'Women of the East Bay' in Bristol

Three-stop tour will move to Newport in April, then back to Bristol in May

By Christy Nadalin
Posted 3/14/19

Roger Williams University archivist Heidi Benedict has put together an exhibition that recognizes and celebrates sixty women, spanning more than three centuries of Rhode Island’s history, who …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Not a subscriber?


Start a Subscription

Sign up to start a subscription today! Click here to see your options.

Purchase a day pass

Purchase 24 hours of website access for $2. Click here to continue

Day pass subscribers

Are you a day pass subscriber who needs to log in? Click here to continue.


'Women of the East Bay' in Bristol

Three-stop tour will move to Newport in April, then back to Bristol in May

Posted

Roger Williams University archivist Heidi Benedict has put together an exhibition that recognizes and celebrates sixty women, spanning more than three centuries of Rhode Island’s history, who have made a difference in their communities, including Barrington, Bristol, Jamestown, Little Compton, Middletown, Newport, Portsmouth, Tiverton, and Warren.

"This project follows much smaller exhibit I organized in Bristol in March of 2017, highlighting women selected from each of the town cultural institutions," said Ms. Benedict. "After receiving positive feedback about the Women of Bristol exhibit, I began  to think about expanding, and decided to focus on the East Bay for 2019, with the hope that idea would catch on and that others would plan exhibitions focusing on women throughout Rhode Island."

The sixty women in the exhibit include lighthouse keeper Ida Lewis; Weetamoo, Queen Sachem of the Pocassets; Julia Pell, leader in the fight for LGBTQ rights; Sarah J. Eddy, artist and suffragette; and Happy White, artist and founder of the Mary Tefft White Cultural Center.

Banners, with biographies and photographs, alongside artifacts and facsimiles will be on exhibit. Linden Place, 500 Hope St., Bristol, will host the exhibit from March 5 through March 30. The Edward King House, 35 King Street, Newport, will host the exhibit from April 3 through 30, with an opening reception and panel discussion on Thursday, April 4, 4 to 8 p.m. You can also view the exhibition at Roger Williams University Library, from May 8 through 29. After that the banners will be available for use by project partners and area schools, libraries, and historical societies. 

There will also be a complimentary online exhibit, hosted by the Roger Williams University Library, with more detailed biographies and additional images.

Ms. Benedict has also created an online database allowing visitors search for women by name, town, or field of work. The database offers short biographies and thumbnail photos of the women in the exhibit and provides the names of historical societies, museums, and libraries which hold related collections. You can preview the database at https://sites.google.com/view/database-eastbay-women.

"In working with my Bristol partners to help find additional information about each of the women, I realized that there was not an easy way to find and research the women, nor was there an easy way to find where research material was held," said Ms. Benedict. "That’s when the idea about a statewide database came about. When I shared all my plans with my colleagues and others working in area historical and preservation societies, museums, and libraries, everyone was eager to collaborate on the exhibition project."

Partners from historical societies, museums, and libraries throughout the East Bay, which helped identify women and provide content for the exhibit, include: Barrington Preservation Society, Blithewold Mansion, Gardens and Arboretum, Bristol Historical and Preservation Society, First Congregational Church in Bristol, George Hail Free Library, Herreshoff Marine Museum, Jamestown Historical Society, Linden Place Mansion and Museum, Little Compton Historical Society, Middletown Historical Society, Newport Historical Society, Portsmouth Historical Society, Redwood Library and Athenaeum in Newport, Salve Regina University, Newport, Tiverton Historical Society, and the Warren Preservation Society.

The Project Advisory Board includes Julia Bradley, RWU student and Hassenfeld Fellow; Arlene Violet, former RI Attorney General; Stephan Bridigi, artist and teacher; Russell DeSimone, author and independent scholar; and Marian Desrosiers, author and professor of history and humanities at Salve Regina University.

Admission to all exhibits, receptions and panel discussions are free and open to the public. This exhibition is sponsored by a generous grant from the Heritage Harbor Foundation.

For more information, please contact Heidi Benedict at 401/254-3049 or hbenedict@rwu.edu.

  

2020 by East Bay Newspapers

Barrington · Bristol · East Providence · Little Compton · Portsmouth · Tiverton · Warren · Westport
Meet our staff
Scott Pickering

Scott Pickering has been on the East Bay Newspapers team for more than two decades, since starting as a reporter for the Sakonnet Times. He's been editor of most of the papers, was Managing Editor of all the papers for many years, and became General Manager in 2012. Today he can be found posting to EastBayRI.com, steering news coverage, writing editorials, talking to readers, working with the sales team, collaborating on design, or helping do whatever it takes to get the papers out the door. Reach him at spickering@eastbaynewspapers.com.