Perhaps the most compelling story of the Hempsted Houses property is that of Adam Jackson, who was enslaved by Joshua Hempsted in the first half of the eighteenth century. Because Joshua was a dedicated (or dogged) diarist, documentation of Adam’s daily life exists at a level that is unparalleled.
The story of Adam Jackson is a crucial piece to understanding the complex social, economic, and domestic history of New London and New England, and we anticipate that his story will form a core component of the reinterpretation of the Hempsted Houses property.
Happily, Yale historian Allegra di Bonaventura has spent considerable time teasing out Adam’s story, and her book, For Adam's Sake: A Family Saga in Colonial New England, will be out later this month. For those of you who cannot wait to learn more, however, The Chronicle of Education just published a short essay adapted from the book. I’ll be cracking open my (pre-ordered) copy of the book the day it arrives.
Susie Wilkening is a Senior Consultant and Curator of Museum Audiences at Reach Advisors. She will be leading several phases of audience research for this project.