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Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Christian Science Church building - Springfield, Massachusetts



The Christian Science Church of Springfield, Massachusetts, stood on State Street in this 1930s-era colored postcard.  The postcard was published by the Springfield News Company.


The congregation merged with another in Longmeadow sometime around 2000.  The site is now the Progressive Community Baptist Church.

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Jacqueline T. Lynch is the author of The Ames Manufacturing Company of Chicopee, Massachusetts - A Northern Factory Town's Perspective on the Civil War;   Comedy and Tragedy on the Mountain: 70 Years of Summer Theatre on Mt. Tom, HolyokeMassachusetts;   States of Mind: New England; as well as books on classic films and several novels. Her latest book is Christmas in Classic Films. TO JOIN HER READERS' GROUP - follow this link for a free book as a thank-you for joining.

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

The small town of big practical jokes - MEET ME IN NUTHATCH

Here's a bit about my novel, Meet Me in Nuthatch:

A whimsical, poignant tale about a practical joke-turned publicity stunt that fires up the small town of Nuthatch, Massachusetts, in a desperate attempt to attract tourists.


Christmas tree farmer Everett Campbell proposes turning the clock back to 1904 and reviving the town’s cozy past, an idea he gets from watching his young daughter’s favorite classic movie, Meet Me in St. Louis. She is thrilled at being allowed to dress up and pretend, but not everyone in town is enchanted with the nostalgic promotion—including Everett’s moody teenage son.

The media, and the tourists, do come, but the scheme also attracts a large theme park corporation that wants to buy Nuthatch 1904.

Everett now stands to lose his town in a way he never imagined, and his neighbors are divided on which alternate future to choose.

A local drug dealer, Everett’s boyhood enemy, may hold the future of the entire town in his hands unless Everett can pull off one of his most spectacular, and dangerous, practical jokes.


Get your copy here at Amazon in print and eBook, or from Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple, and a variety of other online shops.
 

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Jacqueline T. Lynch is the author of The Ames Manufacturing Company of Chicopee, Massachusetts - A Northern Factory Town's Perspective on the Civil War;   Comedy and Tragedy on the Mountain: 70 Years of Summer Theatre on Mt. Tom, HolyokeMassachusetts;   States of Mind: New England; as well as books on classic films and several novels. Her latest book is Christmas in Classic Films. TO JOIN HER READERS' GROUP - follow this link for a free book as a thank-you for joining.


Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Four aerial views of Springfield, Massachusetts in the 1920s




Here are four aerial views of Springfield, Massachusetts, all probably taken at the same time around the mid-to-late 1920s.  They are from a set of postcards published by the Aerial Service of Hartford, Connecticut.  Above, starting from the southernmost section of the city, we have the Everett Barney mansion, estate, mausoleum and grounds of Forest Park.  The Connecticut River is on the far upper right.



Next, we have the lower State Street area, specifically focused on what the postcard publisher calls The Educational Center, but which we have come to know as The Quadrangle.  The library can be seen, as well as the George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum, The Springfield Science Museum, and the building which currently houses The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss.  In this photo, the Museum of Fine Arts is absent, as that was not built until the 1930s.  Also absent is the Lyman and Merrie Woods Museum of Springfield History, which was not constructed until 2009.

St. Michael's Cathedral can be spotted, the Springfield Armory, Classical High School, and Springfield Technical High School, which we covered in this previous post.



The next view shows us the city's downtown with Court Square, the City Hall, Campanile, and Symphony Hall prominent in the photo.  The new Memorial Bridge, completed in 1922 spans the Connecticut River on the left.  Horizontal near the top of the photo we have the rail line and train station.  This view gives us a good look at Springfield before Route 91.



Our final view is of the northern section of the city and the expanse of what was the new Springfield Hospital, what would later become the main building of Baystate Medical Center.

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Jacqueline T. Lynch is the author of The Ames Manufacturing Company of Chicopee, Massachusetts - A Northern Factory Town's Perspective on the Civil War;   Comedy and Tragedy on the Mountain: 70 Years of Summer Theatre on Mt. Tom, HolyokeMassachusetts;   States of Mind: New England; as well as books on classic films and several novels. Her latest book is Christmas in Classic Films. TO JOIN HER READERS' GROUP - follow this link for a free book as a thank-you for joining.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Northampton, Mass.: the setting for By Your Leave, Sir - The Story of a Wave

 

Smith College - Capen School Faunce House, 1914 postcard


During World War II, Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, was a training camp for WAVES.  The story of female midshipmen is recounted by one of its graduates, Lieutenant (J.G.) Helen Hull Jacobs in By Your Leave, Sir – The Story of a Wave.


The book is actually a novel, published in 1943, but as Lt. Jacobs was then in the Public Relations Office of the Naval Reserve Training School in the Bronx, one may assume that writing this book based on her own experience was likely part of her duties in public relations for the WAVES.  Though it tells of a troubled young woman named Becky McLeod, who loses her fiancĂ© in a London air raid and seeks a place in the war effort, recounts her challenges and new friendships made, the book serves as a concise outline of the requirements for a woman to serve in the Navy and what she might expect to encounter in Midshipman’s School.  WAVES is an acronym for Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service and was part of the U.S. Navy Reserves.

Smith College Assembly Hall and buildings, postcard, c. 1905

Smith College, one of the preeminent women’s colleges in the country, became figuratively the Navy’s U.S.S. Northampton, and the women were trained in military history, military courtesy, discipline, physical training, and classroom education in many subjects.  When they graduated, they would be officers, the first branch of the military in which women would receive full military status. 

Smith College, Capen House, postcard c. 1905


The notion of women serving in the military was a controversial one, but the book’s title, By Your Leave, Sir, is a reference to the purpose of establishing this branch of military service for women: to relieve male sailors and officers for sea duty.  The women were assigned to replace men in clerical positions, but also served as aviation instructors, intelligence agents, scientists, and engineers. Over 100,000 WAVES served in World War II. 

Faunce House, Capen's School, postcard 1907


In the novel, we follow Becky and the other midshipmen through locations familiar to those living in western Massachusetts: on the grounds of Smith College and in Northampton.  They attend classes at Faunce Hall, are billeted at Capen House and the Hotel Northampton, and Wiggins Tavern is frequented on their off hours.  Filene’s in Boston tailors their uniforms, and there are trips to The Whale Inn in Goshen, and they go to a Red Cross Rally at the Springfield Auditorium.  Though most of the characters in the story are fictitious, real-life figures such as Lt. Elizabeth Crandall also appear in the story.

Hotel Northampton and Wiggins Tavern postcard c. 1920s

The novel is an interesting look at the life of women in Navy training at this time, and also for a glimpse at Northampton as it served this unique position in America’s war effort.



The author, Helen Hull Jacobs, had her own interesting story.  This was one of several books, both fiction and non-fiction she wrote, after having had a very successful career as a professional tennis player in the 1930s and 1940s.  She won several U.S. National championships, Wimbledon, and nine Grand Slam titles.  She was elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1962.  She was a farmer, designed sportswear, and her Naval career culminated by achieving the rank of commander while serving in United States Navy intelligence in World War II, one of only five women in the Navy to achieve the rank of commander during the war.

Sources:  

Asal, Alex. "Learning to be Navy," Campus Life, June 11, 2019, Smith College website. 

Jacobs, Helen Hull.  By Your Leave, Sir - The Story of a Wave. (NY: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1943)

New York Times, "Helen Jacobs, Tennis Champion in the 1930's, Dies at 88" obituary by Susan B. Adams, June 4, 1997.

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Jacqueline T. Lynch is the author of The Ames Manufacturing Company of Chicopee, Massachusetts - A Northern Factory Town's Perspective on the Civil War;   Comedy and Tragedy on the Mountain: 70 Years of Summer Theatre on Mt. Tom, HolyokeMassachusetts;   States of Mind: New England; as well as books on classic films and several novels. Her latest book is Christmas in Classic Films. TO JOIN HER READERS' GROUP - follow this link for a free book as a thank-you for joining.

 

Monday, March 6, 2023

Wesson's Home Becomes a Hospital


 

The home in the foreground of this postcard belonged to inventor and firearms designer Daniel Baird Wesson of Springfield, Massachusetts.  With Horace Smith, Mr. Wesson formed both the Winchester Repeating Arms Company and Smith & Wesson firearms manufacturing companies.  

The house at 132 High Street, Springfield, was donated by Mr. Wesson in 1906, in memory of his late wife, to become the Hampden Homeopathic Hospital.  It became Wesson Memorial Hospital later that year when Wesson himself passed on.  It was a 30-bed facility, but Wesson Hospital enlarged with a further endowment from his estate to build a new 100-bed unit at 140 High Street, as well as a new 25-bed maternity hospital in 1908.

The old Wesson home that served as the original Wesson Memorial Hospital no longer stands, and what became Wesson Women's eventually merged with Springfield Hospital and became Baystate Medical Center.

The penny-postcard was published by George S. Graves of Springfield, Mass.

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Jacqueline T. Lynch is the author of The Ames Manufacturing Company of Chicopee, Massachusetts - A Northern Factory Town's Perspective on the Civil War;   Comedy and Tragedy on the Mountain: 70 Years of Summer Theatre on Mt. Tom, HolyokeMassachusetts;   States of Mind: New England; as well as books on classic films and several novels. Her latest book is Christmas in Classic Films. TO JOIN HER READERS' GROUP - follow this link for a free book as a thank-you for joining.

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

President Calvin Coolidge's homes in Northampton, Massachusetts


Calvin Coolidge lived in Northampton through much of his political career, and here we have in postcard images his two homes.

First, the duplex on Massasoit Street where he and his wife Grace moved after their marriage in 1905.  Coolidge, a graduate of Amherst College and native of Vermont, came here to open his law practice.  His wife Grace had been a teacher at the Clarke School for the Deaf.  They rented the left side of this duplex and raised their two sons here.  



The Coolidges continued to make this their home through the next couple of decades as "Silent Cal" entered politics and served as Mayor of Northampton, Governor of Massachusetts, Vice President of the United States under President Warren G. Harding, and then assuming the presidency in 1923 after Harding's death in office.  

The Beeches

Coolidge's presidency ended in 1929 ("I do not choose to run.") and in 1930, he moved his home from the house on Massasoit Street to a new house called "The Beeches" on Hampton Terrace, for more privacy.  The tourists gawking at his rented duplex got to be a bit too much.


Calvin Coolidge died at "The Beeches" in 1933, at the age of 60.  

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Jacqueline T. Lynch is the author of The Ames Manufacturing Company of Chicopee, Massachusetts - A Northern Factory Town's Perspective on the Civil War;   Comedy and Tragedy on the Mountain: 70 Years of Summer Theatre on Mt. Tom, HolyokeMassachusetts;   States of Mind: New England; as well as books on classic films and several novels. Her latest book is Christmas in Classic Films. TO JOIN HER READERS' GROUP - follow this link for a free book as a thank-you for joining.


Tuesday, February 21, 2023

First anniversary - Slava Ukraini


Approaching one year since the start of World War III (whether we acknowledge it or not).  

Invasion and atrocities.

Putin's Russia has committed mass kidnapping of children, mass torture, extensive war crimes.

Putin's Russia is currently committing genocide.

Support Ukraine in every way possible.  We should join the fight against fascism wherever it exists.

Support freedom and democracy.

Slava Ukraini!


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