Annual Meeting 2014

Eli Whitney Museum

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35th Annual Meeting
Wednesday, November 12th at 5:30 pm

Jennifer Oxley
The Apprentice Program at 25

Light refreshments: Caseus • Whole G Breads • The Wine Thief
RSVP • 203.777.1833 or

If you want to understand Eli Whitney's influence, look at the toolmakers he trained. If you want to understand the Eli Whitney Museum's influence, look at our Apprentices.

Over the past 25 years, 420 middle school and high school students have shared in the design, production and teaching of the Museum's workshops. Apprentices begin in routine handwork and mature to shape distinctively the Museum's character and content. We will celebrate 25 years of essential contributions by honoring the Apprentice who inspired the program, Jennifer Oxley.

Jennifer was a student in Bill Brown's earliest classes of Experimental Building. She was 9 years old and already an energetic inventor of new program ideas. When she was in high school, her gift for leadership allowed her to organize the handful of young students who were helping at the Museum. She invented the Museum's Apprentice Program.

Jen is an Emmy Award winning animator, creative director, series creator and executive producer. She made her first film at the age of 7 and has devoted much of her professional career to educational television and film. She has directed 15 short films for Sesame Street, as well as the award-winning adaptation of Spike Lee and Tanya Lewis Lee's children's book, Please, Baby, Please. Jennifer lives in Brooklyn with her husband Shaun Sullivan, son, Fox, and new daughter Tallua La-Jeune.

We follow a long tradition of training young people on this site. Below this invitation is an image of a contract entered into by Eli Whitney and the Apprentice Marcus Talmadge, December 11, 1814. Whitney agreed to perform the following:

And this said Whitney on his part doth hereby covenant and engage to furnish the Apprentice with suitable food, clothing, washing, lodging and physics, during his apprenticeship and to employ him principally in some mechanical or manufacturing business. Whereby he may have an opportunity of claiming the use of tools either in the fabrication of Arms or such other business as the undersigned Whitney may engage in during apprenticeship of the said Marcus: and also to instruct, direct counsel & advise the said Marcus with regard to his deportment & morals & that when aforesaid Marcus shall have faithfully performed his apprenticeship he shall be discharged and that at the time of his discharge the undersigned Marcus shall be decently clothed – said Whitney also engages to give the said Apprentice a Bible.

It is further fully mandated and agreed by the parties to this indenture that the undersigned Apprentice, so too as relates to his ordinary employment is to be under the direction of such person or foreman as this undersigned Whitney may from time to time appoint to take charge of his business.

For the faithful performance of the foregoing stipulations the respective parties have here unto set their hands & seals in Hamden this 11th Day of December AD 1814.

In presence of
Elihu Blake
Honice Buell

Samil(sic) Talmadge
Marcus Talmadge
Eli Whitney

(From the Whitney Papers at Yale University Library)

Jennifer Oxley

Jennifer Oxley

Whiney - Marcus Contract

Whiney - Marcus Contract


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