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The Todds of Amherst
November 5, 2021 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
“He was one of the outstanding astronomers of his time,” noted David Peck Todd’s obituary in The New York Times, “a Professor of Astronomy and Navigation and Director of the observatory at Amherst College for nearly forty years.” In The Amherst Record, an obituary of his wife, Mabel Loomis Todd came under the headline, “A Friend of Amherst,” and mentioned, among other attributes, “She was so wrought into the fibre [sic] of all the old Amherst life…” that her death brought with it “…a real pang.” And the obituary of their only child, Millicent Todd Bingham, firmly situated her as the child of her father, “a professor of astronomy at Amherst College” and her mother, someone who “labored for many years deciphering the letters and poetry illegibly written much earlier by her former Amherst neighbor, Emily Dickinson.” In death, as in life, the Todds’ affiliations with the Town of Amherst and Amherst College closely aligned with their achievements. As the headlines of their respective obituaries suggested, each of them had made significant contributions in varied pursuits. Indeed, despite the many and varied trying circumstances they encountered in their lives, individually and collectively, the “Amherst connection” was part of what held this remarkable – and highly fraught – little family together. Julie Dobrow, a professor at Tufts University and author of After Emily: Two Remarkable Women and the Legacy of America’s Greatest Poet, returns to the Amherst Historical Society to talk about all three Todds and some of the amazing – and little known – work they did in their respective lives.
Julie Dobrow is Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies at Tufts University in Medford, MA. She is the author of After Emily, a Tale of Two Women, which tells the story of the collaboration which led to the publication of Emily Dickinson’s poetry.
Zoom link for this lecture: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84485731584