Friday, December 25, 2009

52 North Main Street, and more

To: Liz',/ Bob Judge
From:Don Halket, Dec. 25, 2009
Subject: South Hadley Falls

I remember North Main St. well. George Winslow, Marty, and Bobby Judge were childhood pals. My family,and brother Guil lived at 61 High St., one of Mrs. F.M. Smith's rentals.

I remember that Tommy Quirk lived in #50. I believe he died quite young. We moved from SHF in 1937 to Newton Center, near Boston, then to Manchester, NH for my senior year in HS. While there I had a visit from two brand new Navy men, George Winslow and Georga Duncan. I was laid up with rheumatic fever at the time. My family moved back to Holyoke and I went into the Navy in 1943.

Yes, I was named "Groucho" by Bobby Judge and the name stuck. You will have to ask Marty why. For civility sake I can't reveal it here.

...I wonder if Marty remembers when we built a "divng helmet" from a large can, a piece of glass, a hose and a bicycle pump.

We had much fun in those days, but the project met with disaster when one of the shoulder straps broke, spilling all the air.

...I remember you Liz' very well.

My wife Millie and I have two daughters, two grandsons, and a brand new great grand-daughter. Time flies.


From: Elizabeth Johnson
To: Mary Lawler Sent: Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Subject: Re: 52 North Main St.

Hi Mary Lawler,
"52" was sold after my father, Sumner P. Winslow, passed away in 1968...  I left home when I was married in 1948.  I loved the house too and my children have fond memories of running up the backs and down the fronts, and having floral snowball fights with the fruit of the bush by the back steps.  I loved belting out tunes in the garage - it was like having a mike...My brother George and I used to play with cars and soldiers under the porch in the silty sand.  I loved visiting Mrs. F. M. Smith's beautiful rose garden next door.  I wonder if that has been kept in good condition...  Mary Nolen McGrath (…the Nolen family who lived at "50") is coming up today for a few days...It's nice to know you love the house...I hope you have many happy years there.
- Liz Elizabeth Winslow Johnson
From: Mary Lawler
To: Elizabeth Johnson
Sent: Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Subject: Re: 52 North Main St.
How nice to hear from you Elizabeth...Bunny Popp did indeed buy 52 from your family..  Both Bunny and Maurine are gone now but their son Steve still lives next door...the porch...had fallen into a bit of disrepair...  I am trying to keep the house as original as possible and I don't believe that Greek revival houses in 1847 had porches but I am still digging.  I would LOVE to put a porch back, it's on my wish list.  No bush by the back steps anymore.  But we have done quite a bit of landscaping and tidying up because the house had been rental property for a while and had become seriously overgrown and scraggly.  Mrs. Smith rose garden is being maintained by Mary Popkowski, she and her husband Mitch live in that big old house on the other side...  I am so grateful that your family is willing to share stories and information with me.  I am keeping records, photos and stories in a book which will remain with the house.  There are still so many mysteries..
My Best
Mary Lawler
From: Elizabeth Johnson
Sent: Thursday, July 16, 2009
To: Mary Lawler
Cc: Christine Winslow; Bob Judge
Subject: Re: 52 North Main St.
Hi Mary: My brother was George Haxton Winslow II, born on 7/5/1924 while my parents were living in NYC.  My father, Sumner P. Winslow, b. 7/5/1889 was a textile broker in Fall River, MA and later with Butler and Prentice in NYC.  He married my mother Ruth Elizabeth Webster on 8/25/1919.  They came back to an apartment in Holyoke after “THE CRASH" and lived there until "52" was ready.  Mrs. F. M. Smith made it into a two family house for my parents and grandparents.  It was probably 1931, 2, or 3 when we moved in, 'cuz I started first grade in the Old Carew St. School and I had to be 6.  I was born in 9/9/27 (I’ll expect a birthday card!).  We lived in Mt. Vernon, NY at the time though my mom came, temporarily, to be with her family in SH when it came time for me to enter the world.  The pool table was in the room off the kitchen, the dining room was always the middle room with a den off that, and of course, the living room was the front room.  Brother George had his band rehearsals in that living room.  Actually, it was Jimmy Young's Band and my brother played the trumpet in it.  My father moved to SH when he was 12 so that means they (they being George I, Mary, and children Clyde, Ethel, and Sumner, and maybe Mildred although she may have been married by this time) moved to SH in 1901.  They lived in the house on the other side of Mrs. Smith's all the time he was growing up.  He had a Morgan horse with which he hauled a wagon in order to deliver groceries for Lane's Market on Main St. Mother's parents were Benjamin and Elizabeth Webster and lived in the first house on the left (going from N. Main) on High St.  The Halket and Adams families later lived in that house.  Is there still a barn attached to the garage at 52?  This is probably more info than you wanted...I will look for pictures this weekend...  More later....
- Liz Winslow Johnson
From: Bob Judge
To: Elizabeth Johnson; Mary Lawler
Cc: Christine Winslow
Sent: Friday, July 17, 2009
Subject: RE: 52 North Main St.
Dear Elizabeth: ...I was talking this morning with Brian Duncan, George Duncan's younger brother, and Brian said he remembers you.  And tonight I spoke with my uncle Dave Judge who remembers you well.  Dave has a terrific memory for your old S. Hadley days.  He said you dated Bill Bennett, with whom I became friendly with a few years ago.  He said he remembers the shed behind 52 N. Main Street where as a group of children they once climbed onto the roof, and where he once sat on a nail that necessitated getting a tetanus shot.  He said that you went to college in Maine...  Dave and my grandmother (Amy Stone Judge 1896-1976) talked to me about Judge Nolen and his family, when the Nolens lived at 50 North Main Street.  My grandmother greatly enjoyed the book by, I believe, his son William, the doctor who wrote "The Making of a Surgeon" in 1970.  I met his brother James Nolen when he was a Massachusetts state representative in the early 1970's, when he visited UMASS, where I was in school there.  I believe that James was later a lawyer in Ware MA and I wonder if he is still there.  Dave mentioned your sister “Mary,” so I’m thinking that that Mary Nolen McGrath is the sister of William and James Nolen.  The Halket family to which you refer must have included Donald.  My uncle Martin wrote to me that, “Donald "Groucho" Halket grew up in the first house on the left as you went down High Street from North Main.  He, your father, Winslow, and I were the gang when we were in grade school.”  It’s a pleasure to meet another Winslow!

Bob Judge
From: Elizabeth Johnson
Sent: Saturday, July 18, 2009
To: Bob Judge
Cc: Mary Lawler; Christine Winslow...
Dear Bob: It's so nice to connect with you and everyone in SH.  Now that my cousin Marion Webster Lippmann has passed away (April, '08) I don't visit anymore.  I talked with Beth Dietz (my cousin Margaret Webster Smiledge's dau.) just a week or so ago...  Yes, I dated Bill Bennett.  He lived up in the center on Hadley St. and went to grammar school there.  I met him at SHHS.  His father was a or THE florist for Mt. Holyoke.  He was and probably still is a very nice guy.  The Halket gang included my brother George...My father played with Mrs. Smith's sons.  The one who was in the firm of Merrill, Lynch, Pierce, Fenner and SMITH was her son "Win" whom my father accidentally shot while playing cowboys and indians.  Did I relate the info that your grandmother Judge was my girl scout troop leader?  She was a wonderful influence and genuinely nice person.  And I remember your uncles Marty and David very well.  Your dad was a member of our football team...  We played in the field across from your grandparents house when it was on Lathrop St. - now the rotary...  In reference to the shed mentioned by David---there was (and still is, I think) a two car garage attached to "52" and attached to that a large barn which was attached to the Smith's garage by a small structure about 6 ft. high (maybe the "shed" referred to by David).  We used to climb up on that to get up to the garage roof - where we usually got the whistle, stomping and hollering from my mother...  There also a good climbing tree in the area between the two garages and our house.  And a great sliding hill behind the houses in Cordes Court right down to a few yards from High St., when conditions were good.  ...Miss Pratt was very kind... Mary Nolen's brother Bill also had a dance band in which Bill Bennett played the trumpet.  Bill died after three heart surgeries while waiting for a transplant.  His wife also passed away some years ago.  He had 6 children also, 3 of each.  Jimmy Nolen is practicing law in Ware where he lives with his wife Janet.  The youngest of his six boys just graduated from college.  Judy Nolen lives in the Springfield area and has recently retired from teaching.  Has 5 children.  She and her sister Mary get together often.
Aunt Ethel Winslow was first grade teacher and principal of the Woodlawn School off Newton St.  She lived with her parents and then with my parents, and then the Cotter Nursing Home across the street, until her death in 19fifty-something.  Aunt Clyde Winslow taught school in Long Branch, NJ.  Don't know when she left 52...She passed away in 1945.  Aunt Mildred Winslow Prentice lived in NYC and later California.  She also taught school, before marrying.  Ethel went to Gorham Normal School in Gorham, Maine (now University of Maine), Clyde went to Wheelock, and Mildred went to Simmons.  By the way, she lived to be 103; died of pneumonia after falling and breaking her hip.  She had two children and three grandchildren.  I communicate with her granddaughter who lives in Corvallis, Oregon.
Mary's Kitchen and Jack and Alta Ford's Restaurant were favorite lunch places during high school.  Conti and Veto's Restaurant had the best CHOPPED HAM AND PICKLE SANDWICHES ever made on the planet.  And getting back to the band business - I think it was Bill Bennett's Band with Bill Nolen playing the sax...and they practiced at Nolen's house...  I'd like to know who else played in it...They had a great female vocalist named "Babe" of whom I was very jealous.  I am going to copy this to Mary so she can add historical facts or correct any errors.  Mary lives in West Simsbury, CT, had 5 children.  This has been fun - and who knows - there may be more MEMORIES floating to the surface of crater lake in my brain (?)  My best to you and your uncles....  Okay, I guess that is all for now.
Best always
Liz Winslow Johnson
From: Bob Judge Sent: Saturday, July 18, 2009
To: 'Elizabeth Johnson
Cc: Christine M. Winslow
Subject: RE: 52 North Main St.
Dear Liz: ...Yes Bill Bennett is a fine guy who lives in Agawam.  I met him when he visited the Old Firehouse museum a few years ago.  He has occasionally attended dinner meetings of the South Hadley Historical Society, also sometimes attended by his old S. Hadley friends John Zebryk, Ed Nardi, Bill Cary, and/or my uncle Dave.  John Zebryk graduated from S. Hadley High School in 1947 and although he left S. Hadley as a young man, he has retained a strong interest in the town and contributes to the blog, as does Bill Cary.  Both live in Florida now.  ...  I have heard of Miss Pratt of course.  She was mentioned by several people who participated in the oral history project, which you can see at  Bill Bennett also participated, but his interview has not yet been transcribed, unfortunately.  ...
 - Bob

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Labor of Love: Community project turns into tribute to town veterans



Saturday, December 12, 2009

SUNDERLAND - "Sunderland's Veterans: A Book of Remembrance" is a historical document, a collection of letters, photos and stories about every town resident who ever served in the United States Armed Forces.

It is also a testament to the gratitude and respect Sunderland residents have for the service of their neighbors.

That was not its original intent. When members of the Sunderland Veterans Memorial Committee set about creating "A Book of Remembrance" two years ago, they sought to create something that would show the town's appreciation for those who had contributed their time, effort and money to the construction of the Veterans Memorial that had been completed in the summer of 2007.

But as community endeavors have a habit of doing, one thing led to another, and the rest, so to speak, is history.

"The book grew out of recognizing the people who donated to the memorial, and kind of evolved from there to a recognition of everyone from the donors to the veterans," said Dan Van Dalsen, a Veterans Memorial committee member.

The book contains a chapter that lists those who contributed to the monument, and another that details every significant moment in the monument's construction. But it is also much more.

The crux - and perhaps most impressive feature - of the book are the chapters dedicated to telling the stories of the town's veterans. The stories begin in the French and Indian War, before the United States had declared its independence, and continue through every major conflict up until 2007.

Today, the book is available for viewing at the Sunderland Library, the culmination of two years of work by Van Dalsen and the two other Sunderland Veterans Memorial Committee members, Janet Conley and Will Sillin.

The trio solicited stories from family members, collected letters written by the veterans and pored over town records for biographical information on each soldier. The group also worked with members of the Historical Society, who provided information on veterans from the earliest conflicts: the French and Indian War, the Revolutionary War and the Civil War.

Van Dalsen, a retired lieutenant colonel who served 38 years in the Air Force, said the stories help bring to light the sacrifices made by those who served. "The story behind the name really brings home the fact that there was a real person with a real life behind that name," Van Dalsen said in a recent interview at the Sunderland Library.

He said the letters especially can be quite moving. "Some of the histories you read just bring you to tears," VanDalsen said.

Sillin made a similar point.

"When you get the personal photos with the family snapshots and the stories, it strikes you. It's a revelation in a way: You can't thank these people enough," Sillin said. "When you get the personal story, that's when that thought really hits me."

Van Dalsen noted that much generosity has gone into the production of the book. When the group took the idea to Bridgeport National Bindery, the company immediately agreed to bind the book for free. Today it is in a leather binder, giving it the look of an encyclopedia.

Van Dalsen said they chose a binder format so that future pages, about new veterans, can be added as needed. "It's going to become bigger, unfortunately," Van Dalsen said.

A condensed hard-copy version of the book will be available for purchase in the next couple of months, Van Dalsen said. Profits made are headed to maintenance costs of the Veterans Memorial, he said.

On a recent morning, Van Dalsen and Sillin flipped through the book, expressing awe at the actions described within it.

As an example of the type of heroics found in the book, they pointed to the story of Michael Magelinski, a Korean War veteran, who earned the Distinguished Service Cross after he carried his wounded patrol leader through waist-high snow to safety.

The Book of Remembrance also chronicles tragic stories as well, they noted. Richard Graves, a prodigy with machinery who first flew a plane at the age of 16, was the last Sunderland resident killed in action after his plane was shot down over Vietnam. His younger brother, David Graves, was sworn into the U.S. Navy's Aviation Program one month later.

Paul Korpita, a Sunderland native and longtime resident, submitted information to the book about his two brothers, Michael and Edward Korpita, both of whom fought in World War II. Michael was awarded a Purple Heart, the American Defense Medal and the Pacific Theater Service Medal, but died after his ship, the USS Dehaven, was sunk in an aerial attack, according to the book.

Edward Korpita also was aboard a ship that was sunk in battle, and yet he survived. Edward's ship, the USS Cooper, had been engaged in a brief firefight with the Japanese destroyer, the Kuwa. The Cooper sank the Kuwa in a matter of minutes, but not before the Japanese vessel got off one last torpedo, which sunk the Cooper. Edward found refuge by clinging to a lifeboat, which he shared with fellow survivors from both the American and Japanese ships. The boat washed up in the Philippines, where Edward was rescued by the Filipino resistance, the book said.

In a phone interview, Paul Korpita said he was glad that both of his brothers would be remembered in the book. "It's a great thing," Korpita said. "Both of them were on losing ships, but Eddie washed up on shore and was rescued by the Filipinos, who took him up into the mountains. He told quite a story, and I thought that warranted getting into that book," Korpita said.

Conley said it was an honor to work on the book. "It is something that started to grow as a seed and has continued to blossom," Conley said. "The key I think to this is that the three of us worked on this with a great deal of respect and gratitude for those on the wall."

Contact the selectmen's office at 665-1441 for information about submissions and purchasing the book.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Do you need to transfer videotapes to DVD?


I would not normally put a advertisment on this blog.  However, I know that historians sometimes need to transfer old film to DVD. 

Jean Lawler is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and Harvard, a friend of South Hadley, and a good friend of mine.  I can assure you that any relative of hers would be reliable.  So, If you need to transfer old videotapes to DVD, you might want to check

- Bob Judge

From: Jean Lawler
Hello friends!

I'm writing to let you know...Mark E. Lawler this month...has decided to continue pursuing his undergrad degree starting in January here at  NorthShore Community College. He should finish his 2 year degree this summer and will transfer to UMASS Amherst to study environmental ed. Then his sights are set on Harvard Ed. (What is that about the acorn and the tree?)

Anyway, to earn money while he is in school, Mark has set up a media transfer business and will be making DVDs from VHS, miniDVD, Super8 and all that jazz.  Soon he will also be doing slides and photos to CDs.
I wanted to let you know about it in case you have recently looked at a shelf of videotapes and wondered what to do with them.

Here is the website Orders can be placed online...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Creating Holyoke: Voices of a Community

Creating Holyoke: Voices of a Community Documentary Premiere

Thursday December 10, 8 pm at Barnes & Noble in Holyoke!

You are invited to see the Creating Holyoke: Voices of a Community documentary in its first public showing!

Once considered the Paper Capital of the World, and home to premier cotton and silk mills, the history of Holyoke, Massachusetts offers a microcosm of American industrial development. Founded in 1848 as one of the nation's first planned industrial cities, Holyoke attracted successive waves of Irish, French Canadian, German, Polish, Jewish, and Italian immigrants who worked in the mills, established small businesses, raised their families, and created communities defined largely by ethnic and religious affiliation. However, by the mid-twentieth century, Holyoke, like so many American cities, found its industrial base rapidly disappearing. In the 1960s the most recent wave of people began re-creating Holyoke. Puerto Rican migrant farm workers, attracted by jobs in Western Massachusetts, began settling in old tenement houses once inhabited by earlier immigrant groups.

Join us as we tour Holyoke and learn how it has re-created itself throughout its rich history!

This documentary was funded in by The National Endowment for the Humanities, the Nan and Matilda Heydt Fund, the City of Holyoke and WGBY.

The show looks amazing and we could not be more thrilled to invite you to attend!

Please pass on to anyone you think would be interested!

Kate Thibodeau
Holyoke City Historian

Friday, November 27, 2009

Elliot B. Lyman Portrait Whereabouts?

From: Bob Williford <>
Date: Fri, Nov 27, 2009 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Elliot B. Lyman Portrait Whereabouts?

I received a call from out of state inquiring about the whereabouts of a portrait (caller implied it was an oil painting) of Elliot B. Lyman.  She believed it was presented to the South Hadley High School in the 1950s by the South Hadley Men's Club.  She thought the high school had "gotten rid of it."

Since the high school's library is named for Lyman, I asked their librarian, but she didn't know anything about it.

Anybody in the Historical Society know where it ended up?

Bob Williford
Reference Librarian
South Hadley Public Library
South Hadley, MA 01075
(413) 538-5045
FAX: (413) 539-9250

"All of us are smarter than any of us"

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Archiving the Collection News by Mary Lawler

The work has begun on digitally archiving the collection of The South Hadley Historic Society. After the coding system was established, work began on the photograph and post card collection. Each piece is being scanned, numbered and organized, and being returned to an archival environment where necessary. Throughout the process all records will be archived to CD.

This process is necessary to ensure that future generations will have access to information and images, when investigating their genealogy, writing articles or papers, and for research by historians and archivists. Many pieces in collections are facing ruin especially paper and fabric that is not encapsulated. Light, air pollution, and inherent acids are slowly destroying these items. The archiving process not only digitally records these pieces but also provides an opportunity to store them in an archival manner, if it has not already been done.

Addressing some of the concerns raised about the process, every photograph, paper or object in the collection will be handled with the utmost care. Objects in the collection that are of questionable historic value will be set aside but will not be disposed of without the Board of Directors review and vote after the archiving process is completed.

These records are not intended to be posted on the Internet, advertising what the Society has custody of, rather, the records be available in digital format when requested. One image was recently published by The Ensign on Page 20: A brief history of the South Hadley Inclined Plane Canal.  Digital archives also insure the information and images are preserved in case of any damage by fire, water or accident.

It is expected the entire project will span a three-year period, in part because it is volunteer driven.  At this writing, only three people are working on the process and many more are needed. Computer skills are not necessary for many of the tasks and all help is welcome. If you are interested in learning about archiving, or have some archiving or photography experience and would like to help, email Mary Lawler at

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

From Martha Terry RE November 12 Know Your Town meeting

Dear Bob,

Would you kindly forward this flier to any email lists you have, for example, the Progressive Democrats of South Hadley, the Historical Society, etc?  Thank you for doing this.


Martha Terry

Know Your Town

"Comprehending the Comprehensive Plan"


A framework for how South Hadley can revitalize its base,
Plan for growth in housing and where to locate it,
Retain our open space and natural treasures,
Cultivate our historical and cultural assets,
Strengthen our schools and municipal facilities
And communicate our community's business

THURSDAY, NOV. 12   7 P.M.
So Hadley High School Library

Come hear, share and participate

Presenters will be members of the
Comprehensive Planning Advisory Committee

Monday, October 19, 2009

From Meghan Gelardi Holmes, formerly the Assistant Curator at the Skinner Musuem


Congatulations to your husband, although your departure is a loss for Western Massachusetts historians!  I'll post your message at The S. Hadley Historical Society blog
- Bob Judge


On Mon, Oct 19, 2009 at 1:44 PM, Meghan Gelardi Holmes <> wrote:
Hi Bob,

Thank you for the invite. You may not have heard, but I've left the area - my husband secured a post-doc position at Princeton, so we have moved. I'm in the process of finding a museum job here now!

My replacement has not been hired yet, but I'll forward this message on to Wendy Watson at the Art Museum. When the new person is found for Skinner, I hope they'll get in touch with you and the Society to continue talks about future collaborations.

All my best,

Meghan Gelardi Holmes
Skinner Museum Assistant Curator

Mount Holyoke College Art Museum
Lower Lake Road
South Hadley, MA 01075-1499
(413)538-2245  fax (413)538-2144

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Dinner meeting - Monday, October 26 at 6:30 p.m. at the Falls Congregational Church

The next dinner meeting of the South Hadley Historical Society will be Monday, October 26, 2009, at 6:30 p.m. at the Falls Congregational Church 11 North Main Street in South Hadley.

The menu will include tossed salad, chicken stew, buttermilk cheddar biscuits, and mini pecan pumpkin pies. The cost is $13.00

At 7:30 p.m., Society member Mark Larrow will give a talk about "Historic Breweries of the Pioneer Valley.”

To make a dinner reservation, please contact John Zwisler at 413-533-5672 or

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

RE: Never to be forgotten

Dear Sally:

Yes, that would be Holyoke Water Power.  Yes, Jack Croke’s passing was a loss. 

Thanks for the permission to post this.  Someone like Bill Cary or John Zebryk might have a thought here.  - Bob

From: SJ Benson
Sent: Wednesday, October 14, 2009 8:08 PM
To: Bob Judge
Subject: Re: Never to be forgotten

Bob…You may post the message as is.

…Roger Burr was the boy; a good friend but we "lost" him after grammar school.

I was recently in town briefly to see my sister Barbara (Benson Chaffee) Peterson's family one year since her death.  Thanks for a wonderful town whose long history is rich and which nourished us all.

Sally Benson

From: SJ Benson
Sent: Wednesday, October 14, 2009 7:12 PM
To: Peter S…
Cc: …bob Judge…
Subject: Re: Never to be forgotten

Thank you, Peter.  I often think about the fact that the "discovery" and opening of the camps was happening just as we were starting First Grade - just days after V-J Day.  We were largely kept ignorant of the true WWII and post war world of our peers in Europe and Asia because by the time it would have been appropriate to be taught, the country was immersed in the McCarthy Hearings and the bitter Cold War. 

  The Croke book about the South Hadley generation just ahead of us speaks of the German POWs in town working in the fields.  First I had ever known that.  At Center School we had a boy arrive from England in 4th grade and a German family w/o father in the 6th - related to the Barretts of the Water Company.  As adults some of us thought back and wondered what their young stories were.  Brigitta in our class came to our 8th grade reunion a few years back and did talk about it some.  I wonder if Carew and Granby had refugee children.  (I started grade school in Granby.)  Fond regards, Sally

South Hadley Historical Society - September 2009

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

"Recorded tales bring history to life" - Holyoke - CLICK here for oral interviews

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

HOLYOKE - The "Dynamiters Club" was an informal group of labor crusaders who met in a friend's kitchen on Saturday nights to talk about union issues in the 1920's.

"Some of them were my friends," says Wyatt E. Harper.

Harper, who died in 1983, says this in a reedy though not unpleasant voice, a storyteller's voice.

"To understand the Dynamiters Club, you must understand almost without exception they were dyed-in-the-wool labor. They were all labor men," Harper says.

"You want to know what the Dynamiters talked about? They talked about Prohibition. When Al Smith was running for the presidency, they talked about, what would the party stand for? You'd be surprised at the depth of understanding that these men showed in economic matters."

Tape recordings of Harper, who taught history at Holyoke High School and wrote the book "The Story of Holyoke," are among nearly 60 oral histories about Holyoke now available online.

As for the group name, Harper told his interviewer: "I don't know. There was one member within the Dynamiters assembly there, they called him dynamite. Dynamite O'Connor."

The in-their-own-voices accounts provide pockets of history that otherwise might have gotten overlooked.

City Historian Kate N. Thibodeau, headquartered at Wistariahurst Museum on Cabot Street, came up with the idea to interview people about how they lived and what they saw, heard, smelled and felt in their slices of Holyoke.

It actually wound up being a cool project with some cool people involved," Thibodeau said.

The oral histories are available at

The project involved doing new interviews over the past year and digitizing others, like those of Harper, that were done in the 1970's and 1980's. It was funded with a $5,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Thibodeau said.

Volunteers were enlisted to do the interviews. To prepare, they met once a month from November to May with Thibodeau and Laura Miller, a graduate student in history from the University of Massachusetts.

The volunteers were instructed in how to do interviews: "Each interview should be at least one hour long, but if the conversation is flowing and you would like to continue, please do!" reads an information sheet given to volunteers.

They also had a reading list and assignments to do between meetings.

Four digital voice recorders were bought and volunteers could sign them out at Wistariahurst to do interviews.

Volunteers were free to choose whom they interviewed, with each encouraged to interview three to four people.

Each volunteer was required to transcribe their interviews.

It fell to Thibodeau to edit the recordings to the one- to two-minute snippets posted online. The original recordings are stored intact.

 While three or four or more snippets are available for each subject, the editing was difficult, given how hard volunteers worked and accessible the subjects were, she said.

"I mean, it's terrifying, in fact," she said.

Those who were interviewed had to sign releases stating that they allowed their comments to be used, she said.

Julie C. Bullock, of Ware, the weekend supervisor at Wistariahurst, loved doing the interviews. She recorded the histories of six people, including Karlene E. Shea and Shirley Morrison, docents at Wistariahurst.

"The best gift is to listen to somebody, listen to what they say, that what they have to say is important, that what they did was important," Bullock said.

She focused her interviews on asking people what had changed over the years. Some recalled seeing the milk man and the ice man coming down their street, she said.

"There were all these luscious memories," she said.

Among the oral histories is that of Cecile Barthello. She was born in Montreal, Canada, in 1906, came to Holyoke after World War I, worked at the Merrick Factory, ran a rest home on Northampton Street and died in 2004.

A minor regret, she says in her interview, is failing to learn English at a younger age.

"We could have had much better jobs," Barthello said.

Family and friends would play Canadian orchestra records on a Victrola, she said.

"We were very nostalgic," she said.

Gustavo Acosta, chairman of the board of directors of the local Nueva Esperanza Inc., said in his oral history that he moved here 12 years ago from New York City.

"I was looking for a place that would be home," Acosta said.

His wife got a degree at Smith College in Northampton. He got a job as resident coordinator of 425 units of affordable housing. Holyoke became home, he said.

"People were very warm and friendly," Acosta said.

Thibodeau said the oral history recordings will be available to teachers for use in classrooms.

Philip Smith of the South Hadley Smith family, 1919-2009 - CLICK HERE

From: George Smith
To: John Zwisler, Bob Judge
Sent: Tuesday, October 6, 2009 2:00:13 AM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
Subject: Re: Smith Family

I know you both have had an interest in the Smith family from South Hadley. I am saddened to tell you that my father Philip Cushman Smith, one of the three remaining Smith cousins, died Oct 1, 2009 at age 90. The other two are Luella Smith Bousquet and Marvin Smith. I've sent along an obituary and picture so you can update your archives. I plan to continue working on my family's history though I will be severely hobbled without by father's insight. I hope you will continue to share with me tidbits you may come across and I will do likewise. - George Smith

------ Original Message ------
Received: Mon, 13 Jul 2009 03:56:27 PM EDT
From: John Zwisler
To: George Smith
Subject: Smith Family

Dear George,

I have mailed to you today some local information I had gathered about the Smith farm and family. Please accept this with my compliments, I hope it will be of interest to you.


John Zwisler

Philip Smith, Amherst native, WWII veteran


by Daily Hampshire Gazette
AMHERST - Philip Cushman Smith died on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2009, at the age of 90 in Sandy Spring, Md.
He was born Feb. 11, 1919, in Amherst, the son of Edith Maria Stevens and Philip Henry Smith. He was preceded in death by his sister Katherine Stevens Smith and brother Allerton Butterfield Smith. He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Ary Stathis Smith; his son George Philip Smith; his daughter-in-law, Valerie Thomakos Smith; two grandchildren, Philip Constantine Smith and Alia Theodora Smith; and two nephews, David Stevens Smith and Stephen Allerton Smith.

Mr. Smith graduated from Amherst High School in 1937 and Williston Academy (now Williston-Northampton School) in 1938. In May 1942, Mr. Smith graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor's of Arts Degree in English from Brown University in Providence, R.I. He was inducted into the U.S. Army in July 1942, and served in World War II, first in the 13th Armored Division, 46th Tank Battalion, and later in the Army Air Force from where he was honorably discharged in 1946 having attained the rank of staff sergeant. After the war, he worked for two years in the print shop owned by his friend, Hamilton I. Newell. He then enrolled in the College of Engineering and Science at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, Pa., now part of the Carnegie Mellon University, from where he graduated in 1950 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Printing Administration.

Mr. Smith worked in the printing business his entire career, which included long tenures at the National Publishing Co., later McCall Printing Co. Mid-Atlantic Division, and Corporate Press Inc., from where he retired in 1985. He enjoyed a long retirement, living with his family in Brinklow, Md., where he enjoyed the company of his wife, son, daughter-in-law, and beloved grandchildren. Mr. Smith was a lifelong musician, having taken up the clarinet at age 12 and later the saxophone. He played professionally during college and then again after retirement with such groups as the Roland Cumberland Band, the Olney Big Band, and the Rockville Concert Band, with whose 77 members he participated in a Sister City Exchange to Pinneberg, Germany, in 1989.

Mr. Smith traces his paternal line to 1634, when his Smith ancestors first settled on the Massachusetts coast; then Wethersfield, Conn.; Hadley and South Hadley; and finally Amherst. He and his brother were also proud to be Mayflower descendants through among others, their Cushman and Allerton lines. Though he attended the Universalist Church as a child, he was baptized into the Greek Orthodox faith in 1989. Interment will take place at the Greek Orthodox Cemetery in Baltimore, Md.

In lieu of flowers, please direct contributions in memory of the deceased to the Wounded Warrior Project by using the downloadable form or on-line form found at

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

South Hadley Flood of 1936 by John Zwisler

South Hadley Historical Society - The Flood of 1936 - by John Zwisler
South Hadley MA -
Oct 6, 2009

John Zwisler of the South Hadley Historical Society is a regular contributor to the Town Reminder.
Message from:
South Hadley Historical Society - The Flood of 1936 - by John Zwisler
To share your photos or receive notification when your friends share photos, get your own free Picasa Web Albums account.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Finding Funds in Troubled Times -- PVHN Gathering #7

From: Cliff McCarthy <>
Date: Thu, Oct 1, 2009 at 11:52 PM
Subject: Finding Funds in Troubled Times -- PVHN Gathering #7

Dear PVHNers,
I am once again pleased to present to you our Fall Gathering: "Finding Funds in Troubled Times", to be held on Wednesday, October 28 at the White Church in Historic Deerfield.

Attached you will find our Program for the day, along with descriptions of the presentations and workshops. Also attached is a Registration Form you may use to reserve your spot and order your lunch.  This info is also available at our website:

As always, we endeavor to keep our events as affordable as possible and I'm sure you will recognize the value of this topic for us all.

Register as soon as possible and I hope to see you all there!
Cliff McCarthy
Chair, PVHN Steering Committee

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Jonathan Edwards' Northampton

Historic Northampton
Jonathan Edwards' Northampton
Reading and Cemetery Tour  October 3

Jonathan Edwards
Jonathan Edwards is often caricatured as the stern Puritan who preached fire and brimstone sermons such as his notorious "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God". Yet Edwards was also America's preeminent genius of the 18th century. Besides being a moving force in the Great Awakening, Edwards was a relentless speculative scientist, an acute psychologist, a world famous theologian and philosopher.  Edwards first came to Northampton in 1726 to assist his grandfather, Solomon Stoddard, in his ministry. When Stoddard died in 1729, the young, but brilliant, Jonathan Edwards took his place.

There has been great interest in Jonathan Edwards' Northampton in recent years.  While his home is no longer extant, the remaining historical buildings can give us a glimpse into Edwards' Puritan society.  The First Churches is located on the site of Jonathan Edwards' original meeting house.  The Manse, a private residence, was the early residence of Edwards' grandfather, Solomon Stoddard.  His grandfather and daughter, Jerusha Edwards, are buried in the Bridge Street Cemetery.  Visit Historic Northampton to learn more about Jonathan Edwards self-guided walking tours, merchandise and online research resources.

Historic Northampton is pleased to announce that novelist Susan Stinson will present two events in honor of Jonathan Edwards on Saturday, October 3.  The events are sponsored by the Forbes Library.  See below for more information.

Jonathan Edwards in Northampton: Reading and Cemetery Tour with novelist Susan Stinson

Northampton meeting houseSaturday, October 3, 2009
Walking Tour, Bridge Street Cemetery, 10 am
Reading, First Churches, 129 Main Street, 7 pm

Jonathan Edwards, widely considered to be America's most brilliant theologian, was minister at what is now First Churches in Northampton from 1727 to 1750.  The spiritual and intellectual richness of Edwards' inner world is matched by the dramatic events of his life, including the ambiguities in his role as a slave owner.

Susan Stinson is the award-winning author of three previous novels and a collection of poetry and lyric essays.  She has received awards and grants from the Lambda Literary Foundation, the Deming Fund, the Wurlitzer Foundation, the Millay Colony, and the Blue Mountain Center, among others.  She's been at work on Spider in a Tree, her novel about Jonathan Edwards, for seven years.  She lives in Northampton.

For the cemetery tour, go to the Parsons Street entrance of the Bridge Street Cemetery in Northampton, and look for the red trike with the Jonathan Edwards tour sign.

Sponsored by Forbes Library

Featured Publication: Jonathan Edwards and the Gospel of Love
by Ronald Story

Jonathan Edwards and The Gospel of Love
In one of the most recent contributions to Edwards studies, Ronald Story examines Edwards' legacy and how it has been constructed and reconstructed over the last two centuries. Story argues that an essential element of Edwards' thought and work has been filtered out by theologians and historians alike. The "real" Edwards, Story contends, must include not only his jeremiads and his Enlightenment reflections but also his neglected writings that suggest that love of beauty, harmony, and humanity as well as fear of God have a place in the firmament.

Purchase Online

Walking Tours and Informational Kiosks

Northampton Historic MarkersHistoric Northampton recently installed a series of seven historic markers linking selected sites from Florence Center to the Bridge Street Cemetery. Each marker provides a link in a chain of interpretation telling the story of Northampton's history. Containing colorful historical photographs and prints, these site markers tie history and place together. 

There are two of particular interest to the Jonathan Edwards enthusiast - the First Churches kiosk and a historic marker at The Manse, the early residence of Jonathan Edwards' grandfather.

Find more information on the Northampton Historic Markers

Historic Northampton also offers A Visitors' Guide to Paradise: Historical Walking Tours of Northampton, Massachusetts containing six walking tours, including Jonathan Edwards' Northampton.

Purchase A Visitors' Guide to Paradise

Online Research Resources

Historic Northampton Online ResearchHistoric Northampton Museum is now offering exclusive subscription access to its extensive online archives - a reference portal to one of the most unique historical collections in New England. 

Join Today!

Visit our Reference Shelf for additional resources related to Jonathan Edwards.

Jonathan Edwards in Northampton: Reading and Cemetery Tour
Featured Publication: Jonathan Edwards and the Gospel of Love
Walking Tours and Informational Kiosks
Online Research Resources

Visit Historic Northampton's Website!

historic northampon

Safe Unsubscribe

Historic Northampton | 46 Bridge Street | Northampton | MA | 01060

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Forbes Library Events- Gazette Index program

Explore the Hampshire Gazette newspaper index

Wednesday September 30, 2009 at 7pm
Community Room, Forbes Library  

 An illustrated talk on the Hampshire Gazette Index.  This index was completed through the WPA project and includes the years 1786-1937 and provides one of the few subject indexes with access to eighteenth and nineteenth century newspapers. Learn about the treasures in your community newspaper!
Presenter: Elise Bernier-Feeley, Local History & Genealogy Librarian. 

Soul of a People: Writing America's Story, a series of programs funded by the National Foundation for the Humanities and presented by Holyoke Community College and Wistariahurt Museum. For a list of all events, see

Forbes Library
20 West Street
Northampton, Massachusetts 01060

Safe Unsubscribe

Forbes Library | 20 West Street | Northampton | MA | 01060