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Summer Fellowship Program Research Paper Abstracts


Basil Derry

Under the Shade of Deerfield’s Elms: Memory Making and Community

The elms that used to grow on Old Main Street in Deerfield played a foundational role in the formation of community and village identity. They embodied memories and stories the town’s residents told, and provided visual beauty to the landscape. Rooted in traditions of commemoration, Deerfield’s residents took it upon themselves to proliferate, preserve, and memorialize the elms on the Street. Unfortunately, most of the Street’s elms died in the 1950s through the 1960s from the fungal Dutch elm disease, leaving the Street without a trace of these majestic plants. This paper examines sources from the nineteenth century through the mid-twentieth century to recount the stories associated with the elms, including newspapers, publications on historic trees and on Deerfield’s history, paintings, photographs, the 1929 Deerfield tree census, and Flynt’s many correspondences and papers on treating the trees for Dutch elm disease. Secondary sources are used to complement Deerfield’s history and put it in the context of a larger history of elms in New England villages and throughout America. From these sources, it is evident that Deerfield’s sense of community history is drastically altered in the absence of the elms. This paper is in broader conversation with the necessity of preserving historical landscapes because of the memories they hold.

Mairead Downes

The Silhouette of Classical Antiquity: Neoclassical Fashion and Ideals in an American Context, 1795-1815

The beginning of the 19th century saw a noteworthy change in women’s fashion. At the cornerstone of three revolutions: the American Revolution, the French Revolution, and the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, fashion rapidly began to reflect these changing political and social developments. Using fashion as a form of individual expression, gone were elaborate court dresses rich in color and decorative materials. Replacing these extravagant displays of wealth and status was a new informal, simplified dress style inspired by ancient art. The empire silhouette, resembling the ancient peplos and chiton with a high waistline, gave women the columnar look they desired and made them seem straight out of an ancient vase or mosaic. With the already established emergence of classical republican ideals in America, the neoclassical look with its more austere appearance and lack of a stiff-bodied corset, allowed women to represent the aesthetic of a post-revolutionary world via their clothing; i.e. the clothing of ancient democracies and philosophical development. My paper aims to investigate how Deerfield, as a case study, can be used to represent the American adoption of this style. When discussing this trend, many fashion historians focus on France as the main source of this style; however, I want to use Deerfield to prove otherwise. The ideals of the American Revolution, what Americans valued, were shared by ancient Romans; ideas of independence, patriotism, and moderation.

Weronika Grajdura

’They Will be Rich Men’: The Economic Integration and Assimilation of the Polish Community in Deerfield, MA

The picture of Deerfield, Massachusetts is often that of a town “stuck in time,” however, following the increase of immigration in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the landscape of Deerfield would not remain untouched. Polish immigration into Deerfield and the Connecticut River Valley began in the 1890s, resulting in not only demographic changes to the area, but cultural, economic, and political shifts. In this paper, I examine the Polish community, who originally arrived as farm laborers through labor brokers, and how they were able to gain economic success within the Deerfield area and eventually become farm owners and educated members of society. Through this economic mobility, the rise of Polish social and religious institutions can be seen, as well as an increased Polish presence in local politics. As the generations have passed, the Polish community has been able to gain this economic success and social standing in the Connecticut River Valley, Western Massachusetts, and Deerfield, but the assimilation and acculturation of this group must also be considered. Many of the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th generations that currently reside in the area have lost their linguistic ties due to there never being an attempt to formalize the education of the language, but other traditions, such as cuisine, dance, and music, are kept alive both within families and through organizations and social groups.

Ella Kearney

The Life And Death Of An Abolitionist: A Study Of David Starr Hoyt Within The Abolitionist Movement And His Connections With Deerfield

In 1856, while helping in the fight to protect free staters living in Lawrence, Kansas, and the surrounding areas from pro slavery border ruffians by supplying them with arms such as Sharps rifles, David Starr Hoyt, at age 35, was brutally murdered, leaving his body was completely mutilated. Stories of Hoyt’s murder travelled fast. In various areas of America, the violence of the event was recorded with outrage in newspapers and in free state speeches to rally support for the cause. The area of Deerfield and local areas within Massachusetts reacted in outrage. Flyers, newspaper articles, the graphic details of his death, and a bloodstained map found with his body, reveal the huge impact that David Starr Hoyt’s death had in perpetuating a message that proslavery supporters were brutish and not to be trusted in contrast to David Starr Hoyt and the other heroic people opposing slavery. Hoyt was eulogized and produced into a martyr, figurehead, and a symbol for the free-state cause to abolish slavery and end the violent slavery debate. There were many other important abolitionists either within Deerfield or who had connections to the area that had greater impacts within the wider American wide debate surrounding the abolition of slavery, such as Thomas Wentworth Higginson. However, the memorialisation of David Starr Hoyt as a heroic figure and martyr had such an impact on galvanising the movement, particularly within Deerfield, due to the emotional response it evoked.

Emily Maddux

Life After Death: Deerfield’s Autopsies of the 19th Century

Death in Deerfield, Massachusetts is nothing new, yet the information from past centuries has been preserved for modern eyes to rediscover. This paper discusses autopsy reports that were done and cataloged by five different individuals during the time of the 19th century in and around the town of Deerfield. Their names were Dr. Elihu Ashley, Martha Ballard, Dr. Stephen West Williams, Dr. Danielson, and Dr. Rollin C. Ward. I have examined and transcribed much of their autopsy reports, journals, diaries, and secondhand accounts to get an insight into how they viewed the body postmortem. Some of what they had to say was brief, some was lengthy, yet all of it speaks greatly to the attitudes of postmortem autopsies, dissections, and the anatomical culture during this span of a little over a hundred years. I use these sources to illuminate the process of how autopsies would have been done will be discussed, the professionals that were at the forefront of anatomical knowledge, how anatomy and dissections were taught to medical students in the United States, how those teachings were displayed outside of the classroom, and what this has to say about the values and beliefs of medical professionals. Finally a comparison between how autopsies were done versus how autopsies are performed today will give the reader an insight into how much has changed, and yet, how some of the issues present then can still be seen around us.

Natalie Warren

Womanhood and Artistry in the Life of Margaret Crowninshield Wilby

Margaret Crowninshield Wilby was a portrait artist and watercolorist who lived in the northeast United States and southern Canada from 1890 to 1968. She was born in Detroit, Michigan and studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, among other prestigious artistic institutions. She kept consistent and detailed diaries from 1934-1965. However, my research examines the diaries from 1934-40 because they represent the time when Margaret was most artistically active in Deerfield. I also examine additional biographical materials relating to her life and career, including her artworks and a photograph album made by her. Margaret Wilby had a unique experience in Deerfield as one of the first members of the Deerfield Valley Art Association, who was active in the later phase of the Arts and Crafts movement and experienced the effects of the Depression on the arts. This paper analyzes how she lived and worked within the Arts and Crafts movement in Deerfield, and how her career was shaped by larger social and economic forces.

Nick Wendell

 Wayfaring Painter: The Life and Career of Zedekiah Belknap

Zedekiah Belknap was an itinerant painter who was born in Massachusetts in 1781. His earliest known work dates to 1810, and he produced about 150 portraits before ending his career in 1848. Belknap died alone and penniless in 1858, and is now remembered as one of the notable members of the 19th century folk portraiture movement. This paper will use Belknap as a case study to better understand the life of a 19th century itinerant artist, explaining his backstory and exploring the social and economic realities that he encountered. It will amount to a biographical study of Belknap which tries to gain insight into 19th century socioeconomic history by thinking about his lifestyle and applying historical understanding to it. Because only an extremely rough outlin of Belknap’s exists nowadays, it is important to attempt to construct an identity for him and place him in his correct context in history. Rather than assessing the aesthetics of portrait painting this paper will analyze the logistics behind his livelihood. Doing so can help demonstrate the effects of larger scale developments like the Industrial revolution on America’s laboring classes. By asking what world Belknap belonged to, I also managed to find answers about his relative socio-economic standing. In recent memory Belknap’s work is being purchased by Historic Deerfield, studied by academics, and featured on Antiques roadshow before being sold at auction for thousands. Before that, Belknap was mostly unknown and unloved. This paper will try to raise awareness and create a discussion around the ways that products of our nationally treasured cultural objects were treated by life and society in their own times. Ultimately, it concludes, the artists were living on the margins of society as economically insecure and often deprived victims of 19th century industrialization.


Jacob Anthony

The Kwinitekw Agricultural Corridor


Maize agriculture arrived in New England ca. 1000 CE, although the shortage of regional data has frustrated scholars in understanding the nature of its spread. In light of the exceptional amount of prehistoric maize excavated along the Connecticut River, this study investigates its valley’s viability as a path for agricultural development. Archaeological site reports; geological data; early colonial accounts; and Indigenous mythology, exchange routes, and cultivation methods serve to illustrate the Connecticut River Valley’s fertility and status as a frontier for Late Woodland agriculture. Meanwhile, corridor visualization, which has found use in many global and local contexts, establishes a theoretical basis for the argument. Using statistical methods to interpret maize’s spatial and temporal spread, the following conclusions arise: maize agriculture agriculture spread from the Connecticut River’s mouth to the upper New England interior in a period of 230 years or less, and environmental limitations halted northern development before European contact. This study’s findings have implications not only for Late Woodland and contact-period archaeology but for similar agricultural border regions in North America.

Kayla Banks

Working Gentility: The Appearance of Domestic Labor in the 19th Century


This paper is a reexamination of American gentility through the appearance of domestic labor. The investigation of this relationship is hosted through the descriptive articles of the 19th century that choose to depict domestic labor and laborers in them. These descriptive articles reflect in my research the dual roles of domestic laborers within gentility as both practical and performative laborers which allow those, they serve the ability to engage more readily into genteel culture. My research pays particular focus on domestic laborers’ handling and facilitation of genteel culture, mainly through its material objects. I compare both European and American descriptive articles to illustrate the European influence on American’s depiction of domestic labor and laborers. In certain cases, I also use objects from Historic Deerfield’s collection as examples for comparison within the descriptive articles themselves to further illustrate this connection. This research can help to enhance reinterpretation of genteel culture from the function of domestic labor used to maintain their material culture and facilitate their use.

Monica Berg

Sweetmeats & Syllabubs: Early Nineteenth-Century Dessert Presentation in New England and the Extent of its Practice in Deerfield


This paper focuses on the presentation of various desserts in early nineteenth-century New England as an example of refinement. Deerfield functions as an example of a rural community trying to imitate urban elite lifestyles. The first section focuses on various topics relating to dessert that give essential context to the paper: what was dessert, who made them, and why were they regarded so highly? The next section gives details on the kinds of desserts that would be present on a typical dessert table. The final section discussed the extent of dessert presentation in Deerfield, using tax records, probate inventories, and an Orlando Ware daybook. From these primary sources, I discovered that elite families owned multiple objects related to dessert production and presentation, while nonelite families had very few or none at all. This supports the conclusion imitation of refinement in rural areas, where the elite attempting to display their cultural superiority over other town residents. While tracking sugar sales at Orlando Ware’s store from 1827-1828, the proportions of the different purchased sugars caught my eye. Molasses and general sugar purchases are almost even, showing that while molasses was useful in some ways, some families still found it necessary to purchase the more expensive option of dry, refined sugar. Through the studies of dessert, my paper showcases a different kind of refinement than what scholars typically discuss, giving a fresh take on the subject.

Ellie Fitzgerald

Bound Together: Ellen Gates Starr, Bookbinding, and the Arts and Crafts Movement in Deerfield, Massachusetts


This paper argues that Ellen Gates Starr’s contribution to Deerfield, Massachusetts is essential to understanding both her work as an Arts and Crafts bookbinder and the Arts and Crafts movement in Deerfield. Starr’s work was impactful during the Arts and Crafts movement in Deerfield because she deepened connections between twentieth-century Deerfield and eighteenth and early nineteenth-century Deerfield handicraft practice, brought the local Deerfield Arts and Crafts movement into closer contact with the international Arts and Crafts movement, and contributed to manifestations of usable pasts in Deerfield. Starr’s bookbinding practice and Arts and Crafts philosophies, inversely, were also affected by her family, material, and collaborative connection to Deerfield and the Connecticut River Valley. The evidence supporting these conclusions comes from primary sources: photographs, articles written by Starr, local newspaper clippings, correspondence, diaries, wills, and more. This research has larger implications for the body of literature written about Starr, which has not previously addressed the significance of Ellen Gates Starr’s connection to Deerfield on either her bookbinding craft or Deerfield’s Arts and Crafts movement.

Lauren Gonsalves

Reimagining the Box: Deerfield’s Federal Homes and the Relationship Between Person and Room


Historical houses are rife with creative interior features, but there is a lack of scholarship that treats them as what they are: a cohesive class of material culture rather than a footnote in architectural history. I am looking at this topic in the Federal period specifically, to examine the intersection between a fraught moment in U.S. sociopolitical history and a particularly expressive stylistic language. This paper synthesizes both writings on the Federal style and analyses of relevant Deerfield homes. I also consult writings on architects and craftsmen of the time, locally-published pattern books, as well as the houses themselves, primarily E.H. Williams, Asa Stebbins, and Wells-Thorn. I approach these homes with focuses on spatial and formal analysis, then integrate these analyses with historical fact. The result of this inquiry is a multifaceted understanding of domestic spaces and their interventions. Though focused on the Federal home, by situating this period within the broader scope of stylistic and social trends, this overview demonstrates the ever-evolving relationships between people and homes. The study of historic homes is too often split between form and function, which only serves to feed the misinterpretation that they are orchestrated exhibits, lodged in time from their inception. Through integrating these two aspects, this paper seeks to make the architectural aspirations of people from the past more tangible to people of today.

Marco Lloyd

The Reintegration after the Revolution: The Deerfield Tories from 1781 to 1800


During the Revolutionary War, the citizens of Deerfield, Massachusetts, were divided on the issue of independence. This paper uses tax records, church seating charts, town meeting records, and case studies of significant individuals to examine what happened to the Loyalists (a.k.a. Tories) in the following decades, as well as secondary sources to place Deerfield within the social and political landscape of the time. These sources reveal that despite intense divisions in pre-war society, the Deerfield Tories were able to successfully reintegrate into the community after the Revolutionary War. The most important reasons for this reintegration were the willingness of the Tories to accept the new political order, the importance of community and consensus in Deerfield, and the relative political conservatism of the town.

Mary Orms

Post-Revolutionary Cyphering Books and the Construction of American Identity


Mathematics cyphering books are a subset of the copybook tradition created by young students. Students copied from their instructors and constructed their own mathematical reference works for their future careers. In the American colonies, the cyphering tradition was transplanted from England and adapted as the colonies matured and eventually established independence. Though these works are characterized by conformity and consistency, they are also notably personal. American cyphering books from the period in between the Revolution and the Civil War offer insight into the construction of American national identity by uncovering the values and capabilities which adults sought to instill in the younger generation. These values include an emphasis on individuality and ingenuity within the confines of an established structure. This paper takes three cyphering books as in-depth examples: Amos Bardwell, Arabella Sheldon, and Jabez Bushnell. All three cyphering books are housed in archives in Deerfield, Massachusetts.


Anne Gebo

“No walls that I know of have been found to be sufficient barriers against them.” An Exploration of Vermin in New England


Scholars have long documented the importance of agriculture, and in particular the combination of animal husbandry and crop cultivation, to English settlement in North America. This lifestyle was especially well suited to the Connecticut River Valley due to its rich soils. However, the fauna of the North American ecosystem came into direct conflict with this mode of survival. My research into Deerfield town records and “vermin” bounties illustrates that squirrels, crows, muskrats, wolves, and cougars all came under fire from the English due to their transgressions against livestock and crops. These animals were understood as “vermin” and via a bounty system, settlers were encouraged to cleanse these species from the landscape. Those practices differed greatly from those of native groups in New England. Indigenous communities were, in part, agriculturalists and therefore dealt with the issue of “vermin” as well. However, they did not follow a plan of extermination, but rather killed single troublesome animals or engaged with non-lethal deterrents. Unfortunately for the fauna of North America, hunting to extermination was not simply a trend of early English settlement either, but rather one that spread well into nineteenth century America. English, and later American, interactions with the environment were therefore driven by their efforts to build a more ideal landscape for cultivation which required changing the New England environment, in part, by exterminating certain native species.

Ann Hewitt

Sippy Cups: Messages Embodied in Children’s Ceramics


In Historic Deerfield’s collection, there are a number of cups and plates that bear messages and pictures meant for children of the 19th century to consume.  Besides being tools for food and drink, the building blocks of education decorated the dishes that children ate and drank from. The mugs and plates tend to fall into two main categories: Rewards and education. These ceramics served as a tactile way to teach and award children for numerous occasions. The edges of plates could be embossed with the letters of the alphabet, and the small mugs bore rewards for good behavior, as well as reminders of virtues or morals.  By eating and drinking from them, they were being exposed to the belief system that was ingrained into the world around them, and the values that were deemed important by their family and community who created and bought these wares. This paper will examine the didactic messaging these ceramics bear, their origins, and speculate about their intended use, where they were purchased from, and whether or not they were actually used.

Jamie Mastrogiacomo

The Mohawk Trail: Souvenirs and Stereotypes on Indigenous Land


In 1914, the Mohawk Trail opened in western Massachusetts. Visitors to the Trail stayed at lodgings with “Indian” themes and shopped for related souvenirs, including postcards, photo books, and replica tomahawks. White tourists became fascinated with indigenous aesthetics, and, as a result, the “Indian” became the unofficial mascot of the Mohawk Trail. In my quest to understand why this stereotypical image persisted across decades, I discovered that souvenirs, particularly postcards and brochures, acted as free advertising for companies along the Trail. In thinking of the souvenir as a marketing tool, one can more easily understand the dissemination of Indigenous stereotypes in twentieth-century New England. While most proprietors along the Trail were white, I acknowledge the Indigenous craftspeople in western Massachusetts who sold authentic goods to tourists. Most sources refer to gift shops along the trail, but few of them mention Indigenous makers. I analyze how these makers appealed to white consumers and how their work differed from the print souvenirs discussed previously. I use a folder of souvenirs, brochures, and related documents from the Mohawk Trail from the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association. I have also incorporated secondary sources from Margaret Bruchac, Philip Deloria, and other scholars of Indigenous culture in the United States.

Alyssa Pizzi

Lot 15 and the Creelman House: Change through time as a reflection of its owners, 1671-1913


Like many housed on Old Main Street in Deerfield, the house on Lot 15 is a witness to history. Its first owner, John Fuller, drew Lot 15 of the Dedham Grant in 1671. The house standing now was first built in 1730, and it its connection to Deerfield’s early years through its first inhabitants, Timothy Childs and his family. In 1767 it was sold to John Russell, a tailor who built a workshop on the lot. Here many specialized craftsmen and prominent town members lived until 1885, when James Wells and Elizabeth Champney, a renowned artist and well-known author gained ownership of the lot and house. The Champneys spent their summers in Deerfield, and made substantial changes to the homelot during the Colonial Revival period. The Champney period was a pivotal moment in the lot’s history, as it shifted from a practical homestead and workshop to the summer home of the artists and his family, who were greatly admired and beloved within the community. Throughout the years, the house and the landscape around it has changed significantly, growing organically through its many owners. This paper aims to provide a history on the ownership of Lot 15, focusing on the evolution of the house and landscape from 1671-1913. The house and its many iterations are reflective of the owners and their role in the community and how they were using the landscape.

Allison Smith

“to captivate children anew”: Matilda Hyde’s “Olde Deerfield” Paper Dolls


For over three hundred years, those interested in the Raid of 1704 visit Deerfield, Massachusetts. This mile-long street has been a destination for people fascinated by colonial-era trauma and the artifacts that witnessed the tragedy. These memories were immortalized long before the twenty-first century. Matilda Strang Hyde (1866-1943) is only one of the women who branded colonial history during the Arts and Crafts Movement on Old Main Street. During the Colonial Revival, Deerfield residents held theatrical pageants re-enacting colonial events while others sold colonial-inspired crafts like rugs, needlework, and baskets. Many historians like Suzanne Flynt and Susan Cahill have written about the Society of Blue and White Needlework’s impact on reviving colonial handicrafts, but fewer historians have written about the other forms of merchandise sold in Deerfield during this time. Hyde owned and operated The Olde Deerfield Doll House, where she sold paper doll sets entitled “Little Captives of 1704.” By comparing the paper doll narratives and illustrations to the literature of 1704, from John Williams to Kevin Sweeney, Hyde’s curated interpretation of the Raid comes to life. This paper argues that Hyde taught the history of the Raid on Deerfield in 1704 to children, by using common narrative tropes such as adventure, love, and perseverance through the medium of paper dolls. The entertaining stories she created about the child captives of 1704, reveal her interest in preserving heritage, transmitting stereotypical opinions about Native people, and animating the captive children of 1704.

Jingyi Zhou

Post-Opium War Trade between China and the West as Reflected in Almira Antoinette Kinney’s Travel Journal (1856-1857)


This paper focuses on a travel journal titled “Seaweed,” written by Almira Antoinette Kinney (called Marie). The journal records Marie’s sea voyage with her father (a sea captain) to China from 1856 to 1857. What is of particular interest is Marie’s observations of Canton and her own participation in the trade between Westerners and Chinese at the break out of the Second Opium War (1856-1860). Using the journal as an entry point, this paper seeks to explore the nature of Europe/America-China trade after the Opium War. It examines the nature of such trade through various aspects, including the analysis and visualization of Marie’s writings and the material culture she saw with a focus on silk textiles. This paper ties Marie’s account to major historical events and fits her experiences into the timeline of the developing war. It also contains a gender aspect with a comparison with Harriet Low (1809-1877)’s journal written around 1830. Western women were banned from entering Canton until after the First Opium War, and they were still very rare in the Post-Opium War trade scene. This paper also provides information about the people Marie Kinney met, some of whom were important figures in the trade and the war, such as James Beecher, the youngest son of Lyman Beecher. This paper creates a multidimensional narrative of the Europe/America-China trade in light of the chaotic time of the Opium War, through the lens of Marie Kinney’s journal.


Kelly Bernatzky

A Gem in Memory’s Casket: The Demographic Potential of Autograph Books


This study focuses on how the inscriptions of Della Ware’s autograph book can be analyzed to reveal demographic factors that impact the social network of young people like gender, age, class, household composition and geographical location. While previous scholarship on autograph books or friendship albums have mainly researched the content of these inscriptions and how they reify cultural identity, this project takes a new approach by concentrating on the additional information, such as names and dates. In addition to the autograph book itself, this method relied on cross-referencing information from inscriptions with the census, historical maps and local school rosters. This study revealed Della’s social network to be diverse in terms of gender and family ties, complex in terms of local proximity, traditional school district and age, but still mainly comprised of individuals with similar familial professions and economic

backgrounds. Rather than deeply explore each of these categories, the goal of this method is to reveal larger trends to illuminate areas for further research. This project not only enhanced the understanding of how demographic factors shape social networks like Della’s, but it experimented with a new approach for studying autograph books, which can be used in future studies to illuminate trends and reveal opportunities for further research.

Natalie Cozart

Rolling the Dice: Testing the Preparedness and Effectiveness of the Western Massachusetts Militias During the American Revolution


This paper examines the militias that were formed in the Western Massachusetts Connecticut River Valley during the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War. Using Western Massachusetts as a case study, this paper focuses on the preparedness and effectiveness of these militias during the revolution while comparing and contrasting their ideal version of a militia to their reality and challenges. This paper addresses the various opinions of the colonists, militiamen, and their leaders and analyzes the militias use during the revolution, specifically focusing on the Canada campaigns and the Battle of Saratoga.

The primary sources used in this paper are from Colonel Elisha Porter’s papers in the Historic Deerfield Library which include militia returns, broadsides, military orders and receipts, and account books. Additionally, there are primary sources associated with the militias in Deerfield that were used from the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association. Secondary sources were used in order to give context to the information found in the primary sources.

This paper argues that towns in the Western Massachusetts Connecticut River Valley aimed to create an ideal militia through systematic preparation, including precise recruitment, demanding training, itemized supplies, adequate funding, and professional guidance, but discovered the reality was harder to establish.

This paper adds to current research on the subject because it analyzes the reputation of the militias before, during, and after the American Revolution. Additionally, this paper discusses the militias’ ideal expectations for themselves which often gets overlooked and overshadowed by their tumultuous legacy.

Jennifer Lien

Small beginnings may often lead to great results”: A case study of the infrastructure and working culture surrounding the cultivation, production, and market of broom corn by Dennis Stebbins and laborers


This paper explores Dennis Stebbins’ farm journal that was written from 1838 to 1841 in attempt to gain a better understanding of the cultivation of broom corn and the production of brooms in Deerfield, Massachusetts. It addresses the laborers, specifically Calvin Sallisbury and Francis Munn, who planted, cultivated, and harvested the broom corn, and who ultimately assembled thousands of brooms for sale as a cash commodity. The paper also addresses the social network that Stebbins created in order to market and distribute his brooms. The primary sources used in this paper include the Stebbins’ family papers, specifically Stebbins’ farm journal from 1838-1841, three business letters to Stebbins from New York businessmen, an employment contract, and Stebbins’ probate inventory. In addition, the paper utilizes Charles Jones’ 1900 essay on “The Broom Corn Industry in the Counties of Franklin and Hampshire, and in the Town of Deerfield in Particular.”, George Sheldon’s notes on Broom Corn in the Deerfield Town Papers, and production statistics documented in the McLane report. Sallisbury and Munn were assembling brooms year round, which was unusual when compared to other contemporary farms that were generally assembling brooms only during the off-season. The laborers were capitalizing on their skills as broom makers, and were known locally (Sallisbury) and non-locally (Munn) as professional broom makers. This paper attempts to reconstitute the experiences of laborers who worked in an occupation that is no longer present in the modern landscape.

Joseph Makuc

“Behold Injustice and Rapacity”: Massachusetts Anti-War Critique of the U.S.-Mexico War


The U.S.-Mexico War (1846-1848) was a momentous war for both the United States and Mexico, involving countless resources expended on both sides and massive amounts of land seized by the U.S. Though Massachusetts was far from the action, many Bay Staters protested the war through war. Anti-war thinking flourished in Massachusetts due to fear of the war’s goals to expand southern “slave power” and Massachusetts thought that the war was deleterious for both the United States and Mexico. My paper studies the anti-war thought of three Massachusetts men as case studies for Massachusetts anti-war arguments: Deerfielder and military thinker Epaphras Hoyt, Boston abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, and U.S. House of Representatives member Charles Hudson. I analyze these figures’ various writings and speeches to discern their arguments against war, and place these arguments in context with each other and secondary sources (principally John H. Schroeder’s Mr. Polk’s War: American Opposition and Dissent, 1846-1848). I conclude that Hoyt, Garrison, and Hudson failed to stop the war due to the regionalism and narrow scope of their arguments. I note that these figures needed to adopt a national outlook against the war to be successful, and urge further study of anti-war thought in diverse sources.

Kelly Pedersen

In Order to Build a More Perfect Beehive: The Reverend Lorenzo Langstroth and the Effect of his Removable Frame Hive on American Beekeeping


Humans have been keeping bees for millennia, but it was not until the mid-nineteenth century that the practice was shaped into the activity that many participate in today. The technology changed dramatically thanks in large part to one man, the Reverend Lorenzo Langstroth, and his removable frame beehive. Beekeepers had already been experimenting with new hive designs for decades by the time that Langstroth took up beekeeping, but his concept of incorporating space around the frames within his hive, among other discoveries, revolutionized the way that people kept their bees. New discoveries were made in understanding the nature of bees, as can be seen in comparing the “Practical Treatise on Bees” that was featured at the back of The Farmer’s Manual from 1819 and Langstroth’s own 1853 book On the Hive and the Honey-bee. Langstroth’s discoveries sparked a revolution in beekeeping that made older methods, such as the practice of keeping the hive in the attic and allowing the bees to come and go through a slot in the wall, obsolete. As a hobby and profession that is still practiced today, beekeeping owes much of its present appearance and process to the experimentation and study of one man, Reverend Lorenzo Langstroth.

Emma Wiley

“The Most Traffic on the Street were the Houses!”: How the History of House Moving Provides a Narrative of Change on the Historic Street in Deerfield, Massachusetts


Of the Deerfield homelots originating in 1671, approximately twenty-six lots have had dwelling structures either moved onto, off of, or within them. While there is plenty of information about how to contemporarily move a house, there has been very little research on the social history of house moving. Deerfield is often perceived as a static landscape where change is hard to follow, partially due to the presentation of Deerfield as a 18th-19th century historic New England town. Using houses as artifacts, this paper explores how the study of house moving can bolster the narrative of change in understanding the historical landscape of the “Street” in Deerfield, Massachusetts. While many structures such as barns, shops, and other outbuildings have been moved, this paper focuses on dwelling houses. This includes structures built to be houses, buildings repurposed later as houses, and houses later converted for other uses. To supply the reader with a general understanding of house moving, the paper starts with a conversation about the changes to the process of physically moving a house and the shifts in the motivations for moving a house. With that background knowledge, the paper then uses two different house moving histories to break open the narrative of change on the Deerfield landscape and how it still impacts visitors today. The examination of the history of house moving opens a pathway for conceptualizing and further understanding how Deerfield is, and has always been, a landscape of change.


Emily Bach

Ladies Fashionably Abroad: Clothing’s Role in European Travel, 1854-1855 


Beginning in September 1854 and ending in August 1855, Mary Ann Cochran of Northampton, Massachusetts meticulously recorded her European excursion as she and her sister travelled through England, France, Italy, and Switzerland. Situated within entries recounting adventurous expeditions through ancient ruins and landscapes are mentions of a seemingly miniscule facet of travel: clothing.

This research delves into how women adapted their wardrobes in response to the physical constraints of travel and the existence of a market of goods and articles dedicated to travel wardrobes, and the popularity of acquiring accessories and dresses in Europe. Clothing also became a mechanism to draw conclusions about a culture’s refinement, artistry, and civility, as dress provided a visual representation of how traditions differed in other parts of the world. I reached my conclusions about clothing’s impact in 1850s trans-Atlantic tourism by analyzing Mary Ann’s journals, articles from Godey’s Lady’s Book, Harper’s Weekly, and Journal des Demoiselles, paintings, and other surviving travel accounts.

Throughout the course of my investigation, the most intriguing conclusion I reached, for me, was how clothing became a tool for supporting Anti-Catholic sentiment. Mary Ann Cochran’s entries targeted the exuberant and ornate fashions of ecclesiastical officials as evidence for Catholicism’s antiquated practices. Currently, very little scholarship has acknowledged this phenomenon of using clothing to chastise Catholicism and, in the future, I plan to pursue exploring this concept further.

Keily Cunningham

Adoration vs Silence: Abolition in Deerfield


Focusing on Samuel Willard, the Reverend of the First Church of Deerfield, this paper examines how Deerfield could have such a charismatic abolitionist leader with a community of silent supporters in the 19th century. Reverend Willard came into this rural community with a different background, full of ideas about reform. Deerfield, being rural and a part of the valley, was not as radical thinking as Willard. Willard eventually became very well loved in the town, even influencing the town to change their religious values from orthodox Calvinists to Unitarian. Knowing that Willard was such a radical abolitionist, it would be logical to believe that the people of Deerfield simply had to be abolitionists as well.

By looking through journals and letters of the community,  I observed that there was not a relation between the Reverend and his congregation within abolitionist thought. There was no mention, except from a small number of people, of supporting the immediate emancipation of enslaved people in the South. In light of these observations, this paper argues why a town that has such a strong abolitionist leader has no stake in the abolitionist movement. Due to racial and social implications, the people of Deerfield did not feel like they wanted to openly support the cause, in the manner of more radical abolitionists such as William Lloyd Garrison. By analyzing the community’s silence about abolitionism, I argue that the people of Deerfield felt uneasy about supporting such a radical cause, in order to better understand why Reverend Samuel Willard was not as influential on his congregation as originally believed. In researching a small town’s feelings about abolitionist support, Deerfield illuminates a greater picture that describes the broader trend of understanding why and how the North as one entity was a confused mess of support and rejection for Abolition up until the Civil War.

Frances Fleming

National Connections in Country Towns: Lectures and Lyceums in Nineteenth-Century Deerfield and Greenfield


As the United States matured, expanded, and industrialized during the 19th century, its citizens established themselves as members of a distinct nation in the world. Lyceums, mutual-education societies that sponsored lectures and debates, were public spaces where a wide range of citizens connected with pressing social and political issues of the day. For residents of rural towns like Deerfield and Greenfield, lyceums created a space where adult citizens with a wide range of backgrounds could consider modern, national issues. Lyceums cannot be studied without considering the greater movement of public lectures that both preceded and were contemporaneous with them. Lyceums occurred alongside industrialization, growing voter populations, and were intertwined with nineteenth-century ideas about literacy, intellectualism, leisure time, suffrage, self-improvement, cosmopolitanism, and national identity. This paper explores these concepts in the context of public lectures and lyceums. Its method rests primarily on study of advertisements and commentary about the Deerfield and Greenfield Lyceums in the Franklin Democrat during the years 1851-1855, and is supplemented by individual journals of local youth, society records, and rhetorical analyses of speeches. These primary sources are bolstered by the background provided by a robust selection of secondary sources. Despite being one of the better-documented towns in America, Deerfield’s lyceums remained understudied until now. Through studying the Deerfield and Greenfield Lyceums, modern viewers can better understand how mid-nineteenth century residents understood and interacted with the changing world beyond Western Massachusetts.

Tammy Hong

Between Fantasy and Familiarity: Chinese Tea Culture and Painting Traditions in Historic Deerfield’s Album: Tea Production


My project seeks to understand the place Album: Tea Production (ca. 1790) occupies in both American and Chinese histories. An accordion-styled album with 24 watercolor paintings, the Deerfield tea album was a set of early Chinese watercolors made for the export market during the Canton System (1757-1856). The album’s Western appeal derives from the captivating ways in which its images are fancifully illustrated yet accessible at the same time. Thus, occupying a space between fantasy and familiarity in the eyes of the West.

My research first identifies the consistencies in the construction and content of these early export tea albums by comparing the Deerfield tea album to that of a similar one in the Museum of Fine Arts in Rennes, France. Then, I explore the meaning behind a selection of illustrations common in both albums to reveal the ways in which these early export tea albums were inspired by Chinese tea culture. Lastly, I compare the watercolor technique employed in the Deerfield tea album to that of Qing Dynasty Chinese paintings to further ground the visual aspects of the album in Chinese traditions.

These conclusions draw attention to the Chinese narratives in Chinese export art that are often overlooked in Western scholarship. Ultimately, this project proves that a more complete understanding of Western and Chinese exchanges during the eighteenth-century can be achieved when the awareness of both Chinese culture and Western aesthetics is applied to the analysis of Chinese export art.

Victoria Kenyon

So Great a Soldier:” Deerfield and The Legacy of Thomas Williams Ashley


Thomas Williams Ashley (1894-1918), a beloved Deerfield son, served in World War I as a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps, and was killed in action in France in 1918 at the age of 24.  In the short time that he lived, he left an indelible impression on Deerfield, as evidenced by the community-wide outpouring of grief that followed news of his death.  This paper considers the various social and cultural factors that impacted Tom Ashley’s legacy, including masculinity in the early twentieth century, the concept of muscular Christianity, and the manifestations of wartime grief, especially in small towns.  Sources consulted include primary documents such as letters between Tom Ashley and Frank Boyden, letters of sympathy written to the Ashley family, and records related to Tom’s death.  Many secondary sources are also interpreted and referenced, especially the writings to have come out of Deerfield Academy in the decades after Tom’s death, along with various sources on masculinity, athletics, and manifestations of mourning after World War I.  These and other sources are consulted in an effort to gain a better understanding of why and how Tom Ashley was (and, a century on from his death, still is) remembered, and what that reveals about his place in the history Deerfield, as well as the town’s place in the larger story of World War I.

Kaila Temple

Refined Bodies: Stays and Bodily Control in the American Context


This paper seeks to establish a local context for stays and staymaking in Deerfield and the greater Connecticut River Valley. Stays, their making, style, and effect on the body are used as an entry point into concepts of bodily control and personal refinement, especially as it applies in the American context. Using account books, probate inventories and extant garments, this paper attempts to local stays in space and time. Extant garments, some from the collections of PVMA and the Longmeadow Historical Society lacking a visual record before this study, are used to discuss hierarchies of materials, rural adaptation, and patterns of construction and style. Stays are framed as the integral garment to building out the refined body, as well as central component of the language of bodily control in dress for both men and women.  Without stays, the refinement afforded by fashion would be impossible to achieve, either in colonial urban areas or rural pockets of wealth such as Deerfield. As garments, stays are engineered to create smoothness and a fashionable shape, aspirational markers of taste and refinement. Their widespread use combined with evidence for their wearing and production in Deerfield reflects eighteenth-century cultural attitudes towards bodily control and physical refinement as a component of the projection of status.