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Donor Stories and Impact

Members of the Ebenezer and Abigail Wells Society have created their own meaningful legacies by including Historic Deerfield in their estate plans. Learn about how these and other generous individuals have used planned giving to enhance the impact of their charitable giving.

Edward Young Reid III

“As a Deerfield Direct Descendant of Phillip Mattoon I am extremely pleased to be able to include Historic Deerfield in my will. This is my way of recognizing that Historic Deerfield will continue the important work of researching and developing programs around the superb treasures that link us to our ancestors, their way of life, and their contributions to the growth of our country. I am happy that my gift in the name of Wilhelmina Mattoon Reid, my mother, will also contribute to Historic Deerfield’s excellent educational programs for current and future generations. My partner, Lester J. Bartson III Ph. D. joins me in creating this endowment by including it jointly in his will as well.”


Michael and Dot Selinger Moskovis

“We first visited Historic Deerfield in 1974. And—forgive us for the cliche—were completely blown away with the place. Not only for its storied past, but for the beauty and calming antiquity of the town.

Since then, Deerfield has provided us with a host of educational opportunities, expanded our friendship with collectors across the country, and most certainly refined our collecting addiction.

Over the years, we’ve worked with many nonprofit institutions and programs, and we place Deerfield among the top of those organizations, using resources wisely while maintaining a constant focus on its mission.

An outstanding Board of Trustees provides wise guidance and support. The professional staff and curators use their intellectual gifts and commitment to continue to place Deerfield among the best of its peer organizations.

Even though we aren’t able to visit as often as we would like, we remain keenly interested in Historic Deerfield and feel certain that our planned gift will provide valuable ongoing support to this important institution.”


Impact: Creelman House

In November 2018, Historic Deerfield leveraged a sizable bequest from an anonymous donor to seize upon a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: to purchase the Creelman House, located at 43 Old Main Street, just north of the Dwight House and the Flynt Center of New England Life.

Dendrochronology research indicates that the frame was constructed in 1729. The house has been remodeled, probably in the 1760s and then again in 1885, and was once the home of James Wells Champney, an American genre artist and illustrator noted for his portraits, oriental scenes and American landscapes.

One of the Museum’s highest priorities is collecting significant objects of cultural and aesthetic merit documented to ownership or manufacture in Deerfield. Nothing is more significant than one of Deerfield’s houses!


Impact: Stephen L. Wolf Collection

Historic Deerfield is home to the superb library of Stephen L. Wolf, a man described by The New York Times as “the professor of paint.” Over the course of half a century, Mr. Wolf amassed approximately 1,200 books, pamphlets, trade catalogs, periodicals, and ephemera dating from the late 1500s to the present. When Steve passed away in June 2008, he made his long-promised bequest of the library to Historic Deerfield. His generosity, joined by that of his wife Mary and son Matthew, assures in perpetuity the public relevance of his library—and places Historic Deerfield’s reference and rare book collection in this field at the pinnacle of research interest.

Broadly speaking, the Wolf Collection focuses on color: its chemical basis, application, and history. Works on color theory and optics share shelf space with books on how to paint a house and old trade catalogues of brushes and paint. Few American institutions, regardless of size, possess a color collection equaling that assembled by Stephen Wolf; the only comparable being the Faber Birren Collection at Yale. We are proud to be the stewards of this important bequest, and welcome researchers who wish to consult it.

The Wolf Collection is available to researchers interested in fine art, interior decoration, carriage painting, japanning, color theory, wall treatments, dyeing, enameling, glazing, theatrical set design, art restoration, varnishes, gilding, and the manufacture of paint. It is housed in the Joseph Peter Spang III Special Collections Room in the Memorial Libraries.


Image: Plate from A Practical Treatise on Painting (London, 1830) representing the seven colors formed by a prism (top) as described by Sir Isaac Newton, and other color arrangements including that of Leonardo da Vinci (upper left).

Impact: Wells Society

Since the Museum’s founding in 1948, many Historic Deerfield supporters have established planned gifts, large and small, in order to underwrite programs and build the Museum’s endowment while creating lasting legacies that continue their philanthropic priorities.

Including the Museum in your estate plan is one of the most important ways to support Historic Deerfield. Donors who do so are designated as members of the Ebenezer & Abigail Wells Society.

These leadership gifts have helped make Historic Deerfield one of the nation’s top collections of American decorative arts while preserving the objects, architecture, and stories that are among the building blocks of the nation.

For more information on planned gifts for the benefit of Historic Deerfield, contact us today at leadershipgift@historic-deerfield.org or (413) 775-7177.