EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Haverhill

July 9, 2008

Bobblehead patterned after historic Haverhill figure

HAVERHILL — She's been immortalized through a variety of products over the years, ranging from a Jim Beam whiskey bottle to ceramic coffee mugs and commemorative coins.

Hannah Duston, whose name is intimately tied to Haverhill's history, is considered the first woman in America to be honored with a statue. She was the subject of local controversy when her image was used in posters that advertised the first Haverhill Rocks music festival in 2006. But instead of Hannah holding a hatchet, as she does in her statue in GAR Park, the promoters placed an electric guitar in her hands. That controversial image helped launch a number of successful products locally, including T-shirts and hats, as well as the 2006 concert posters — which are in high demand.

Now, the image of Hannah Duston holding the fabled hatchet she used to scalp and kill her Native American captors during Haverhill's Colonial days is available for purchase, only this time as a bobblehead doll — offered through the New Hampshire Historical Society.

Local historian Thomas Spitalere enjoys collecting Hannah Duston memorabilia and hopes to buy the bobblehead of Hannah.

"A bobblehead is just another way of promoting local history," Spitalere said. "She's a hero in my eyes."

A debate has raged over whether Hannah Duston was a heroine or villain for killing several Native Americans who held her captive in 1697 after they raided her home and killed her baby. They took her to New Hampshire before she escaped.

Bill Veillette, executive director of the New Hampshire Historical Society, based in Concord, N.H., said his organization was searching for 17th century characters to create bobbleheads of — and characters that are important to New Hampshire history.

"It's a little tougher to find women," he said. "So when you put it all together, Hannah Duston rises to the top."

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