Greenwich Historical Society to screen Mary Silliman’s War

Richard Donat and Nancy Palk in a scene from the movie Mary Silliman's War

Richard Donat and Nancy Palk in a scene from the movie Mary Silliman’s War

It is the fourth year of the American Revolution, and conflict is raging. Not only are Americans at war with the English, but they are also at odds amongst themselves. Mary Silliman’s town of Fairfield, Connecticut, and her own family are no exception. Her neighbors are divided between those still loyal to the King of England and those fighting for independence. Mary is in conflict with her husband Selleck, a fierce patriot and prominent state’s attorney, for prosecuting old friends and neighbors and harshly applying revolutionary justice. A well educated woman, she struggles through the war to entertain officers, house refugees, and manage a farm and its finances, but when Selleck is kidnapped and held for ransom, she is also required to set a dangerous plot in motion to win his freedom.

Mary Silliman’s War offers a seldom-depicted female, civilian perspective on the day-to-day hardships wrought by the American Revolution. The award-winning film directed by Stephen Surjik, is based on Joy Day Buel and Rich Buel Jr.’s book The Way of Duty, with materials taken from Mary’s diary and letters exchanged with Selleck during his imprisonment, many now archived with the Silliman family papers at Yale University.

Mary Silliman’s War will be screened on Thursday, Jan. 21, from 3-5 p.m., at the Greenwich Historical Society, Vanderbilt Education Center, 39 Strickland Road, Cos Cob.

Cost is $10 members; $15 nonmembers. Popcorn and light refreshments will be served. Reservations required.

For tickets, visit or call 203-869-6899, ext. 10.

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