A Lecture on the Porter Phelps Huntington House in Hadley

Dr Karen Sanchez-Eppler

When in the 1840s Elizabeth Phelps Huntington wrote letters to her eleven children, many now living far from Hadley, she generally sent along a few pounds of butter—a taste of home for a son in Boston, and a bit of a cash crop.  The Porter Phelps Huntington family occupied the same Hadley house from the 1752 until 1968.

The house itself, now a museum, and the family papers provide an extraordinarily detailed and continuous record of life in the Connecticut river valley. As one project in the introductory American Studies course “Global Valley” students have been transcribing family letters and making them available on-line, offering fascinating access to the details of daily life and family dynamics in this place.


A History of the Amherst U U Church

by Janis Gray – Unofficial Church Historian

Exactly 130 years ago — November 17, 1887 — the Universalist Convention of Massachusetts granted a charter to a new Universalist parish in Amherst. Starting with about 40 families, the parish met in Grand Army Hall and other rented spaces until 1893, when it opened the doors to a modest meetinghouse on the corner of North Pleasant Street and Kellogg Avenue. We suspect many of the original parishioners would be amazed by the transformation of their “little house” and its membership between its founding and today.


A History of the Amherst UCC Church

by Carlton Brose, Church Historian

There are many histories of the First Congregational Church in Amherst: First there is the history of each of the four buildings that have housed the continuous and changing congregation. Second is the history of church membership, polity, and the pastors beginning with David Parsons in 1739 up to Vicki Kemper the present day Pastor. Third is a significant history of the Congregational Theology from the pre-revolutionary Great Awakening to liberal protestantism.  Finally there is the history of the presence of First Church as a contributor to the life of Amherst and an integral part of the town’s growth and changes. As a founding institution this church stands as Amherst’s historic big bang.


Poet Robert Francis in Cushman

by Henry Lyman

Robert Churchill Francis, once described by Robert Frost as “the best neglected poet,” was born on August 12, 1901 in Upland, Pennsylvania. He attended Harvard University; after graduating, he moved to Amherst, Massachusetts, where he taught high school for one year, then devoted his life to writing poetry. He lived in Cushman in a small house he built in 1940 that he named “Fort Juniper,” inspiring editors at the University of Massachusetts Press to name their poetry award the Juniper Prize.

During his writing career, Francis served as Phi Beta Kappa poet at both Tufts and Harvard. A world traveler, he often journeyed to Europe, at one time teaching at the American University in Beirut, Lebanon.


“Martians and a Hole in the Sky”

by Dr. George Greenstein

Most people know of Todd only as the long-suffering husband of Mabel Loomis Todd. In reality he was a remarkable scientist in his own right. The telescope that he built at Amherst College in 1905 was one of the finest in the nation, and it still stands today. Todd, a master inventor who once worked with Thomas Edison, was a leader in studies of the Sun’s atmosphere and the planet Mars.

To study the Sun’s corona, Todd undertook a 4-month voyage to observe an eclipse in Japan . . . where he met with tragic failure as, at the last minute, clouds moved in to obscure the view. On another occasion, he observed an eclipse from an airplane over Russia.

Todd was also a pioneer in studies of the planet Mars. At one point he tried to organize a nation-wide radio blackout as he ascended in a balloon to listen for transmissions from the inhabitants of Mars.


Garden Herbs in Folk Art

by Jade Alicandro Mace, Herbalist

Many medicinal herbs historically used in healing are still used quite often by modern herbalists today! Join local herbalist Jade Alicandro Mace as she discusses the historical and current medicinal uses of the herbs painted on an antique quilt in the museum’s collection.