Richard Potter Featured in New Exhibit at AHS Museum

By Larry Chase
A display featuring the life of Richard Potter has been set up in the storefront of Emons General Store in Potter Place.
Broadside announcing a Potter performance included in the Historical Society exhibit.

A new Andover Historical Society exhibit focuses on the life and times of Richard Potter, “America’s first black celebrity,” who made his home in Andover from 1815 until his death in 1835.   Artifacts are on display in the exhibit room of the Potter Place railroad station and in a storefront window of the Emons general store. The station and store are open on Saturdays between 10 AM and 3 PM, and on Sundays between 12:30 and 3 PM. until mid-October. Both are open to the public at no charge, although donations are gratefully accepted.

Born in 1783, Potter became “the foremost ventriloquist and most celebrated magician of his time,” writes Andover’s John Hodgson, author of a new Potter biography.  Hodgson also writes that the aim of his book is “to make Potter reappear,” as Potter was “almost invisible in American cultural history.” His book, “Richard Potter – America’s First Black Celebrity,” may be purchased at the Emons store.
A collection of historical artifacts from the World War 1 era is displayed for a second year in another storefront window of the Emons store.