The Museum of Work & Culture will present Slatersville Preview Screening #9 on Friday & Saturday, Sept. 3 & 4 at 1:30 p.m. Critically-acclaimed filmmaker, Christian de Rezendes will present a special screening of the historical documentary series, Slatersville: America’s First Mill Village, which will premiere on Rhode Island PBS in the fall of 2022. This event will combine two previously seen stories leading up to a newly edited piece, which altogether tells one dramatic story: “The Wedding Present with 27 Rooms”, “Uncle Johnny” and, “Anything but…Brotherly,” which will be seen for the first time.
The program will run between 60 and 70 minutes, followed by a Q&A with the filmmaker. It will only be viewable in its entirety at the Museum of Work and Culture.
Beginning in the early 1870’s, William Smith Slater, the son of John and Ruth Slater and nephew of Samuel Slater, built a summer home in Warwick, for his daughter, Elizabeth, and her husband, Alfred Augustus Reed, Jr, as a “wedding present”. The home is preserved today as Clouds Hill Victorian House Museum, and is owned by the 5th generation of Slater descendancy, Anne Holst. In the years that followed, Elizabeth’s younger brother, John Whipple Slater, inherited his father’s fortune. Whipple, or “Uncle Johnny” as he is referred to by Holst, lived an extravagant lifestyle in the public eye by marrying Newport heiress Elizabeth Hope Gammel and sailing around the world. Uncle Johnny’s behavior leads into the turbulent 1890’s, resulting in a strike that crippled the village at the turn of the century and the sale of the village to Boston banker, James R. Hooper. John’s sister, Helen Waterman, sends him a letter accusing him of being “anything but brotherly”; a dramatic conclusion to the nearly century-long era of Slater family ownership.
With thanks to Clouds Hill Victorian House Museum, George Waterman III, and Susan Waterman, Slatesville has been granted access to never-before-seen letters and documents from within the Slater family that were privately stored in pristine condition for over 75 years. These items were saved by a man named Rufus Waterman III, the grandson of John and Ruth Slater, who died in 1946. As the nephew of John Whipple Slater, Rufus apprenticed under his uncle to learn the textile business in Slatersville in the 1890’s. As a result, he preserved much of the paperwork and kept an index card diary. Rufus’s collection sheds new light on the third generation of the Slatersville story, which, until now, has been a great mystery.
Admission is free, but seating is limited and reservations are encouraged. RSVP at email@example.com