The life of Mary, Queen of Scots has intrigued historians, writers and the common man for five centuries. Now anyone with a keen interest in Mary Stuart and aspects of her life in the 1500s can join the Marie Stuart Society, an international study club based in Scotland.
"We're not historians, but a group of people who have the desire to increase our knowledge," says Janet Marie Carothers of Stewartstown, Pa.
Mrs. Carothers has formed the first Marie Stuart Society in the United States. Its initial meeting is April 2 at 2 p.m. at Gramercy Bed and Breakfast, 1400 Greenspring Valley Road, in Baltimore County. Anyone with a keen interest in Scottish culture dating from the 1500s is welcome.
Club meetings, as designed by Mrs. Carothers, are the type that bring history to life. At the first meeting, at least six professional re-enacters will arrive in costume to the Tudor-style Gramercy to discuss 16th-century fashions. Paula Peterka, a historical costumer who portrays Anne of Cleves at the Maryland Renaissance Festival, will be a key speaker. Her husband, Larry Peterka, will assist.
Suzanne Grider of Towson, a historical costume designer, and Tamara Funk, of York, Pa., a museum professional who specializes in costume research and textile preservation, also will speak.
In Mary Stuart's day, only royalty were permitted to hunt with the assistance of trained falcons. Mary Stuart received her first falcon at age 5.
Mrs. Carothers, who trained in falconry in Germany, has invited two falconers, Kim Gouth and Paul Wert to the April meeting to demonstrate the sport. Mr. Gouth has been featured in the book, "Maryland's Great Outdoors" by Middleton Evans.
"It's like asking someone how they got interested in ice cream," says Mrs. Carothers about her study of Mary Stuart. Her home contains displays of antique etchings of Mary Stuart, the heavy leather glove used for falconry, stones used for the Scottish national sport of curling and an extensive library of Scottish history.
Mrs. Carothers, who is of Scottish descent, also has taught Scottish country dance for 17 years.
"Mary Stuart was queen of Scotland only a short time. She was 45 when she died. Her life was the essence of a Shakespearean tragedy, a mix of love, ambition, betrayal, scandal and murder. Quite an intriguing lady," Mrs. Carothers says.
Mary Stuart's childhood began in wealth and cultured upbringing in France. She was taught to speak or read six languages, she learned to play the harp and created famous needlepoint designs.
She became Queen of France at 17. Widowed a year later, the life of Mary Stuart became ensnared in the religious Reformation and poisonous political climate of the 1500s. On her home turf, she was blamed for the murder of a friend and confidant. Raised as a Roman Catholic, she fought for religious tolerance in her Anglican country.
She lived her final 19 years in prison until she was executed by decree of Queen Elizabeth I, a distant cousin who had a tenacious grip on the throne.
"Mary Stuart's upbringing was one of protection and nurturing as a future bride of the king's son and future Queen of France," Mrs. Carothers says. "The terrible atmosphere that Elizabeth had as a child was in sharp contrast to Mary Stuart's. This sums up a very important difference in the two queens."
Membership in the local Marie Stuart Society provides a link with the Marie Stuart Society in Scotland, and includes receipt of a quarterly journal, and invitation to an annual meeting held in Scotland. Members already registered for the local club are from Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Delaware.
For information, call Janet Carothers at (410) 298-5410 or (717) 227-0681.
North Carroll Branch Library is presenting a four-week discussion seminar, "Poets: Voices and Visions," about American poets William Carlos Williams and Marianne Moore, starting March 20. North Carroll Branch Library is at 2255 Hanover Pike, Greenmount.
With enthusiasm fueled by seminar presenter Diane Scharper, of the English department pf Towson State University, the discussion group will view a documentary video about the poets and discuss specific poems from a booklet to be lent for the series.
"Both poets are contemporary, and are interesting to talk about," says Cindy Ahmann, the North Carroll adult services supervisor, who is coordinating the series.
Poet Marianne Moore (1887-1972) was chosen for discussion because of her insightful poetry and because she lived not far away. She went to Bryn Mawr College, taught at the Indian School in Carlisle, Pa., and Carlisle Business School, and worked at the New York Public Library.
William Carlos Williams (1883-1963) was chosen, Mrs. Ahmann says, "because of the contrast between his career as pediatrician and his emergence into the life of the arts in his lifetime. He knew many artists and collected art."
Anyone who would like to learn more about these poets and their works is welcome to participate. The series is free, but registration is required.
Selections read each week will be discussed in terms of "theme, style, and what the poetry meant in terms of the poet's life and what it means to the audience," Mrs. Ahmann says. "If I know something about the poetry and know the why of what the poets have done, it makes it more understandable."
Visions and Voices continues a poetry series begun last fall at the Westminster branch of Carroll County Public Library. The program was developed by Howard County Public Library with funding by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Information: 374-1212, 239-6466.
Saturday, the whole family can win prizes and snack on treats at the annual Spring Garden Party at Spring Garden Elementary, 700 Boxwood Drive, Hampstead.
From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., preschoolers to fifth-grade students can participate in games and activities, a book fair, an auction, cake sale and carnival-style foods.
The Country Craft Fair at St. George's Episcopal Church is seeking vendors of quality crafts. The fair will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 13 on the grounds of the church, 2434 Cape Horn Road, Hampstead.
Spaces 10 feet square are available for $20.
The Country Craft Fair includes crafts, refreshments, children's activities, baked goods and silent auction.
Information: Lynda, 876-2863 or Jack, 239-8381.