New Hampshire Loves Hale

As I continue to learn about Hale and her contributions to the American public (which are rarely given the attention and respect they deserve), I find myself scouring the internet for small slivers of insight into the history of Hale.

One of the most intriguing things I have found simply needed to be shared. As a student doing in-depth research in a topic that to me is extremely important academically, I have been fascinated by the amount of reverence given to Hale outside of the academic, scholarly world. Amidst libraries rife with nineteenth-century copies of the magazine or graduate theses published on Hale, I have found a less-than-scholarly but still endlessly fascinating gem:  a small library, located in Newport, New Hampshire that simply loves Hale.

While Richards Free Library may not have extensive copies of Godey’s Lady’s Book or secondary works on Hale, they have an undeniable amount of respect for Hale and her impact on history. For example, Richards Free Library is the only place I have come across thus far that has an actual park dedicated to Hale: The Sarah Hale Memorial Park.

Complete with a bronze bust of Hale, an obelisk representing the Bunker Hill Monument (which Hale was instrumental in having created), and a column of books that includes the titles of all of Hale’s works, representing her various contributions to American literature, the park illustrates Hale’s impact on not only the literary world, but the world around her.

sjhpark2

This seemingly small, humble park seems to reflect in part what I am attempting to accomplish with my Honors Thesis. While Hale herself was humble and her moves subtle, her impact was great. Just as the park has attempted to capture Hale’s impact on the American people, I aim to communicate how Hale used her role as editress to slowly but effectively earn a place for women in schools and workplaces nationwide.

While to some this find may be small, to me, the discovery of Richards Free Library has been an important part of my research. Seeing that Hale truly had an impact not only in the nineteenth century, but also today has validated my desire to give her the scholarly respect she deserves and to continue to communicate how effective her approach to the rights of women (and all Americans) really was.

I have found that it is these small discoveries that have made my research process truly rewarding, discoveries that remind me that part of the goal of my research is to help preserve history and appreciate women like Hale who laid the groundwork for me to even have such an opportunity as writing an Honors Thesis in the first place.