image of barnstable county courthouse

For Immediate Release: Nancy Shoemaker Named Mercy Otis Warren – Cape Cod Woman of the Year 2018

DATE: May 9, 2018
CONTACT: Judy Walden Scarafile, Chair, 508-362-3036

The Mercy Otis Warren Cape Cod Woman of the Year Selection Committee in partnership with the Barnstable County Commissioners is proud to announce that the winner of the 17th Annual Mercy Otis Warren Cape Cod Woman of the Year Award is NANCY VIALL SHOEMAKER of West Barnstable.

ABOUT THE RECIPIENT: Nancy Viall Shoemaker has been nominated several times over the years. This year she received multiple nominations from Betsy Wheeler and Marilyn Fuller, Dr. Melanie Barron, and Mindy Abbott.

In her nomination, Ms. Abbott described Nancy Viall Shoemaker as having qualities” strikingly similar” to her early West Barnstable compatriot Mercy Otis Warren. Ms Abbott wrote: “As historians, playwrights and publishers, they have used their literary talents and skills to promote awareness of contemporary and historical issues and by example, advocate for activism on current issues”

Dr. Barron noted in her nomination that Nancy Viall Shoemaker co-teaches a writing class at the Academy for Lifelong Learning and regularly encourages class members to submit Letters to the Editors and Point or View in the Cape Cod Times. Dr. Barron wrote: “Similar to the political pamphlets written by Mercy Otis Warren, these (submissions) address crucial issues in our current body politic”.

Mrs. Shoemaker is the owner of West Barnstable Press and offers her talents free of charge to a number of nonprofits. She has served on the Board of Trustees of the 1717 Meetinghouse Foundation since 2012 and has been instrumental on the History and Program Committees serving as the co-narrator for the 400th Anniversary of West Parish of Barnstable Historical Trolley Tour. She researched the history of the Paul Revere Company bell that hangs in the 1717 Meetinghouse, located and recovered a chandelier that hung in the Meetinghouse in the 1800’s, and secures speakers for the 1717 Meetinghouse Lecture Series.

She also has donated her time and talent to the Town of Barnstable, narrating the Citizen’s Academy’s seven village tour for the last several years and led sessions on Town history. Images from her photograph collection have appeared in numerous brochures, publications, and newsletters including those for the Town of Orleans, HyArts Cultural District, Harwich Conservation Trust, and many others. Nancy co-authored “Barnstable at 350” with Fred Bodenseick and Marion Vuilleumier, the first Mercy Otis Warren Woman of the Year. Much of the material contained in the commemorative book on the Town of Barnstable’s 375th Anniversary was written by her.

Nancy Viall Shoemaker has served as a founding member and past president of the West Barnstable Historical Society and is a current board member of the Barnstable Historical Society, giving lectures for that organization’s popular Little Crime Before Dinner series. She was a past president of Tales of Cape Cod and as a former Coast Guard Reservist, is on the Board of the Coast Guard Heritage Museum. She is a sought after speaker on a number of historical topics.

Mrs. Shoemaker is perhaps most proud of her role in preserving meadow land in West Barnstable that Mercy Otis Warren wrote of playing on as a young girl. She also is proud to have been Nancy Rubin Stuart’s local contact in researching the bibliography of Stuart’s book about Mercy, The Muse of the Revolution.

In their joint nomination, Betsy Wheeler and Marilyn Fuller pointed out that Nancy Shoemaker’s contributions are “quietly” made and that “as each generation becomes further removed from …history…the more important becomes the contribution of a resident like Nancy…whose mission in life is to preserve what went before”.

The Mercy Otis Warren Selection Committee was blessed to have received nominations of many stellar candidates from all over the Cape. Because of the quality of nominees, the choice was difficult but in the end, the Committee proudly and unanimously chose Nancy Viall Shoemaker as this year’s Mercy Otis Warren Cape Cod Woman of the Year.

Nancy Viall Shoemaker’s name was placed into nomination by the Barnstable County Commissioners and approved by that body on May 9, 2018.

ABOUT MERCY OTIS WARREN: Mercy Otis Warren, born in West Barnstable in 1728, was a playwright, a historian, a pioneer in women’s causes, a champion of liberty, an advocate of the Bill of Rights and a patriot. In an era where it was unusual for woman to be educated, much less to emerge as a leader, her advocacy for the cause of patriotism and a central role in the Revolution was remarkable.

ABOUT THE AWARD: The Mercy Otis Warren Cape Cod Woman of the Year Award was established in 2002 to annually recognize a woman who exemplifies the traits of leadership in the community and has made significant contribution to the arts, education, business, community involvement and/or volunteerism while embracing the ideals of patriotism. Past recipients have been: Marion Vuilleumier (2002), Jean Gardner (2003), Eugenia Fortes (2004), Felicia Penn (2005), Bonnie Snow (2006), Lynne Poyant (2007), Josephine Ives (2008), Mary LeClair (2009), Gloria Rudman (2010), Susan French (2011), Judy Walden Scarafile (2012), Dorothy Savarese (2013), Mary Lou Petitt (2014), Michelle DeSilva (2015), Ann Williams (2016), and Dolores DaLuz (2017).

ABOUT THE CELEBRATION: On Tuesday, June 5, 2018 at 7 pm, Nancy Viall Shoemaker will be presented the Award by last year’s recipient Dolores DaLuz at Tales of Cape Cod, Olde Colonial Courthouse, 3046 Main Street, Barnstable Village. As part of the presentation, Orleans Elementary School fifth grader Molly Filteau has been invited to read her essay, which is the first winning entry in the Mercy Otis Warren Freedom of Expression essay competition. Cape Cod Broadcasting’s Matt Pitta will be the Master of Ceremonies. The Award is a bronze statuette sculpted by Marstons Mills artist David Lewis. It is a replica of the statue of Mercy Otis Warren located on the Superior Court House lawn in Barnstable Village. Nancy Viall Shoemaker will also be honored at the Barnstable West Barnstable Parade at 9 am and at the Hyannis Independence Day Parade at 4 pm on July 4, 2018.

The Committee thanks our sponsors: Cape Cod Five, Barnstable County, Tales of Cape Cod, Barnstable Village Association, West Barnstable Civic Association, Cape Cod Writers Guild, and Women for Historical Preservation.