Sunday, May 06, 2007

Anne Bradstreet Manuscript on Display

The Boston Globe reports that the only known manuscript by early Massachusetts poet Anne Bradstreet will go on display at the Robert Lehman Art Center at Brooks School in North Andover. The exhibit will run from 8 May through 18 May.

Bradstreet's manuscript is a 41-page collection of meditations and poems dedicated to her son Simon in 1644. North Andover's public library, Stevens Memorial, purchased the document in the 1950s and it has been deposited at Harvard since 1972. This is believed to be the first time the manuscript has been publicly displayed; trustees of the library have opted to do so in honor of the library's 100th anniversary.

As would be expected, elaborate preservation and security procedures are in place at the Art Center to protect the manuscript during the exhibit period.

Bradstreet's poetry is a fascinating window into the mind of an upper-class Puritan women during the first decades of English settlement in Massachusetts. Unexpectedly personal and poignant (her poems on the deaths of several grandchildren would move a stone to tears), her works have deservedly stood the test of time. If you have the opportunity to get out to North Andover for this important exhibit, jump at it.