EAST GREENWICH—The East Greenwich Historical Preservation Society (EGHPS) will be hosting a high tea ceremony for the Christmas season to bring together members of the community in a suitably Victorian fashion. As a volunteer organization, EGHPS will use all proceeds of the event to further fund much-needed repairs and renovations to the site of the Old Kent County Jail and to offer even more ways for members of the community to learn about the town’s history and carry out research.
“It is our second Victorian Christmas Tea, and there will be a Santa Clause and crafts and sweets,” said EGHPS President Virginia Parker. “It will be a formal tea served on China, even for the smallest kids. And in addition to having decorated trees and crafts, kids will be able to take home a keepsake that we are making for them.”
Tickets for the event are $20 for adults and $15 for children, though members of the society are able to purchase tickets at a discounted rate. The event is one of many aimed at helping to develop the funds necessary to repair the society’s home at the Old Kent County Jail and to offer extended resources for historical and genealogical research to members of the community. The festive event will also offer attendees a lesson on Victorian tea etiquette, a story and a raffle. Children up to age 12 must be accompanied by an adult and are encouraged to dress up and bring along a favorite doll or plush toy. Tickets for the second annual Victorian Christmas Tea are available on the EGHPS website at eghps.org.
The event is just the latest in a long series of offerings aimed at improving the value of the community and fostering a better relationship with its history. Earlier this week, the society hosted Brian L. Wallin, who delivered a presentation titled “Ocean State Women and the War,” illustrating the dramatic changes that the role of women in society underwent prior to and during World War II.
“We’ve had Wallin speak to us several times in the past,” Parker said. “He is a phenomenal speaker and quite the historian. When he presents a subject, he has researched it very well.”
Richly illustrated, Wallin’s presentation included personal recollections by women who joined the workforce and contributed to America’s victory in the war. From the Walsh-Kaiser Shipyard, the state’s largest civilian employer to the Navy’s Torpedo Factory in Newport, to the many factories across the state, Wallin addressed the women who worked at jobs they never would have hoped to obtain as late as the 1930s. The introduction of daycare on a large scale helped was also explored, as well as the increasing role of women in the workforce following the war.
Wallin is a graduate of Stonehill College and earned his master’s degree from American International College. He serves as a trustee of the town’s own Varnum Continentals and docent of the Naval War College Museum. He spent the first half of his career as a radio-television reporter-anchor in New England and contributed to major networks. He then turned to health care administration, serving in executive positions in Massachusetts, Maryland, and Rhode Island, notably working as the vice president of the Kent County Hospital.
For more information on the EGHPS, how to become a member or simply to learn more about the various offerings available to interested residents, members of the East Greenwich community are encouraged to visit the society’s web page.