Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Unveiling of Dave Brown’s NEW Sotterley Book

Three years after the publication of his first book entitled, Sotterley: Her People and Their Worlds, Sotterley Trustee Dave Brown will soon unveil his second book George Plater of Sotterley with the companion book The Letters of George Plater. On Friday, November 7th at 6:30 p.m. the public is invited to attend a Meet the Author and Book Signing event in the Sotterley Warehouse. Once again, Brown is generously contributing all proceeds to benefit Sotterley. This biography will only be available for purchase at Sotterley’s Museum Shop and through the Sotterley website: www.sotterley.org.

Fleshing out a fair assessment of George Plater’s personal character and significant political accomplishments was Brown’s motivation. With little information available about the sixth Governor of Maryland in the Sotterley archives, Brown had his work cut out for him as he began a three year journey of research to breathe some life into a largely under-studied and underappreciated Maryland Patriot, who was the owner of Sotterley Plantation from 1755 to 1792.

Often running into dead ends, Brown persisted in piecing together documentation of Plater’s life. “Amazingly, information about George Plater’s life and what motivated him to make decisions both political and personal were hard to come by. Although he was a significant figure in late eighteenth century Maryland history, he kept a very low profile,” stated Brown.

According to Brown, George Plater was a product of his time and 18th century Maryland was a radically different place. He was a senator, lawmaker, husband, tobacco planter, and slave owner. Fortunately, we do have letters and other forms of documentation which provide a basis for understanding his contributions and his character.

Earlier commentaries claiming that Plater was not a man of great consequence, large creative ability, or marked individuality. However, the public record and Plater’s private letters show that he was a modest, gentry gentleman, a member of the Anglican Church, and a dedicated public servant. Although he never played a role in public debates regarding issues of the day, he exercised elite politics wielding his influence behind closed doors. His most notable contributions were as president of the Maryland Senate during the decade of the 1780’s – on his very first day in office he persuaded his colleagues to ratify the Articles of Confederation after a two year stalemate. As the chairman of the state ratification committee, his influence resulted in Maryland becoming the first southern state to ratify the U.S. Constitution. 

Edward C. Papenfuse, Maryland State Archivist (retired) extended high praise about George Plater of Sotterley. “David Brown has written more than a biography of a Maryland aristocrat and political figure.  He has placed his subject squarely in the context of a turbulent era with a mastery of much documentary evidence hitherto unexplored by scholars."

Nancy Easterling, Sotterley’s Executive Director said, “Dave’s hours upon hours of research and writing is appreciated by all. He has generously paid for the printing of both of his books, enabling Sotterley to benefit from the proceeds. His dedication to this National Historic Landmark as an author, a volunteer, and a Sotterley Board Member is appreciated and valued more than I can ever say.”

George Plater of Sotterley - Price: $17.00 
To order, please click here.

The Letters of George Plater 
Available online free of charge - click here.

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