Blithewold's Curator, Margaret Whitehead, has devoted much of the past twenty years to studying and interpreting the vast archival collection at Blithewold. That work served as the impetus to write the newly published book, Blithewold: Legacy of an American Family.

The book is a social history of a Pennsylvania family who, having made a fortune in the coal-mining industry in the mid 1800s, builds an estate on seventy acres of fertile land on Narragansett Bay in Bristol, Rhode Island. The women of the family devoted their lives to creating spectacular gardens and a renowned arboretum.

This book, which covers the years 1810 to 2010, uses the family's extensive collection of letters, diaries, photographs, and journals to tell their story the family's involvement in the Civil War and the First World War; their travels in Europe and throughout North America; sailing on Narragansett Bay and big game hunting in Alaska and Wyoming; and their devotion to music, art, and horticulture. The final chapter explains how the estate has been preserved and opened to the public as an authentic historic house museum and "An American Garden Treasure."

Mrs. Whitehead will be signing books from 10 am - 1 pm, Saturday December 17th at Paper, Packaging & Panache, 418 Hope Street, Bristol, RI. Proceeds from the sale of the book go to the Mary Philbrick Conservation Fund to support preservation projects in the Mansion. The book is available at Blithewold'sr Gift Shop for $24.95 or by calling 401.253.2707 extension 10.

Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum is a landscaped historic public garden and Rhode Island's only recognized arboretum. Situated on Bristol Harbor with sweeping views overlooking Narragansett Bay, the 33 acres of trees, lawns, flowers and gardens also features a forty-five room mansion filled with original antiques and artwork. It is the mission of Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum to preserve New England's finest garden estate through excellence in horticulture and historic preservation, and by our example to teach and inspire others.