To the editor:
The Ipswich Museum held its annual Harvest Supper on Oct. 24. Sixty people feasted on the bounty of the season: turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, butternut squash, and a variety of pies, cakes and squares.
It was the 114th annual Harvest Supper that the museum, formerly the Ipswich Historical Society, hosted — almost every year since its original founding.
The very first supper was held on a Tuesday evening, Dec. 20, 1898, in the Whipple House.
At that time, it was located in Depot Square where the railroad station is today. The house was later moved to its present location on South Village Green. The Society had recently purchased the Whipple House, which had fallen into decay as a boarding house, with the intent to repair and restore it. Society members not only raised funds to save the house, but also provided themselves with a new home and exhibit space.
The invitation was written in old English, and was signed by Edward Kavanagh and Lewis R. Hovey, representatives of the Committee of the Historical Society of Ipswich.
A special note at the end of the invitation gave details of the event. It read: “Na Be — This gathering will hold for 2 and 1/3 hours beginning att half after five and ending att 8 o’clock. A bounteous repast of beans baked with porke, rie and Indian breade, boiled meat and vegetables, hasty and Indian puddins, appel dowdy, and other delicacies will be provided for ye pleasant companie.”
And what do you suppose the cost of this bountiful meal was? “Twenty-five pennies or ye monie to ye equal amount will be left at the doore by ye Gentlefolke.”
A special thanks to Pat Tyler, town historian and museum collections chair and researcher, for finding this historical gem!