Mary B Slade

Mary B Slade with her granddaughter.
Mary B Slade with her granddaughter.

Time Period

1910-1940

Notable Facts

The moving force behind the Thetford Historical Society. Wrote articles in the "Vermonter" and published "Thetford Academy's First Century 1819-1919." Developed legible, accesible copy of the Church Records from Asa Burton (minister 1779-1836).

Personal Information

Date of Birth

1871

Date of Death

1966

Primary Residence

Thetford

Ethnicity

Caucasian

Historical Significance

Mary Brown Chase Slade was born in West Newbury, Massachusetts in 1871 to Elwood Norton and Anna (Noyes) Chase. After graduating from Newbury High School, she attended Smith College, studying music for one year (1887-1888). Next she moved to Boston, where she studied violin. Mary wedded Reverend William Slade of Thetford, Vermont in 1891. They stayed in Massachusetts and Connecticut until 1907, when they moved to the Reverend's hometown. The Slades moved to Atlanta, Georgia from 1917 to 1922, after which they returned to Thetford, Vermont.

While both William and Mary were very interested in the history of Thetford and its Academy, Mary Slade was the moving force behind the development of the Thetford Historical Society. A historian at heart, Slade devoted the remainder of her life to finding and documenting what she could on Thetford's past. Since she was working before the development of the photocopier, Slade spent many of her days meticulously copying documents and other sources she unearthed in her careful, legible handwriting.

Slade's goal of preserving historically significant information for current and future generations is exemplified in her work on "The Records of the Church of Christ in Thetford, VT 1773-1832." She took the thorough records of the first minister, Asa Burton (served the church 1779-1836), which were contained in "three yellow crumbling books" and put them into a "readable form" in order to make them "accessible in a library to anyone" (Slade, "Records of Church" Foreword). While she deciphered and recorded the information contained in Burton's records (such as births, baptisms, marriages, etc.), she recruited her sister-in-law, Mary Slade Turner, to organize, type, and bind the data into a book. Since the book does not contain an index, Mary eventually created a card file referencing the page(s) on which information can be found.

Around 1940, following the death of her husband, Slade turned the best front bedroom of her brick house on Academy Road into a library containing her collections of books, manuscripts, and other historical materials. Included in her collection were the original Town Charter and Deed from Benning Wentworth, Governor of New Hampshire, preserved in a double-sided frame prepared by her. She collected paintings and portraits, which included a portrait of Asa Burton (Thetford's first minister and a founder of Thetford Academy and its first president of the trustees) done by Joseph Steward.

Since Slade spent so much time interpreting and transcribing historical data into a legible format, she did not get to publish much of her work and knowledge before her death in 1966. She did publish "Thetford Academy's First Century 1819-1919" in 1956 and managed to write multiple school articles in the "Vermonter" magazine and other periodicals. After her death, Slade's son, William, was able to get the funds for the Bicentennial Building, where the Thetford Historical Society Library is located, and moved her collections there.

Organizations or Movements

  • Thetford Historical Society

Occupations

  • Historian
  • Homemaker
  • Writer

Education

  • Newbury High School, Newbury, Vermont
  • Smith College, Northampton, MA )1887-88)

Additional Information (Bibliography)

  • Latham, Charles, Jr. Personal Interview. 23 Sept. 2008.

  • Fifield, Marian, Lilla Willey, Martha Howard, and Charles Latham, Jr. Biographical Sketch of Mary B. Slade. 2004.

  • Slade, Mary B. Notes and Transcriptions.

  • Slade, Mary B. Thetford Academy's First Century. Montpelier: Capital City Press, 1956.

  • Slade, Mary B. The Records of the Church of Christ in Thetford, VT 1773-1832.

Additional Images

An example of Slade?s handwriting -- a
An example of Slade?s handwriting -- a "To Do" list for her research.
One of Slade's many careful transcriptions.
One of Slade's many careful transcriptions.
One side of the double-sided frame containing the original Thetford Town Charter and Deed.
One side of the double-sided frame containing the original Thetford Town Charter and Deed.
One side of the double-sided frame containing the original Thetford Town Charter and Deed.
One side of the double-sided frame containing the original Thetford Town Charter and Deed.