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Anthony Hickman—The Unknown Separatist?

Anthony Hickman- The Unknown Separatist? Seasoned tourists understand that where there is a person, or persons, of great historical note then there are bound to be places jostling to capitalize on any association with them. No matter how tenuous the evidence of such an association may be, there is money to be made out of tourism.

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Forefathers' Day

Forefather's DaySince 1769 there have been celebrations of the Pilgrims’ arrival in Plymouth. The earliest was that by the Old Colony Club on December 22, 1769 on the 149th anniversary. Historian James W. Baker, in his 2009 history Thanksgiving – The Biography of an American Holiday, says that Forefathers’ Day was created “as a celebration of Plymouth Colony’s independent origins and in response to oppression by the English Crown...

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Philately and the Mayflower

Philately and the MayflowerI will not tell you that one of the Pilgrims brought his stamp collection along on board the Mayflower. The damp conditions on board would have wreaked havoc with it, but even more important, he would have had to wait 220 years until the postage stamp was invented before obtaining any examples to put in this album.

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Nathaniel Philbrick on William Bradford: Impromptu

Nathaniel Philbrick on William BradfordIn his great book "Mayflower", Nathaniel Philbrick "focused," as he put it in the preface, "on two people," William Bradford (the governor, "pious and stalwart") and Benjamin Church (the Indian fighter, "audacious and proud"). Both men wrote revealingly about their lives in the New World."

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Honoring Nathaniel Philbrick, Author of "Mayflower"

Nathaniel Philbrick's 'Mayflower'At our Annual Luncheon on January 12, 2007, our Society presented its "Katharine F. Little Award for Distinguished Mayflower Scholarship" for 2007 to acclaimed author and historian Nathaniel Philbrick. Mr. Philbrick speaks in depth about his acclaimed historical novel "Mayflower" and the history of the Pilgrims.

"They should never have sailed to Plymouth in 1620. I mean, the organization [of the voyage] was pitiful from the beginning. They didn't know what they were getting themselves into; they were already beginning to run out of provisions even before they left. But they had faith. They truly had faith. And off they went."

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The Mayflower Hymn

TheWritten in 1920 for the Tercentenary of the Landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, Massachusetts by Allen Eastman Cross and adopted as the Official Hymn of the Society of Mayflower Descendants in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

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Henry Samson, the Teenager on the Mayflower

Henry Samson, the Teenager on the MayflowerThe Separatists who came to be know as the "Pilgrims" left England in 1608 in search of religious freedom and took refuge in Holland, first in Amsterdam, then "for some 11 or 12 years" in Leiden. Their pastor in Leiden was John Robinson. In 1620, with Robinson's blessing, a portion of the congregation departed on the Speedwell and, stopping at Southamption, England, where they found the Mayflower waiting to accommodate them, set sail for the New World. Others who—like John Alden, apparently—never liked in Leiden joined them in England for the voyage across the Atlantic. Who, then, of the Mayflower passengers was in Leiden? Who was not? Can we always know with comfortable certitude?

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The Game of the Mayflower

Mayflower: The Card GameHave you ever played the "Game of the Mayflower?" (1897)

An Historical card game which features episodes in the life of the Pilgrim Fathers on their arrival in the 'New World'.

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Pilgrims' Progress at Scrooby Village

Pilgrim's Progress at Scrooby VilliageFour hundred years ago in the reign of King James I, a small band of men and women of faith, hope and vision came together at the tiny village of Scrooby. In a Manor house there belonging to the Archbishop of York they forged the spirit and ideals the would later define the future great nation of the USA. At the heart of this group were Richard Clifton of Babworth, John Robinson of Sturton-le-Steeple, William Bradford of Austerfield and William Brewster of Scrooby – all at that time, and still remain small, out of the way rural villages.

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The Untold Story a review of "Desperate Crossing"

The Untold Story a review of "Desperate Crossing's" three-hour presentation of the Pilgrims is likely to determine public perceptions of the history of New England's first English colony for many years. Combining beautiful photography with a simplified but familiar plot, the result is a lively story full of tension, romance, and a conflict of cultures.

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The Reasons & Causes of Leaving Leiden, Holland

 The Reasons & Causes of Leaving Leiden, HollandThe following playlet was written by Jesse A. Miller for the Annual Thanksgiving Vespers Worship Service of the Pennsylvania Society held on November 21, 1999 at the Gulph United Church of Christ, Gulph Mills, PA, The Rev. Judith A. Meier, Pastor. It depicts what might have taken place as the Leiden Church wrestled over the problems that faced them by remaining in Holland or by relocating to the New World.

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The Good Ship Mayflower

The Good Ship MayflowerVery little is known about the ship which brought the Pilgrims to New England. No name is given in Bradford's History Of Plimoth Plantation, nor in the other early accounts. The first mention occurred in a document of 1623, which assigned to the individual colonists an acre of land apiece.

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The Composer John Coprario, Pilgrim in Leiden?

The Composer John Coprario, Pilgrim in Leiden?The marriage of the king’s daughter on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1613, eclipsed in elaborate splendour all other events at that time in the English court. Plays by Shakespeare were performed for the couple in the preceding period when they were becoming acquainted. The Archbishop of Canterbury officiated at the wedding ceremony in the royal chapel at Whitehall Palace. Crowds of English and European nobles attended, all carefully shown to their places according to rank and influence.

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Shall There Be a Day of Thanksgiving?

Shall There Be a Day of Thanksgiving?For the second year in a row, Jesse A. Miller has written a playlet for our Annual Thanksgiving Evensong Service. This year it was held on November 19, 2000 at the 1744 St. Peter’s Church in the Great Valley in Malvern, PA, The Rev. Nathaniel T. Reece, Assistant Rector and SMDPA Elder, the Rev. Judith A. H. Meier, Pastor, Gulph United Church of Christ, Gilph Mills, PA, celebrating.

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Review: Desperate Crossing: The Untold Story of the Mayflower

Review: Desperate Crossing: The Untold Story of the MayflowerDesperate Crossing, the untold story of the Mayflower is a splendid documentary, viewing it is an inspiration. As its title implies, the program concentrates on the Pilgrims' experience aboard the ship and their preparation of the voyage. To an unfamiliar audience, it will be an untold story, to many SMD members it may also be an untold story, since they will learn new things, or things they've forgotten. The text is drawn from Bradford's Of Plimoth Plantation and begins with the Separatists' persecution in England under James I, their flight to, Holland, their decision to emigrate to America, the perilous voyage on the Mayflower and horrific loss of life in the early months of 1621. The documentary concludes with the years following the first Thanksgiving.

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Pilgrims, Not Puritans

Pilgrims, Not PuritansModern history easily confuses the Mayflower Pilgrims with the Puritans who followed later in the 17th Century.

At the Twenty-Second General Congress of the Society of Mayflower Descendants held in Plymouth on September 13, 1960, the following resolution previously proposed by Deputy Governor General Louis Ellsworth Laflin, Jr., (IL) was adopted:

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Pilgrims and Puritans in 17th Century New England

Pilgrims and Puritans in 17th Century New EnglandThe history of Pilgrims and Puritans in 17th century New England reflects events in the reformation of English politics and religion. Summarizing the time-line of the English Reformation is the easiest way to show how these groups evolved in both England and America.

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Natural Disasters Hit New Plymouth

Natural Disasters Hit New Plymouth"It Pleased The Lord To Visit Them..."

In the first two decades of their residence in New Plymouth, the Pilgrims were visited by a number of natural disasters: Sickness, Fire, Drought, Locusts, Hurricane, and Earthquake. The first to hit them was undisputedly the most devastating and perhaps the only one generally known by their descendants today: the Great Sickness that halved the size of the Colony, men women and children, in the first five months following their arrival at Cape Cod on November 11, 1620.

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Morrell's Poem on New England

Morrell's Poem on New EnglandThere are a few published eyewitness reports of early Plymouth Colony. The most famous is William Bradford’s history Of Plimoth Plantation that actually begins in 1550 and runs through 1647-8. Perhaps the next best known is the journal known as Mourt’s Relation that mainly covers the period from the Pilgrims’ departure from England in September 1620 through the first winter to 23 March 1621. Here, Morrell’s observations, recorded in both Latin hexameters and his own translation into English, were published in 1625.

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Mayflower Related Maps

Mayflower Related MapsThe Map Center at Ancestry.com offers a large collection of free, printable maps. Some which are pertinent to Pilgrim History are: "Localities in England Connected with American History" (includes Pilgrim villages); "The Netherlands at the Death of Elizabeth I - 1603"; "Grants to the London and Plymouth Companies of Virginia 1606 & Council for New England 1620"; "Plymouth Plantation 1620-1630"; "English Coast, 1625-1642: Piscataqua-Pemaquid Region Showing Plymouth Colony Cushnoc Trading Post"; "New Netherlands 1609-1664"; and "Early American Tribes and Cultural Areas."

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Index of Events and Individuals Named in Mourt's Relation

 Index of Events and Individuals Named in Mourt's RelationMourt’s Relation is the earliest known eyewitness account of the Pilgrims’ first seven months in New England plus a few additional events up through November 1621. It was published in 1622 in London. Its writing precedes William Bradford’s account, Of Plimoth Plantation, by a decade and the subsequent publication of Bradford’s by 234 years. This index is compiled from the Dwight B. Heath modernized, and indexless, edition published as Mourt’s Relation, A Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth. It consists of two parts: Events and Names.

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A Radical Call to Choose Life

A Radical Call to Choose Life"This is the Good News." I have to speculate whether this afternoon's Gospel lesson comes to us, 21st century, upper middle class, white Americans living in one of the wealthiest areas of our wealthiest of all nations. How did that sit with you: Don't worry about anything—not what you eat or drink or wear. What's the good news about advice like that when every morning the financial pages of our newspaper show our stocks on a roller coaster ride...

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The Pilgrims in Art

The Pilgrims in ArtThe one Mayflower passenger whose physical likeness has come down to us is Edward Winslow. We can see his face as it appeared to the London artist who painted his portrait at elbow-length, body and head slightly to the left, during his last visit to the city, in 1651. What the other passengers looked like can only be imagined. Nor were painters ready to portray them taking their monumental strides until the nineteenth century, the great age of illustration of American history. Thereafter, paintings and prints proliferated. These and other illustrations in schoolbooks have powerfully shaped our sense of the Pilgrims as they embarked at Delftshaven, signed the Mayflower Compact, landed at Plymouth, worshipped publicly, and celebrated the First Thanksgiving.

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Pilgrim Clothing

Pilgrim ClothingPilgrim men did not wear black breeches, square white collar and cuffs, wide buckled belts, black steeple hats with a buckle, nor did Pilgrim women wear full black skirts, white aprons and dark capes. Puritan adults in Boston may have worn these clothes on formal occasions after 1632, but in 1621 the Pilgrims wore entirely different clothing. Pilgrim adults and children wore bright solid colors since their religion did not object to colorful clothing. They had many dyes so that red, green, beige, burgundy, blue, violet, as well as brown and black were worn.

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Purloined, Found and Recovered: The History of Bradford's History

Purloined, Found and Recovered: The History of Bradford's HistoryWhat is Bradford's history Of Plimoth Plantation? Most readers will recognize the title and some will know that it is the firsthand account of Plymouth Colony's history written during the period 1630-1650 by the Colony's second and, with 33 years, its longest serving governor. Although a good account of the Pilgrims' first months in New England is found in Mourt's Relation published in 1622 and Capt. John Smith has some history of the Colony in his New England Trials published in 1624 and Edward Winslow also has some history in his 1624 Good News From New England, none are as complete as Bradford's history.

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The Pilgrims and Election

The Pilgrims and ElectionIn the context of the political drama in modern elections a short consideration of the Pilgrims and their practical application of democratic principles is appropriate today during our celebration of Dutch-American Heritage Day—principles that to a large extent had a Dutch origin.

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Our Pilgrim Heritage

Our Pilgrim HeritageMemorial Address at the Sarcophagus, Cole's Hill, Plymouth, Massachusetts, September 11, 1966 by the Rev. Dr. Robert Merrill Bartlett, Elder, Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants. Published in the February 1967 issue of The Mayflower Quarterly.

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The Magnificent Seven

The Magnificent SevenSince the tragic events of September 11th, we have come to better understand the difference between a hero, a role model, and a celebrity. A hero/heroine is defined "as a person distinguished for exceptional courage, fortitude, or bold enterprise, especially in time of war or danger; one idealized or held in esteem for superior qualities or deeds of any kind." Role models and celebrities are not always heroes. The Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony had their first heroes early on.

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Where Bees Make No Honey

Where Bees Make No HoneyEach year the Society of Mayflower Descendants in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania holds an annual worship service in November to commemorate the First Thanksgiving in Plymouth Colony in 1621 and in memory of those members of the Society who have died during the past year. What follows is the sermon delivered at the November 21, 1999 service by the Society's Elder, The Reverend Judith A. H. Meier, pastor of the Gulph United Church of Christ, in that church located in Gulph Mills, northwest of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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The Continued Meaning of the Mayflower Compact

The Continued Meaning of the Mayflower CompactFriends, Philadelphians and fellow Americans, every great city is dotted with statues. Most people pass by them without giving them a second thought, which is unfortunate, because the statues are there to teach us something. They are there to remind us of the great deeds done by our forebears. They are there to remind us of things we should never forget.

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After the First Thanksgiving

After the First ThanksgivingAsk "the man (or woman) on the street" what he (or she) knows about the Pilgrims, and you will probably be told that they (1) celebrated the First Thanksgiving with the Indians, (2) came to America on the Mayflower in 1620 to find religious freedom, (3) landed on Plymouth Rock. Some may even know that half of them died the first winter. Few will know that the majority of them had spent at least a dozen years in Holland. As descendants and members, hopefully we know a little more.

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Not Everybody Signed the Mayflower Compact

Not Everybody Signed the Mayflower CompactThere were one hundred and two passengers (plus the crew) on the Mayflower. Only forty-one males who were free agents, including Christopher Martin, the agent and treasurer of the London merchants, signed the Compact on November 11 (=21), 1620, in Provincetown Harbor. The intent of the Compact was to assure that all would band together and submit to majority rule.

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The Mayflower at Sea — 1620

The Mayflower at Sea — 1620The Ship Mayflower, with 102 Pilgrims aboard, plowed through the waves of the North Atlantic in the fall of 1620. On all sailing ships, the bow bangs against, and slices through, the large oncoming waves, as the sails driver her forward...

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The Wright Brothers and William Brewster

The Wright Brothers and William BrewsterWilliam and Mary Brewster arrived on the Mayflower, their daughter Patience arrived on the Anne in 1623. Thomas Prence arrived on the Fortune in 1621. Prence was elected Governor in 1634, Assistant Governor in 1635 and after Bradford died in 1657 Prence served as Governor until the end of his life. Rebecca Prence, daughter of Thomas Prence, was the first wife of Edmond Freeman III. After Rebecca died, Edmond married Margaret Perry. Their son, Edmond Freeman IV, was the ancestor of the Wright brothers. Thus the Wright brothers are...

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The Pilgrims Contribution to America

The Pilgrims Contribution to AmericaWhy do Pilgrims occupy such an enduring part in the American imagination? Jamestown was settled earlier than Plymouth, was larger and its settlers suffered physical conditions as grim as the Pilgrims experienced. The answer is that the Jamestown settlers were quite different than the Pilgrims and the political conditions under which Jamestown was settled were quite different than for Plymouth.

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Pilgrims and Wampanoag: The Prudence of Bradford and Massasoit

Pilgrims and Wampanoag: The Prudence of Bradford and MassasoitThe Algonquin Nation inhabited New England and the mid-Atlantic states. The Wampanoag federation at its peak contained 20,000 to 30,000 individuals in two dozen tribes who occupied southeastern Massachusetts and eastern Rhode Island. The Wampanoag was ruled by a Sachem, Massasoit, and a council of young men who had proven themselves in battle and older men chosen for their wisdom. Europeans explored, and in some cases planted settlements along the coast of New England since at least 1498.

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Pilgrim Trades

Pilgrim TradesOur Mayflower ancestors were not of “royal blood.” For the most part, they were what we now would call “middle class” people who had to work for a living. Of the 58 male passengers, both men and boys, the trades or occupations of only 32 are known.

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1621: A Historian Looks Anew at Thanksgiving

1621: A Historian Looks Anew at ThanksgivingNew publications still have some errors in fact.

"A Thanksgiving for plenty. O Most merciful Father, which of thy gracious goodness hast heard the devout prayers of thy church, and turned our dearth and scarcity into cheapnesse and plenty: we giue thee humble thankes for this thy special bounty, beseeching thee to continue this thy louing kindnes unto vs, that our land may yeild vs her fruits of increase, to thy glory and our comfort, through Iesus Christ our Lord, Amen"

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Comparing Plymouth and Jamestown

Comparing Plymouth and JamestownPilgrim families arrived in Holland in the spring of 1608 and in Plymouth in December 1620. In May 1607, 105 men arrived in Jamestown to establish the first permanent English settlement in North America. While the individuals in both settlements were English, the they were different in many important ways. To fully appreciate our Pilgrim heritage, it is important to understand the differences between Plymouth and Jamestown. This essay identifies major differences and explains how these differences affected the settlements during the first few decades of their arrival.

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A Level Look at Land Allotments, 1623

A Level Look at Land Allotments, 1623In 1623, the Pilgrims ceased rotating their field assignments each year and assigned use of the same plot to the same family group for that year and the next years. That this represented their discovery of the advantages of private property over communalism is a commonly repeated distortion that dates back to William Bradford himself. So when an oversimplified version of Bradford's memories surfaces in some place like The Wall Street Journal, as it did on the day after Thanksgiving, 2005, one shouldn't be too surprised.

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Theocracy in New England

Theocracy in New EnglandThat New England's Calvinist Puritans created theocratic governments is a stereotype that owes much to the nineteenth-century myth that Calvin established theocratic government in Geneva. In his Institutes, Calvin distinguishes between the jurisdiction of civil and ecclesiastical governments, stating that the magistrate in a Christian society has general authority over the entire society, including the obligation to protect and enforce religion and morality.

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2009 Kitty Little Award Address

2009 Kitty Little Award AddressThe following paper is by the 2009 recipient of the Katharine Fox Little Distinguished Mayflower Scholarship Award. Jane Fiske was honored at the 2009 Annual Meeting of the SMDPA in Essington, PA for her “Discovering, Recording, Compiling, Preserving, Publishing, And Facilitating the Same by Others, of Genealogy and History of the Pilgrims.” Her paper was not presented verbatim, although all issues were covered. It is posted here for those who could not attend the meeting.

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Book Review: Strangers and Pilgrims, Travellers and Sojourners

Book Review: Strangers and Pilgrims, Travellers and SojournersAt last! Jeremy Bangs’ long awaited comprehensive history of the Pilgrims, Strangers and Pilgrims, Travellers and Sojourners - Leiden and the Foundations of Plymouth Plantation has finally been published. When one reads some of the previously published Pilgrim history, it is something like looking at paintings in a museum, especially “history paintings,” where you get the viewpoint of the artist based on his or her biases and knowledge. What Dr. Bangs has provided is a step further; not presenting the “Hogwarts” framed images where the subjects move as they had in life, but rather he lets us step through the frame into the past.

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Marriage Pilgrim Style & The Pilgrim Church

 Marriage Pilgrim Style & The Pilgrim ChurchThe 1627 Plimoth Plantation presented a recreation of a Pilgrim wedding ceremony on August 14, 2010. They chose to go back to the year 1623 when Governor William Bradford, whose wife Dorothy May had drowned shortly after the arrival of the Mayflower in 1620, married Elizabeth Carpenter, the widow Southworth.

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The Pilgrim Story 2.0

The Pilgrim Story 2.0The Pilgrim story is known the world over as one of America’s founding narratives. The traditional account—the flight from religious persecution, exile in Holland, the 1620 voyage and the Compact, landing on Plymouth Rock, the fatal first winter, and the First Thanksgiving—has achieved canonical status. However, this narrative did not spring forth from history fully formed; rather it has evolved over time and is still being shaped by changing social and political circumstances.

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Mayflower Namesakes

Mayflower NamesakesOver the years, the historic ship Mayflower that brought the Pilgrims to New England in 1620 has been honored by various namesakes, Of course there was another 17th century ship of that name that brought Separatists to settle in Salem, Plymouth Colony in 1629, but she was probably just one of many of that name back then for we are told that “Mayflower” was a common ship name.

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Pilgrims on Stamps

Pilgrims on StampsOver the years the U.S. Postal Office/Service has twice issued stamps commemorating the landing of the Pilgrims. Other countries and organizations have also celebrated our Pilgrim Fathers through philately.

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Always More Pilgrim Books – What’s Next? – A Bibliographical Survey

Always More Pilgrim Books – What’s Next? – A Bibliographical SurveyIn 1980, I joined the staff of the Leiden Archives as a historian specialized in the cultural history of Leiden before 1575. The Chief Archivist asked what I knew about the Pilgrims, to which I replied, “Nothing.” “Oh, well,” was the response, “we have American tourists and you can deal with them, because your English is better than ours. But,” he said, “don’t waste your time on any research about the Pilgrims – that’s all been done already.”

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The Truth About Priscilla, Spinning in Early Plymouth Colony

The Truth About Priscilla, Spinning in Early Plymouth ColonyWhen Longfellow imagined the John Alden-Priscilla Mullins-Miles Standish love triangle, he depicted Priscilla spinning as Alden arrived to offer Standish’s marriage proposal. The image of a spinning maiden is an old one, and both in the time of the Pilgrims (early 1600s) and in Longfellow’s day (mid-1800s) this image was shorthand for female industry and piety as well as domestic tranquility. Longfellow was undoubtedly invoking that symbolism when he chose spinning as Priscilla’s activity, but do the historical facts support that choice?

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Hymns, Odes and Songs To Pilgrims and The Mayflower

Hymns, Odes and Songs To Pilgrims and The MayflowerOver the years hymns, odes and songs have been composed about the Pilgrims and the Mayflower. This is an article about some of them. On February 16, 1900, at the annual meeting of the SMDPA in Philadelphia, The Pilgrims, with words based on an earlier poem by Florence (Earle) Coates and music by Thomas Whitney Surette, was sung by the members and their guests...

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Delays Have Dangerous Ends

Delays Have Dangerous EndsHow would you have reacted if you had been part of the group of Separatists who left Leiden, Holland, in late July? (Some had lived there for a dozen years and some had been born there.) At Delfshaven you would have boarded the ship purchased for the trip, the Speedwell. You would have waved goodbye to friends who would remain there knowing that you probably would never see them again.

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The Pilgrims Gave Us More Than Thanksgiving

The Pilgrmis Give Us More Than ThanksgivingAs a Mayflower descendant, I have had the longstanding interest in learning more about the Pilgrims, the native people they found when they landed, and how they managed to live together in acceptable harmony. Unless we learned about those days in our schoolrooms, or we had some other source of learning, we may know little about two important contributions to America's heritage: self government and a tolerant relationship with the Wampanoag.

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