Vivid Portrait - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1735989

Vivid Portrait

Penny Wright, who is retiring this month from the Rogers Memorial Library, has done a fantastic job there, and I’m sure I speak for scores of others in wishing her well.

As head of adult programming at the library, Penny has been perpetually on the lookout for anyone with an exciting idea, a special talent, a fascinating specialty or a unique experience to share with an audience. With her popular and stimulating programs, she has played a pivotal role in establishing the library — always a beloved institution — as a lively cultural hub for the community.

Her love for the village, her birthplace and home for most of her life, is obvious to anyone who knows her. It has inspired one of her most lasting and important projects, which is of particular interest to me and will be to scores of others now and long into the future.

That is the oral history series of interviews with local residents, which she and others have conducted over the years and which is now available to the public in several formats. Transcriptions of the interviews have been organized, indexed, and put into handsome albums for current and future generations to peruse and consult.

In some cases, there is audio and visual documentation as well, providing a precious record of how 20th century and early 21st century residents thought about life in Southampton: their interests, attitudes, what they did for fun, and how they conducted business. They, along with several transcriptions of group discussions focused on such subjects as local farmers, baymen and business owners, paint a vivid portrait of the village and its residents.

Another reason to be grateful to Penny for her service to the library and the community!

Mary Cummings



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