The West Brattleboro Association, in conjunction with the Brattleboro Words Project and Brattleboro Literary Festival, are set to unveil a historic marker commemorating four schools that stood near the current site of today’s Academy School, and acclaimed local author Mary E. Wilkins Freeman.
The ceremony will be held Thursday, Oct. 17, at 11 a.m.
Mary E. Wilkins Freeman was repeatedly voted the most popular female author during the 19th century. She is best known for her short stories; she published more than 250 in her lifetime. Freeman spent a significant part of her life in Brattleboro, and credited Brattleboro for its influence on her writing and success. During her time here, Mary attended the Glenwood Ladies Seminary, one of the four schools being commemorated with the historic marker.
The historic marker will have one side dedicated to the schools, and one side dedicated to Freeman
One of the four school being recognized is the Glenwood Ladies Seminary, a 19th century example of a private secondary boarding school for females. The other schools are Brattleborough Academy, Glenwood Classical Seminary and the old Academy School (torn down in 1957).
The ceremony will kick-off the 2019 Brattleboro Literary Festival. Mary E. Wilkins Freeman is one of the writers with a history in Brattleboro being celebrated at this years’ festival, along with Rudyard Kipling, who wrote “The Jungle Book” while living in Dummerston, Vt. Brent Kendrick, a scholar on Freeman’s life and works, will give a brief address. Local alum of the old Academy School will also share a few words on their experiences there and their family connections to the other schools at the site.
The Brattleboro Literary Festival will continue that evening at 7 p.m. at Brooks Memorial Library with talks by Brent Kendrick, author of “Infant Sphinx: The Collected Letters of Mary E. Wilkins Freeman” and Christopher Benfey, author of “If: The Untold Story of Kipling’s American Years.” They will discuss the lives of both Freeman and Kipling, and how they knew each other.