Sara A. Butler


In this article, Sara A. Butler deftly tells a family history that intertwines with the founding of St Columba’s, the Berkeley Memorial Chapel, in Middletown. In so doing, she takes us beyond the Gilded Age transformation of Newport to the development of another part of Aquidneck Island which has been less documented. She combines the significant story of Bishop George Berkeley who moved to Newport in 1729, with the nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century family history of Mary Clark Sturtevant, a preservationist, whose vision and determination led to the building of the memorial chapel. The author describes the “web of commemoration” that binds the Berkeley saga, the late-nineteenth-century development of Middletown, and family history in the shape of a “jewelbox” building adorned with significant decorative details. The exquisite photographs of Sarah Long, an NHS staff member, adorn the author’s analysis of St. Columba’s. Sara A. Butler is a professor of art and architectural history at Roger Williams University where she teaches courses on American art and architecture. and Newport art and architecture. She has lectured and published on American landscapes, commemoration and memory and American public art.