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The Girls of Joppa

  • Museum of Old Newbury 98 High Street Newburyport, MA, 01950 United States (map)

On November 12, the Museum of Old Newbury will welcome Jean Doyle, Virginia Lowell, and Patricia Sayward to share their experiences of life in Newburyport’s Joppa neighborhood.  Sayward has spent the entirety of her nearly 90 years of life in Joppa, while Doyle and Lowell spent their younger years during the 1920s and ‘30s here. 

Joppa, a close-knit community of Newburyport’s south end, has long been remembered for its hard working fishermen and the “clam shanties” where they completed their daily tasks.  The “Girls of Joppa” program will go beyond this image of Joppa, bringing the neighborhood’s most memorable characters and stories to life.  The speakers will share experiences like John F. Kennedy’s early campaign visits to Newburyport, and memories of meeting and hosting a renowned World War II codebreaker.

The experiences of Doyle, Lowell, and Sayward highlight the hospitality, generosity, and kindness of a tight community.  As described by Sayward, “we were poor in money, but rich in love, friends, and family.”  The women’s lively firsthand accounts of their beloved Joppa illustrate how a special community shaped them for years to come. 

The November 12 program will mark the premiere screening of an oral history film featuring Doyle, Lowell, and Sayward.  The film, produced by Port Media, captures the women’s stories, as well as photographs from their family collections and those of the Museum of Old Newbury.  After the film, the Joppa girls themselves will offer their comments and take questions from the audience.  

Program: 7pm, reception following
RSVP to or 978-462-2681
Members: $5, Non-members: $15

Earlier Event: October 30
Halloween Hauntings
Later Event: December 5
Holiday Open House