J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Thursday, April 07, 2011

New England’s Meeting Houses in Westford, 7 April

On Thursday, 7 April, the Westford Museum will host an illustrated talk on “New England’s Colonial Meeting Houses and Their Impact on Society” by photographer Paul Wainwright.

Wainwright’s photographs of the region’s oldest surviving religious buildings are collected in A Space for Faith: The Colonial Meetinghouses of New England, with a foreword by Brent Glass of the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian and a historical essay by Peter Benes, director of the Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife. The book was named best photography/art book of 2010 at the New England Book Festival.

The event description says:

When built in the 1700s, Colonial meetinghouses were the focus of both religious and civic life – concepts not at all separate in Colonial New England. Many were built with tax money, and their simple, undecorated architecture reflected the desire of early Puritan settlers to live simple lives apart from the Church of England. Yet these were their “cathedrals,” built by hand without adornment, except for the wonderful woodwork. Only a few of them remain in a relatively unchanged state.

These buildings embody an important chapter in American history. In them were formed the principles of our democracy and participatory government. In them the issue of separation of church and state was debated and tested. Wainwright’s photography explores these structures and the society that built and used them. They not only present a fascinating glimpse into our nation’s Colonial history, but are beautiful as well.
And of course those unadorned, white-painted churches are excellently suited to black and white photography.

About the speaker:
Paul Wainwright is a photographer based in Atkinson, New Hampshire, who works in a traditional manner utilizing sheet film, a large-format camera, and silver gelatin printing. His work has appeared in numerous juried competitions and solo exhibitions, and is included in the permanent collections of both private and corporate collectors, including Fidelity Investments, the Boston Public Library, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. . . . Wainwright holds a Ph.D. in physics from Yale University.
Copies of A Space for Faith will be on sale at the talk, which starts at 7:00 P.M.

1 comment:

Paul Wainwright said...

My talk in Westfird on April 7 was well received, and I really appreciate the enthusiastic support for my project to bring this fascinating chapter in American history to a wide audience. A solo exhibition of photographs from the book is being planned, and the status of the exhibition will be posted on the book's web site, www.aspaceforfaith.com.