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The Village Broadside

The Blog of Historic Deerfield

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GALLERY: Wooly Wonders 2024

Historic Deerfield welcomed visitors of all ages to “Wooly Wonders,” from May 18-19, 2024. The annual celebration invited guests to learn about rare heritage breed sheep, including the Lincoln Longwool, Shetland, Merino, and Romney Marsh sheep, as well as demonstrations of sheepdog herding, hand-shearing, spinning on historic wheels, and weaving.

Call for Papers: Coloring New England’s Past 

Interest in the history of color has been growing in recent decades, but few studies have examined color’s impact on specific cultural regions, such as New England. Historic Deerfield’s 2024 Fall Forum, Coloring New England’s Past (to be held in Deerfield on September 13-14, 2024) aims to address and examine this topic by convening a group of experts in the field to explore the vast subject of color and its history. Historic Deerfield invites paper proposals for its two-day forum. Submissions due by June 3, 2024.

Enduring Legacies of Puerto Rican Labor in the Connecticut River Valley

Visitors driving into Deerfield or through the Connecticut River Valley may notice throughout their journey long wooden barns once used for drying tobacco leaves. These architecturally simple monuments lent their inspiration to the design of the Flynt Center of Early New England Life at Historic Deerfield. Though now largely abandoned, tobacco barns recall the cultural legacy of Puerto Rican labor in New England, creating the Valley’s first Latino communities.

Lineages of Female Makers in the Connecticut River Valley

Image: (Detail) Sarah Leavitt, embroiderer, Pole Screen, 1810. Metallic silk thread, off-white plain weave silk, metallic sequins, watercolors. 2007.19

In the early decades of the 19th century, young white women at academies and seminaries across New England spent their days mastering foundational arithmetic, reading, and geography while also diligently learning the decorative arts to develop morals and artistic skills. One particularly important hub for the making and teaching of these ornamental arts was the Connecticut River Valley.

Historic Deerfield Receives Gift of Rufus Porter Art

Image: Portrait Miniature of Sarah Hilliard. Attributed to Rufus Porter (1792– 1884) Cambridge, Massachusetts, ca. 1825. Watercolor, gouache, and graphite on paper. Gift of Juliene and Carl M. Lindberg 2023.8.10

This large-scale acquisition includes several components related to Rufus Porter’s career as an artist, inventor, and publisher. A significant portion of the gift comprises close to thirty miniature portraits attributed to Porter and illustrates his entire career as an artist.

Historic Deerfield Debuts Vermont Furniture Exhibition

Image: Blanket Box (c. 1825) from the workshop of Thomas Matteson. Eastern white pine and paint. Gift of Patricia Passmore Alley and F. William Alley (2023.9.10)

The recent recipient of a generous donation of Vermont furniture and related decorative arts from the collection of William and Patricia Passmore Alley, Historic Deerfield is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibition, Vermont Furniture from the Alley Collection.

Call for Papers – 2024 Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife

The Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife (founded in 1976) is pleased to announce the subject of its 2024 gathering, Into the Woods: New England Forests in Fact and Imagination, to be held at Historic Deerfield June 28-29, 2024. The seminar invites proposals for papers and presentations that address the rich and varied histories of the relationship between the peoples of New England and adjacent areas and their forests.

Tombstone of Mary E. Taft

The Last Illness of Mary Everett Taft

In the March 25, 1899 issue of the Greenfield Gazette & Courier, the following notice appeared:
“The public are very much saddened by the death of Mrs. Mary E. Taft, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Everett. Mrs. Taft has been seriously ill at her father’s house for three weeks and everything that medical science could do has been done for her…

GALLERY: August Adventures

Historic Deerfield hosted a free-admission day on August 9th, in partnership with the Highland Street Foundation. Visitors of all ages came to enjoy lawn games, house tours, handcrafts, demonstrations, and more!

The Journals of Abby and Mattie Sanderson of Whately Glen

In the winter and early spring months of 1874 and 1876, Martha “Mattie” Ann Sanderson (1854-1933) and her mother, Abby H. Rice Sanderson (1829-1902), kept a journal of their work schedules, domestic cookery, farm production and inventories, sewing projects, daily weather reports, church and prayer meeting attendance and numerous other tasks…

GALLERY: Wooly Wonders 2023

On May 20-21, 2023, Historic Deerfield hosted “Wooly Wonders,” a celebration of rare heritage breed sheep, textiles, and wool-processing in New England. Visitors came to see Lincoln Longwool, Shetland, and Merino sheep, as well as demonstrations of sheepdog herding, hand-shearing, spinning on historic wheels, and weaving.

Judging a Book by Its Covers: Bring on the Bling

A comparison of two bindings from a recent gift highlights changes in bookbinding technology over seven decades. My previous post showcased a rare colonial binding that featured gilt tooling in a very restrained, elegant design. By the 1840s, advances and changing tastes culminated in exuberant gold stamping in this title, telling a different story…

Call for Papers: The Arts and Crafts Movement in America’s Northeast

Historic Deerfield is thrilled to announce the acquisition of a masterpiece of Arts and Crafts furniture constructed by Madeline Yale Wynne (1847-1918), Deerfield’s leading proponent of the Arts and Crafts Movement. Known as Garden of Hearts, the chest, with finely crafted, forged, hammered, carved, and painted elements, was made in 1903 and is an important example of Arts and Crafts furniture by a groundbreaking female artist.

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Historic Deerfield Opens for the Season April 15

Welcome back! Historic Deerfield will soon reopen to the public in full! Over the long winter, only the Flynt Center of Early New England Life has been open, and only on the weekends. Starting April 15th, Historic Deerfield will be fully open to the public, Wednesday through Sundays and Holiday Mondays.
We are particularly excited to announce…

Judging a Book by its Covers: A Rare Colonial Binding

A recent library donation of rare books included the 22nd edition of “Hymns and Spiritual Songs” published in 1771. It joins six other hymnals written by Isaac Watts (1674-1748), an English Congregational minister and hymn writer (most notably “Joy to the World”), whose many hymnals were reprinted long after his death. Three in our collection boast a western Massachusetts provenance…

Nuremberg Chronicle

An Extraordinary Gift to the Library

The generosity of an anonymous donor has brought the extraordinary gift to the Henry N. Flynt Library of a large and varied group of important rare books. Among them is one of the masterpieces of early European printing: the Liber Chronicarum, or the Nuremberg Chronicle, published in Nuremberg, Germany, in 1493, less than 50 years after the printing of the landmark Gutenberg Bible.