Rosemary Clarice Hanna was born in New Providence, and grew up in the area at the heart of New Providence Island termed “Over-The-Hill”. Her family home still stands at the corner of Anderson street and Gaol Alley, one of the few original homes left. She was educated at The Government High School in New Providence, and Westwood High School, Jamaica. She holds associate degrees in Banking & Finance and Music from the College of The Bahamas, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Music from Acadia University, Nova Scotia, Canada. She is an Associate of the Bahamas Institute of Financial Services (ABIFS), and over the span of her 40-year financial services career she was employed at World Banking Corporation Limited / SFE Bank Limited, The Securities Commission of The Bahamas, Sentinel Bank & Trust Limited and The Private Trust Corporation Limited.
Since retirement in December 2006, Rosemary has been actively involved in the Social Outreach of St. Agnes Anglican Church which led to her writing the book Pictorial History and Memories of Nassau’s Over-The-Hill. The work was driven by Rosemary’s distress at the decay afflicting her childhood neighbourhood. Her initial response was to take pictures of some of the old homes that were still standing and posting them to her Facebook page. With the encouragement of the late Jackson L. Burnside III, the picture taking exercise evolved into the book.
With over 300 colour and black and white images of churches, homes and families,l Pictorial History and Memories of Nassau’s Over-The-Hill paints a picture of what life was like in the Over-The-Hill area of Grant’s Town and surrounding areas, beginning in the mid-nineteenth century, following Emancipation, when the area was settled by freed slaves. It includes a brief history of the settlement and development of the area, the role of the Church in that process, and introduces some of the people who lived Over-The-Hil.
Burnside wrote of the book:
Rosemary: You are starting a most important collection of images for the Architectural History of Bain and Grant's Towns. We have become the ancestors. There is so much information that will disappear with us unless we document as you are doing.
There are so many powerful lessons to learn from these houses: the relationship to the streets, the disposition of the gardens, the proportion of the footprint of the dwelling to the lot etc. Students come to Nassau from all... over the world ...to study our heritage, our urban condition and our buildings and we take it all for granted. How if our, so-called uneducated, ancestors could produce such beauty have we come to the point where we believe we are incapable of being productive, with all that we are supposed to know?
Rosemary’s documentary film “Nassau’s Over-The-Hill”, which is based on the book, premiered at Government House, official residence of the Governor-General, on 20 February 2014. Rosemary also subsequently hosted the educational TV series “The Bahamas – then and NOW”, focused on interviews with persons who were involved in the preservation of Bahamian history, heritage, the creative arts and culture.
She is a member of the Volunteer Reading Project which is supported by professionals and ordinary citizens who go to New Providence schools and summer camps to read to the children and give them books. She is also a member of the Creative Nassau team. This small group of private citizens succeeded in securing for Nassau, The Bahamas capital, membership in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) with the designation “Creative City of Crafts and Folk Arts”.
Her love of photography won for Rosemary an invitation to become a member of the Board of The “Bahamian Project”, as well as one of its photographers. The Project features and exhibits portraits of people from all walks of life in The Bahamas, and its aim is to create a permanent collection of portraits for posterity.
Rosemary served as the director of the Senior Choir at St. Agnes Anglican Church for twenty years. She was the founding director of The Anglican Chorale, and led that group for ten years. She is also an avid gardener and past president of The Horticultural Society of The Bahamas.
She enjoys the pleasures of family, church work, gardening, computer networking, photography and travel. She is a lover of the arts and of all things Bahamian. She has a lovely daughter, Clarice A. Cooper.