Burger-Gossart to speak of ‘Sadie’s Winter Dream’

SOUTHWEST HARBOR — Judith Burger-Gossart will speak about her book, “Sadie’s Winter Dream, Fishermen’s Wives and Maine Sea Coast Mission Hooked Rugs, 1923-1938,” at the Southwest Harbor Public Library on Tuesday, May 17, at 5:30 p.m.

Maine author Carl Little said, “Thanks to Judith Burger-Gossart’s outstanding research, an intriguing piece of Down East Maine history has been brought to light. This book is about rugs, yes, but it is also a remarkable story of community, art and hard living, and a determined woman named Alice M. Peasley.”

In the 1920s and 30s, Peasley changed women’s lives all along the Maine coast. Under the auspices of the mission, she taught women how to hook rugs. She sold their rugs and put much needed money into their pockets. Fishermen were poor, even in the best of times; it was difficult to make ends meet. In addition, Peasley taught the women to be creative, imaginative and playful. She encouraged individual expression and playfulness, elements that were scarce in the women’s difficult lives. In finding creative expression, the women were changed forever.

As one woman said, “I never thought I would live to see the day when I could do something that somebody would really want and value.” Peasley said, “The output from this department will always be small, because of the nature of the work. Quantity has never been an end. Each rug receives the care needed to make it an individual and precious thing.”

Burger-Gossart majored in American studies at Mount Holyoke College and graduated in 1965. She was a social worker for 25 years, became an antique dealer in 1996, has curated numerous exhibits and written many magazine articles. “Sadie’s Winter Dream” is her first book. She lives in Salisbury Cove with her husband.

The library has an exhibit of hooked rugs, “Impressions of Acadia” by Acadia Centennial partner Hancock County Hookers, that can be seen through the month of May.

Books will be available for sale and signing. Call the library at 244-7065.

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