PRESS RELEASE FOR NEW BOOKS BY LOCAL AUTHOR
NEW BOOK BY LOCAL AUTHOR
Author Cheryl Lassiter of Hampton, who says her mission is to “become the J. Dennis Robinson of Hampton,” has recently published “A Meet and Suitable Person: Tavernkeeping in Old Hampton, New Hampshire, 1638-1783.” Blending historical fact with a sprinkling of well-crafted storytelling, Lassiter takes readers on a back door tour of Puritan Hampton, detailing the lives of the men and women who kept the town’s public houses of entertainment during the colonial era. Along the way she depicts some of the fascinating townspeople and events of “Olde Hampton.”
“The first question I get is about the meaning of the title,” Lassiter says. “A ‘meet and suitable person’ is a term used by the town’s selectmen in their written approval of a tavernkeeper. The tavernkeeper would take this permission slip, called an ‘approbation,’ to the county court to get his license. The record is spotty, but many of these approbations are on file with the State Archives in Concord. I even found one at Harvard’s Houghton Library.”
While a love of history, wine, and beer prompted her to write the story of Hampton’s old taverns and their keepers, Lassiter also notes that “Hampton has a fascinating yet often overlooked history. Now, with the town preparing to celebrate its 375th anniversary in 2013, there is a resurgence of interest in all things Hampton. I want to share what I am rediscovering about our town and present it in an entertaining way that respects the limited time most people have to devote to reading.” The book, published by Blue Petal Press, is available at Water Street Bookstore in Exeter, RiverRun Bookstore in Portsmouth, online at Amazon.com, and at the Tuck Museum in Hampton. An official book launch is scheduled for October 13 along with the Hampton Historical Society’s Tavernwalk in downtown Hampton.
19TH CENTURY ENTREPRENEUR CHRONICLED
In 2011, Lassiter published her first work, “A Page Out of History: A Hampton Woman in the Needletrades, 1859-1869,” based on the diary, journal, and letters of Mary Page Getchell (1832-1913), a descendant of some of the first European families to settle at Hampton. The Tuck Museum in Hampton acquired Page Getchell’s papers in 2009, and Lassiter, a museum volunteer, went to work cataloging the collection. She was immediately struck by the strong character of this young woman and knew that her story needed to be told to the public. Page Getchell was a 19th century milliner and dressmaker who operated ‘fancy goods’ shops in Exeter’s Folsom Block and in Polo, Illinois during a ten-year period which encompassed the Civil War, afterwards marrying one of the richest men in Exeter. Among the highlights of the book, her letters home from the ‘great West’ offer a fascinating glimpse into the thoughts, motivations, and actions of an ordinary American woman during a time of war.
The book has won awards from the Association of Historical Societies of New Hampshire (2011) and the New England Museum Association (2012). It is available through the Tuck Museum in Hampton, online at the museum store (hamptonhistoricalsociety.org), and at Water Street Bookstore in Exeter. All proceeds from this book benefit the museum.
Lassiter is a member of the Hampton Historical Society, The Hampton Arts Network, and the New Hampshire Writers’ Project. She is currently researching the life of Eunice ‘Goody’ Cole, the reputed witch who is arguably Hampton’s most famous citizen. Tentatively titled “Weird: In the Case of Goodwife Unis Cole,” the book is scheduled to be published in 2013.
©2012 Cheryl Lassiter