2008-07-31 / About Town

Ida Lewis' heroism portrayed at library

The Rhode Island Sea Grant and the Jamestown Philomenian Library are co-sponsoring an appearance by actress Marilyn Murphy Meardon in a solo performance of "Ida Lewis: Rhode Island's and America's Most Famous Lighthouse Keeper," on Thursday, Aug. 7, at 7 p.m.

From 1858 to 1867, a young woman named Ida Lewis rescued six men from drowning in the dark and angry waters off Newport. No one knew. In fact, the young rescuer said, "Anyone would rescue a drowning man. I just happened to see 'em first."

In 1869, she rescued two drowning soldiers from Fort Adams. The soldiers spoke up and told the story of their rescue. Soon Newport knew, Rhode Island knew, the East Coast knew, the whole country knew. This modest young woman became a heroine of her country.

For over 20 years, Meardon has performed in schools, libraries, and community centers as a storyteller, actress, and teacher. Her considerable research and careful script development provide audiences with vivid, authentic characters.

A 2004 recipient of the Tom Roberts Prize for Creative Achievement in the Humanities, Meardon has kept past audiences spellbound with her performance as Queen Elizabeth. Her portrayal of Ida Lewis promises to do the same.

This program is free and open to children ages 8 and up through adults.

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