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
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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