Here we have another outstanding archival photo from the HWS founders' days at the Tremlett College for Women. Georgia Campbell is seated third from the right, looking down on her artwork. Outdoor art classes were extremely popular in good weather. The students enjoyed the escape from the classroom.
Some of Georgia's works from her time at Tremlett are still in her family's possession. She was said to have quite a knack for realism, but only pursued painting as an occasional hobby in her later years.
HWS founder Georgia Campbell appears in the upper left corner of this archival photograph shared courtesy of the Campbell family. We don't have positive identifications on most of the women shown here, but they are believed to be members of Georgia's extended family on her mother's side. Her mother, Otelia Campbell, is seated just below Georgia.
It is always fascinating to take a peek into the lives of our founders. Photographs from the time period can be scarce, so the ones that do emerge are important artifacts. We thank the Campbell family for their generosity in sharing this lovely image.
Looking through the information we gathered from the HWS archives at Tremlett College, we realized we neglected to include this image in the previous slideshow illustrating the time at which our founders were in attendance at the school. This photograph most likely dates to 1898 or 1899 and shows a science class underway. The students are engaged in an exploration of the properties and mechanisms of static electricity. We know the science classes at the time were very hands-on. It looks like quite a bit of fun.
It's difficult to tell, but the young woman in the back working at the chalkboard may well be Georgia Campbell, one of the HWS founders.
Our research into the special archives led to the semi-fictionalized account of the HWS founding in the mystery novel The Library of Lost Trees.
Tremlett College, where HWS founders Ada Gentry, Bunny, and Georgia met and started the society, is connected to the Maine seaport town of Fearns by rope ferry. Still in operation today (though the ferry itself has been replaced several times over the years), the ferry was once the main way Tremlett students and professors crossed between Antheia Island and the mainland.
The HWS archives at Tremlett contain a few vintage photos of Fearns, that give us an idea of what the town looked like back around 1898 when the Hardy Women's Society was founded.
This interesting image dates to 1922 and shows the Hardy Women's Society leadership group at the organization's original chapter at Tremlett College on Antheia Island in Maine. This particular photo is from the HWS special archives at the college's library. It was gathered by Kerry Eilleen on one of her research expeditions to the college to learn more about the founding and early history of the society.
The names of the ladies in the photo aren't readily apparent. Some of the earlier decades of the HWS archives have yet to be completely sorted. On the back is written "Leadership council -- HWS."
It appears the photo may have been taken in one of the college's historic cottages. These cottages are still in use today as dormitories for Tremlett's students. Not too long after this, the original HWS founders regrouped for a founders' reunion meeting. We wanted to share this glimpse into the society's past and the strong women who helped guide it through the years.
HWS member Kerry Eilleen was kind enough to bring a copy of a rare photograph of the HWS founders with her to this month’s meeting. It shows Ada Gentry Adair, Bunny Sutton, and Georgia Campbell in 1899 at Tremlett College.
We know from Bunny’s letters that she wasn’t fond of these dress-alike days when official Tremlett photos were taken for the records. Bunny is standing to the far right. Ada Gentry is in the center of the back row and Georgia with the dark hair stands in the back row to the very left. Why do they all look so solemn? Most likely because they had to stand very still for the photograph. Remember, this predates the “1, 2, 3 Say Cheese!” style of picture taking. Unfortunately, Georgia must have been moving during the process since her face is blurred.
The records don’t indicate which class this is. It could be botany, English, or any of the other subjects that we know our founders took together. With news trickling down through the society about Kerry Eilleen and Amanda Kooser’s semi-fictionalized treatment of the founding of the society, I know we’re all excited to get more glimpses into our founders’ pasts!
Kerry and I are still sorting through the Hardy Women’s Society archives that are on loan to us from Tremlett College. We unsealed a box full of journals, notes, photographs, and memorabilia from the founders’ trip to New Mexico in 1899.
This is the first time we’ve really been able to delve into details of Ada Gentry, Bunny, and Georgia’s first full year after founding the society in 1898. We knew they traveled to the mountains of New Mexico after that school year, but that was about the extent of our understanding. Now, we have a wonderful trove of information to engage with.
As a teaser, we can tell you the ladies stayed near the mining town of Anodyne in the Jemez Mountains. We have pieced together a rather remarkable story about their summer there, which we will be presenting in the form of a second book, a follow-up to The Library of Lost Trees. Until we can share more details, please enjoy these archival photos from their journey.
Many of you are already very familiar with Tremlett College, a bastion of higher education that is inextricably linked to the HWS. Tremlett was founded in 1635 and has a very unusual location on an island just off the coast of Maine. Antheia Island is linked to the mainland by a rope ferry (though the ferry is mostly an exercise in historic preservation these days).
The Hardy Women’s Society was founded at Tremlett in 1898. Our organization still has a very close relationship with the college. HWS members Kerry Eilleen and Amanda Kooser have spent quite a bit of time there conducting research at the library for The Library of Lost Trees novel.
Many of our HWS members are either alumni or current students at Tremlett. We have fond memories of taking botany class in Rackers Conservatory, walking through the wildflower field in the spring, and riding the waves atop the historic rope ferry over to Fearns. We still recall the warnings to stay away from the eastern cliffs and out of the darkest woods!
I know that Tremlett, by design, must always have a very limited enrollment, but I’m thrilled that the college has chosen to share a little bit more about itself with the world. Head on over and read up about Tremlett College, the best-kept secret in American education!
I just wanted to shine a quick spotlight on the Hardy Women’s Society Men’s Auxiliary. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the guy-focused branch of the HWS, here’s a quick intro.
The founders of the HWS respected and appreciated the contributions of the men in their lives: their beaus, their fathers, their brothers, their friends. Within a decade of the 1898 founding of the society, the Men’s Auxiliary came into existence.
The men who originally joined the Auxiliary shared interests with the main group, such as gardening, travel, and art. That spirit of curiosity and creativity still infuses the Men’s Auxiliary today. In recent years, members have participated in art exhibits, writing projects, historical research, construction projects, garden design, and adventure travel.
Many of these men are associated with HWS ladies, but quite a few found the society on their own. There is much crossover between the two groups and we are exceedingly proud of the great work of the Men’s Auxiliary. So here’s a cheer for the Hardy Women’s Society Men’s Auxiliary!