Sunday, August 30, 2009

Mitton, Walker, Blackhall, Brooksbank

From: LF O'Donnell
Sent: Friday, July 24, 2009 1:57 PM
Subject: Re: Question

One of the Mittons...descendants, moved to NJ and about seven years ago was killed in the line of duty (he was a cop)...I always think of them as from SH even though they did come from Holyoke and a few of them are buried in Forestdale. The South Hadley familes I am REALLY interested in that are connected to me are the Walker and Blackhall families.

David W. Walker (1878-1956) and Alice Roy Houston (1877-1950) were b in Scotland but settled in SH. Actually David's sister Jennie married Alice's brother Alex. But David and Alice raised their kids in SH while the others didn't that I am aware of.

The Blackhalls are connected to my Miles line. James Blackhall came from Scotland, served in the military during WWI. He married Agnes Brough in Holyoke, they had one daughter named Jean A. Blackhall and they lived in SH...There are reports that Agnes Brough Blackhall died and James married her sister, though that is all unverified...Another surname I keep an eye open for also found in SH is Brooksbank. One line in Holyoke is connected to...It interests me that so many Yorkshire, England folk ended up in Holyoke. Brooksbanks were here quite early and there were a lot of them...

Friday, August 28, 2009

Corporation Card File Search

Searching for some business history? It may be a longshot, but you could try the Corporation Card File Search that's hosted by the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth's Corporations Division at Click on the link to "Search the Corporate Card File Database," which is still a work in progress. I tried "Texon" and got scans of four cards. The date given is the "date of organization." These are very brief entries, but might answer some merger and acquisition questions. The Corporations Division says on their website that "If you need a document that is not already a PDF on our system please email us" and they will presumably copy or scan the corporation card that applies.


Bob Williford

Reference Librarian

South Hadley Public Library

South Hadley, MA 01075

(413) 538-5045

FAX: (413) 539-9250

How the California Gold Rush lured Valley fortune hunters - Click here for full story

Members of the South Hadley Historical Society have participated in the work of the Pioneer Valley Historical Network, which is responsible for this fine story.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Free Genealogy Workshop Sept 24, at Holyoke Public Library

...Free Genealogy Workshop that will be presented by Massachusetts State Reference Archivist, Janis Duffy. The Workshop will take place on Thursday, September 24 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Holyoke Public Library, 335 Maple Street, Holyoke, MA. Please call 413-552-2842 or email to reserve your spot.

Penni Martorell
Curator, Holyoke History Room & Archive
Holyoke Public Library
335 Maple Street, Holyoke, MA 01040
temporarilly housed at
Holyoke Community College, Donahue 204
303 Homestead Avenue, Holyoke, MA 01040


Monday, August 24, 2009

Clara Pierce, Civil War Wife

Thanks to John Zwisler and the Town Reminder

Clara Eliza Perce was the fourth of nine children born to Luther and Mary Ashley Pierce. Except for her brother John, who was born in Vermont, all the other children were born in Massachusetts and 180 census shows the family had settled here in South Hadley. Clara worked in a local mill until 1854, when at age 21, she married Amos B. Wood of Springfield. Their first child, Fred Luther, was born in Springfield in 1859.

After the Civil War started, Amos enlisted on August 15, 1862 for a nine month term with Company A of the 46th Massachusetts Regiment of Volunteers. Clara came back with her son, Freddie, age 3 to stay with her mother in South Hadley while Amos was gone. They corresponded sometimes twice a week during his absence. The first letter from Amos (from his actual writing) said “I think we will get away from Boston Harbor to Newbern, N.C., tomorrow morning. Clara I read your letter this morn & may your prayers be answered I shall try to do my duty & may God bless us all that you ask shall be granted. I saw Captain about the state aid & sinid the allotment roal for eight dollars a month which you can get at the city clerks office. Kiss that dear boy for me & may he be spared to you & may God bless you boath. My dear wfe I will close for this time and bid you good by for this time.”

In other letters home he writes of sleeping on the ground, waiting for clothes and receiving their guns. “The rifles are very heavy but rather pretty. I never saw eny like them. We have not tried them yet but think they will shoot well. I hired my washing done last week for five cents a peace. Don’t think I shall have eny more done as we are close to the rive so that I can do my own. It is not as big as the Connecticut river.” Amos relates about talking with the enemy across the river with all hoping the war will be over soon so they can out and go home.

Clara’s letters to Amos always told of how sick little Freddie was staying up nights with her and not being to go outdoors. She was living in the falls and writes in April of 1863, “I went to Holyoke and back yesterday doing a lot of walking and visiting friends and they all felt so sorry for Freddie being sick that they all sent him something. I had my bag full of one thing or another for him when I got home including a cake of maple sugar. I got him some thick sole shoes and took him out on the ground for the first time for twelve weeks and he enjoyed it.” Clara had heard that some of the regiment was going to re-enlist and said “I hope you will not think of it for a moment will you.”

The 46th regiment returned to Springfield and were given a reception at City Hall. They had participated in battles at Kinston, Whitehall, Goldsboro and twice repelled attacks on Newbern. Amos mustered out of the Army on July 29, 1863. Amos and Clara had three more children, Clarence 1868-1869, Minnie 1870-1952, and Maybelle 1873-1947. After returning from the war, Amos worked at the Springfield Armory, Milton Bradley Company, and was a Forest Park Policeman from 1896 until he died in 1902. Clara died in 1905 and is buried alongside Amos, Clarence, Minnie, and Maybelle in Oak Grove Cemetery in Springfield. Sickly little Freddie lived to be 83 and is buried in the Bridge Street Cemetery in Northampton with his wife and her parents. Amos wood had two brothers, who at different times, were president of the Chicopee Savings Bank, that had been incorporated in 1875.

Clara had to brothers that remained in South Hadley Falls. John Pierce bought the house at 30 Spring Street in 1864. He died young at age 47 and his wife continued living there until 1902, when she moved to Holyoke to live with a daughter. The house is still there. Edwin Pierce enlisted and then re-enlisted in the Volunteer Infantry in the Civil War. He was captured and spent time in Libby and Anderson prisons. Returning to the falls, he resumed his trade as a painter and paperhanger living with his family at 15 Methodist Street, now Gaylord Street. The house was torn down.

Clara Pierce Wood’s mother, father, four brothers, and one sister are buried in the South Hadley Falls-Village Cemetery.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

"George Herbert Smith...coming in 1852 to South Hadley Falls" - Click here

Thanks to Laurel O'Donnell for this story.

Friday, August 14, 2009

From Mary Lawler: South Hadley Historical Society Votes to Move Forward With Digital Archiving

From: Mary Lawler
Sent: Friday, August 14, 2009 2:30 PM
To: Bob Judge
Subject: Blog Post

South Hadley Historical Society Votes to Move Forward With Digital Archiving

At the August 12, 2009, meeting of the Executive Committee, it was voted unanimously to appropriate funds and move forward with digital archiving.

The need for The Firehouse Museum collections to be digitized is growing, not for the institution itself but for the ability to share information and images with other historical societies, libraries, universities, and repositories. What the South Hadley Historical Society has in its possession has great value, that is, the information the collection holds for the residents of South Hadley, students, genealogists, and historians.

Digitizing the collection will protect the information and images should they be lost, damaged, or destroyed. The real failure would be not to capture material now, that we will wish we captured, later. A foundation for this undertaking has already been laid, as over 400 items have been archived, numbered, and stored over the years and that information is in both hard copy and digital form. That represents a small portion of the items and documents that are still to be recorded.

Every object in the Society’s possession will be photographed, identified, described, numbered, and digitally archived for sharing on the web. In addition, all documents and photographs will be scanned and prepared for digital archiving and preservation. Items in the collection that will not stand the test of time will have their image and history preserved. The challenge will be to upgrade computer software systems as they are developed to keep the digital records accessible as new technology and formats are developed. With our feet firmly planted in the Information Age, it is the Society's responsibility to ensure that the collection in the possession of the Society is not only digitized and protected but also accessible to sister institutions and the public.

The Lelands...and more

Hi Bob,

It is truly great to read the blogs. The gal who did the blog on Peter Bain did a beautiful job. I saw him play only once and couldn't believe my eyes, although I wasn't surprised because his dad, Jackie, was a full-scale athlete.

Something made me think back to Barbara Leland, the doctor's daughter who lived on the corner of Bardwell and Carew. I am sure many old timers will remember her; she was a fun person.

Well...about twelve years ago my wife and I were able to visit with Barbara and Don who had a fabulous condo overlooking the Gulf on Bonita Beach up the road from us. One evening we arrived to an unforgettable surprise: sitting in the living room were Dick Sholl and his wife, Dick Bonneville and his second wife, Roberta Alvord and her husband...and, to top the surprises off, Janet Roberts, our biology teacher and neighbor, and her husband. She looked younger than we did!

On the way across the highway to dinner (I still call it "supper.") Dick Sholl asked me if I would give some thought to writing a fun history of South Hadley as we lived it.

Thinking of Barbara started me reminiscing about her dad, "Doc" Leland,who brought at least half of us kids into the world; and I had a flashback to the dvd that Barbara's daughter created from "Doc"'s old l6mms. It is a town treasure, and I hope it is still available for viewing in the Falls Library. Priceless shots of the '36 Flood. "Doc" always had to have the latest gadget on the market. So now we have that dvd.

Bob, how about some blogs from folks recalling the medical doctors we had in town. There must be a slew of anecdotes out there. I know I alone could go on for pages about "Doc" Leland. Besides being our family doctor he was a close family friend. I can still smell his office!

When we think back to those "town doctors" we sure have a rather startling contrast to the medical care today. Here in Florida we...are lucky to see them for fifteen minutes...

Hope the bloggers stay up late polishing their gems for us.

Bill Cary

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

From Bill Cary, South Hadley High School Class of 1939.

Date: 8/4/2009 3:14:55 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time
From: Bill Cary
To: Bob Judge, John Zebryk

Hi Guys,

Well it sure breaks the summer heat when another geyser erupts from SHF days of yore. The Dudleys! My head is swimming. I didn't realize there were so many hiding in the old burg. Connie Dudley went through school with me. Sweet person. I think her brother was John.

I am not going to get into the storage of genaeological tidbits. If everyone in SHF did a geneo. chart I suspect we would an go back to a common ancestor somewhere in Lichtenstein. And be sure that all would prove to have a Superman Nobleman at their roots who dropped his seed far and wide.

Now listen to this: In a book, The Uncommon People, the author reveals that a certain George or Edward Villiers, way, way back in like the Middle Ages, was a genetic sport who sired six sons and a daughter all with his remarkable characteristics. The descendants of this one man could be regarded as the saviors of Britain. They include Churchill, Eden, the Huxleys, Darwin,Virginia Woolf, Duke of Wellington, on and on. Truly amazing.

As you guys do your geneaologies you may find a "Villiers" in there somewhere. South Hadley owed its prominence to a fine gentleman, possibly, a certain...who lived on the site of the old fire station before it was built.

...getting that biographical directory for the Class of 1939. I want to see if my batting average is in there.

You guys have become dear friends, and I appreciate this wealth. Stay loose at all times!

Bill Cary

100 Morgan Street, South Hadley - Click here

Monday, August 10, 2009

The stencil kit of Ruth S. Williams


I have a "Little Artist" stencil kit that was, I believe, the property of Ruth S. Williams. There is a little envelope inside that has her name. It looks like it is from the 1850's to 1880s. I do have it on sale on Ebay, but that is not why I'm contacting you. I'm always curious about personal history mysteries. Do you have any information about any Ruth S. Williams in the dates listed above. If it helps the dating - there is one stencil of baseball uniforms from the early years of the game.

Many thanks,

Randy Jansen
August 10, 2009

Dear Mr. Jansen:

I will forward your question within the South Hadley Historical Society.


Bob Judge
South Hadley Historical Society

Oral History Event in Hatfield - Click here - Could we do this in South Hadley?

From: Kathie Gow <>
Subject: Oral History Event in Hatfield
Date: Thursday, August 6, 2009, 2:53 PM

Kate, hi. We met last spring at UMass, where I so enjoyed your presentation to the oral history group. I had hoped to make it to your May event on digital storytelling at the museum...I'd love to exchange stories sometime of how our grants went, or how yours is going (if it's continuing), and what we each learned. But before that might happen, I just wanted to let you know that next Thursday (Aug. 13) at 5:30, I will be hosting an oral history event in Hatfield, sponsored by the town's Council on Aging and the Hatfield Historical Society (see attached flyer). I will be playing edited clips of some of the great stories told by the four octogenarians I interviewed for my Hatfield Cultural Council grant on growing up and working in Hatfield. I expect the event to last about an hour, though the clips themselves only last about 30 minutes (17 clips in all)...I will introduce you and mention the Holyoke Memory Book project...

Kathie Gow,
Sent: Wednesday, March 11, 2009 5:30 PM
To: Kathie Gow
Subject: Re: Holyoke Memory Book

Hi Kathie!

I would love to meet and discuss Oral History with you. I am giving a presentation on Wednesday, March 25th on the 25th floor of the UMass Library in Amherst. Its a group of people who are trying to create an oral history center for the valley and have been meeting for 4-5 months about it...Let me know
> Kate Thibodeau

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Art Purcell - Falls Garage, 2 Bridge St., S. Hadley

From his son Donald, August 9, 2009 at the Old Firehouse Museum:

"Date of Photo unknown, probably between 1920 and 1928. The gun is a German Howitzer. Any comments, please call contact Don F. Purcell, Sr., 15 Joffre Ave., #2, S. Hadley, 413-313-4354."

Images of Hillside Beach/Lake?

Do you know where I can find images of Hillside Beach/Lake (currently the small lake/pond at Hillcrest Park Condominiums)?

David Ansaldi


at&t Mobility

Corporate Retail Store

359 Russell St / Rte 9

Hadley, Ma 01035

Cell: 413-626-2440


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Peter Bain, 1,999

By Judy Van Handle


The number sits atop the list of scoring leaders in South Hadley High basketball history on a banner that hangs at one end of Landers gymnasium.

Equal parts phenomenal and tantalizing, the number is a visible reminder of the legacy of the Tigers' most prolific male player ever.

Yet paradoxically, it's also symbolic of individual brilliance and of opportunities missed.

Forty years ago, Peter Bain was completing a high school career during which he became a certifiable legend, in just three seasons pouring in more points than any Western Massachusetts player to set a record that would stand for nearly 30 seasons.

But in his final game, with three chances to become only the second player in state history to crack the 2,000-point barrier, Bain was unable to complete the feat -- sinking a shot -- that had come so easily for three seasons.

Even more remarkably, it didn't then, or now, matter to Bain.

"It never bothered me," he said recently from his home in Frederick, Colorado, where he serves as the general manager of the Bella Rosa Municipal Golf Club. "I never think about it at all. I was just glad I had a part in it [South Hadley's success].

"I loved basketball, but it wasn't my life."

Now, his life is now far removed from his high school days. Whether as a club pro, course designer, administrator or player, golf is his sport and livelihood, though basketball has remained an important part thanks to a second-generation star.

Bain's son, Jack, was the nation's leading Division 2 rebounder during the 2003-04 season for the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs and still holds several school records.

"He wasn't like me; he had to work hard at it," said Bain.

That's just how former teammates remember Peter Bain -- as a basketball natural, a supremely gifted athlete with transcendent skills. Bain, a 6-foot-4-inch forward, shot the lights out from everywhere on the court and also mixed it up underneath the boards. And his offensive explosions came without the benefit of today's 3-point line, which would have enabled him to pile up even more points.

"He could shoot so well, he would have scored about a gazillion points [with the 3-point rule]," said Peter Gazda, who played alongside Bain in the Tigers' frontcourt. "He was the best pure high school shooter I was ever associated with and he played to win."

The roots of Bain's success were planted early, when the late Clem (Stum) Garbacik, a youth coach, would "leave the lights on," in Bain's words, at St. Patrick's Social Center to allow the 9-year-old a chance to shoot by himself after practice. "I spent all my time there," said Bain.

By the time he got to high school, Bain was a star in waiting. In the 1960s, freshmen weren't allowed to play on the varsity, but when Bain's chance came in the 1966-67 season, he immediately stepped into the starting lineup and made South Hadley into a feared team.

"He was pretty special," said guard Russ Marion. "I've never seen or played with anyone with his shooting ability. We were a good team, but Peter was a super player and made us that much better."

That was never more evident than on cold winter nights in 1969, when the hottest place to be in South Hadley was the high school gym to watch the Tigers roar to another Hampshire League championship during Bain's senior season.

"They used to shut the doors at halftime of the junior varsity game and wouldn't let anyone else in," said Marion.

The packed gym sometimes made play difficult.

"On out of bounds plays, we had to look out for the people sitting along the sidelines," said Bain.

Coming off a 1967-68 campaign in which he became the first junior in Western Massachusetts to reach 1,000 points in 12 years, 30- and 40-point outputs were the rule for Bain in 1968-69 as the Tigers sailed through the league schedule with an 18-0 league record and awaited postseason play.

Before the MIAA took over the administration of high school sports, basketball teams could compete in either the now-defunct large or small schools tournaments. South Hadley usually chose the smaller tourney, but the previous season, the Tigers had bowed out in the first round (Bain was unable to play due to a broken hand). This time, South Hadley voted to play with the big schools.

Bain was at his best in the first two games, pouring in 42 points in a quarterfinal win over Drury and then breaking a tie with a basket with six seconds to play to beat Chicopee Comp. But Bain was "held" to 23 points as the Tigers couldn't overcome top-seeded Commerce and fell in the final. South Hadley still earned a berth in the state tournament and a game at the Boston Garden against undefeated Catholic Memorial, which featured two future Division 1 college stars.

Bain needed 30 points to join former CM star Ron Teixeira as the state's second 2,000-point scorer, but that was part of the problem. "CM double- and triple-teamed Peter because they were trying to protect Teixiera's record," said Marion.

With South Hadley losing by 20 points in the fourth quarter, "Bain's teammates went all out for their star scorer, even by committing intentional fouls so they could regain possession," according to reporter Dick Osgood's account in the next day's Springfield Union.

With under a minute left, Bain needed just one point for 2,000, but misfired on two free throws, then tried on an off-balance jumper that hit the rim and fell off as time elapsed.

Bain was recruited by several top Division 1 programs, paying a campus visit to Oklahoma, but poor grades directed him instead to Tyler (Texas) Junior College. Once more, academic issues ended his stint in college.

"That's something I regret, having grades so bad that it limited my prospects," said Bain.

Back home, he tried a number of jobs, including construction, while working out with local players (including members of the 1974 Western Mass. champions, who were led by Ed Garbacik, the son of his youth coach).

He eventually moved to Colorado with his future wife, Lisa, a native of Sharon, Mass., who attended college in the area and can claim at least partial credit for his life in golf.

"My wife said she wouldn't marry me unless I had a career," said Bain.

He was the head pro at Ute Creek Golf Course in Longmont, then moved on to Bella Rosa and also designed its nine-hole course, which opened in 2006.

But basketball hasn't strayed far from his consciousness thanks to both his son's exploits and those of his daughter Chelsea, who followed Jack as a high school standout when the family lived in Longmont. He still visits South Hadley on an average of once a year, stays with Marion and his
family and "plays a little golf."

Judy Van Handle is a member of the South Hadley Historical Society.

RE: Dudley and Zebryk families


Last week, I received my copy of the South Hadley High School 2009 Directory. You are listed, which tells me that you ordered one too, and I assume that you received yours last week. I took a quick look at the last names and I noticed a Robert Dudley, Class of 1951. Because I am related to the Dudley family that lived on Lathrop St., I wondered if he might be a distant relative about whom I was unaware. So, I sent him an email, which set off a genealogical exchange between us over the past several days. Like Liz Winslow, Bill, and you, Bob provided some S. Hadley memories, and below is an excerpt of his email to me. Bob gave me permission to put it on the blog, which I will do, along with your August 3 email.

- Bob Judge



From: Robert Dudley

Sent: Friday, July 31, 2009 1:49 PM

To: Bob Judge

Subject: Re: Are you related to the Dudley family that lived on Lathrop Street?


…I lived at the corner of Taylor St. and Canal St. with the front of our house facing Taylor, thus 2 Taylor. James Dudley lived on Lathrop Street in a fairly big house… His wife was Anna… They had a daughter Mary and a son James. Also living in an apartment on the cut thru that went behind the old Fire Station was a brother. His name was John (more known as Jack). He spent a lot of time in the little restaurant on Main St. (in my time it was Conti and Veto to be followed by Caproni's (?).) There were two more brothers who lived in Holyoke. One was Lawrence but I can't think of the other one.

SIDE NOTE: Ernie Allen was my best friend and lived on Lathrop St. so I spent a lot of time up at his house (He was the only one who had a basketball hoop tacked up on the front of his garage.) On school days I would walk up Taylor St. to the top, and he would walk to the corner of Lathrop and No. Main and then we'd walk to school.

My father was brought up by his maiden Aunt Elizabeth Dudley who lived on School St. She lived in a duplex directly across from the Methodist Church. My father was George Dudley, and he had a brother John who lived with Aunt Lizzie his whole life. She lived well into her nineties. From some of the papers of my great Aunt Lizzie I have some of the family tree starting with Charles (?) (would have been my father's grandfather and my father was born in 1892…).

- Bob Dudley

From: John Zebryk
Sent: Monday, August 03, 2009 2:03 PM
To: BobJudge
Cc: Bill Cary
Subject: South Hadley History


Thank you so much for directing me on 7/29 to the blog re 52 No. Main Street started by Eliz. Winslow Johnson.

The exchange of communications there provided a wonderful trip down memory lane. These were some of the people and locations that I too grew up with and it was great to hear from a contemporary describe some of her personal recollections and you contributing information as to current status.

On a different subject, I noticed at the SH site a notice of a 7/14 meeting at the library on the subject of Preserving and Organizing Family Records. Wish I could have attended inasmuch as I have been working on such a project for quite some time. The question I have is this:

The library obviously cannot be the repository for the bulk of materials families might collect. However, does the library have any sort of compact reference file? For example, I have a Zebryk Family History File which can be easily copied to a single compact disk. Alternately, this same file (without attachments or photos) could be printed out on hard copy (8 1/2 x 11) paper on approx. 40 sheets.

Any information you may have on this question would be appreciated, or, information as to whom this question might be better directed.

...our 'ol hometown is very much appreciated.

John R. Zebryk

Monday, August 3, 2009

Sunday, August 2, 2009

"The Fountain # 1 - The Pride of South Hadley Falls" - Click here

The Springfield Republican newspaper, July 30, 1905

Saturday, August 1, 2009

A Hadley Sampler: An Anniversary Celebration at Historic Deerfield

New Exhibition Celebrates Historic Pioneer Valley Town
Hadley Sampler: An Anniversary Celebration Opens Aug. 22

The town of Hadley, Massachusetts is celebrating its 350th Anniversary and to help observe this occasion, Historic Deerfield will showcase objects from the town.Beginning Saturday, August 22nd, Hadley Sampler: An Anniversary Celebration will be open to the public at the Flynt Center of Early New England Life.

"The idea for an exhibition of museum objects from Hadley came out of a conversation about a dress," said Claire Carlson, Education Program Coordinator at Historic Deerfield and co-chair of the Hadley Historical Commission. "The Hadley Historical Commission and the Hadley 350th Anniversary Committee are thrilled that that dress, as well as more than 15 other Hadley objects, will be on display in Deerfield."

A wide variety of objects will be on view in the exhibition including a Chinese porcelain punch bowl owned by Charles Phelps, Jr. and Elizabeth Porter Phelps of Forty Acres; a watercolor family register made by Ebenezer W. Kellogg in 1826 when he was just 11 years old; and a tall case clock with the works made by silversmith and clockmaker Elijah Yeomans of Hadley.

"Hadley families like the Porters, Phelpses, and Kelloggs pursued a genteel lifestyle with the furnishings that supported it," said Amanda Lange, Curatorial Department Chair and Curator of Historic Interiors at Historic Deerfield. "This is a great opportunity to give a glimpse into the history of the town of Hadley, and the talents and stories of those who have lived there."

Smith College praxis intern Alison Tebaldi has worked extensively as the guest curator in the creation of this new show. Her role was to locate and select appropriate objects from the collection, prepare them for exhibition, research the specific objects and their history in Hadley, write interesting and compelling labels, and design and install the objects within the Lobby cases of the Flynt Center. Alison is an American History major and rising Senior at Smith College, and will study abroad in Italy for the next year.

"This was an excellent opportunity for someone interested in a museum career to experience the entire process of an exhibition - from soup to nuts," said Amanda Lange. "We really appreciate Alison's work on this project, and the Praxis Internship Program at Smith College for making this collaboration possible."

Hadley Sampler: An Anniversary Celebration opens Aug. 22, 2009 at the Flynt Center of Early New England Life and is included with general admission. For more information, please call (413) 775-7214.

About Historic Deerfield
Historic Deerfield ( is a nationally recognized museum offering tours of period houses and the Flynt Center of Early New England Life. Now featuring exhibitions:
• Hadley Sampler: An Anniversary Celebration on view through January 1, 2010.
• Into the Woods: Crafting Early American Furniture, a long-term furniture exhibition on view through 2013.
• Engraved Powder Horns from the French and Indian War and the American Revolution: The William H. Guthman Collection, permanent.
• Celebrating the Fiber Arts: The Helen Geier Flynt Textile Gallery, a permanent exhibition with changing elements.
Historic Deerfield also offers relaxed fine dining at Champney's Restaurant and Tavern at the Deerfield Inn, lodging at the 1884 Deerfield Inn (, and shopping at the Museum Store ( Please call 413-775-7214 for museum information and program schedule.

Historic Deerfield is a member of Museums10, a partnership of ten outstanding museums - Amherst College Museum of Natural History, Emily Dickinson Museum: The Homestead and The Evergreens, The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Hampshire College Art Gallery, Historic Deerfield, Mead Art Museum at Amherst College, Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, National Yiddish Book Center, Smith College Museum of Art, and the University Gallery at UMass Amherst - in one gorgeous place: the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts. For more information about Museums10, please visit

Historic Deerfield
80 Old Main Street, P.O. Box 321
Deerfield, Massachusetts 01342
T: 413-775-7175
F: 413-775-7220

Amherst puts history online

Amherst puts history online
Tuesday, August 04, 2009

AMHERST - One January day in 1875, Emily Dickinson's brother Austin bought a dozen eggs for 42 cents, six oranges for 18 cents and some codfish (amount not specified) for 50 cents from the George Cutler & Co. Dry Goods store.

Anyone wanting to see the rest of that shopping list can visit Digital Amherst, an on-line repository of the town's history created in collaboration with the town's 250th anniversary celebration this year. It's an exhibit that continues to grow each month and will continue growing even after the celebration is finished.

Visitors can see and read the clipping of the obituary of Emily Dickinson written by Austin's wife, Susan Dickinson, and published in the Springfield Republican (May 18, 1886) and the Amherst Record (May 19, 1886).

Visitors can see hundreds of photographs as well, including the North City Primary School circa 1888. There are thousands of photographs in the special collection.

The site features essays, sermons, letters and links to other Web sites about a myriad facets of the town's history. It is organized by topic, time period and collection, among other options.

"This is a long-term project," said Tevis Kimball, curator of special collections and project manager. "The challenge is organizing" the immense collection "in a cost-effective way."

She said she was working on an internal digital archive, but with the town's anniversary they decided to make the archive available. "What Digital Amherst (does), it allows us to create an online digital library."

With the help of Kirstin M. Kay, of Hadley, who had been organizing and cataloging the Clifton Johnson archive a few years ago, and Kate Boyle, metadata specialist, they have been slowly able to build the site at relatively low cost.

Kay found free software and a free hosting site; otherwise, they wouldn't have been able to do it, Kimball said. Whatever money is needed comes from donations, Kimball said. "It was definitely a labor of love."

The online archive is not meant to replace an actual visit to the collection. "It supports what we're doing here," she said. "It helps people see what's here in this great collection. There are so many marvelous things."

The possibilities are endless for topics or information to post. Currently, the site offers 12 online exhibits that are highlights of the town's anniversary celebration. There are all kinds of documents to read such as the agreement between Peletiah Smith and seven others to build, and to share equally the cost of a gristmill to be situated on the Fort River in the Second Precinct of Hadley (Amherst was still part of Hadley then) on Jan. 28, 1756.

In addition to Dickinson, special collections is a repository for material connected to poets Robert Frost and Robert Francis and dictionary creator Noah Webster, to name just a few.

Springfield resident Charles M. Johnson, meanwhile, is working on a digital archive of his grandfather's Clifton Johnson's work to be part of the on-line archive.

Born in 1865 in what's called the Hockanum section of Hadley, Clifton Johnson was a writer, artist, photographer and "Renaissance Man," according to Charles Johnson.

He is hoping that the digital access will help people learn about his grandfather, a man he feels never got the recognition he deserved. Kimball said she's unsure when the exhibit will be available online. To see what's there, visit

Holyoke postcards, thanks to Laura O'Donnell - Click here

Good Holyoke images - Click here