2009-12-03 / Island History

Jamestown Historical Society News

By Rosemary Enright
In October, a three-part article on the keepers of the Dutch Island Light appeared in this newspaper. With permission from Publisher Jeff McDonough, the JHS is now publishing the articles in booklet form as a fundraiser for the society. Some new pictures, as well as references and a bibliography, have been added.

Keepers of the Dutch Island Light, JHS Occasional Paper #5, by Rosemary Enright and Sue Maden, will be on sale at the JHS table during the CIAA craft fair at the Melrose Avenue School this Saturday, Dec. 5. Cost is $4. The booklet is a great stocking stuffer for those interested in Jamestown history or in the world of lighthouses. Come to the fair and be one of the first people in Jamestown to get a copy.

The booklet will also be available directly from the JHS – contact us at jhs@jamestownri.com or call 423-2674 – and from the Dutch Island Lighthouse Society

New display at library

Last month, this column described some of the interesting material added to the JHS collection in the past year. Thirty-two of the new acquisitions are now on display in the JHS display case in the entry of the Jamestown Philomenian Library. They range from a stock certificate for one share – Share no. 2, to be specific – in the Conanicut Telephone & Telegraph Co., issued in 1883, to an “I Climbed the Tower” button given out by the Beavertail Lighthouse Museum Association on Oct. 11, 2009.

The library case is quite small, so many of the objects we received are too large to be displayed. We’ve put a list and a brief description of each gift on top of the case. We thank everyone who donated to the collection or who in other ways increased our knowledge about Jamestown.

If you have material that can tell other Jamestowners something about the Jamestown you knew and you’d like to share it, please contact Sue Maden, the Collections committee chair, at jhs@jamestownri.com or at 423- 2167.


During the past three years, the JHS has established three funds at the Rhode Island Foundation). We have two small funds, each currently generating about $350 a year; this income can be used only to help preserve the windmill and the archives, respectively. The third and largest fund – the Jamestown Historical Society Endowment Fund – generates about $9,000 annually to support any and all activities of the society.

Two forces led us to establish our endowments at the RIF: The need to ensure an income stream that was less subject to market fluctuations and the desire to acquire professional management for what is, in reality, a very small sum of money.

The current endowments, plus grant income from other funds established for the benefit of the windmill and the meetinghouse by other individuals and organizations, provide between onethird and one-half of our base budget.

We want these endowments to continue to grow. As our income from the funds, and particularly the Jamestown Historical Society Endowment Fund, increases, we will be able to expand our programs and our collection – perhaps, the dream of any all-volunteer organization, hire a part-time director to help us fulfill our mission.

We need more growth than can be achieved simply by market forces – even if the market were in better shape than it is right now. The RIF managers aim to ensure that the income we receive from our endowments keeps up with inflation, so some natural capital growth is planned. To expand our reach, though, we need to add new capital to the endowment. To achieve this end, we have been working with the RIF on a planned giving program.

The RIF has the staff and the advisors to help anyone who wants to leave money to the JHS plan how to go about it. The staff can work with financial advisors or lawyers on stock transfers to an existing fund, or on including a bequest to the JHS endowment in a will. They can help an individual create a permanent legacy by establishing a RIF fund with the JHS as the beneficiary – like the Jamestown Historical Society Mary R. Miner Archives Fund, which was established by Mary’s daughter, Jane, and other friends.

Foundation staff is available to customize a giving program to suit a variety of needs and goals. If you are interested in creating a charitable legacy for the JHS through a bequest or deferred gift, the R.I. Foundation development office at 274-4564 can help you.

Donors to JHS endowments make a lasting impact on the society’s efforts to preserve the island’s heritage. Please think about including the JHS in your will or as a beneficiary on your retirement accounts.

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