The mission of our Society is “To perpetuate the memory of our Pilgrim Ancestors, and to preserve their records, history and all facts relating to them, their ancestors and their posterity … To transmit the spirit, the purity of purpose and steadfastness of will of the Pilgrim fathers to those who shall come after us, and undiminished heritage of liberty and law… To secure united effort to discover and publish original matter in regard to the Pilgrims, together with existing data known only to antiquarians, and to authenticate, preserve and mark historical spots made memorable by Pilgrim Association.” (From Article II, Section 1 of the SMDPA Constitution.) In a nut shell it means “education.” Education must be not only of the public, but also of ourselves.
SMDPA EDUCATION PROGRAMS TO DATE (February 2008)
Introduction: The mission of our Society is “To perpetuate the memory of our Pilgrim Ancestors, and to preserve their records, history and all facts relating to them, their ancestors and their posterity … To transmit the spirit, the purity of purpose and steadfastness of will of the Pilgrim fathers to those who shall come after us, and undiminished heritage of liberty and law… To secure united effort to discover and publish original matter in regard to the Pilgrims, together with existing data known only to antiquarians, and to authenticate, preserve and mark historical spots made memorable by Pilgrim Association.” (From Article II, Section 1 of the SMDPA Constitution.) In a nut shell it means “education.” Education must be not only of the public, but also of ourselves.
Here is a history, most probably not complete, but to the best of the complier’s knowledge, of our Society’s work in this field both present and past. If you are aware of other projects, please let him know the particulars so that this review may be updated. There are many pages here, but by the end you will know what paths we have been down before and what paths we are still on. It is hoped you will take time to read this. It may help Board members decide what to try, retry, or avoid in the future.
1896 Facsimile of Gov. Bradford’s Of Plimoth Plantation. Our educational programs begin with the purchase of this earliest of all New England histories. The story of the recovery and return of the original manuscript was told at our first annual meeting in 1897 by Thomas F. Bayard, the first U.S. Ambassador to the Court of St. James, the man who transported Bradford’s manuscript back from England that spring,. This was the first of many volumes that became a part of our Library collection. Currently displayed at our Annual Membership Meeting, Genealogical Conferences and schools.
Mayflower Compact – For a number of years, SMDPA distributed thousands of copies of the Mayflower Compact to schools in Pennsylvania and, during the 1950 National Boy Scout Jamboree in Valley Forge Park, SMDPA saw that each of the 47,000 Scouts from around the world took home a copy. We have not distributed any copies in the past decade.
Out of print, however teacher’s guide still available from GSMD. DISCONTINUED
The Light Here Kindled Film Distribution – In the mid 1970s SMDPA purchased a number of copies of this story of the Pilgrims and distributed them to what are now the audio/visual libraries of the PA Dept. of Education, the Boy Scouts, the archdiocese of Philadelphia, the Valley Forge Military Academy, to educational Philadelphia area public television station WHYY (channel 12 which broadcast it at least once), and others. DISCONTINUED
The Mayflower Story – This 22 page GSMD publication was distributed in the 1970s to schools. When this publication went out of print, SMDPA commissioned Pilgrims Then and Now (see 1990 entry below). DISCONTINUED
Five Kernels of Parched Corn – The pamphlet story of the 1623 Plymouth famine. Also distributed in the 1970s. Still available from GSMD. DISCONTINUED
Mayflower Families Generations Through Five Generations - SMDPA has donated complete sets of these General Society published Mayflower passenger descendants first 5 generation genealogies to fifteen libraries and historical societies in the Commonwealth. They include the State Library of Pennsylvania (Harrisburg), the Carnegie Library (Pittsburgh), the Erie Library, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia), the Philadelphia Free Library, the Butler Area Public Library (Butler), the Wyoming Historical and Genealogical Society (Wilkes-Barre), the Ludington Library (Bryn Mawr), the Chester County Historical Society (West Chester), the Lancaster County Historical Society (Lancaster), the Allentown Public Library, Citizens Library & District Center (Washington), The York County Heritage Trust, the Easton Public Library, The Westmoreland County Historical Society (Greensburg). The Breese family has generously provided the collection and its updating to the Cornerstone Genealogical Society (Waynesburg). In the beginning, some were also given copies of the four generation Mayflower Families Genealogies in Progress (MFIP) soft cover publications but MFIP distribution has been since been discontinued due to their fragile binding at the libraries’ request. These foregoing libraries (as well as the SMDPA Historian and our SMDPA Lending Library for our membership) are on automatic distribution for additional books in the series as they are published. CURRENT
1988 The Pennsylvania Mayflower – In 1988 SMDPA Governor Barbara B. Kidder suggested the reform of the newsletter and since then it has grown in size and content to average 14-18 pages including the pink “wrapper.” It is unlike many of the other State Society newsletters which are published only twice a year and contain mainly social activity content. Ours not only includes our social activities but also original articles about our Pilgrim ancestors. Many of these articles have been posted on our Website and some are reprinted by other State Societies and Pilgrim Family Associations such as the Howland Quarterly. Some are reprinted in the GSMD Mayflower Quarterly. Recently the newsletter has been sent to Governors of the other State Societies and certain General Society officers. Soon it will be available to our membership and others via the Internet by PDF file. This is our major educational program for our own membership. It is sent to all categories of membership. As of 2005 it has included the 4-page newsletter for our Junior members, the “JR PA Mayflower.” Our editor, John Hunt, and production manager, former SMDPA Gov. Fred Clement, continue to produce an outstanding publication that is admired across the country and which in 2005 won the General Society’s award for best newsletter among all state Mayflower societies. CURRENT
1990 - American History Prize – This program, begun sometime before 1990, initially provided $100 US Savings Bonds to High School seniors. In 1990 a graduating senior in ten different schools were selected. Selection was made by the school and usually went to the student having the top grade in American History. Presentation was made at the school’s annual awards meeting. Eventually, due to the large number of awards given out at the ceremony and time constraints, presenters were permitted to attend but not to make the presentation or make remarks. It was also noted that many of the recipients never bothered to acknowledge the gift. At the end, there were about 30 awards given annually. We got nominal publicity with these awards. The program was discontinued in 1998 and funds diverted to the Plimoth Plantation Classroom Visits program. DISCONTINUED
1990 – Publication of Pilgrims Then and Now by the Rev. Gary L. Marks (UCC). This publication, commissioned by the SMDPA (an idea of then Gov. Bill Brewster) was well received and sold 475 in the first few months. It was offered, with seed money, to GSMD to replace their out of print The Mayflower Story but they chose not to use it. The initial cost was approximately $2500. The first year a copy was sent to each current member, and since has been given to each new member, to schools, various youth organizations, the recipient of our American History Prize, various historical societies, etc. It sold for $3 a copy. A number of printings were made. It has since been reprinted (in 2001 at a cost of $6532.05 for 3000 copies) in a revised and illustrated edition and lists at $6.00 retail or at a discount for $89 in shrink-wrapped packages of 20 copies. Shipping is included in the price. The revised edition has had a 2nd printing. CURRENT
1993 - College Essay Contest – This Contest was originally started for children of SMDPA members who were enrolled in college or university. It was announced in the Spring 1993 PA Mayflower. There were to be 3 prizes: 1st prize: $500, 2nd prize: $350, 3rd prize: $250. The essay was to be 1000 words or less on the subject “Why we should be proud of our Pilgrim ancestors.” There was little interest shown and the few essays received were not deemed worthy of a prize. The contest was discontinued in 1994. It apparently was reborn, this time as “The Norman J. Greene Scholarships” and offered in the Spring 2004 PA Mayflower. The major change: the original ground rules were changed to $1,000 scholarships for two (2) high school “seniors bound for college” for a 400 word or less essay on “Why did Winston Churchill once refer to the Mayflower Compact as one of the most remarkable documents in history?” Once again, interest was minimal but a single winner was declared and the prize awarded in 2005 to David Haines, of Lindale, TX. The contest has not been offered again. DISCONTINUED
1996 – Introduction of Plimoth Plantation Museum Instructors. The SMDPA Centennial Celebration program committee brought down 1627 Plimoth Plantation re-enactors in the persona and dress of “Gov. and Mistress Bradford” for our guest speakers. Although they were to have given a short presentation called “Observations” with the major “non-mayflower” speaker to follow, the Bradfords stole the show. The whole Centennial extravaganza exceeded $10,000 which came out of Education line item. We had amassed a lot of income through our investments that the Board was concerned that the required 25% of the income to be spent annually for Education hadn’t been and that we were headed for trouble with IRS. The exposure of the Plantation’s visitor’s captivating presence made it easy for the Board quickly to approve a proposal that we completely fund the bringing down of one museum instructor from the Plantation the next Spring (1997) to visit five schools in the greater Philadelphia area for a period of five days. Ideas were received for which schools should be visited from five Board members and visits were set up in the Greater Philadelphia area at the following: Alexander Hamilton School in inner-city Philadelphia, Gladwyne ES, the Westtown School - the alma mater of Barbara Kidder, Anne Brewster, and Stacy Wood, Beaumont ES, and Radnor MS. Needless to say, the instructor, Rachel Teck appearing as Goodwife Basset, was an enormous hit. David Cade, as Education Committee chair, expanded the program in 1998 to include sending one instructor to each of the 3 colonies (Greater Pittsburgh area, Greater Erie area, and the Susquehanna/Greater Harrisburg area) and then, in 1999, won approval from the Board to bring down 2 instructors for each of the 4 areas. In 1999 David also tried to work in the Plantation’s “Conflict Program” (a 1660s centered program about New England Puritan and Quaker conflict) but he and other Board members thought that although it was a worthy program, it was not a means of getting our Pilgrim message out to the children. Thus it was not scheduled again. By 2001 we were spending approximately $21,000 per year for 160 hours of classroom visits in inner-city, suburban, rural and private elementary schools. For the six years that we sponsored these visits, over 15,000 Pennsylvania school children in classes K-7 experienced the program. Due to the temporary loss of our investment growth/earnings following the attacks of 9/11, the program was halted until our finances had recovered sufficiently in 2006. That year an instructor came for five days to Lancaster and York Counties. In 2007 two instructors visited our Western Colony area and one visited the Greater Philadelphia area. Although now on a smaller scale, we have now reached over 18,000 Pennsylvania students. In September 2008 the Susquehanna Colony area will be revisited.
All participating schools have raved about the program. We get our best publicity from these visits and it is often in areas that would never hear of us otherwise. All former chairpersons of the Education Committee and many of those Board members who have sat in on these Classroom visits realize that this is our best education program because it is not only a program that we can guarantee to be a true picture of our Pilgrim ancestors presented by professionals, but because it makes a lifetime impression on the children. Finally, it should be mentioned that by funding these visits we are also helping to fund the mission of the 1627 Plimoth Plantation. We have been the major user of this particular outreach program of the Plantation. Their Executive Director and staff “sing our praises.”
In 2001, a grant proposal for $2,500 was submitted to a Lancaster County foundation for the first time in hopes of obtaining some financial support for this program’s Lancaster County area visits in 2002. It was not successful. In 2001, the Board approved the submission of a $20,000 grant proposal to the Pennsylvania Council on the Humanities. Action was started but abandoned when we discovered that we had to identify the source of an equal amount of new matching funds up front and funds previously collected could not be applied to the matching requirement. Smaller grants from the Council of up to $3,000 are more likely to be funded and should be further investigated (for latest information see http://www.pahumanities.org/programs/grants.php). In 2001 we held our first Annual Fund Drive and collected approximately $5600 which permitted us to bring 2 instructors to the Susquehanna Colony area for 5 days in the Spring of 2002. Due to the growth/earnings shortfall of our investments in 2002, our Fund Drive of 2002 was earmarked to supplement operating expenses. It raised about $6,200 with about $600 donated specifically for Classroom visits/education. The Finance Committee in Jan. 2003 determined that these few restricted funds could be held until it is determined that enough funds were available to restart the Classroom visit program. Our 2003 Fund Drive raised over $3100 and a 2007 drive raised over $4,000. CURRENT
1996 – Approval of an Internship Program at Plimoth Plantation This was a 1993 proposal of the Susquehanna Colony as a way to engage the long term interest of our own SMDPA youth in their Pilgrim ancestors and their Plymouth (17th century – present) heritage. Initially, the plan was to send two college/university age descendants (not necessarily members, but children/grandchildren of past or present SMDPA members) to Plymouth, MA, for a 3 week summer internship program involving four properties: Plimoth Plantation (acting as mentor), Pilgrim Hall, the 19th century Plymouth Antiquarian Society, and the GSMD HQ. Due to the Plantation being without an executive director for a couple of years, it took until 1998 to get the Plantation’s final approval. The program idea had changed to become a 12-week summer program to be held only in three departments within the Plantation. The Plantation was excitedly looking forward to running this program and maybe expanding it to other areas of the nation. Basically, SMDPA would have picked up all the expenses with the exception of travel there and back. It would include a $2500 stipend for both selectees. We estimated that it would cost SMDPA $5000 for each applicant. However, when offered by special mailing to all our SMDPA members’ youth for 1999, and then again for 2000, there were no takers. Much planning went into this by Michael Hall who headed the Intern Programs at the Plantation. The Plantation went on to establish an Intern program of it own. The program has been shelved for the time being due to insufficient SMDPA funds to offer it as described.
1997 – Distribution of 3 Pilgrim Oriented Videos to 22 PDE IU’s Audio Visual Libraries In 1996 the Susquehanna Colony presented copies of the following videos to the 7 PA Dept. of Education Intermediate Unit (IU) audio/visual libraries serving schools in its Zip Code 17xxx membership area: the GSMD sponsored The Mayflower Pilgrims, and the Plimoth Plantation’s Plimoth Plantation Video Tour and The Making of a Colony.
They were well received and at the Oct. 1997 SMDPA Board of Assistants’ meeting the Board agreed to purchase and distribute the 3 videos to the remaining 22 IU’s in the state. See 1999 – Distribution … below.
1998 – Replanting of Garden at the Gaudens “Pilgrim” Monument in Fairmont Park, Phila. Suggested by Win Carroll, this project was completed in time for our 1998 Spring Tea held nearby at the Sedgley Club on River Drive that was attended by then Philadelphia Mayor Edward G. Rendell (later became Governor of PA). Publicity accompanied this project. COMPLETED
1999 – Award For Distinguished Mayflower Scholarship. Historian General Caroline L. Kardell was the first recipient of this new award that was the brainchild of members Prof. John M. Hunt , Jr. and Frederick T.J. Clement, Jr. The award, honors a recipient is selected from the world pool of Mayflower scholars It includes a framed certificate and a cash prize, originally $500 and then raised to $1,000 in 2007. The second award (2000) was given to Robert Charles Anderson of The Great Migration Project, comprehensive genealogical and biographical accounts of every person who settled in New England between 1620 and 1640. In 2001, Jeremy D. Bangs PhD, director of the Leiden American Pilgrim Museum received the award. The 2002 winner was James W. Baker, former senior historian at the 1627 Plimoth Plantation. Our 2003 winner was the Rev. Gary L. Marks, pastor of Plymouth’s UCC Church of the Pilgrimage (where the GSMD Triennial Congress opening service is held every six years) and author of our publication Pilgrims Then and Now. Alice C. Teal, editor of The Mayflower Quarterly, was the recipient for 2004. Subsequent winners have been University of Pennsylvania lecturer Nancy Bauer in 2005, GSMD Five Generation Project (i.e. Mayflower passengers’ first five generations genealogy publications) director Edith Bates Thomas in 2006, NY Times “Best Non-Fiction Book for 2006” Mayflower author Nathaniel Philbrick in 2007, and Pilgrim Society/Pilgrim Hall Director/Librarian Peggy M. Baker in 2008. The program brings our membership into contact with a major Mayflower scholar and our members hear an educational talk and we can then read extracts from the talk in print form in our quarterly newsletter. An “after the event” release with photo is sent to the Mayflower Quarterly and also information about the winner and award to certain Internet sites. Additionally, it results in good local publicity. For the past few years the ceremony and talk have been recorded on video. CURRENT
1999 – Distribution of 3 Additional Pilgrim Oriented Videos and Teachers’ Kit Coming to America to the 29 PDE IU’s A/V Libraries This time, the videos were the GSMD’s The Mayflower Story, and the Plimoth Plantations 2 videos Colonial Life for Children and Jack Hanna’s The Animal Pilgrims of Plimoth Plantation. This distribution program has been well received and should be continued as additional videos sponsored by these two organizations become available. Since it would be impossible for us to reach every school in Pennsylvania through 1627 Plimoth Plantation classroom visits, this allows SMDPA to make the history of our Pilgrim ancestors available through videos to the 1.8 million PA public school children, Kindergarten through 12th grade. Obviously this gives us the “biggest bang for the buck.” In 1999 this, and the kits to the schools (see next item below), cost us $2576.09 for the items, packaging and mailing. The videos portion (purchase and shipping) alone cost $1757.14. A new video produced by GSMD, The Making of Mayflower II, was released in January 2003. It sells for $10 plus $4 shipping and handling. Distribution was made from the GSMD sales office using labels provided by SMDPA. The donation included a cover letter with our SMDPA name and address. Newer releases not yet purchased by us are King Philip’s War, Plimoth Plantation 17th Century Kiln, Two Peoples, One Story (Introduction to the 1627 Plimoth Plantation). The 1627 Plimoth Plantation is expected to release new Videos/DVDs in the near future. IN ABEYANCE
1999 – Distribution of the Teachers’ Kit Coming to America to Schools Receiving PP Classroom Visits. These kits were presented in September of 1999 to the schools visited earlier in the year. At that time they cost us $13 each if sent by GSMD directly to the schools but more if we have to receive them and then forward them. The teachers in our visited schools in the Susquehanna Colony area raved about them. They now cost $15. Do we wish to continue this in the future? IN ABEYANCE
2000 – SMDPA Website www.Sail1620.org. Our website is a major means of accomplishing our mission to bring our Pilgrim Ancestors to the public. Being a featured site in the New York Times in October 2000 gave it quite a boost in exposure. That same year in November it received the Family Tree “Site of the Day Award.” In November, 2001, it received the “Pennsylvania Site of the Day Award.” The site now brings in a large percentage of our new membership inquiries. Our Webmaster, Joe Wood is a professional Webmaster. He is an SMDPA member, volunteer, and former Board of Assistants member. The site has been redesigned three times since its original launching and another redesign is about to be launched. In 2007 the year had brought over 173,000 unique visitors to the site who viewed more than 320,000 pages. Our cost is only about $100 annually. Having reviewed all the current websites that have Pilgrim information, our Webmaster sees a great need for Pilgrim-oriented teacher lesson plans that go beyond “Pilgrims=Thanksgiving” and which show the importance of the Plymouth Colony as an important building block in our Nation’s foundation. [See 2008 The Mayflower and Me] He sees the need to also show the Colony’s place in its contemporary 17th century world. His hope is to find interested historians who will prepare and submit such lesson plans to be posted for school teachers. He suggests that grants might be available to fund the writing of the guides. In 2005 at the General Society’s Triennial Congress, our website won first prize for “best Website” in the General Society’s first competition. CURRENT
2001 The Junior Pennsylvania Mayflower – In the Spring of 2001 we started a quarterly newsletter for all of our Junior members. Initially sent by first class mail to each Junior member, in 2005 it was made the last pages of the “PA Mayflower.” The newsletter is normally 4 pages in length and attempts to provide something for all age groups from coloring, to puzzles, to short articles about the Pilgrims and their experiences. Recently, each issue has been devoted to a specific Pilgrim ancestor or Pilgrim event. CURRENT
2001 Reactivation of the SMDPA Library: Our Library collection had grown from the initial volume, the facsimile copy of Bradford’s History of Plimoth Plantation purchased in 1897 to 160 volumes when we reactivated the Library collection after computerization of its catalog. Methods were establishing to make nearly all volumes available to our membership regardless of their place of residence. The Bradford facsimile, however, is not available for circulation but is displayed at our Annual Meetings and taken to schools and occasional Colony meetings. A Juniors’ section has also been created and new titles added. By the end of 2002 the total volumes reached 240, including videos. A list of items available, with instructions for use, is posted on our Website. Descriptions of new additions are printed in our quarterly newsletters. Reminders on how to obtain items appear from time to time in the newsletter. The Library is funded by memorial gifts and the borrowers. It has had very little use and an ad hoc committee appointed by Governor Robinson will attempt to decide its future. Joan C. Miller is currently its Librarian. CURRENT
2007 The Pilgrims & the Fur Trade: This curriculum unit for grades 5-7 developed by the Pilgrim Hall Museum, with cooperation of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, was distributed by our Education Committee to 28 PDE Intermediate Units at a cost of $517.60. COMPLETED
2008: The Mayflower and Me: This K-12 curriculum by SMDPA member Debra G. Miller will be distributed and placed on our www.sail1620.org website. It will offer a single curriculum about the Pilgrim story presenting past and present views. On the website teachers will be offered portions of the curriculum.
The Future: Given sufficient funding, nearly all of the above programs can be valuable to our mission in reaching the various audiences that we must reach. There may be other and better programs. Ideally we should expand the 1627 Plimoth Plantation classroom visits to other areas of the state. The Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton area was included for a day (8 classrooms) during the greater Philadelphia area’s visits in 2001. Susquehanna Colony added a day in Northumberland County to its schedule in 2001. As mentioned above, this is a major means by which we can “to perpetuate the memory of our Pilgrim Fathers,” especially to the American public at large, and help us maintain our IRS non-profit status.
Re Fundraising. SMDPA Counselor Tom Kellogg has explained to the Board that when we solicit funds for which the donor might receive tax credit, we may not use the funds for programs that benefited only our members, i.e. the Plimoth Plantation Internships described above. We can, and have, used donated funds for classroom visits and operating funds. We have approached local funding sources to no avail.
Stacy B. C. Wood, Jr., Compiler
Past Governor, SMDPA (2001-2003)