Announcing the 2022 Thomas Paine Festival New Rochelle, New York June 16, 17, and 18, 2022

Announcing the 2022 Thomas Paine Festival New Rochelle, New York June 16, 17, and 18, 2022

Honoring the legacy of one of America’s most iconic Founding Fathers, the Thomas Paine National Historical Association, the Huguenot & New Rochelle Historical Association, and the Thomas Paine Memorial Association are pleased to announce the 2022 Thomas Paine Festival, happening June 16-18, 2022.

In addition to the many exciting events scheduled honoring Thomas Paine, the Festival will also feature the grand opening of the newly named Thomas Paine New Rochelle Center featuring the Thomas Paine Cottage Museum (est. 1784), the Thomas Paine Monument (est. 1839), and the Thomas Paine Memorial Building (est. 1925).

The Festival begins the evening of Thursday, June 16th when organizers will host a Colonial Tavern Night offering food, drinks, and music of the era on the grounds of the Cottage Museum (20 Sicard Avenue) starting at 5:30 PM (all events listed are Eastern Daylight Time). The Museum and Building will be open with many new exhibits.

Friday, June 17th events will start at 10:00 AM with a Symposium at the Thomas Paine Memorial Building (983 North Avenue) featuring a presentation about Paine’s life, works, and legacy. The Symposium will bring together scholars to prepare the way for increased national recognition of Paine’s role in the American and French Revolutions and the spread of democratic ideas globally. Members of the Editorial Board of the Thomas Paine Collected Works Project will conduct a panel discussion about the project, closing out the Symposium around 2:30.

Gary Berton, President of the Thomas Paine National Historic Association, said, “The Symposium will present aspects of Paine’s impact on the development of modern democracy and freethought. Newly discovered works revealing more about Paine’s relationships with leading writers and political actors of his day will be discussed.”

 Continuing that afternoon at 3:00 PM, the Iona College Library (715 North Avenue) will host a viewing of Thomas Paine-themed artifacts including his hair, death mask, writing kit, and various personal items.

A reception and dinner theater will round out Friday’s festivities, starting at 6:30 PM at the Greentree Country Club (538 Davenport Avenue). Actor Ian Ruskin will be presenting his one-man play, To Begin the World Over Again: The Life of Thomas Paine. Ruskin said, “I look forward to portraying Thomas Paine in New Rochelle, New York. It’s exciting to present my play in the very place where Thomas Paine once lived.”

The program on Saturday, June 18th will begin with a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Thomas Paine New Rochelle Center and wreath-laying ceremony at 11:00 AM (near the Thomas Paine Monument, gravesite, and Memorial Building, 983 North Avenue). Speakers and special guests will include Westchester County Executive George Latimer, Mayor Noam Bramson, City Councilwoman Sara Kaye, State Senator Shelley Mayer, State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, New Rochelle City Historian Barbara Davis, New Rochelle author Linda Tarrant-Reid, and the President of Revolutionary Westchester 250, Constance Kehoe.

Among the Saturday afternoon activities will be a Colonial Fair 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM (Thomas Paine Cottage, 20 Sicard Avenue) with historical reenactments, music of the colonial period, family-centered entertainment, lawn games, a Juneteenth recognition of Paine’s opposition to slavery, and educational opportunities.

At 3:00 PM, Sarah Jane Marsh will be present virtually to read from her children’s book, Thomas Paine and the Dangerous Word, and answer questions (Thomas Paine Memorial Building, 983 North Avenue).

Gary Bush, President of the Huguenot & New Rochelle Historical Association, said, “The Thomas Paine Festival is an opportunity to stimulate the interests of young people and community members in the importance of Thomas Paine’s life within local New Rochelle history and to also promote historic preservation of his homestead.” Bush added, “Hope for our future relies on our ability to care about our past.”

Margaret Downey, President of the Thomas Paine Memorial Association (TPMA), will portray Madame Marguerite Brazier Bonneville throughout the Festival. Bonneville is the woman to whom Paine left the bulk of his New Rochelle estate. She was a feminist, survivor of the French Revolution, political refugee, and young mother, whose 12-year-long friendship with Paine led to the bequest.

TPMA will be providing educational materials about the United States Congressional bill to authorize a statue of Paine in the nation’s capital. HB 6720 was introduced by Congressman Jamie Raskin in February 2022. Congressman Raskin recently stated, “Despite his catalytic role in founding America and our constitutional republic, Thomas Paine remains too often on the dark outskirts of history. It is way past time for Congress to give Thomas Paine the central place of respect and awe he deserves in our Nation’s Capital.” A message from Raskin will be shown at the Thomas Paine Memorial Building (983 North Avenue) at 12:30 PM.

On Saturday, June 18th the commissioned sculptor for the Washington, D.C. statue, Zenos Frudakis, will speak at 2:00 PM inside the Thomas Paine Memorial Building (983 North Avenue). Samples of his work will also be on display at the “Frudakis Studios Meet and Greet” table.

To learn more about which Festival events are free and open to the public, which events require reservations and tickets, and to see a map of the locations mentioned above, please visit: