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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Local History

We tend to look far afield for places to visit and often overlook the delights right under our noses. (Click here and here for previous posts on the topic.) The same is true for history. There are fascinating stories right here in Windham and the surrounding communities. Our town history is one place to look for stories of the people who came before us. We have several copies of the two volumes making up that history. They are The History of Windham in New Hampshire (Rockingham County), 1719-1883 by Leonard Morrison [974.2 WIN] and Rural Oasis: History of Windham, New Hampshire, 1883-1975 [974.2 WIN].

Now, we have an additional resource for stories with a local history connection, but without all the genealogy and house histories. The book is Nutfield Rambles: Stories from the History of Derry, Londonderry, and Windham, New Hampshire by Derry historian, Richard Holmes [974.2 HOL].

Holmes not only provides us with the history, he also engages the reader in his descriptions of his many quests for information. It's like listening in on an old friend's adventures.

I've been researching and writing books for children about accomplished, but often forgotten women, and I found one in Nutfield Rambles, a Derry woman named Bella Chapin Barrows. Barrows was the first woman to work in the U.S. State Department, and, she earned a medical degree and later became the nation's first woman eye surgeon. Her story would have been astonishing with just these accomplishments, but she went on to become an editor, the first woman professor at Howard University, a prison reformer, and more! Amazing, don't you think?

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