2021 History Bites

Here are the archived ‘History Bites’ lectures from 2021. ‘History Bites’ is a series of thirty minute lectures to inform and entertain, covering various aspects of the history of Amherst, its surrounding environs, and the lives of those who once lived here. The Amherst Historical Society started this popular series in 2014 and we are fortunate to have archived video of lectures dating back to 2015.

You can search through our archives and our site by using the field below.

The History of Pelham

The History of Pelham

The town of Pelham, Massachusetts, was part of the Equivalent Lands compromise, and was first settled in 1738 by mostly Presbyterian Scotch-Irish immigrants. It was officially incorporated in 1743, so it is older than Amherst by 16 years. It is perhaps best known as...

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New Haven to Northampton Canal

New Haven to Northampton Canal

On Friday, October 8, we hear Mr Robert Madison talk about the New Haven to Northampton Canal. After the success of the Erie Canal, which opened in 1825, people in several states were seized with the idea of building canals to transport goods. In 1804, Amherst...

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Stories of Amherst

Stories of Amherst

by George Naughton There can never be one History of Amherst, since there are always more stories to collect and pass on. This week’s presentation is titled ‘Stories of Amherst,’ and will take us on a tour of some of the personalities and events which shaped our town....

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Biography of Edward Hitchcock

Biography of Edward Hitchcock

by Robert McMaster Edward Hitchcock was one of the most eminent American scientists of his time, a popular professor and president at Amherst College, and an inspired preacher. But, nearly 160 years after his death, his story has never really been told. So in his new...

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Shays’ Rebellion

Shays’ Rebellion

by Dr. Barbara Mathews VIEW VIDEO At a time when the survival of the American experiment in government by and for the people was neither destined nor assured, the Massachusetts uprising labeled “Shays’ Rebellion” fueled speculation that the new United States could not...

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DuBois Library Special Collections

DuBois Library Special Collections

by Aaron Rubinstein “Expanding our great national reservoir of knowledge and intellectual thought:” past, present, and future of the Special Collections at UMass Amherst. Former Chancellor Randolph Bromery’s ambitious words, written in 1974, presage a transformation...

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The Black Cats of Amherst

The Black Cats of Amherst

by Jim Hamilton VIEW VIDEO Shortly after the United States declared war on Germany in April of 1917, a group of Amherst residents, including townspeople, students, and college professors, enlisted in the U.S. Army to serve in an ambulance unit supporting French...

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Early Days at the Valley Advocate, part 2

Early Days at the Valley Advocate, part 2

by Chris O’Carroll and David Sokol In September 2020, Mr Chris O’Carroll reminisced about his time working at the Valley Advocate in the 1970’s. Now he will return, teamed up with the Advocate Music Editor to tell us more about some of the acts (Bob Dylan, Jane Fonda,...

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Native American Stone Structures

Native American Stone Structures

by Dr. Curtiss Hoffman VIEW VIDEO Scattered throughout the woodlands and fields of the eastern seaboard of the United States and Canada are tens of thousands of stone monuments. These stone constructions have been the subject of debate among archaeologists and...

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The Gritty Berkshires

The Gritty Berkshires

by Maynard Seider VIEW VIDEO In his book, The Gritty Berkshires, Dr Maynard Seider tells how the Berkshires offer insight into so many crucial aspects of the American experience. Moving from the early 1800s to the present, Seider weaves a narrative that details the...

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The Amherst Government Charter

The Amherst Government Charter

by Nick Grabbe VIEW VIDEO In the first decade of the 21st century, the Town of Amherst went through a long debate and decision process regarding a proposed change in the structure of the town government. Mr Nick Grabbe will give us historical perspective, beginning...

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