Mary Sampas Remembered
Mary Sampas – longtime Lowell Sun reporter and columnist and the grand dame among friends and her community – died yesterday at Saints Medical Center at the age of 93. Friend and Sun associate Nancye Tuttle remembers her here on her blog – Nancye’s World.
The Sun has a front page story in today’s edition. Over the next few days her readers will be reminded of Mary’s seventy-five years of covering the social and entertainment scene as well as her days as Pertinax – a thought columist for the Sun and for as her ever-present commitment to Lowell and her beloved Lowellians.
Here’s a link to a past Nancye Tuttle story written about Mary in 2009 telling us of her life in Lowell – of her many adventures with the Hollywood crowd and of the guessing-game about whether Pertinax was a man or a woman. Mary was and will remain an iconic figure in the memory of the Lowell community. She will be missed. Rest in Peace.
She was the widow of Sun columinst and editor Charles Sampas and mother of Marina Schell.
7 Responses to Mary Sampas Remembered
Paul Marion above this column writes about digitizing the works of individuals such as Meehan and Tsongas. I wonder how much computer memory would be required to digitize the 75 year works of Mary Sampas. And how does one digitize the personal memories one has of any person’s life.
Good question Kosta. Some of the Meehan material is “born digital” and it is being preserved on hard drives, disks, and on two servers that are constantly backed up. The Tsongas and a large portion of the Meehan Collection are contained in hard copy and we at UMass Lowell Libraries are scanning it and creating digital files. There is presently no “Oral History” project for the 5th Cngressional District and that is something that needs to be funded and put in place.
Mary’s columns are preserved on microfilm and these films have been captured digitally and can be accessed at UMass Lowell and at the Pollard Memorial Library.
How do you digitize the memories? You do what you can and write them down, collect them on tape but of course much will be missed or lost. It has been said that when a person dies it’s like a library burning and that is very much the case with the passing of Mary Sampas.
newspaperarchive.com has a lot of the Lowell Sun on-line already. This is a fee based website but many area public libraries have free access to it.
While browsing the old newspapers and coming across Charles & Mary’s articles it really gives you a feel for Lowell and it’s history. A compilation would make a great book!
In 1986 – Marina Schell complied and published “That Was the Way It Was” – a selection of “Sampascoopies Lowell History Columns.” (168 pages) Over the next few months we will post some exerpts from this collection.
Thanks Marie. I did not know that.
In 1976, Mary Sampas wrote the first newspaper article about my poems. I had published a pamphlet of poems titled “Horsefeathers & Aquarius,” which included poems I had written beginning in 1974. I don’t remember if she telephoned me to ask a few questions, but she did schedule a Lowell Sun photographer to take my picture in the public library in Dracut. I had sent her the book because she was known for writing about the arts and literature from a local angle. When her column was published it was a big deal. I had my first review—sort of. I once interviewed a wrter who said, “I don’t refer to myself as a poet. Being called a poet is a gift that someone else gives to you.”
She wrote about other poets from Lowell: Michael Casey, Doug Flaherty, and Joe Donahue, to name a few. She also wrote about the visual artists, playwrights, actors, musicians, and more in her columns. As a reporter, she covered history as it happened.
Earlier this week I posted a poem of Mary’s that she wrote when she was in a writing workshop with fellow members of the Hellenic Culture Society. She was 80-something at the time. It’s a memory poem about being in Manhattan with her husband when a military convoy carrying the first wounded from the D-Day assault to hospitals in New York City. The poems were published in the online cultural journal The Bridge Review: Merrimack Valley Culture. Fifteen years after she had reviewed by first book, she was in a writing workshop that I led. Such are the community threads in Lowell.
I remember that class with you Paul. It was a great time and i thank the Hellenic Culture Society for sponsoring the poetry class. One of the exersises was each one of us to write about another member of the group. I was so honnored that Mary Sampas wrote a poem about me!
God rest her soul. we miss her allready…