To the editor:

On Sunday we had the pleasure of attending Jean Foley Doyle's 90th birthday party at the Dalton Club. She looks great. May we all be that with-it and vital at her age.

Newburyport is a very special place, as those of us who have lived here can testify. One of the major reasons for the specialness is the remarkable record of the city's history that has been preserved in a number of books, including those of Coffin (1845), Euphemia Vale Smith (History of Newburyport, 1854), Sarah Anna Emery (Reminiscences of a Nonagenarian, 1879), John Currier (4 volumes, 1896-1909), Minnie Atkinson (Newburyport in the World War, 1938) and Jean's two books on Newburyport in the 20th century. It is probably the best record of any small city anywhere in the country. Thus Jean is one of the members of a very exclusive club of historians. But there's more.

Just look at the names. More than half of our local historians were female, and in a field where until recently they were largely excluded. Indeed, Mrs. Smith published under her husband's name, "E. Vale Smith," in order to be more acceptable at the time.

So congratulations Jean, for your many accomplishments as a teacher and as an historian, and for helping to establish equality in yet another field of endeavor.

And happy birthday!

Tom Horth


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