The book "History of Writers on Cape Ann" has yet to be written, but this week in CAM Connects we take a glimpse at the rich history of authors, poets, and essayists who have experienced life and found inspiration on Cape Ann.

September 10, 2020

One of Charles Olson’s books, showing copious notations, at Olson’s apartment at 28 Fort Square, January 11, 1970. Charles A. Lowe/Gloucester Daily Times Collection of the Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives, Gloucester, MA.

Writers of Cape Ann

The book History of Writers on Cape Ann has yet to be written, but this week in CAM Connects we take a glimpse at the rich history of authors, poets, and essayists who have experienced life and found inspiration on Cape Ann. The Museum is also happy to announce a few exciting events and workshops, the first of which begins this week. We acknowledge that a week isn’t long enough to pay homage to every writer that has penned here, so while we hope to touch on your favorites, visit our online shop to find more on this week's featured topic, and please connect on social media to let us know which Cape Ann writers you love!

And if you missed yesterday's exciting news, be sure to read about our reopening, here

Gerrit Lansing

Jane Freilicher (1924-2014), Portrait of Gerrit Lansing, c. 1950. Charcoal on paper. Collection of the Cape Ann Museum. Gift of the estate of Gerrit Lansing, 2018 [acc. # 2018.026].

"Poet Gerrit Lansing (1928 – 2018) moved to Gloucester from New York City initially to accompany a friend who had been hired to work as a chauffeur at Hammond Castle by the inventor John Hays Hammond, Jr. While living at the Castle, Lansing became enamored of Gloucester and its wooded landscapes including Dogtown Common and the vernal ponds of Magnolia. It was also in Gloucester that Lansing fell in love with an English-born sailor and yacht captain named Deryk Burton. The two men remained a couple for almost thirty-five years, and in the early 1980s they returned to Gloucester where Lansing operated the used bookstore Abraxas out of a small room above the Rigger bar on Main Street." —David Rich, author. 

For more on Lansing and the above portrait, click here.

And click here to read a few selections of Lansing’s poetry

Nancy Prince

First edition of Narrative of the Life and Travels of Mrs. Prince by Nancy Gardner Prince, 1850. Collection of the Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives. Gift of Alice Babson, 1966 [acc. # 1881].

In 1850, Nancy Gardner Prince (b. 1799) published this memoir of her life and travels on the high seas. Prince’s “Narrative” begins in Gloucester, where she and her brother spent their summers earning money for their family by picking berries and catching fish. Her mother’s family was from Gloucester. Her grandfather was born in Africa and enslaved by Captain Winthrop Sargent. Her grandmother was “an Indian of this country who became a captive to the English, or their descendants.” After a life abroad, including Russia and a brief stint in Jamaica, where she started a missionary school, Prince settled in Boston. There she published her “Narrative,” which was widely read in abolitionist circles. ■

Learn more about Prince and other Cape Ann authors at Unfolding Histories, the Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives’ online exhibit.

And for a further look at African American History on Cape Ann, view the presentation Promises and Limits of the New Republic (VL61) held at the Museum earlier this year.

Ethel Voedisch-Price

Ethel Voedisch-Price (1924-2013), Portrait of Charles Olson, 1990. Monotype on paper. Collection of the Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, MA. Gift of the artist, 2001 [acc. # 2001.30].

Ethel Voedisch-Price (1924-2013), Portrait of Peter Davison, undated. Monotype on paper. Collection of the Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, MA. Gift of Peter Davison, 1998 [acc. # 1998.30.1].

Ethel Voedisch-Price (1924-2013), Portrait of T.S. Eliot, 1987. Monotype on paper. Collection of the Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, MA. Museum purchase, 1989 [acc. # 2645.2].

Ethel Voedisch-Price was born in western Massachusetts and came to Cape Ann in 1968. Her work here focused on mixed-media and monotypes. For a short time, Ethel was part of a group of women artists who ran a cooperative studio on Center Street in Gloucester called the Women’s Gallery at Center and Main. Passionate about poetry and literature, during the 1980s, Voedisch-Price began a series of print portraits of the poets of Cape Ann. The series included depictions of Charles Olson, Peter Davison, Vincent Ferrini and T. S. Eliot. Continue reading here. 

CAM Video Vault

The CAM Video Vault is full of lectures by and about writers with ties to Cape Ann. From the late Peter Anastas to a portrayal of the author of Little Women, Louisa May Alcott, here’s a look at just a few:

VX08 - Reading Ferrini - A Gallery Talk with Peter Anastas & David Rich - 09-14-2013

Video still with David Rich (left) and Peter Anastas (right) during their presentation Reading Ferrini: A Gallery Talk (VX08). 

Offered in conjunction with the exhibition Four Winds: The Arts and Letters of Rocky Neck in the 1950s, this gallery talk by noted Gloucester literary figures Peter Anastas and David Rich lends biographical context to the work of Vincent Ferrini (1913-2007), a poet who lived and worked in Gloucester for sixty years.

Marsden Hartley - The Painter as Poet with Peter Anastas - 08-11-2012

Marsden Hartley (1877-1943), Rock Doxology, 1931. Oil on canvas. Collection of the Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, MA. Gift of Robert L. and Elizabeth French, 2009 [acc. #2009.51.28].

In the lecture Marsden Hartley: The Painter as Poet (VL45), Gloucester author Peter Anastas applies his literary perspective to modernist painter Marsden Hartley (1877-1943), who was also a published writer, and the influential period of time Hartley spent visiting Gloucester in the 1920s and ‘30s.

VL44 - The Last Days of Dogtown with Anita Diamant - 07-28-2012

Video still of Anita Diamant during her presentation The Last Days of Dogtown (VL44).

While Marsden Hartley drew inspiration from the monumental forms of Dogtown Common, contemporary author Anita Diamant focused on the people that lived in isolation there in the early 1800s for her novel The Last Days of Dogtown.    

VL30 - A Visit with Louisa May Alcott - Living History with Jan Turnquist - 03-26-2011

Video still of Jan Turnquist during her presentation A Visit with Louisa May Alcott: Living History (VL30).

Lastly, step back into the time of Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888) and her visit to the Fairview Inn on Eastern Point in 1868 with this living history portrayal of the author by character actor Jan Turnquist, the Executive Director of Orchard House in Concord, Mass.

For more on each of these lectures, click here.

And for the full list of lectures in the CAM Video Vault, including transcripts of these presentations, click here

Ekphrastic Poetry Workshop

Left to right: Laurel HughesFox Path (Tidal Meditation Series), 2004. Oil on canvas. Museum purchase, 2011. Funds provided by the Kanter Kallman Foundation and Dorothy A. Brown [acc. # 2011.16.1]; Walker Hancock (1901-1998), Pennsylvania Railroad War Memorial, 1949-1952. Plaster. Gift of Deanie Hancock French, the daughter of the artist, 2001 [acc. # 2001.10]; Ralph Coburn (1923-2018), Morning, 2000. Acrylic on canvas. Gift of the artist, 2002 [acc. # 2002.58]; John Sloan (1871-1951), Red Warehouses at Gloucester, 1914. Oil on Canvas. Gift of Margaret L. Pearson, 2012 [acc. # 2012.140].

Join writer Steven Kennedy on September 17th for this one-hour online poetry workshop. Create an ekphrastic poem influenced by the compelling collection of the Cape Ann Museum—become inspired, learn a new writing style, and create an original work of poetry. This free workshop is reserved for CAM Members. Space is limited; registration required. Find more details and register here. 

Jonathan Bayliss Society

CAM is pleased to be partnering with the Jonathan Bayliss Society and the Gloucester Writers Center for a special celebration of five 20th century poets with intimate ties to Gloucester: Peter Anastas, Jonathan Bayliss, Vincent Ferrini, Gerrit Lansing and Charles Olson. The program will be held virtually on September 11 & 12 and will feature readings by several individuals passionate about Cape Ann and poetry. Learn more and register here.

CAM Book Club

Charles Allan Winter (1869–1942), Woman Reading, c. 1898. Oil on canvas. Collection of the Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, MA. Museum purchase, 2015. Funds provided by Arthur Ryan [acc. # 2015.52].

The Cape Ann Museum will host virtual book club meetings via Zoom beginning in October and running through May. A Museum docent and staff member will participate to facilitate discussion, to allow for a flow of ideas, and to provide connections to the collections and history of Cape Ann. 2020-2021 CAM Book Club selections were chosen for their subject matter, scholarship and/or insight into the history of Cape Ann. All CAM members are encouraged to read along and keep an eye out for related programming and exhibits this year.

Among this season’s selections are: Clearing Land: Legacies of the American Farm by Jane Brox; The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History by John Barry; and The Best Christmas by Lee Kingman Natti.

Space is limited and reservations are required. The book club is free for CAM Members. View the full schedule and details here.