Vermont History Center hosts Story Time in Barre: The Unusual Hopkins family
In celebration of Story Time in Barre, the Vermont History Center will be hosting an exhibition of the exquisite 1840s drawing books of John Henry Hopkins, Sr. and Jr. A day of special programs and activities will launch the exhibition on June 1. From 10:00 am to 1:00 pm children of all ages are invited to try their hand at embellishing the Hopkins’ illustrations using watercolors. Expert botan- ical drawing artist Susan Bull Riley will demonstrate watercolor techniques at 10:30 and 11:30 am. Vermont Historical Society Curator Jackie Calder will follow at 2:00 pm with an illus-
trated presentation about the unusual and sometimes controversial life of the Bishop John Henry Hopkins family, including stories about the drawing books he produced with his son.
John Henry Hopkins Sr. was the first bishop of the Episcopal Diocese in Vermont and later served as Presiding Bishop of
the Episcopal Church of the United States. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Bishop Hopkins created a stir with his pamphlet “A Scriptural, Ecclesiastical, and Historical View of Slavery,” which was believed to use scripture to justify slavery. He committed much of his wealth and energy toward the advancement of education.
The Vermont Drawing Book of Flowers and drawing books on other subjects were intended to be bound manuals for use in schools. These books included descriptions, drawings and coloring instructions, 10 uncolored prints, and 10 of the same prints painted in watercolor. The coloring of the prints, which reportedly took two years to complete, was a family undertaking. Several of the remaining books and accompanying prints are in the collection of the Vermont Historical Society.
The exhibition, located in the Leahy Library on the second floor of the Vermont History Center, will run through the month of June. This exhibit is part of Barre Cultural Alliance’s new programs around the common theme of Children’s Literature— watch for other events at the Aldrich Library, Barre Historical Society, Barre Opera House and Studio Place Arts throughout June.
Admission to the History Center and all of the activities on June 1 is free. The Vermont History Center is located at 60 Washington Street in Barre. The Vermont Heritage Galleries in the History Center are open Monday-Friday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. The Leahy Library and Hopkins exhibit are open TuesdayFriday 9:00 am to 4:00 pm; Wednesdays 9:00 am to 8:00 pm; second Saturdays 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. For more information visit www.vermonthistory.org.
Illustration from the Vermont Historical Society’s collection of hand-colored lithographs by John Henry Hopkins, Sr. and John Henry Hopkins, Jr. These prints were created for The Burlington Drawing Book of Flowers, 1846.]