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Monday, January 18, 2010

Bradford Celebrates Wilson Globe Bicentennial

Local actor Scott Johnson portrays James Wilson, creator of the first American-made globe. Johnson told the audience at the recent Bicentennial celebration about Wilson's fourteen-year quest to create a saleable globe for the American market. Details of this Yankee inventor's life may be read in the accompanying Journal-Opinion article. Photo and the one below by Bernie Marvin of the Bridge Weekly

BHS Directors Phyllis Lavelle and Diane Smarro paid tribute to over 120 donors who helped to raise $27,000 for the conservation of the Society's globe. Special recognition was given to Tim and Jenny Copeland and Copeland Furniture for their generous contribution of a custom-made display case.

On Sunday, January 17, 2010, the Bradford Historical Society sponsored a Wilson Globe Bicentennial Celebration. James Wilson of Bradford was America's first globe maker. The first recorded sale of his globes was on January 18, 1810. Over two hundred people attended the celebration.

Wilson Globes became the primary source of American-made globes after 1810.
His first workshop was in Bradford and was later moved to Albany, N.Y. to be closer to the markets.

BHS Curator Karen DeRosa gave the history of the BHS's first-year globe. It was purchased in 1960 from a Mrs. Mills of White River Jct. It was described as being in deplorable condition.

In 2007 the globe was delivered to the Williamstown (Mass.) Art Conservation Center for

conservation. Karen described the process the globe underwent to be conserved. Clicking on the WACC website one can access an article in the Art Conservator that giving details of the project.

Members of the Bradford Elementary School 4th graders under the direction of Heidi Torphy and with accompaniment from Bob Benjamin presented the "Wilson Globe Song." It was created with in 1993 by Vermont singer Margaret McArthur and BES students.

BHS President Larry Coffin joins Wilson's gggrandson Malcolm Spencer to view the
reconditioned globe in its new display case. Mr. and Mrs. Spencer drove from Maryland to attend the celebration.

1 comment:

  1. I am delighted to learn of the Wilson Globe and its Vermont association. In 1942 I began my education at the old one-room school in Waits River, Vermont -- a few miles upstream from Bradford. We had a globe in the schoolroom along with several pull-down maps at the front. The unfolding of the Second World War could thereon be followed. My grasp of world events back then was not too certain and I don't think it is all that much improved today.