The Brome County Historical Society’s annual lecture series, a longstanding tradition of the 123 year-old establishment, is underway with an interesting list of topics. The Marion L. Phelps Memorial Lecture Series focuses on six topics related to the history of the region. An activity that many Townshippers look forward to after the holidays are over, the Lecture Series will take place every Saturday starting on Jan. 11 with the last lecture schedule to take place on Feb. 29. Arlene Royea, Managing Director of BCHS, heads up the organization of the lecture series and gave BCN all the details of what to expect with this year’s series. Marion Phelps, who became Curator of BCHS in 1959 and was a leader in her community when it came to the preservation of the history and heritage of the Eastern Townships, started the lecture series in the early 2000s. “She asked Jimmy Manson, he’s a local historian in the area, to give lectures one fall. It’s been going on for many years now,” explained Arlene. “As time progressed, we realized we weren’t having as many guests in the fall so we changed the time to January and February and we started to have more people. After the holidays, if people don’t like skiing or something, they are always looking for something to do.” Ever since approaching Manson, the lecture series has continued and he has continued his role as lecturer. “I organize it but Jimmy does all the rest. He gives the lectures and he has been for several years,” Royea said. This year’s series is divided into two themes. The January lectures will focus on the lives and experiences of three Eastern Townships entrepreneurs from 1812-1841. In February, the lectures will shift to cover more social and economic aspects of Townships history with a focus on industries in the Eastern Townships from 1840 to 1970. “The next lecture on Jan. 18 will be about Samuel Brooks titled: ‘Turning the Page: Samuel Brooks and the Rise of Sherbrooke’s Entrepreneurial Elite.’ In February, there will be lectures on things like the lumber industry, the textile industry, and the asbestos industry in the Townships.” See full story in the Jan. 14 edition of the Brome County News.
By Taylor McClure, Special to Brome County News