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On Display in the Library


1st Floor Glass Cases:
The Newport Tragedy, July 13, 1782, in Newport harbor.
by Sarah DeVito'14, history intern in the University Archives and Special Collections

[Click on image to enlarge.]
Handwritten elegy commemorating six young women and a boy who were drowned July 13, 1782, in Newport Harbor

One of the treasures in Special Collections is a handwritten elegy commemorating six young women and a boy who were drowned July 13, 1782, in Newport Harbor. The author is unknown, but the elegy was delivered by the Reverend William Rogers, who was born in Newport in 1751 and served as a clergyman at the First Baptist Church of Philadelphia from 1772-1775, and as an army chaplain from 1778-1781.

A reproduction of the original document, along with a transcription of the text, is on display in the glass cases on the first floor of the library, outside room 109. There is also a reproduction of an article about the tragedy from The Providence Gazette and Country Journal on July 20, 1782. The exhibit was created by Sarah DeVito, a history major working as an intern in the University Archives and Special Collections.

While researching the document, Sarah discovered that it was later republished as Verses made on the sudden death of six young women and one boy, who were drowned at Jamestown, Rhode-Island, July 13, 1782. [Newport]: H. & O. Farnsworth, [1797 or 1798]. The republished version, which can be viewed here, did not include the names of those who drowned.