Our popular History Bites lecture series is starting its 2022 season. On Friday, February 25, a noon, we will host a Zoom lecture from Mr Blair Kamin:

Amherst in the Beginning: The Making of an Academic Acropolis

This talk describes how the people of the town of Amherst gave birth to the College—and how the Acropolis-like plan of the early College and its Greek Revival centerpiece reflected their highest aspirations. We’ll also consider the Northampton architect who likely designed Johnson Chapel and Adam Johnson, the childless Pelham farmer who left his fortune to the College, allowing the fledgling but cash-poor institution to complete construction of the edifice that bears his name.

“In a dynamic society like ours, the old sometimes needs to give way to the new, not just for ‘progress’ but to make way for new landmarks and new stories. Still, when we seek to convey the power of the past, it’s hard to compete with the arresting, three-dimensional reality of architecture, whether it takes the form of the over-the-top Tiffany dome at the Chicago Cultural Center or the restrained purity of Johnson Chapel.”

Blair Kamin, the former architecture critic of the Chicago Tribune, is the author of “Amherst College: The Campus Guide,” published by Princeton Architectural Press. He is a winner of numerous awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism.

Mr Kamin will speak over Zoom at noon on Friday, February 25. The Zoom link is: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89873360775

And on Friday, March 11, Mr John Hanson will deliver a live lecture at noon in the Jones Library Woodbury Room. His topic: Reading Early Epitaphs in Amherst’s West Cemetery.