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John H. Dryfhout,
Author, Historian & New Hampshire Resident

This Land of Pure Delight:
Charles C. Beaman
and Blowmedown Farm

John H. Dryfhout
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Cornish, NH – This Land of Pure Delight is a book on the founder of the Cornish Art colony, Charles C. Beaman (1840-1900) and his New Hampshire country estate, Blowmedown Farm. The author is John Dryfhout, Superintendent of the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in Cornish.

This Land of Pure Delight: Charles C. Beaman and Blowmedown Farm was researched and written by Dryfhout over the past year. The 150 page book is illustrated with over 80 historical images of Cornish, the Beaman family and the farm. In 1998 the Augustus Saint-Gaudens Memorial purchased the former "Blowmedown" farm of fifty acres of land and buildings on the Connecticut River with a gift from a member of the Beaman family, Eric Lagercrantz in memory of his late wife, Beaman's granddaughter, Mary Beaman Lagercrantz. The Saint-Gaudens Memorial was chartered by the State of New Hampshire in 1919 to aid and promote activities at the Cornish site. The trustees will hold the property and assure its preservation now and in the future. The donor suggested to Dryfhout that a history of Beaman’s contribution to Cornish, International law and American history in general was needed, so that future generations would have a record of New York lawyer, Charles C. Beaman and his family as well as the great farm.

The book has been a "labor of love" for Dryfhout, this past year. He has been Curator and Superintendent of the Saint-Gaudens NHS for a number of years, since its acquisition by the National Park Service in 1965. During this time, the author has been gathering research on the Beaman family, along with area organizations such as the Cornish Historical Society and Historic Windsor, Inc. In 1985 there was a major exhibition in New Hampshire with a catalogue by Dryfhout and others, entitled: A Circle of Friends: Art Colonies of Cornish and Dublin (University of New Hampshire, 1985). That exhibition was the touchstone for a number of publications and exhibitions which followed, featuring the work of an extraordinary group of artists that made their home in the hills of Cornish and Plainfield, New Hampshire and Windsor, Vermont which was then the summer home of former U.S. Secretary of State and New York Senator, William M. Evarts (1818-1901). The Senator’s daughter, Hettie Sherman Evarts, married Charles C. Beaman in Windsor in 1874. A few years later, in 1883, Beaman purchased the historic Moses Chase farm in Cornish and began building a model farm and extensive country house here. It was across the Connecticut River from his father-in-law’s equally famous model farm and compound of early 19th century houses in Windsor. In the process of research, Dryfhout consulted manuscript collections at Harvard’s Houghton Library; Yale’s Sterling Library and the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. These resources together with a bountiful cache of Beaman family memorabilia and photographs in Vermont and Massachusetts provided the groundwork for the book.

Dryfhout has titled the book This Land of Pure Delight after a favorite hymn mentioned in the "Blowmedown Record," in one of the Beaman family Sunday evening gatherings. The lyrics were written by Isaac Watts, in 1707: "There is a land of pure delight." The first stanza of the hymn is excerpted as a dedication page in the book. For John Dryfhout, this happy find is a summation of the love and pleasure that Cornish and "Blowmedown" held for the Beamans, and a universal expression of this place, and all that know the place.

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