New Date for Founders Day- February 26th, 2:oo p.m.
Founders Day Celebration Includes:
The Annual Meeting of the Amherst Historical Society includes a report on our programs and financial status and the election of trustees.
Conch Shell Award
The Conch Shell Award was established in 2007 to honor those who have made a significant contribution to the culture and/or history of Amherst. This year we are honoring the profound contributions of James J. Wald and Jane H. Wald.
Jane Wald embodies The Emily Dickinson Museum’s mission statement “to spark the imagination by amplifying Emily Dickinson’s revolutionary poetic voice from the place she called home.” And Emily Dickinson’s home has become integral to the history and culture of Amherst under her leadership. She began work at the Dickinson Homestead and The Evergreens in 2003 and became the museum’s executive director in 2006. With her guidance, increased museum programming and community involvement has greatly expanded and the museum has become a mecca for visitors that come to Amherst to celebrate the poet’s life and work.
We also recognize James J. Wald for his long-term work as an advocate for the preservation of Amherst’s history through his service with the Amherst Historical Society and the Amherst Historical Commission. In addition, his elected positions include the Amherst Select Board and town meeting member. He serves on the board of the Amherst Club, the Hampshire College Center for the Book and various committees at Hampshire College where he teaches courses on European history and, of particular interest, Preserving the Past, Planning for the Future: Historic Preservation and Local History.
The President’s Award this year is being presented to Grace Church as it celebrates its 150th Anniversary. We recognize the Church for preserving and sharing its history with many audiences throughout the past year, including historian Ken Samonds’ presentation of highlights last September at the Historical Society. Grace Church opened its doors on March 2, 1866, and was consecrated by the Bishop of Massachusetts on July 17, 1867.
Mabel Loomis Todd Lecture
The award presentation will be followed by the Mabel Loomis Todd Lecture on “The Accidental Activist: Mabel Loomis Todd’s Civic Impulses and Civic Engagement” given this year by Julie Dobrow. Dr. Dobrow is a senior lecturer at Tufts University and Director of their Communications and Media Studies program. She is currently writing a book on the intertwined lives of Mabel Loomis Todd and her daughter Millicent Todd Bingham.
Mabel Loomis Todd is mostly remembered today either for her work as Emily Dickinson’s first editor, or for her 13 year-long extra-marital relationship with Austin, the poet’s older brother. And yet her life was filled with many other accomplishments and other legacies. Many of these centered on her civic work, and much of her active citizenship focused around organizations in Amherst. This year’s Founder’s Day talk will focus on the origins of Mabel’s civic impulses and her civic engagement. While some of her work was found within the more traditional “women’s spheres” of the late 19th century, Mabel also pushed the boundaries of what women did in her community work – as she did in other realms of her life, too. Read more about Julie Dobrow here.
AHS Spring Programming
There’s a lot to look forward to this spring at the Amherst Historical Society.
Our History Bites lunchtime lecture series continues on March 10 at 12:15p.m. with Kitty Burns Florey will discuss the history behind her latest novel, Amity Street, which takes place in late nineteenth century Amherst. History Bites will continue every other Friday throughout the winter and spring. Continuing with our literary theme, on March 24 Susan Snively will give a History Bites lecture on her book The Heart Has Many Doors. Check our Events Calendar for more upcoming lectures in this series. The most recent talk was on February 24, and was presented by Tom Weiner on his book CALLED TO SERVE: Stories of Men and Women Confronted by the Vietnam War Draft.