The Henry Dunster Society
The Henry Dunster Society exists to create and sustain links between the Bury Grammar Schools and their overseas alumni/ae. The Society is on the web at www.henrydunstersociety.com.
Henry Dunster (1609-1659) was a student at BGS. He went up to Magdalene College, Cambridge, returning to Bury to become curate at St. Mary's Parish Church and the third Headmaster of Bury Grammar School.
In 1640, Dunster emigrated with his brother to Massachusetts. Almost immediately, Dunster was offered and accepted the presidency of Harvard College, a new foundation struggling to survive. Dunster was the first President of Harvard and laid the basis for its future greatness.
Henry Dunster also set up the first printing press in Massachusetts, now the Harvard University Press, and helped establish the foundations of the Massachusetts public school system. He always thought of himself, however, as just a straightforward, hard working Lancashire lad, "Ego enim Lancastrensis sum". These are the words on the arms of Henry Dunster, registered in memoriam by the Society to mark its inaugural event, as well as Dunster's associations with Bury and BGS.
Formation: The Henry Dunster Society held its inaugural meeting at the Harvard Faculty Club in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in September 2008. This was the first reunion of BGS alumni/ae ever held outside Britain.
Old Boys and Old Girls of the School were joined in many cases by their spouses, and by a Governor of the School (Derek Calrow), the Headmistress (Bobby Georghiou), and the Schools' Development Officer (Francine Healey). Attendees traveled from many parts of the United States and Canada and, in one case, from Australia.
The reunion included a visit to the Harvard University Archives, in the Pusey Library in Harvard Yard, where the Harvard Archivist and her staff had arranged an exhibit of Dunster artifacts, including the Harvard Charter of 1642, crafted by Dunster to create the first corporation in the New World and set the basic governance standards for American higher education.
NOTE: The collection of Dunster papers in the Harvard University Archives has recently been digitized and is available to scholars and to all other interested parties through the web at http://oasis.lib.harvard.edu/oasis/deliver/~hua23004
Membership: Membership in the Henry Dunster Society is accorded automatically to any former student of the Bury Grammar Schools who resides outside the United Kingdom and attends a meeting of the Society. The Society is also interested in establishing contact and communicating with all overseas alumni/ae, in whatever part of the world they live, who would like to be associated with the work of the Society and the development of its future plans, with a view to attending future reunion events. Any former student of the Schools can become an Associate of the Society simply by expressing that interest to Geoffrey Wandesforde-Smith ('62), whose email address appears below.
Future Plans: The next meeting of the Society will be held in Bury in 2013, close to the 350th anniversary of the birth of Roger Kay in 1663. Further details about the event will be posted in due course.
The event would also mark the anniversary of the occupancy by the Schools of both sides of Bridge Road and progress on the building plans set in train by The Way Forward, the current development campaign. If and when such a future Society rendezvous is approved and moves forward, it will be widely publicized. The Society is especially interested at its next event in bringing into the fold alumni/ae resident in the European Union, in addition to welcoming old friends from North America and Australasia.
Questions: Anyone interested in the Henry Dunster Society, its activities, and plans is encouraged to contact Geoffrey Wandesforde-Smith ('62), firstname.lastname@example.org.