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Vanderbilt Ed Center Celebrates Figures In Greenwich History

The Vanderbilt Education Center in Greenwich will celebrate extraordinary figures in Greenwich history with a special exhibit.
The Vanderbilt Education Center in Greenwich will celebrate extraordinary figures in Greenwich history with a special exhibit. Photo Credit:

GREENWICH, Conn. — The Vanderbilt Education Center in Greenwich will hold an exhibit to tell the story of some of the extraordinary figures in Greenwich history, who experienced World War I, through different mediums including journals, music and more.

The event will be at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 26 and 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 1 at the Vanderbilt Education Center, 139 Strickland Road in Cos Cob. The cost is $10 for members and $15 for non-members. Call (203) 869-6899 ext. 10 for tickets and more information.

Nearly 100 years ago, Alexandra Spann helped at the Greenwich YMCA with residents such as Annie Lousie Brush. Women and girls regularly gathered there to make bandages and knit socks, mufflers and helmet liners for soldiers fighting on the front lines of World War I.

Spann, Brush, and thousands of other Greenwich men, women, and children carried on in meaningful ways after being thrust into the extraordinary circumstances brought on by war. Their fascinating remembrances are featured in Greenwich Faces the War, the Greenwich Historical Society’s exhibition that brings to life the stories of Greenwich residents who experienced World War I (1914-1918), both on the European and home fronts.

The multi-faceted, multimedia exhibition gives history a voice—through personal belongings, diaries, posters, artwork, sheet music, letters, recordings and touch-screen technology. It allows the visitor to more deeply explore the diverse experiences of military personnel, volunteers, and civilians alike. “This exhibition provides a chance to learn first-hand what it was like living in Greenwich at a pivotal moment in history,” said Debra L. Mecky, executive director of the Greenwich Historical Society.

Greenwich philanthropist Louisine Havermeyer founded the Greenwich Canning Kitchen to preserve produce grown on small plots on estates, parks and school grounds that was used to supply the troops as well as for relief efforts. The exhibit also tells the story of the “Women’s Land Army Farmerettes” through photos and diaries. “A number of Greenwich women received accolades for their wartime service, and their efforts were instrumental in furthering the women’s suffrage movement,” notes Eagen Johnson.

Music played a key role in the development of popular opinion during WWI. Lyrics and sheet music art were often designed to influence public opinion. Led by Stefanie Kies, the program will juxtapose performances of period music with background information and slides. Also performing are Peggy De La Cruz, Dan Swartz and John Goldschmid on piano.

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