Many school children already know Donna Berry, who regularly plays the part of schoolmarm while recreating an 1850s school day for students visiting the one-room schoolhouse in West Auburn.
Now adults can get to know her too when she speaks at the next meeting of the Androscoggin Historical Society on Tuesday, September 25 at 7 p.m. in the Society’s headquarters, located on the third floor of the County Courthouse building in Auburn. Berry will discuss the history of the West Auburn Schoolhouse, including the school day, the teacher, textbooks, subjects, and discipline, and will invite audience members to share their own stories about education in small rural schoolhouses.
A member of the West Auburn School Historical Society, Berry recently co-authored a book on the history of North and West Auburn. She has played the part of the schoolmarm at the West Auburn schoolhouse for more than ten years. (To book a visit, teachers may call her at 346-3106.) A native of Long Island, New York, Berry is a graduate of the State University of New York at Oswego and Teachers College of Columbia University. Her teaching career spanned 28 years in public schools and museums in New York State. She and her husband retired to Maine in 1996.
The meeting is open to the public without charge; donations will be accepted. An elevator is available. For more information, call 784-0586.
This program will be the first in a series presented by the Society that will include:
October 23, Pre-Civil War Politics: Historian and author Doug Hodgkin will describe how nativism, temperance and slavery caused difficulties for politicians in the 1850s. As professor emeritus of political science at Bates College, he specialized on American political parties and has written about the local party system in his book, “Frontier to Industrial City: Lewiston Town Politics, 1768-1863.” 7 p.m. at AHS headquarters.
October 27, Halloween Tour: Shamrock spirits will walk as John Henderson portrays resident Cornelius Murphy. He will tell how the jack-o’-lantern, an Irish invention, was created for Halloween. 1 p.m. at Mount Hope Cemetery, Lewiston.
November 27, Old Maine Films: Winston Greaton will show copies of 16mm films used to promote the State of Maine between 1930 and 1965. The films, which cover a wide variety of subjects, were made by his father, Everett F. Greaton, while he was executive director of the Maine Development Commission. 7 p.m. at Auburn Public Library.
February 16, Tracing Family Roots: Led by a panel of local genealogists, this is the newest of the Society’s popular workshops, which are intended to help genealogy enthusiasts. 2 p.m. at Auburn Public Library.
March 26, Nine Irish Women: History is kind to men, remembering all their exploits, while women are assumed to have stayed home. John Henderson will help foster a deeper appreciation of women’s role in our society by presenting some of the immigrant Irish women in L/A who did more than “keep house.” 7 p.m. at AHS headquarters.
April 23, L/A Service Clubs: Representatives from several local service organizations will describe how the groups began and what they are doing to serve L/A. 7 p.m. at AHS headquarters.
May 28, Civil War Fashions: Day dresses, ball gowns, and uniforms of the era will be modeled by members of the Sons of Union Veterans Auxiliary. This will also be the Society’s annual meeting. Location to be announced.
June 22, Civil War Game: Elery Keene will demonstrate a game that uses miniature soldiers on a tabletop battlefield, with teams competing to carry out their Civil War battle plans. Players ages 10 through adults will enjoy this program. 1 p.m. at Auburn Public Library.