Annual Meetings

Minutes of the 1993 Meeting (28 July)
First Official Meeting

[Later notes by Bruce Komusin indicated in square brackets.]

The first meeting of the Great Cranberry Island Historical Society was convened at the Ladies Aid Building, Great Cranberry Island, at 7:45 p.m. on July 28, 1993. Barbara Stainton acted as President, 22 people attended.

Barbara welcomed everyone and invited them to sign their names, addresses and areas of person interest on a circulated sheet. She then informed the group of the steps which led to this meeting.

  1. Urgency
    Interest in starting a historical society resulted from the unavoidable recognition that the memories of G.C.'s oldest residents would be lost permanently if efforts were not soon made to record their recollections.

  2. Joint Efforts With The C.O.A.
    Pursuant to the above, Richard Borden, Dean of Students of the C.O.A., was contacted for guidance in getting a historical society going, in taking oral histories and in sponsoring specific projects. Joint efforts with the C.O.A. in 1992-1993 culminated in:

    • A Photo Essay of the island taken by C.O.A.'s Debra Goldman's photography class. These pictures were exhibited on July 18-25 in the Ladies' Aid Building; two students are giving their pictures to the GCHS, Jamie Wells and Ann Gustayson. A booklet of all the pictures was presented to the town.
    • Island children were given disposable cameras to take their own pictures of the island--these too are on exhibit.
    • Patti D'Angelo - recent graduate of the C.O.A. taped an interview with Tud Bunker. A copy of this tape and its transcription was presented to the Historical Society at the opening of the photo exhibit.
  3. Additional Oral History Work
    Substantial work on oral histories was completed by Jeff Weisbruch who spend last winter on the island and interviewed:

    • Tud Bunker - 2 hrs.
    • Ada & Charles Rice - 2 hrs.
    • Ruth Stanley - 6-8 hrs.
    • Wesley Bracy - 5 hrs.
    • Ethel Wedge - 3 hrs.

    These tapes are not yet transcribed, this being an onerous job of 10 hrs. per 1 hr. of tape. The Society is exploring how it can work with Jeff and he with it. The tapes will be turned over to the archives after Jeff has finished with them as primary source material for his own purposes. The Society may want to add questions to further interviews Jeff does this coming year. For this, Jeff will need financial assistance.

  4. Need For A Repository
    Donations of tapes, transcripts and photos raises the problem of finding a repository or place to house, display and preserve artifacts.

  5. Future Pursuits For The Historical Society

    • Information on families.
    • Project for Cranberry Islanders to document the history of their own houses and attendant stories.
    • Investigation of old boats on the island.
    • How to tap into the wealth of photographic information, letters, etc., in peoples' care - catalogue artifacts and valuable material in houses. Involvement of school children in these projects - inventorying their own houses.
    • Identify and encourage individual pursuits such as Bobby Grey's research on Cass [Mary Catherine "Carrie" (Stanley)] Richardson, who captained two voyages to the East from this Island in the 1880's - after her husband jumped into the pool. Help Bobby get her work into a form we could all profit by.
  6. Future Relations With The C.O.A.
    At a meeting on July 18 at Sue Lyman's house with Richard Borden and Carl Little of the C.O.A., the college proposed:

    • Offering continued support to the Society as a resource, e.g., use of their Geographic Information Systems to give precise maps of the area.
    • Give a course at the college focusing on the history of this island if we provide information.
    • Use the island as a "Laboratory" for a Ph.D. Student Thesis - either social history or natural history.
    • Use the new C.O.A. Gates Auditorium for a fund raising concert next year.
    • Work on collecting folk music of our islands to supplement the kind of work done in Minstrels of the Sea of Maine published in the 1930's [Actually, Minstrelsy of Maine, by Fannie Hardy Eckstrom and Mary Winslow Smyth, 1927.]
  7. Owen Roberts reported:

    • Status of G.C.H.S.
      The Historical Society is incorporated as a non-profit organization in the State of Maine. Application for a 501C3 (tax exempt status) will follow shortly. This rating allows for contributions made to the Society as well as purchases made by the Society to be tax free.

    • Officers
      To get the Society running, the following volunteered to fill the offices:

      President: Barbara Stainton
      Vice Presidents: Liza Eager, Owen Roberts, Susan Ward
      [and later, at this meeting, elected Treasurer: Bruce Komusin]

      Others are invited to join as members or become Vice Presidents in an area of particular interest.

    • Statement Of Purpose
      "The G.C.H.S. is dedicated to the collection, preservation, presentation and study of the history of Great Cranberry Island and of its relations with the other Cranberry Islands. The Society will promote these goals thru provision of facilities, support for studies and publications and other appropriate activities."

  8. Discussion Of A Repository

    • Jack Wallace noted the importance of finding a repository for materials, observing that having such a place will also stimulate donations or loan of memorabilia.
    • The sense of the meeting concurred that finding a space is a primary objective of the Society.
    • Expansion of the Library was discussed as the logical place for a repository. Wesley Bracey's storage house could also be evaluated for this use. (Availability? condition?) [This latter alternative did eventually become Cranberry House.]
    • In considering the display of artifacts, a case could be put in the Library for exhibitions. Ray Chalmers could interest the school children in locating and cataloging items in their immediate families, of interest to the Society and/or for display.
    • Priscilla Richardson commented on the need to learn about and carry out proper preservation techniques from the beginning - such as using acid free tissues, folders, envelopes, mountings. The State publishes booklets on preserving paper, leather, etc. Discussion of locating free consulting help followed.
  9. Additional Projects For The Society
    Discussion elicited the following:

    • Collection of Island stories, even the history of feuds (Owen Roberts).
    • Spruce up neglected aspects of our cemeteries. Involve school kids in researching these cemeteries (Georgie Ware).
    • Include kids or others in digs on the Island - [omitted]'s shell mound, arrow heads and shards found at [omitted] (Georgie Ware).
    • Go thru storage boxes in school attic (Georgie Ware). [This was done.]
    • Survey who is doing what on their own - i.e., families who have looked up their genealogies. (This information may surface on its own during cataloging procedures). Encourage and facilitate these projects.
    • Research Island artists, past and present (Winnie Smart).
    • Contact the Maine State Council on the Humanities in Portland for guidance, possibly a free consultation, in preservation of materials (Priscilla Richardson, Dan Rose).
  10. Membership
    It was agreed to establish different kinds of membership:

    Individual - $10
    Family - $15

    Some joined as members on-the-spot, writing their check to the new organization and handing them over to Bruce Komusin, duly elected treasurer.

  11. Public Announcement of G.C.H.S.
    A table will be set up at the Fair on August 4 with a poster mounted by Winnie Smart announcing the existence of the G.C.H.S. and notification of its second meeting. August 25th - 7:30 p.m., Ladies Aid Building. Membership forms will be available. Copies of the oral interview with Tud Bunker, if they can be reproduced by August 4, will be available for sale (Barbara to get permission from Gail Colby to have a table at the fair; Owen to look into reproduction of the transcript and its legal release). If copies cannot be done in time, orders for the transcript will be taken.

  12. Fund Raising

    • It was agreed it is too late to have a fund raiser this year.
    • We should check out the Council on the Humanities for funding (grants) for oral histories or other projects. (Bill Goldberg).
    • We should strengthen our connections with the C.O.A. as joint ventures are particularly attractive to grant evaluators. Dan Rose is willing to work with Thomas Cauffman of the C.O.A., who writes their proposals. Dan recommends taking note of the kinds of projects that are currently being funded and adapt accordingly!
  13. P. 0. Box
    Barbara agreed to get a P.O. Box for the Society.

  14. Next Meeting
    The next meeting of the G.C.H.S. will be August 25 at 7:30 p.m., Ladies Aid Building. The immediate business will be to adopt our by-laws. Entertainment will be the Town's slide show if Dorothy agrees.

The meeting was adjourned with sips of champagne, all around.

Respectfully submitted,
Susan H. Ward