110 Years of Stewardship
Since its founding in 1898, the Whittier Home Association has served as steward for the preservation of collections, structures, and grounds of the John Greenleaf Whittier Museum in Amesbury, Massachusetts.
As a non-profit, educational organization, we strive to engage diverse audiences in the life story of Whittier in his roles as a Quaker, a Writer, and an Abolitionist. We accomplish this by providing access to his home, collections, and archival material, complemented with public programs, exhibits, and publications.
The origins of the Whittier Home Association
At the turn of the 19th century, a movement had begun nationally to form a Federation of Women’s Clubs “to broaden the thoughts and aims of women, to give them an intelligent interest not only in literature, art and music, but in education and philanthropy and in all the affairs of the day in town and country.” With that as a philosophy, twenty-two women met in Amesbury on January 26th, 1898 for the purpose of organizing a society to make The Whittier Home on Friend Street a memorial to our honored poet, John Greenleaf Whittier.
Mrs. Emily B. Smith, who had called this group together, told them of a recent visit that she had made to her friend Elizabeth Whittier Pickard, niece of Whittier, who had expressed much interest in the proposed movement and was willing to rent the Whittier home for one-hundred dollars a year for 5 years to such a society who would honor Whittier.
Mrs. Smith was chosen chairman of this new group and quickly called the meeting to order. They voted that the name of their society would be Whittier Home Association and that they were committed to preserve and maintain the Whittier Home on Friend Street as a memorial to honor the poet. The first official meeting of the Whittier Home Association was held in the Garden Room of the Whittier Home February 2, 1898.
The Whittier Association Today
Today, the Whittier Home Association continues to pursue excellence in preserving Whittier’s collections, home and grounds, and interpreting his life and creating innovative outreach. The Whittier Home is a nationally known Historic House Museum which inspires, enlightens, and educates people about the life, legacy, and literary works of John Greenleaf Whittier. The Museum honors his commitment to ending slavery, practicing his Quaker faith, and providing a courageous example of moral leadership for his community and the nation.
Consistent with our mission as an educational organization, we believe in:
- Promoting John Greenleaf Whittier to the public
- Presenting programs to diverse groups
- Supporting scholarly research
- The study of the Arts and Humanities enriches and inspires
- Fulfilling our mission/vision will benefit our present generation’s knowledge of Whittier’s life and works, and will be a cultural and moral inspiration for people of our time.
In addition, we believe that we should be knowledgeable about all aspects of Mr. Whittier’s life as a poet, journalist, politician, activitist, mentor, and abolitionist, and that he fervently believed in and supported human rights.