Celebrating friendships, stories and discoveries along the way

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Remembering Anne Dudley Bradstreet

On this day 342 years ago Anne Dudley Bradstreet, the first American poetess, died. She was the daughter and wife of two Massachusetts Governors, Thomas Dudley and Simon Bradstreet respectively. She arrived in on the North American coast in 1630 on the Arbella, the flagship of the Winthrop fleet, during the Great Migration from England. The Arbella first landed in Naumkeag, now Salem, a small fishing village. Pioneer Village in Salem is a recreation of the Naumkeag fishing village.1

The Winthrop fleet departed from Naumkeag, moving south, and founded the Boston settlement. Thomas Dudley, along with daughter Anne and husband Simon Bradstreet, ventured across the Charles River and founded the settlement of Newtowne, now Cambridge.2 According to local legend Thomas Dudley placed his staff in the ground at Cambridge and declared, "This is the place." The location is marked at the modern-day intersection of John F. Kennedy and Mount Auburn Streets.

Thomas Dudley's house was located near the modern-day intersection of South and Dunster Streets in Cambridge. Simon and Anne's home was located a few blocks away near the intersection of Dunster Street and Massachusetts Avenue.

In 1636 the Antominian Controversy introduced by firebrand Anne Hutchinson and her followers burst into flame in the Boston settlement and Anne Hutchinson was brought to trial. Two of her judges were Thomas Dudley and Simon Bradstreet. Anne’s trial took place in Cambridge and Thomas Dudley decided to move his family to the small remote settlement of Agawam, now Ipswich, nearly forty miles north of Boston. Dudley wanted his daughters to be far away from the strong influence of Anne Hutchinson.3

The Bradstreet home in Ipswich is no longer standing but a plaque marks the location of the home at 33 High Street. The Waldo-Caldwell House now stands on the site of the Bradstreet home.

Just a few doors from the Bradstreet house site is the site of the Thomas Dudley house at 45 High Street. The John Lummus house now stands on the site of the Dudley home:

Anne began to write poetry while living in Ipswich, as her husband Simon was away from home for long stretches of time, first as a judge in the Hutchinson case and then as governor of Massachusetts. Her friend and neighbor, Nathaniel Ward, was the force behind the eventual publication of her poems.4

Anne, Simon, and their family eventually moved to North Andover, where Anne died at the age of sixty on September 16, 1672. Anne’s burial place is not known but is likely near the location of her home in North Andover. Anne’s husband Simon remarried in 1676 to Anne Gardiner and relocated to Salem, where he died on March 27, 1697. Simon is entombed in the Charter Street Burying Ground in Salem.5


Anne’s poetry revealed her deep love for her husband and family and subtly veiled her intellectual and feminist views. Open expressions of her feminism would risk ruin for herself and her family in Puritan society.

Anne and Simon had eight children. Their son Dudley Bradstreet became a justice in North Andover and in September 1692 he and his wife Ann were accused of witchcraft when he refused to sign warrants to accuse local residents of witchcraft during the 1692 Witchcraft Hysteria. Dudley and his family escaped from North Andover until the Witchcraft Hysteria ended.7

I am extremely proud to be a descendant of Anne Dudley Bradstreet through her son Dudley Bradstreet. To view my descent from Anne Dudley Bradstreet to my grandfather Philip Swaine please click here.

For additional information about the Pioneer Village restoration site in Salem please visit http://www.pioneervillagesalem.com/. For additional information about a self-guided walking tour of Cambridge please visit http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM7T1Q_The_Founding_of_Newtowne_Cambridge_MA and http://www2.cambridgema.gov/historic/Tour1_Old_Cambridge.pdf.

For additional information about the Bradstreet home site at the Waldo-Caldwell house in Ipswich please visit http://www.historicipswich.org/waldo-caldwell-house-33-high-street/. For additional information about the Dudley home site at the John Lummus house in Ipswich please visit http://www.historicipswich.org/john-lummus-house-45-high-st/.

1Charlotte Gordon, Mistress Bradstreet: The Untold Life of America’s First Poet (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2005), 3-14, 280.
2Gordon, Mistress Bradstreet, 118-124.
3Gordon, Mistress Bradstreet, 155, 186.
4Gordon, Mistress Bradstreet,159-240.
5Gordon, Mistress Bradstreet, 280-83.
6Charter Street Burying Ground (Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts), Simon Bradstreet tomb, photographed by Carol Swaine-Kuzel, 05 September 2005.
7Marilynne K. Roach, The Salem Witch Trials: A Day-by-Day Chronicle of a Community Under Siege (Lanham, Maryland: Taylor Trade Publishing, 2004), 292.

Friday, September 12, 2014

88th Annual Cosmas and Damian Festival

Last Sunday morning I attended the 88th Annual Festival for the Italian Healing Saints Cosmas and Damian in East Cambridge. At 8:30 A.M. the procession of the Saints began at the Society of Cosmas and Damian Chapel at 17 Porter Street in East Cambridge.

Accompanied by the St. Alfio and North End Marching Bands the procession advanced along Porter and Harding Streets to Cambridge Street and continued for several blocks to St. Francis of Assisi Church on the corner of Cambridge and Sciarappa Streets for a 9:30 A.M. high mass.

The festive and reverent high mass was celebrated by Bishop Peter Uglietto, Monsignor Anthony Spinosa, Father Walter Carriero, and Father Jim Darcy. Many of the hymns were sung in Italian, including the Canto Al Vangelo and the Saints Cosmas and Damian Hymn. The Cosmas and Damian Society banner and a tapestry venerating the Saints were beautifully displayed near the Altar.

After the high mass the procession returned to an outdoor shrine for the Saints in Gaeta Square at the intersection of Warren and Porter Streets.

Cosmas and Damian were physicians in Cicilia in the third century. They were raised in the Christian faith at a time when it was death to profess Christianity. They were captured and suffered three tortures to renounce their faith. They miraculously escaped injury from their tortures but were sentenced to decapitation. They were executed on September 27 in the year 287 as martyrs to the Christian faith. Many miracles have been attributed to prayers of intercession to the Healing Saints Cosmas and Damian, and they have long been the patron saints of Gaeta in the Latina province of the Lazio region of Italy.1

Immigrants from Gaeta who settled in East Cambridge brought the festival tradition to this country and celebrated the first Cosmas and Damian Festival in 1927. The Festival has been held annually every year in September.2

I was thrilled to attend my second annual Cosmas and Damian festival, honoring my Italian heritage by celebrating mass at the church where my mother and grandparents attended weekly. My mother attended the annual Saints Cosmas and Damian Festivals during her youth and remembered them with great fondness throughout her life.

In 2005 the Cambridge Historical Commission published an oral history anthology, All in the Same Boat, a compilation of real-life stories from residents of the East Cambridge neighborhood, including vignettes of the founding of St. Francis of Assisi parish and the Cosmas and Damian festival. Additional information about All in the Same Boat, including purchase information, is available at http://www2.cambridgema.gov/Historic/oralhist2.html.

For more information about the Saints and about the Cosmas and Damian Society of Cambridge and Somerville please visit the Society's website at http://www.cosmas-and-damian.org/index.html.

For additional information about last year's Cosmas and Damian festival please visit my blog post 87th Annual Cosmas and Damian Festival. For additional information about Italian immigrant culture in the Greater Boston area please visit my blog posts labeled Italian Culture.

1“The Lives of Saints Cosmas and Damian,” The Saint's Story (http://www.cosmas-and-damian.org/saint_story.html: 12 September 2014).
2“The Society,” The Society (http://www.cosmas-and-damian.org/our_society.html: 12 September 2014).