Mt. Vernon Register-News

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March 5, 2014

Program to focus on Howe

MT. VERNON — The Jefferson County Historical Society will present an educational program on American abolitionist Julia Ward Howe at 2 p.m. March 15 at the Historical Village.

Howe is perhaps best known as the author of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” but was also a noted social activist and poet.

As part of the March 15 program, retired history teacher Barbara Kay will portray Howe and speak about different aspects of Howe’s life.

She will also answer questions from the audience as Howe and as herself. Kay will be dressed in Civil War period attire for the performance.

“I think anyone that’s seen (Kay) knows how engaging she is and how well she brings history to life,” said Jamie Wheeler, director of community relations for the Historical Society.

Kay recently retired from the Highland Community School District. She has portrayed a variety of historical figures, including Clara Barton, Mary Todd Lincoln, Martha Washington and others. She has performed several times at the Historical Village.

Wheeler said Kay is very skilled at portraying important women in history whose accomplishments don’t always make it into textbooks.

Kay’s presentations are often filled with “little-known facts” about these historical figures to give the audience a sense of who they really were, Wheeler said.

“She seems to portray these very strong, powerful women from an era when women didn’t take the forefront as much,” Wheeler said. “(She) shines a light on their achievements.”

The March 15 event should be of particular interest to history buffs, since Howe is not as well-known as some of Kay’s other subjects like Martha Washington, Wheeler said.

“I’m sure it’ll be very engaging,” Wheeler said.

The Howe program will be free and open to the public. However, any donations to the Historical Society will be appreciated. The event should last about 45 minutes to an hour.

The Jefferson County Historical Village is located at 1411 N. 27th St.

For more information on village programs, call 246-0033.

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