Black Soldiers, White Officers

Black Soldiers, White Officers

This week we honored Dr Martin Luther King Jr. In that context, we can remember the Black families who have lived in Amherst through the decades, and the Black soldiers from Amherst who fought in the Civil War. In 2013 the Amherst Historical Society hosted a lecture – ‘Black Soldiers, White Officers’ – given by Robert Romer, who wrote Slavery in the Connecticut Valley of Massachusetts (2009). In this lecture he tells a few of the stories of those families. Specifically, he focusses on the stories of a Black soldier, Charles Finnemore (1838 – 1920) and a White officer, Christopher Pennell (1842 – 1864), and uses them to indicate a wider story.

Please note that our annual Founder’s Day Meeting is scheduled for Saturday, February 12, at 2PM, and will be held over Zoom (link TBA).

And our Friday noon History Bites lecture series is starting up again on Friday, February 25. Our first lecture will be by Mr Blair Kamins, an Amherst college graduate who will talk about the early architecture at Amherst College.
The Zoom link for the lecture is https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84485731584

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events

The pandemic has been a time for exploring online resources. Last year I referred to Rich Cairns’ lecture about the Library of Congress as an online resource, and recently we added Aaron Rubinstein’s talk about Dubois Library’s Special Collections to our video library. Mr Rubinstein is continuing Rob Cox’s initiative of collecting documents from many aspects of daily life – not just journals, letters and newspaper articles,

** Please note that the annual meeting of the Amherst Historical Society’s membership is scheduled for Saturday, February 12, at 2PM, and will be held over Zoom.

And our Friday noon History Bites lecture series is starting up again at noon on Friday, February 25. Our first lecture will be on Zoom, and will be given by Mr Blair Kamins, a professional architect and Amherst College graduate who will talk about the early architecture at Amherst College.

Summer 90 Years Ago

Summer 90 Years Ago

Today is the first snow of the winter, and of the new year, and we may enjoy seeing a film of life during a bygone summer in the town of Montague, Mass. The film was made in 1929; was life any different in the Quabbin towns?

The University of Massachusetts has published a memorial to the late Arthur Kinney, available here.

Arthur Kinney

Arthur Kinney

This week we mourn the passing of our esteemed colleague and friend, UMass Professor Emeritus Arthur Kinney, who died on Christmas morning. His accomplishments are too numerous to list here; we will only say that we knew him as a long-time member and staunch friend to the Amherst Historical Society. He served on our Board since 2004, and was President in 2007, when he instituted our first annual Conch Shell Award. Over the years since then, the Society has continued to benefit from his guidance and generosity.

A full obituary is scheduled to appear in the Amherst Bulletin; “… and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”

New England Apples

New England Apples

We enjoyed the apple harvest at the beginning of November, with the local Cider Days and its offerings of fresh apples, sweet cider, and hard cider. Poet Robert Francis of Cushman wrote about apples in late autumn:

The winter apples have been picked, the garden turned.
Rain and wind have picked the maple leaves and gone.
The last of them now bank the house or have been burned.
None are left upon the trees or on the lawn.

The Amherst Historical Society is fortunate to have a video of Mr. Henry Lyman’s lecture about Robert Francis, as well as a lecture by Mr. Russell Powell about the history and varieties of New England apples, and about John Chapman, of Leominster, Mass, who was also known as Johnny Appleseed.