David Peck Todd’s Amherst College–An Architecture & Walking Tour

Amherst History Museum Walking Tours

David Peck Todd’s Amherst College

An Architecture & Walking Tour

Saturday, December 2, 2023, 2 to 4 pm

Registration for this event is now full.

The Amherst Historical Society devoted its 2023 exhibition to Mabel Loomis Todd, focusing on her skills as a botanical artist, writer, editor, and civic leader. She was devoted to her husband, David, and traveled with him as he pursued an active career as a professor of astronomy at Amherst College. He traveled to distant lands in Europe, South America, and Asia to pursue astronomical phenomena. A crater on Phobos (a satellite of Mars) and an asteroid are named after him. Mabel Loomis Todd edited some of his scientific papers and wrote an extended narrative of their trip to Japan.

David Peck Todd attended Columbia College for two years before graduating from Amherst College in 1875. Three years later he received a master’s degree from the College and returned as professor of astronomy in 1881. He remained in that post until 1917 when his health deteriorated. He died in 1939. He was recognized internationally for his research; locally he designed the observatory at Smith College and at Amherst.

David Todd Peckham

David Peck Todd

Amherst College building

Photo credit: Archives and Special Collections, Frost Library, Amherst College

What buildings on the Amherst College campus would David Todd have known? Thanks to Blair Kamin’s book, Amherst College: An Architectural Tour, we now know the buildings that were central to his experience from his undergraduate days to the time of his retirement.

On Saturday, December 2, join the Historical Society’s president, Gigi Barnhill, as we walk in David’s footsteps to visit the buildings that were part of his life in Amherst. We’ll discuss the architecture, the College’s successful reuse of many of the buildings, and aspects of David’s career. We will be able to enter several of the buildings and explore the campus at our own pace. The tour will conclude with a visit to The Dell, David and Mabel Todd’s home.

This walking tour begins at 2:00 p.m. and will last about two hours. The tour is limited to 20 people. Registration is required.

Fees: $20 for AHS members; $30 for non-members. Parking information and the meeting location will be provided upon registration. In case of heavy snow or rain, the tour will take place on Sunday afternoon, December 3, at 2:00 p.m.

Please note: By registering for this program, registrant indemnifies and holds harmless Amherst History Museum and its affiliates from any and all losses, damage suits, claims, costs, medical or other related expenses, demands, judgements, or liabilities, arising out of or in any way connected with the programs and activities of the David Peck Todd’s Amherst College: An Architecture and Walking Tour.