Gloucester400: The 400 Stories Project

April 27, 2020 / Good to Know, In The News, Local Characters

Tell Us Your Story! In April 2020, Gloucester400™  launched The 400 Stories Project with a call for stories to all Gloucester residents. In keeping with the city’s quadricentennial theme, “Our People, Our Stories,” the goal of the Project is to collect, preserve, and share the stories of Gloucester’s people from throughout its 400-year history. Continuing through to 2023, residents of all ages and backgrounds are encouraged to submit true stories and factual accounts about memorable people from Gloucester they have known. Through these stories, the Project seeks to commemorate the rich diversity, strength of character, and unique accomplishments (large or small) that have connected the people of Gloucester today and across the centuries. Detailed information, ideas, and instructions for how to submit stories are available on the Gloucester400 website, www.GloucesterMA400.org/400Stories.

There’s No Better Time for a Good Story Than Now

The Call for Stories follows the partnership recently struck with Endicott College’s Center for Oral History (see Feb. 14, 2020 new release, “Endicott College and Gloucester400™ Partner to Collect and Preserve the City’s Fascinating Oral History”). In addition, project organizers understand that during this period of social distancing, many households have newfound time to reflect and share experiences, anecdotes — even tell a few tall tales.  This combination of events inspired the launch of this citywide undertaking as a means of bringing people together in spirit while, for reasons of safety, they must be physically apart.

Bruce Tobey, tri-chairperson of the Gloucester400™ steering committee and president of Gloucester Celebration Corporation explained, “In recent weeks, as we’ve practiced social distancing and self-quarantine, many of us have felt the need for safe reconnection with our community. This time has given us more opportunities to reminisce about friends, loved ones, and the unforgettable characters who have shaped our lives, history, and future. For me, personally, the recent passing of my friend, Joe Orange, underscored how much his life touched Gloucester and generations to come. Fortunately, through the work and generosity of Jason Grow, Joe’s story was recorded in photographs and the recollections of those who knew him.”

An award-winning photographer, Jason Grow captured the story of Joe Orange while creating his recent series on Cape Ann’s World War II veterans. Jason’s photos, interviews, and many memories from the community have already helped preserve the legacies of Gloucester’s veterans, including Joe Orange.

“Think for a moment,” Tobey continued. “How many of us have friends, family, and neighbors whose stories deserve to be told and retold? So, at this time, when we have a chance to reflect more deeply and often on those we’ve known and respected, we hope Gloucester residents will tell us more of the stories of our people. We are committed to uncovering, preserving, and commemorating the City’s history through accounts of the lives of its people.”

What Makes a Good Gloucester Story?

Factual stories of many kinds about Gloucester and its people are welcome. Narratives, vignettes, and ideas can be found everywhere, from the stories of the men, woman, and children who shaped our history to present-day accounts of individuals and groups whose contributions to our everyday lives come from the arts, education, industry, traditions, families, and neighborhoods.

Tell Your Story

Ideas may also be submitted immediately. Videos, audio recordings, and brief written descriptions may be uploaded online by visiting www.GloucesterMA400.org/400Stories. Residents who would like to contribute a story but are unable to record it or write about it, can contact the Gloucester400™ team by email at [email protected]) or USPS mail (P.O. Box 603, Gloucester MA 01930) for assistance.