Mary Heaton Vorse Manuscript Presentation and Talk: Looking, Listening, Critical Reflections
Saturday, June 9
Mary Heaton Vorse scholar Professor Sandra C. Harris and her husband, Professor Joseph D. Harris continued their support of the Provincetown Public Library with a donation of a rare manuscript of Vorse’s Footnote to Folly, originally titled Footnote to History. In honor of this donation, Professor Harris will also present on Mary Heaton Vorse in the Library’s Marc Jacobs Reading Room on Saturday, June 9 at 2:00 pm.
In her talk “Looking, Listening, Critical Reflections,” Professor Harris will focus on Vorse’s life and work as an investigative reporter. Although Vorse wrote 16 books and over 300 stories and articles, many are only familiar with the lively Provincetown history and commentary, Time and the Town. Professor Harris’ talk, on the other hand, will focus on Footnote to Folly and emphasize Vorse’s world views and experiences.
Vorse traveled throughout the United States, Europe, and the world reporting on monumental moments in history such as the first Women’s Peace Conference held in Amsterdam, the First World War, and the United States Labor movement. Vorse also worked on reproductive rights with Margaret Sanger, and collaborated with notable figures including Mother Jones, Maria Montessori, Mark Twain, Eleanor Roosevelt, Russian Minister of Education, and wife of Vladimir Lenin, Nadezhda Krupskaya, among others.
Despite these remarkable exploits, Professor Harris sees Vorse’s greatest historical contribution as her ability to document the lives of courageous people, particularly women of strength and conviction. As a journalist, Vorse gives center stage to the oppressed workers, homeless war refugees, starving women and children both in the U.S. and war-torn Europe, and strikers ready to lay down their lives for a chance at a decent living. Vorse’s reporting draws its inspiration from what she sees and hears, from the chatty and anecdotal to the breathless and outraged.
The Provincetown Public Library invites all to this presentation about journalist, activist, author, social critic, and Provincetown legend Mary Heaton Vorse.
About Professor Sandra C. Harris and Joseph D. Harris: Sandy and Joe have long studied Provincetown as an avocation. Both are retired professors: Joe from 40 years at Dartmouth College and Sandy from Ocean County College in New Jersey. Both have strong lifelong interests in empowering women. Joe worked with Dartmouth and other Ivy League Universities to make the study of physics more inclusive of women. Sandy, whose Master’s thesis was on Mary Heaton Vorse, also specialized in returning women students while working as a college counselor.
With her family, Sandy started coming to Provincetown at the age of 9. Sandy also worked at a myriad of jobs in Provincetown to help pay for college, and taught in the Provincetown School System. Joe came to Provincetown for the first time at age 19 when he was studying at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole. Since then, Joe and Sandy have split their time between New Hampshire and Provincetown for nearly 40 years. After retirement, Sandy and Joe were both elected to the New Hampshire State House and were only the fourth couple to serve together in the history of the NH State House. Currently, Sandy and Joe enjoy their time at the Ice House in Provincetown with their dog, Captain Jack Sparrow.