Adelaide Pearson: Voyages around the World

Join the library in celebrating Women’s History Month with a month-long series featuring films from the Blue Hill Library’s archival collection of Adelaide Pearson’s Voyages Around the World. Every day in March we will screen a different film from the collection in the namesake Adelaide Pearson Room.

These films follow Adelaide’s trips around the world, spanning 1932-1945, and traveling from Florida to Tahiti, Ceylon to Liberia, Blue Hill to Jaipur, across India to Calcutta, and more. Adelaide was determined to bring the art and cultural opportunities available in larger cities to Blue Hill. She traveled the world, at times solo. A skilled cinematographer, she documented her travels with black and white and color film footage and items that she collected along the way. Some of her films focus on pottery techniques that she studied on her travels, some focus on the art classes she sponsored for residents in Blue Hill, and others are an amateur anthropologist’s appreciation and exploration of various cultures. Upon returning from her travels, she would narrate her films for Blue Hill audiences allowing them to experience the world indirectly.

Adelaide Pearson has a long standing connection with the library, and in fact, was instrumental in helping to create the library as it is today. She began a fundraising campaign to buy a vacant lot on the corner of Main Street and Parker Point Road. Local pledges ranged from 20 dollars to 25 cents, to “one dollar or a day’s work.” With the help of librarian Anne Hinckley, Adelaide Pearson petitioned the federal government for funds from the Public Works Administration. When the new library opened in 1940, it was stocked not only with books, but with a diverse collection of Adelaide’s artifacts that she collected on her travels around the world.

Pearson’s travels and film making consistently pushed the gender and cultural boundaries of her era.