Nantucket History & People

Nantucket History & People

Save Us from the Kids

As we learned last week in Part 1: Island Children Running Rampant, during the mid-1800s, many Nantucket youth were participating in “wicked and lawless conduct.” We continue this week with what efforts were made to deter this behavior and to reform island children…

In the mid-1850s, there is an increase in calls in the newspapers for the town to crack down on the out-of-control youth:

Hadwen House Nantucket
Exploring Nantucket, Nantucket Arts, Nantucket History & People

Celebrating Iconic Crafts

The Nantucket Historical Association is welcoming visitors back to the Hadwen House at 96 Main Street. For the 2023 season, the historic property will feature several exhibitions, including one focused on Nantucket Lightship Baskets and exhibits highlighting the NHA’s decorative arts and map collections. Niles Parker, NHA’s Gosnell Executive Director says, “Hadwen House is becoming a great space for the NHA to explore more of the island’s important history in addition to the stories we tell at the Whaling Museum.”

Nantucket History & People

Save Us from the Kids

Part I: Island Children Running Rampant by James Grieder Nantucket has been described as a great place to raise your children, but not a great place to grow up. The arrival of the internet and high-speed ferries has blurred the distinction—now that we have good pizza and can get more […]

bearing witness
Nantucket Essays, Nantucket History & People

Bearing Witness

A young man with a famous last name died recently on island. Sudden deaths have become unfortunate and common in the last few years, not just on Nantucket, but throughout the country. Every death is as unique as a fingerprint. The reasons are opaque: the results caustic. We hear of the death and we pause, then we ask ourselves why and what could we have done? Every answer we find is wrong.

Nantucket History & People

The First Cross-Dressing Performer on Nantucket

“Hello possums!” was how Dame Edna Everage greeted her throngs of admirers for more than 60 years. Barry Humphries, an Australian-born comedian, actor, author, and satirist, who created the character of Dame Edna, passed away in April of this year. Humphries’ one-man shows alternated between satirical monologues and musical numbers, interspersed with improvised moments and audience participation. Dame Edna never performed in the Great Hall of the Nantucket Atheneum, but another cross-dressing performer did so nearly 100 years before Humphries created his iconic character. A man named Marshall S. Pike performed there on multiple occasions in the 1850s, and his career as a musician and performer led him from Nantucket to the bloody battlefields and hellish prisons of the American Civil War before he found his way home again.

Natalie OBrien with striper
Nantucket Essays, Nantucket History & People

Fishing with Dad

There are certainly some interesting sights to be seen on Nantucket beaches these days. Now hold on just a minute…I’m not commenting on the new law that allows everyone to run around topless. It’s still a bit chilly for that anyway, don’t you think? No, the interesting sight that I saw is good, G-rated and beautiful (um, not that the other won’t be, perhaps). Just let me explain before I dig this hole any deeper.

Luke Russert Book Cover
Nantucket Events, Nantucket History & People

Sharing His Journey of Grief & Discovery

This Father’s Day, Sunday, June 18, author Luke Russert will discuss his newly published memoir Look for Me There: Grieving My Father, Finding Myself at 12 noon in the Great Hall of the Nantucket Atheneum. It’s a book for and about fathers and sons, grief and healing, reflection and discovery, and it explores Russert’s travels— physical and emotional—during the years following the death of his father, Tim Russert.

J.H. Bufford lithographs, Boston, MA c. 1855 courtesy of American Antiquarian Society
Nantucket History & People

Undersea Treasure Hunts

I’ve been working at the Nantucket Atheneum as a research associate for a little over a year, and in that time, I’ve fallen down more than one historical rabbit hole, learning about interesting and some downright odd moments in Nantucket’s history. From time to time, my explorations bring me face-to-face with members of my own family.