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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Exhibition in memory of Ann Lynch Beebe & Rita Kulig - Massachusetts

The Wilbraham Art League is hosting an art show in memory of Ann Lynch Beebe and Rita Kulig.  An exhibition of the work of these two artists will be held in the Brooks Room at the Wilbraham Public Library.  The opening reception is this coming Sunday, January 4, 2015 from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. The exhibit will continue through the month of January.

The Wilbraham Public Library is located at 25 Crane Park Drive, Wilbraham, Massachusetts.  For more information, have a look here at the websites for the Wilbraham Art League, and the Wilbraham Public Library.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Feasts and Department Stores - Massachusetts and Rhode Island

It is ironic that in spite of the much bewailed commercialism of our modern Christmas holidays, we also have a nostalgic love for those enormous and elegant department stores of days gone by which fed us on the glamour of tinsel, garland, and our hearts' desires in gift wrapping.  Before there was there was the charge card or the debt, there was the escalator.

From Forbes & Wallace in Springfield, Massachusetts:

Providence, Rhode Island had Shepard's:

But if you were shopping for Christmas dinner, the First National chain in 1937 had prices that couldn't be beat, if you had a job.

But in 1941, with the U.S. only recently at war, a last celebration before the separations and the wartime shortages set in -- and Christmas dinner was truly at feast at Springfield's, Sheraton Hotel:

Thank you for time-traveling with me this year.  Best wishes to all who celebrate for a Merry Christmas, and to all a most joyous and peaceful New Year.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Gifts for the reader with a passion for New England

Holiday gifts for the reader with a passion for New England:

 The Ames Manufacturing Company of Chicopee, Massachusetts

Non-fiction - A collection of articles and photos of the Civil War - era arms plant famous for the Ames Sword, as well as the first bronze statuary foundry in the United States.  Available in paperback or eBook.

 Beside the Still Waters - novel.

When the Quabbin Reservoir was created in central Massachusetts from the 1920s through 1930s, four entire towns were dismantled and the citizens were forced to leave their homes, their history and their heritage.  This is the story of those "survivors" of the Swift River Valley.  Available in paperback or eBook.

 Meet Me in Nuthatch - novel.

The poignantly comic story of a fictional town in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts which, in order to survive, adopts a plan to attract tourism by turning back the clock to 1904.  The past is not as cozy at it seems, and the future has a familiar ring to it.  Available in paperback or eBook.
 The first three novels in the "cozy" Double V Mysteries Series -

Cadmium Yellow, Blood Red

Speak Out Before You Die
Dismount and Murder

It is 1949, and the post-war era is a difficult adjustment to recent ex-con Elmer Vartanian, who partners with Hartford socialite, heiress, and aspiring artist Juliet Van Allen -- for their mutual survival when both are knee-deep in trouble.  Their relationship grows, and so does their knack for finding themselves in the thick of trouble.  New England in the post-World War II era is the setting for this series of mysteries.  Available in paperback or eBook.

States of Mind: New England - non-fiction.

A collection of essays from this blog on the history of New England, with some 200 photographs.  Available in paperback or eBook.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Valley Radio Reading Service -

This Wednesday, December 10th is Valley Gives Day - set aside to raise money by and for nonprofit groups in western Massachusetts.  Please visit this website- - to choose among your favorite worthy organizations.

This is my own special plea on behalf of the Valley Radio Reading Service, which broadcasts daily the reading of local news and entertainment material for subscribers who are blind or vision impaired and have no access to this information from any other source.  The readers who sit before the microphones are all volunteers.  Your donation will help defray the cost of broadcasting.

Thank you.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Sleigh ride - Gill, Massachusetts

Image Museum website.

Thanksgiving brought our first snow of the season, but here is a sleigh ride from long ago, an undated photo taken in Gill, Massachusetts.  Some of the kids' names are listed above.  Do you know them?  Is one of them  you?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Harvest Supper - Granby, Massachusetts

Image Museum website

It was too early for Thanksgiving, but the ladies of the Congregational Church of Granby, Massachusetts served their harvest supper at the end of September 1915, with "special attention to Automobile and Carriage Parties."  Fifty cents buys you a chicken pie, and a quarter extra for the three-act comedy, "Mrs. Briggs of the Poultry Yard."  Heck of a deal.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

College Football - Hampden Park, Springfield, Massachusetts 1905

Image Museum website

This is Main Street, Springfield, Massachusetts in November, 1905.  You see the railroad arch down the street, and hanging above the road in the foreground is the "Championship Football" game between Brown University and Dartmouth to be played at Hampden Park on Saturday, November 25th at 2:00 p.m.

Bundle up, if you're going.  And plan to get there well ahead of time; you know how that lot gets filled up with horses and carriages.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Peace Statue - World War I - Chicopee, Massachusetts

Many World War I monuments depicted, not the figures of soldiers as in previous wars, but used images of peace.  The images were mythical, allegorical, because we did not know what peace looked like, but we imaged it must be something beautiful, gentle, and noble.

This statue was sculpted and cast in bronze by Melzar H. Mosman in his Chicopee Bronze Works studio, made especially for his hometown and donated by him.  It stands on Front Street, Chicopee, Massachusetts.  Mosman, himself, was a veteran of the Civil War.  He knew what war was, and he lived the artist's aching determination to create truth, and beauty.

The names of Chicopee's World War I veterans are listed on tablets mounted on the pedestal. The statute is simply called Peace.

For more on Melzar Mosman's work, have a look at this previous post here. I'm currently working on a book about Mosman and his art.

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