Last November I sent out an email to a group of friends I hadn’t touched base with in quite a while, just to say “Hi.” They are a widely scattered bunch from various past lives of mine, now living in North Carolina, Maine, New York, British Columbia, Virginia, and Michigan. I mentioned in the email that I’m volunteering with The History Trust, and included a link to historytrust.org.

Much to my surprise I received an email the next day from the friend in Schenectady, New York, saying:

I went to the site link and searched the name Rae and found something I had been trying to find for a very long time. It was a COA Alumni Newsletter Peregrine, Winter 2002, page 3. There was a memorial written by a friend of Rae’s that I haven’t been able to find for almost 20 years! So thank you for this bit of Kismet.

View the Digital Archive item » College of the Atlantic, “The Peregrine, newsletter, Winter 2002,” College of the Atlantic.

Well, I am not up on my “Kismet” so had to look it up and found “it is popularly used to refer to something that one believes was ‘meant to be’.…”

So, that was cool. I had no idea that my friend had any connection with College of the Atlantic. Or, that she would find things of such personal importance to her there. What a coincidence.

Then, 10 days later I got an email from the friend in far northern Michigan, on the shores of Lake Huron. Her connection to MDI was even more amazing.

She and her husband have been working with small-format video for 50 years. Five years ago they had digitized photos and movies from when her father, Francis Kram, was a young man living in Philadelphia. In 1935 Francis, his parents, brother, and a friend traveled in a 1925 Ford Station wagon to Acadia National Park. My friend offered to share her father’s work.

 We have a 4-minute segment of movies of driving up and down Mount Cadillac in 1935 and walking around the top, and a waterfront in one of the towns.…we can excerpt that segment and send it to you as an MP4 file.

She sent the home movie, and the following list of what is shown.

  • Drive up Mt. Cadillac.
  • 360-degree pans from the top.
  • Sign “To the site of the first hotel on the summit erected 1866.”
  • Drive back down.
  • On the water, pan of sailboat, large houses…on shore, 77-foot yacht Nedeva.
  • Waves on shore.
  • Line of parked cars and people at a town dock.
  • View of harbor and large, probably ocean-going steamship.

She added that Nedeva was the 5th yacht owned by Edward J. Stotesbury, a Philadelphia banker.

So, here is an even more unusual connection. My friend and her father Francis both grew up in Germantown, Pennsylvania, about 6 miles from White Marsh Hall, the Stotesbury’s primary residence. I met her in Chicago 55 years ago.  She lives in Michigan. She has a movie of the drive up the newly-opened Cadillac Mountain road. And, it shows a 360° view from the top of Cadillac!

The 1925 Ford station wagon that they took on the 1935 trip is shown above. As far as we can tell that is Francis in the white hat, on the ground fixing a flat. My friend also sent some still photos from an earlier trip.

Here is Francis sitting on a rock. Harbor names were confusing to visitors even in 1923: “S.E. HARBOR.” The “ME” in the handwritten caption refers to Me, Francis. (Remember, the post office didn’t start using two-letter state abbreviations until 1963.)

Thus, a simple sharing of my interest in The History Trust generated very unexpected connections from far away.

Have you told your friends what The History Trust is doing?

Who knows what treasures you might unearth?


Video and Photos: Courtesy of Regina and Tom Shea.