  She and her husband, Fernand, spent more than 30 years in Alaska but now live in North Carolina.

This program is funded by the Friends of the Pollard Memorial Library.

This program will be held in conjunction with the Library’s display of Forever Free, a traveling exhibition that “reexamines President Lincoln’s efforts toward the abolition of slavery during the Civil War,” which will run from May 15 to June 25, 2010 at the library.  Forever Free is organized by the Huntington Library and the Gilder Lehman Institute of American History in cooperation with the American Library Association.  It is made possible through major grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.

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