Dedicated on November 23, 2013 at 3:00 p.m.
Located at the corner of North Main Street and Belknap Avenue on the Richards Free Library grounds, the Sarah Josepha Hale memorial park is a permanent historic monument, honoring the legacy of Newport native Sarah Josepha Buell Hale (1788-1879). It has been designed to be both educational and contemplative. It was dedicated on November 23, 2013 in celebration of the 150th anniversary of Thanksgiving. From this small New Hampshire town Sarah J. Hale grew to a position of influence felt across the nation. Through her editorship of the Boston Ladies Magazine and American Ladies Magazine and Godey’s Ladys Book (1828-1877) Mrs. Hale promoted the education of women and the importance of their role in society. Read a short Biography of Sarah Josepha Hale.
Components of the Park
The Park consists of three paths leading to a central circle with multiple aspects featured in the central area to commemorate the many facets of Hale’s life and her contributions to literature, history and culture. A lamp to illuminate the Park at night casts a silhouette of Sarah Josepha Hale and an image of the characters in her well-known poem Mary and Her Lamb.
– The central component is a bronze bust of Mrs. Hale atop a black granite pillar, symbolizing the black clothing worn during the fifty-seven years of her widowhood.
– An obelisk represents the Bunker Hill Monument which was erected to commemorate that significant battle of the American Revolution. The Bunker Hill Monument Association began the project in 1823 but it lagged until Hale became instrumental in its completion nineteen years later.
– A column of books bearing the titles of all of Hale’s works represents her contribution to American literature.– Hale’s seventeen year campaign to have Thanksgiving declared a national holiday is commemorated by a pen and scroll and Â represents President Lincoln’s proclamation that Thanksgiving be celebrated yearly on the last Thursday in November.
The Artist: Finnish Sculptor Jari Mannisto
Sculptor Jari Mannisto is one of the most distinguished contemporary sculptors in Finland. He has had a large number of solo exhibitions as well as group exhibitions in Finland and Europe. In 2011 his sculpture Family Tree, a memorial to Newport’s Finnish immigrants, was installed in front of the Newport Senior Center on South Main Street. His latest project has been a series of bronze sculptures at Virkkalanpuisto Park in Helsinki, a joint project with the well-known American sculptor Robert Wilson.
Jari works with a range of materials including bronze, granite, steel, wood and glass. He graduated from the Hame Polytechnic Art and Craft College and also studied at Lahti Polytechnic College. He is a teacher at the Vanaja Art Institute.