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History of the Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants: 1990-1995

The Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants entered the last decade of the century in strong financial condition thanks to some significant bequests during the 1980s and wise investment of its endowment. Once more the Society packed its boxes and moved from the New England Historic Genealogical Society's building in 1993 when that organization's expansion plans required the space we were using. The Society's newest and current office is at 376 Boylston Street in Boston, where our library, open to all members and applicants for membership, contains thousands of volumes of vital records, family genealogies, town histories, and other material useful for Mayflower family research.

Mayflower Passengers 1620 , an authoritative listing of the Mayflower passengers and what happened to them published in 1992, has become an instant best seller for the Society. In 1993 the Museum of Science dismantled the reproduction of Plimoth Plantation that the Society had created for the 350th anniversary of the landing of the Pilgrims, which had been on display at the Museum since 1972. Each house, with people, animals, trees, bushes, fences, and so forth, was individually encased by Stuart Hall and auctioned at the Compact Day meeting in 1994 to raise money for the Centennial programs.

In 1995, the 375th Anniversary of the landing of the Pilgrims was celebrated with several events throughout the year. Massachusetts Mayflower Society Governor Richard Maxwell and other members participated in a parade and the swearing in of 104 new American citizens by Supreme Court Justice Souter in July.

Recognizing the significance of the Society's Centennial in 1996, the Board of Assistants began planning early for appropriate celebrations. The Centennial Archives Project paid for professional cataloguing and arrangement of the thousands of documents collected throughout the Society's lifetime. The Brewster Book was given preservation care and microfilmed so researchers could read the entire manuscript, which is the Society's most valuable possession and long kept in a bank vault. A special Centennial annual meeting and a trip to England and Holland have also been arranged. Souvenir items were created to raise funds for the Centennial.

As the Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants enters its second century, it enjoys financial stability and record membership figures. The Society's office, much moved about in the last thirty years, has settled in a building conveniently located to public transportation and still near the New England Historic Genealogical Society. The office contains two computers, a FAX machine, and other modern amenities overseen by our loyal and able staff - Executive Secretary, Audrey Drummond; Genealogist, Carolyn Bingham; and assistant Anne Urbaczewski. The future looks bright for our Society to continue its mission to seek out new members and spread the story of our Pilgrim mothers and fathers to "a remote posterity."