April is National Poetry Month. In Amherst we celebrate Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost, and the Amherst History Society has a video of a presentation on long-time Cushman resident Robert Francis. But we should also remember Emily’s childhood schoolmate, Helen Hunt Jackson, who wrote poetry in addition to her novel Ramona. Eugene Field spent part of his childhood at 219 Amity Street – he is known as the poet of childhood; he gave us Wynken, Blynken and Nod, and the Gingham Dog and Calico Cat, and he reminisced about exploring the Pelham hills. Robert Frost taught at Amherst College, as did David Morton for 21 years. And Doris Abramson was born and grew up in Amherst and taught at UMass for over 30 years.
The mission of the Amherst Historical Society is to connect people to the town of Amherst, its history, and its culture.
The Society was founded in 1899 by Mabel Loomis Todd, and in 1916 it moved into the historic Simeon Strong house. Over the years, the Society has collected a wide variety of resources for learning about the town of Amherst. We have artifacts dating back to the earliest days of the town, and papers and photographs from more recent years. On our website you may find links to walking tours of Amherst, a list of books about Amherst, and even a collection of historic postcards.
We host a biweekly lecture series, ‘History Bites,’ as well as evening performances and historic tours. Our eighteenth-century garden is maintained by the Garden Club of Amherst, and last year we hosted a Thursday evening farmers’ and artisans’ market on our front lawn.