Inspire America! The Baxter Legacy and THE FIRST FIFTY YEARS

Letter from Connie Baxter Marlow:
Inspire America! Exciting news about The Baxter Legacy and THE FIRST FIFTY YEARS
My great, great grandfather James Phinney Baxter had a grand vision, and acted upon it daily in his personal and political lives. His Maine legacy is well known as a philanthropist and six-time mayor of Portland, and he remains a highly respected historian of the early settlement of New England.
James Phinney Baxter and I share a vision for America realizing its promise to the world.

James Phinney Baxter and I share a vision for America realizing its promise to the world.

James Phinney Baxter will impact thousands in the next few years, as the Boston Public Library uses The James P. Baxter & Percival P. Baxter Fund for programming that will inspire Americans during the celebration of 250th anniversary of The Stamp Act in 2015 and the 400th anniversary of the Landing of the Mayflower in 2020. The City of Boston allocated the Baxter Fund to the library in June of 2013.

We have a project called THE FIRST FIFTY YEARS which is very much in alignment with his vision. This project brings balance to America’s origin story that is currently shrouded in misinformation and misconception.  It brings honor to the Pilgrims and the Indians in the evolution of democracy and the American mind and spirit. We are seeking funding to complete our research, create a documentary film, a screenplay and a book.

Please take a look at our Indiegogo “crowd-funding” campaign THE FIRST FIFTY YEARS: Freedom and Friendship at Plymouth Plantation and consider supporting this important project. The campaign has raised over $10,000 so far. It ended on January 19th, but direct contributions will be welcome indefinitely. Write us at the e-mail below.

James Phinney Baxter’s Bequest

James Phinney Baxter bequeathed a significant sum to the City of Boston in 1921. The specific intent of this bequest, as articulated in his will and in the 1920 monograph A NEW ENGLAND PANTHEON was: To build a New England Pantheon, a Temple of Honor commemorating the lives and deeds of the founders of New England, and to educate future generations in the principles and achievements of the pioneers whose ideals were the seed of free government.

My daughter Alison, my partner Andrew Bailey and I are acting as consultants to the Boston Public Library to ensure that JPB’s bequest is fulfilled within the context of the library’s programming goals. The library is now considering a James Phinney Baxter Room and a James Phinney Baxter Lecture Series among other plans.

The Baxter Project Team: Daughter Alison Baxter Marlow, Andrew Cameron Bailey, James Phinney Baxter and I at the Portland Public Library

The Baxter Project Team:
Daughter Alison Baxter Marlow, Andrew Cameron Bailey, James Phinney Baxter and I at the Portland Public Library

THE FIRST FIFTY YEARS Project

The film and book project, THE FIRST FIFTY YEARS: Freedom and Friendship at Plymouth Plantation that we have been working on for the past decade contributes significantly to realizing James Phinney Baxter’s dream.

We are as passionate about THE FIRST FIFTY YEARS as James Phinney Baxter was about building The New England Pantheon – and we feel he would be proud that his descendants are contributing to “the commemoration of the lives and deeds of the founders of New England that were the seeds of free government,” and in this way inspiring America to realize its promise.

History of the James Phinney Baxter Fund

Please read on for a bit of history regarding JPB’s bequest and our involvement over the years.

The James Phinney Baxter Trust was broken in 1997 and the New England Pantheon was never created. The Maine Supreme Court decreed that a portion of the funds be disbursed to the City of Portland, Maine and the remainder of the money to the City of Boston. Boston used the fund to establish the Mayor’s Office for New Bostonians, and the remainder, as the “James P. Baxter & Percival P. Baxter Fund,” sat, until June of 2013, in the coffers of the City of Boston, to be used at the discretion of the Mayor to, in the words of the settlement, “promote the commemoration and public understanding of the history of the settlement of and immigration to New England.” Please note that the original intent was broadened and obscured by the Maine Supreme Court in its decision.

In 2006 Alison, Andrew and I applied for a grant from the City of Boston to create programs that would fulfill JPB’s bequest. The grant was approved, but the City put such obstacles in our path that we let it drop. We created The Baxter Project, Inc. a Massachusetts not-for-profit corporation at that time with the website http://www.TheBaxterProject.org which outlined his bequest and our plans for bringing it to fruition.

The Baxter Project grant proposal was supported by enthusiastic letters from the Baxter family including the Trustees of James Phinney Baxter’s will; Maine Governor John Baldacci; Maine Representative Herb Adams; James Baker, Curator of the Alden House Historic Site and 26-year VP and Research Director of Plimoth Plantation; and Harry Mars, a Native Narragansett Elder.

Our work to realize James Phinney Baxter’s dream

On November 18, 2005 I spoke as a guest of the Mayor’s Office of New Bostonians’ Cultural Awareness Committee: “An Inspiring Look at the First Thanksgiving.”

I have taught a Middle School history course in Sedona, Arizona that used the model of the Mayflower Pilgrim/Wampanoag relationship to inspire the students to change their inter-racial relations. The Sedona students spoke at the Massachusetts Historical Society and to the Plymouth Board of Selectmen, sharing their inspirations and issuing a challenge to us all. Here is a link to a report on this program: SedonaSchool/Plymouth/FirstFiftyYears Program.

Why Now?

James Phinney Baxter’s vision is even more relevant today than it was when he was fervently campaigning for the New England Pantheon almost a hundred years ago. There is, for example, confusion, guilt and blame concerning America’s origin story, that stems from misinformation concerning Plymouth Colony and the founding of New England, that has led to exactly the challenges that James Phinney Baxter foresaw:

The ideals of the early pioneers to New England have given to the nation many of its noblest characteristics, which must be cherished and preserved if it is to lead as the exemplar of Liberty, Justice and Brotherhood among the nations of the world. We have reached a period when without…cooperation, our high hopes for the future welfare of this Country may fail of fruition. James Phinney Baxter.  A New England Pantheon, 1917

There is a vital and uplifting story waiting to be told, and The Baxter Project team is in a position to tell it. It is a story of commonalities and vision that is America’s origin story, seen from a perspective that can inspire all who hear it.

Contribute to and follow the unfolding saga of THE FIRST FIFTY YEARS!

Again, here is the link to our Indiegogo campaign:  “THE FIRST FIFTY YEARS: Freedom and Friendship at Plymouth Plantation” Please support this important project if you can!

Please follow the unfolding saga of THE FIRST FIFTY YEARS on FB, Twitter, YouTube and our blog – links below

Sincerely,

Connie Baxter Marlow
Great great granddaughter of James Phinney Baxter
GGGGGGGGGG Granddaughter of John and Priscilla Alden, Mayflower Pilgrims via Constance French, (grandmother who married John L. Baxter my grandfather) and Asa Palmer French, great grandfather.

James Phinney Baxter at The Portland Public Library.

James Phinney Baxter at The Portland Public Library. He gave Portland its first library to house books on early Maine and New England history. When he discovered there were none, he set out to become New England’s preeminent historian.

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Mayflower Pilgrims – Rebels with a Cause

The Pilgrims drafted "The Mayflower Compact" combining themselves into a "civil body politic to enact equal and just laws to serve the common good" in the cabin of the Mayflower before landing.

The Pilgrims drafted “The Mayflower Compact” combining themselves into a “civil body politic to enact equal and just laws to serve the common good” in the cabin of the Mayflower before landing – a giant step forward from monarchy to democracy – American-style.

Freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, separation of church and state – these are principles that drove the Mayflower Pilgrims. These are principles that lie at the foundation of indigenous cosmology. These are guiding principles of the yet-to-be realized American dream that came through the Pilgrims and the Indians they lived amongst.

George F. Willison states in his classic book “Saints and Strangers:”

“The Pilgrims played a vital part – and consciously so – in that great conflict of spiritual and material forces which so decisively shaped the world, as we know it today.  That conflict centered on the fiercely contested right to freedom of conscience, merely one aspect of the still larger right to freedom of thought and speech.  Stripped of theological trimmings, the issue as posed in the Pilgrims’ day was this:

Was it right for the State to demand uniformity of belief?  Or were men entitled to independence of judgment in religious matters?  Should all their beliefs be prescribed, or could they read the Bible for themselves and come to their own conclusions about its teachings?

Far from being humble and soft-spoken, they were quick in their own defense, fond of controversy, and sharp of tongue, engaging in many a high-pitched quarrel with friends and foes alike, even among themselves.”

Read on for more!

Excerpts from Saints and Strangers
George F. Willison
Reynal & Hitchcock, New York 1945    pp. 7-9

“The Pilgrims were not nineteenth century pietists, or quietists.  They were not pale plaster saints, hollow and bloodless.  They were men – and women, too – of courage and conviction, strong and positive in their attitudes, prepared to sacrifice much for their principles, even their very lives.  Far from being Victorians, they were children of another and a greater age, the Elizabethan, and in their lives reflected many of the qualities of that amazing age – its restlessness and impatience with old ways, its passionate enthusiasms, its eager curiosity and daring speculation in all fields, its boldness in action, its abounding and apparently inexhaustible energies.

Never did the Pilgrims quietly resign themselves to defeat, no matter what the odds against them. They launched themselves upon the most hazardous of ventures not once but many times, and no obstacle or untoward circumstance could stay them or divert them from their course.  Far from being humble and soft-spoken, they were quick in their own defense, fond of controversy, and sharp of tongue, engaging in many a high-pitched quarrel with friends and foes alike, even among themselves.  Given to speaking their minds plainly, they expressed themselves in the language of Marlowe and Shakespeare, in the torrential and often rafter-shaking rhetoric of Elizabethan England, with no slightest regard for the proprieties and polite circumlocutions of a later day.  In denouncing the “whore at Rome” they meant just that.

Pilgrims were Elizabethan, too, in their acceptance of the simpler joys of life.  The practiced no macerations of the flesh, no tortures of self-denial.  They appreciated the pleasures of the table and of the bottle, liked both “strong waters” and beer, especially the latter, never complaining more loudly of their hardships than when necessity reduced them to drinking water, which they always regarded with suspicion as a prolific source of human ills.  They were not monks or nuns in their intimate relations as their usually numerous families and more than occasional irregularities attest. Fond of the comforts of connubial bed and board, they married early and often and late, sometimes within a few weeks of losing a mate.  Only on the Sabbath did they go about in funereal blacks and grays.  Ordinarily they wore the russet browns and Lincoln green common among the English lower classes from which they sprang.

The Pilgrims played a vital part – and consciously so – in that great conflict of spiritual and material forces which so decisively shaped the world as we know it today.  That conflict centered on the fiercely-contested right to freedom of conscience, merely one aspect of the still larger right to freedom of thought and speech. Stripped of theological trimmings, the issue as posed in the Pilgrims’ day was this:

Was it right for the State to demand uniformity of belief?  Or were men entitled to independence of judgment in religious matters?  Should all their beliefs be prescribed, or could they read the Bible for themselves and come to their own conclusions about its teachings?

In short, was the “true” church a democratic or an autocratic institution?

Men did not go unflinching to the stake or gallows – the Pilgrims did not willfully choose exile and years of almost incredible hardship – Cromwell and his Independents did not lightly court death as rebels-merely for words. They were valiantly engaged, all of them, in a desperate struggle for a better order of things, for a more generous measure of freedom for all men, for a higher and nobler conception of life based upon recognition of the intrinsic worth and dignity of the individual.  To understand the Pilgrims and the heroic part they played in that epic struggle, it is necessary to go back with Bradford – and even beyond him – to ‘begine at ye very roote & rise of the same.’ “

“THE FIRST FIFTY YEARS: Freedom and Friendship at Plymouth Colony”
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Posted by Connie Baxter Marlow and Andrew Cameron Bailey

Co-authors of THE TRUST FREQUENCY: Ten Assumptions For A New Paradigm. Creators of IN SEARCH OF THE FUTURE: What Do The Wise Ones Know?

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Last Chance To Contribute

Hello friends!
Last call! Our Indiegogo fund-raising campaign has just one week to go. It ends January 19th! To all those who have so generously contributed, THANK YOU!

The First Fifty Years Facebook cover.

The First Fifty Years Facebook cover picture.

We are still a long way from our $15,000 goal, so if you have been sitting on the fence, wanting to support this important social-healing project, but waiting to see if it would succeed, please jump in now! We will be going ahead with the project, no matter how much or how little money comes in.

We have received a couple of generous donations outside of Indiegogo, enough to buy a new HD video camera, so we are really happy with the support our project has attracted, BUT we still need funding to get us to the East Coast in the spring, get the research done, and film the interviews for the documentary.

Here’s the direct link to THE FIRST FIFTY YEARS Indiegogo Campaign

If you missed our latest news update, we have some exciting developments to share with you. Here’s the link again:
http://bit.ly/News2014

Breaking News and New Year Update

Andrew Cameron Bailey and Connie Baxter Marlow. Photo: Jonny Marlow

Andrew Cameron Bailey and Connie Baxter Marlow.       Photo: MarlowPhotography.com

CLICK HERE
to see what’s going on with our book, our film, and our Indiegogo campaign.
It’s getting exciting! http://bit.ly/News2014

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Contribute to Healing America’s Core Wound

“THE FIRST FIFTY YEARS: Freedom and Friendship at Plymouth Plantation.” A Cameron/Baxter Films project. There’s still time to contribute to our Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign for our challenging new documentary film/book venture. Funding ends on January 19. Please follow this blog for information that will give you a new perspective on an old story that has been out of balance since we first started telling it. See our other links below for Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
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