Welcome to our 76th Season!
Join us in-person at the Jaffrey Meeting House and virtually on YouTube Live for the 2023 Summer Series
Each session of our Summer series will be conducted in person and streamed live on Friday nights at 8:00 pm.
Click on the YouTube button below and look for the selection marked Live Now.
If you miss the Livestream, each session’s recording will be stored on our YouTube channel for you to view at your leisure.
July 7: Andrew H. Card, Jr. “Democracy Now”
How have “We the People” mattered in government, including government in Jaffrey? What was the state of democracy and of politics back in the day when Jaffrey was established? How have these matured, and what can we say about them today?
Andrew H. Card, Jr., White House Chief of Staff with the second-longest tenure, has served in senior government roles under three U.S. Presidents. As Chief of Staff to President George W. Bush, Mr. Card coordinated the priorities of the Administration’s agenda. On September 11, 2001, he was the one who whispered in President Bush’s ear,while the President was sitting in a classroom in Florida, that terrorists had attacked the United States. He then led a government-wide reorganization to best allocate resources to deal with the aftermath of 9-11 and the new terrorist environment.
Prior to his tenure as White House Chief of Staff, Mr. Card managed and ran the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia, was Vice President-Government Relations for General Motors Corporation, President and CEO of the American Automobile Manufacturers Association, Deputy Chief of Staff to President George H. W. Bush, and the eleventh Secretary of Transportation. In August 1992, at the request of President Bush, he coordinated the Administration’s disaster relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Andrew.
More recently, he has served as Chairman of the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington D.C., as the Interim Chief Executive Officer of the George and Barbara Bush Foundation, and as President of Franklin Pierce University.
He and his wife, the Reverend Kathleene (Bryan) Card are from Holbrook, Massachusetts. They have three children and six grandchildren.
July 14: Andy Davis. “The Sweater”
Storyteller Andy Davis presents a multi-layered story casserole which blends personal narrative, New Hampshire and North American history, and Scottish folklore. Expect nineteenth-century farm life, sled dogs, the Yukon gold rush, apple tree pruning, prodigious snows, frigid temperatures, and an international love story that revolves around…a sweater.
Andy Davis got his start as a storyteller telling comic tales by candlelight in Mexican refugee camps 30 years ago. He has since broadened and refined his craft and, while based in New Hampshire, has entertained audiences as far north as County Down, as far east as Paris, as far south as Bamako, and as far west as San Diego.
His varied repertoire of tales are equal parts multicultural folklore, magical realism, grassroots history, and personal experience. He can tell a shaggy dog with the best of them, then follow it up with a poignant family story laden with meaning. He is equally at home sharing the lore and legends of the mountains and woods of northern New England and creating verbal portraits of political courage.
Andy spent part of the 1990s doing human rights work in Guatemala, where he met his wife, Andrea. For the first 22 years of the new millennium, they co-directed the World Fellowship Center, an educational family camp and retreat center in the White Mountains devoted to peace and social justice.
July 21: Chris Myott. “The Art and Stories of Chris Myott”
Myott is a NH-based artist, who combines tools, plants, figures, and other abstract forms into oil paintings, using a palette knife and other implements to manipulate and draw through the surface of the paint. He employs finishing techniques that he learned as a furniture maker. These highlight textual elements that resemble the patina of age. The process creates a spontaneity akin to handwriting and allows him to investigate the relationship between the deliberate and the inadvertent.
Chris graduated from Chester College in 2005 with a BA in painting. He spent his early career in Boston, where he worked primarily as a woodworker. In 2009 he moved back to his hometown of Jaffrey, where he built a studio in an 1800s farmhouse. His work has been exhibited in galleries throughout the United States and has been featured in numerous publications, including Iron and Air Magazine, Café Racer Magazine in Italy, and Art New England. It can also be found in the permanent collection at Southern NH University and in private collections across the United States and abroad.
The topic is Chris Myott’s life as an artist in Jaffrey, NH. It will take up the inspiration, influence and process behind making art and why he continues to create in his hometown.
July 28: Joan Brooks Baker. “Through the Lens of my Camera: The Essence of Woman”
Whether through her camera lens or her writing, Baker’s goal has been to explore life’s balance, particularly between the feminine and masculine energies. A focus of her search has been to look for the essence of woman—past and present—how a woman, in her own way, honors life. Or in more colorful terms, what makes a woman tick?
She has had the good fortune and opportunity to travel and photograph many women, here in the US and in other parts of the world. Her curiosity and great need for connection have helped her to understand women’s essence and have also enlightened her about what makes herself tick.
Joan Brooks Baker was brought up in New York City where she attended and received academic honors from New York University. She has lived in Santa Fe since the early 1980s and has been involved with Santa Fe community entities, such as The Farmers Market, New Mexico Women Org., KSFR radio, and The Girls‘ School Cornerstones. She also currently serves on the non-profit committees of Video Volunteers in Goa, India, and the Arts Advisory for Miss Hall’s School in Massachusetts.
Joan has exhibited her photographs and photographic monoprints in galleries, mainly in Santa Fe and New York City. She was honored to be part of a “Seventy Women from Fifty Countries” exhibit at the United Nations, at which she showed her images of India’s female garbage workers.
Her memoir, The Magnolia Code, was published in June, 2020. It is a story of the mystery of belonging and the rules we adhere to or dismiss, with consequences for both. The book received the Distinguished Independent Press Award in the genre of memoir and was a finalist in the Arizona/New Mexico 2020 memoir category. She is currently working on a collection of short stories entitled The Swampyland.
August 4: Tony Whittemore, Jeff Whittemore, & Eric Stange. “Pony Boys: The Story of an Adventure of a Lifetime”
It is the summer of 1967. Two little boys from Needham, MA, hitch their pet Shetland pony “King” to a cart and drive 350 miles (with a stop at the family’s summer home in Jaffrey) over 27 days to the Expo ’67 world’s fair in Montreal—on their own—at 5 m.p.h. By the time their journey ended, they were worldwide celebrities.
For the boys, 9- and 11-year-old Jeff and Tony Whittemore, this improbable journey became the adventure of a lifetime. Now “Pony Boys,” an award-winning documentary, tells this extraordinary tale about parenting, childhood, and fulfilling the dreams of childhood in a time not so long ago.
See the acclaimed 24-minute film and hear longtime Jaffrey summer residents Tony and Jeff reflect on their improbable, controversial adventure and the unexpected attention it drew. Filmmaker Eric Stange will share how he was inspired to turn their story into an award-winning film.
After raising his two sons in Dedham with wife Nelle, Tony Whittemore is enjoying retirement in Webster, Massachusetts. Prior to retirement, Tony and Nelle owned property management and catering businesses in Needham, MA, and managed their own real estate investment properties. Tony continues to enjoy travel adventures, mostly by motorcycle now.
Jeff Whittemore and his wife Robin Cassel have lived in Arlington, Massachusetts for almost 30 years, where they raised their two children. Jeff is the founder and CEO of Zipwall, a company that manufactures and sells products for the renovation and construction industry. In addition to adventures with his family for pleasure, Jeff has enjoyed travel throughout the world for business. They are the current owners of a summer home on Thorndike Pond in Jaffrey. It was purchased by Jeff’s and Tony’s grandfather in the 1930s.
Eric Stange is the Producer and Director of “Pony Boys.” He is an award-winning independent documentary film director and producer based in the Boston area. Broadcast venues for his films include PBS, the BBC, and The Discovery Channel.
Tony and Jeff have thoroughly enjoyed traveling back in time while watching the movie about their wonderful adventure in the summer of 1967.
August 11: Littleton Alston and Ashley Olson. “Willa Cather As Creator: Breaking the Mold and Carving a Place in History”
Willa Cather (1873-1947) is widely regarded as one of America’s greatest authors. This lecture will discuss Cather’s ascent to success, from her rebellious nature as an adolescent to her prominence as a Pulitzer Prize winning author. Near Cather’s final resting place in Jaffrey, Alston and Olson will discuss their collective efforts to advance her legacy. Guests will also learn about the research and creativity that was essential in order for Alston to take a look back and sculpt Cather as a mature artist in the prime of her career. His bronze sculpture of Cather will soon be installed in the U.S. Capitol to represent the State of Nebraska in the National Statuary Hall Collection.
Littleton Alston is Professor of Sculpture at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, where he maintains his sculpture studio. His artwork ranges from classically sculpted cast bronze figures to monumental abstract sculptures made of stainless steel. His works are included in many public and private collections and have been exhibited nationally and internationally. Littleton was featured in the 2021 Nebraska Public Media documentary film “A Sculpted Life” and a 2022 PBS News Hour interview. He has held artist residencies at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha, the Martine Vaugel Studio in France, and the International Centre for the Arts in Montecastello di Vibio, Italy. Littleton earned a B.F.A. from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond and an M.F.A. from the Maryland Institute College of Art’s Rinehart School of Sculpture in Baltimore.
Ashley Olson is Executive Director of the National Willa Cather Center in Red Cloud, Nebraska, where she guides the mission of the organization and oversees all aspects of its operation. Olson administers the museum, arts center, ten historic sites, and a 612-acre native prairie that make up the largest collection of nationally designated historic sites dedicated to an American author. During her tenure, the Center’s assets have grown by more than $10 million, and Willa Cather’s story has been more comprehensively told through a permanent exhibit, American Bittersweet: The Life and Writing of Willa Cather. It is funded in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Recently, Olson secured a “Save America’s Treasures” grant from the National Park Service for the restoration of the Willa Cather childhood home, a National Historic Landmark. She holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
August 18: Jennifer A. Gruda. “A View From Behind the Bench”
Jennifer Gruda will talk about her path from the small town of Jaffrey, NH, through the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to her current position at the Supreme Court of the United States. She will explain how the federal judiciary works, from the filing of a complaint in the District Court all the way to a decision from the Supreme Court. Her explanations are based on her experience working at all three levels of the federal court system. She will also share a behind-the-scenes look at the process for nominating and confirming federal judges, including Supreme Court justices.
Gruda currently serves as Senior Judicial Assistant to Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, Supreme Court of the United States. She began working for Justice Jackson in 2013, during her tenure on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and she supported Justice Jackson through the nomination and confirmation processes for appointments to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and later the Supreme Court of the United States.
Jennifer and her family moved to Jaffrey in 1985. She is a graduate of St. Pat’s and Conant High School. In 1998 she earned her B.A. in American Studies, summa cum laude from Brandeis University, and her J.D. magna cum laude, in 2001, from the Georgetown University Law Center. Jennifer previously worked at a large law firm in Washington DC. She currently lives in the suburbs of DC with her sons, Zachary and Adam, and Adam’s cats (Gordon and Kal) and fish (Cotton).