Statement of Significance (as of designation - October 6, 2008):
The John and Priscilla Alden Family Sites in Duxbury, Massachusetts, consist of two discontiguous parcels, the c.1700 Alden House and the c.1630 Original Alden Homestead Site. Both parcels were part of the 1628 100-acre grant to Mayflower passenger John Alden and his family. No other physical site is so prominently linked with specific Mayflower passengers. This property owes its prominence to the national cultural impact of The Courtship of Miles Standish, a poem about the courtship of John Alden and Priscilla Mullins published in 1858 by their descendant Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The desire of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Americans for a more human, family-focused story about the cultural and historical origins of the United States quickly made The Courtship the most popular national origins story in American folklore. The publics embrace of The Courtship and its incorporation into American folklore made the surviving Alden House the most important physical site associated with John and Priscilla and a focus of on-going national public interest, especially since descendants continued to live in and own the house.
In addition, no other site is so prominently associated with John Alden (c. 1598/9-1687), a person of national significance in the U.S. colonial period. Ships cooper on the Mayflower and a founder of the Plymouth Colony, Alden held positions of high economic and political importance for almost the entire seventy-one year history of the Plymouth Colony (1620-1691), a span of public service unrivaled in seventeenth-century colonial America and perhaps in the entire colonial period. He served the colony in almost every available capacity save that of governor (although he served as deputy or acting governor on two occasions).