Friday, January 18, 2008

EVENT: Saturday, Spirits Alive meeting

Spirits Alive is the group that has been doing a great job at restoring and revitalizing Portland's Eastern Cemetery.

Join them for their first annual meeting! On Saturday, January 19, 2008, they will be holding a meeting to review the events of 2007 and to look forward to 2008. Everyone is invited to come to One Longfellow Square (at State and Congress Streets) in Portland, Maine. The festivities start at 2:30 pm and run until 3:30 pm. Get there early and be challenged by their giant Eastern Cemetery crossword puzzle, view 2007 activities, and give them your ideas about the Eastern Cemetery on their re-imagination wall. Enter to win a fabulous Eastern Cemetery tee and tour tickets! They'll be announcing their Spirits Alive Membership Program, and you'll have the chance to join! Visit them online at

Also of note is their upcoming lecture series, kicking off a week from Saturday with:
Death & Commemoration on the Frontier: An Analysis of Early Gravestones in Cumberland County, Maine, 1720-1820
Saturday, January 26
10:00 am - 11:15 am
One Longfellow Square, 181 State Street, Portland, ME

Joy M. Giguere, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History at the University of Maine, will give an illustrated lecture about 18th century burial practices and gravestones in Cumberland County. This talk will provide an examination of early gravestones in Cumberland County ranging in dates from 1720 to 1820 and what they indicate about early commemorative, social and ideological patterns of Maine residents during this period.

Ms. Giguere will discuss different types of gravestone iconography (winged death's head, cherub, urn and willow, etc.) and the distribution of these types over time and space. She will also provide a discussion of the works of two local carvers, Noah Pratt and Joseph Sikes, as well as an analysis of epitaph language and its usage over time.

Others have completed in depth research on this type of information in more southern regions of New England, but there has been little investigation into gravestones as cultural artifacts on the Maine landscape, which effectively functioned as the northern frontier of English settlement through the colonial period of American history. A question and answer session will follow.

Admission is free and open to the public (donations accepted) and beverages will be available for purchase.

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