Yesterday, Cumberland County Historical Society videotaped an interview of me for their oral history project and for the upcoming exhibit on the Craigheads. The video is to be in conjunction with the artifacts displayed in the two large cabinets in Todd Hall from September through January. I talked about a dozen different topics related to the Craigheads, beginning with their emigrating from Ulster to Boston in the American colonies in 1714 and settling in Cumberland County in the 1730s. The topics selected are related to the various portions of the exhibit visitors will see (if I can fit them all into the cabinets). Jean Craighead George’s writing desk, which Craighead House is loaning for the exhibit, will sit between the cabinets, helping with the space problem a bit.
The backpack Frank Craighead Jr. made for Johnston Coyle fits snugly but is an interesting artifact of which I first became aware when reading an article in a University of Michigan alumni magazine that included the photograph below. Following up on the article, I learned that Frank Jr. and John made a number of these backpacks for their families and friends. I also learned that the canvas portion was made by Maslands—the Craigheads are close friends with the Maslands. Dave Masland informed me that, during WWII when there was zero demand for automobile carpet, his father converted the plant to producing canvas duck and quickly became the country’s largest producer. This fabric was used in tents, jackets, and numerous other products.
We still need some artifacts for the exhibit: a falconer’s glove, an ex, and a ball of cord, all in used condition. If you can lend us any of these, please let me know.