The Westborough Public Library will officially launch “The Ebenezer Parkman Project” website on Thursday, April 25, at 7:00 p.m. in the Mill Pond School Auditorium, 6 Old Hickory Path, Westborough, MA.
Rev. Ebenezer Parkman (1703-1782) was the first minister of Westborough, and his extensive diary and church records, along with other family papers, correspondence, and records of the town, provide the most complete picture of life in an eighteenth-century rural New England town. This diverse assortment of writings represents the most revealing and important collection of its kind from colonial New England.
The relevance of the project extends well beyond Westborough. The Parkman diary itself casts much light upon the surrounding towns that the minister regularly mentions in his daily entries, which include Grafton, Marlborough, Shrewsbury, Southborough, Upton, and others. Indeed, carrying readers from the early establishment of an isolated village through the American Revolution decades later, the Parkman Papers are truly of national significance.
Now, for the first time, access to many of Parkman’s writings, including his diary and church records, are freely available to scholars and the public through the Westborough Public Library on a new website, “The Ebenezer Parkman Project” (http://www.EbenezerParkman.org), and through links to the New England’s Hidden Histories church records digitization project (http://congregationallibrary.org/nehh/main).
The program will feature Prof. Ross W. Beales, Jr., who will talk about Parkman, his life, and his writings; Dr. James F. Cooper, Director of New England’s Hidden Histories, who will place Parkman’s writings in the context of other Congregational ministers in New England; and Dr. Anthony Vaver, Local History Librarian at the Westborough Public Library, who will describe the project’s development and demonstrate the website’s features.
“The Ebenezer Parkman Project” will centralize access to all of Parkman’s extant writings and provide resources for researching and understanding both his work and Westborough’s place in America’s colonial history. The website is managed by the Westborough Center for History and Culture at the Westborough Public Library in collaboration with Prof. Beales and New England’s Hidden Histories, based at the Congregational Library and Archives in Boston. Other organizations that have contributed to the project include the American Antiquarian Society, the Massachusetts Historical Society, the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, the Congregational Library & Archives, and the Digital Commonwealth.
This event is free and open to the public. Historians, genealogists, teachers, students, and anyone with an interest in the history of central Massachusetts and eighteenth-century America are cordially invited to attend.
For additional information, please contact Dr. Vaver at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 1-508-366-3050 (ext. 5284).