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January 8, 1867: Emily Greene Balch Born

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Northfield Couple Launches U.S. Youth Hostel Movement: December 27, 1934
On this day in 1934, Isabel and Monroe Smith opened the first U.S. youth hostel in Northfield. The young couple had discovered hosteling during a trip...

First Game of Basketball Played in Springfield: December 21, 1891
On this day in 1891, the first game of basketball was played at what is now Springfield College. The game was invented by a Canadian, Dr. James Naismith,...

First Steamboat Passes Through South Hadley Canal: December 1, 1826
On this day in 1826, the Barnet, the first steamboat to operate on the Connecticut River, passed through the South Hadley Canal on its way to Vermont....

Arlo Guthrie Convicted of Littering: November 28, 1965
On this day in 1965, 20-year-old Arlo Guthrie was convicted of littering in the Berkshire County town of Stockbridge, and the song "Alice's...

Workers Complete Hoosac Tunnel: November 27, 1874
On this day in 1874, workers in the small western Massachusetts town of Florida finished the Hoosac Tunnel, bringing to completion one of the world's...

Elizabeth Porter Phelps Born: November 24, 1747
On this day in 1747, Elizabeth Porter was born in the Connecticut River Valley village of Hadley. Five years later, her father built the first house outside...

Eric Carle Museum Opens in Amherst: November 22, 2002
On this day in 2002, the nation's first museum of picture book art opened in Amherst. A decade earlier, children's book author and illustrator...

First Artificial Snow Falls on Mt. Greylock: November 13, 1946
On this day in 1946, an airplane flew over Mount Greylock in western Massachusetts and seeded the clouds with super-cooled ice crystals. The first-ever...

First Students Arrive at Mt. Holyoke Seminary: November 8, 1837
On this day in 1837, 80 students arrived at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in the Connecticut Valley village of South Hadley. Many had traveled for days...

Missionary Opens School for Mohican Indians: November 5, 1734
On this day in 1734, the Yale-trained missionary John Sergeant opened a school for Mohican Indian children in Great Barrington. About 50 members of the...

First Merriam-Webster Dictionary Published in Springfield: September 24, 1847
On this day in 1847, Charles and George Merriam of Springfield published the first edition of The American Dictionary of the English Language. Four years...

Mabel Todd First Describes Emily Dickinson: September 15, 1882
On this day in 1882, Mabel Loomis Todd first recorded her impressions of her mysterious Amherst neighbor. Emily Dickinson always wore white and had her...

Lucy Terry Prince Composes Poem: August 28, 1748
On this day in 1746, Lucy Terry Prince was among the residents of Deerfield traumatized by an Abenaki raid on the village. Lucy, an enslaved woman, described...

Jury Decides in Favor of Elizabeth "Mum Bett" Freeman: August 22, 1781
On this day in 1781, a jury in Great Barrington found in favor of "Mum Bett," a black woman who had been a slave in the home of Colonel...

Hawthorne Visits Natural Bridge in North Adams: August 17, 1883
On this day in 1838, Nathaniel Hawthorne visited Natural Bridge just outside of North Adams. It was just the kind of awe-inspiring scene that so moved...

BSO Conductor Celebrates Birthday at Tanglewood: July 26, 1940
On this day in 1940, Sergei Koussevitzky celebrated his 66th birthday with the first class to graduate from the Berkshire Music Center in Lenox. The school...

Berkshire Town Sends Giant Cheese Ball to Washington: July 20, 1801
On this day in 1801, the Berkshire County town of Cheshire made a 1235-pound ball of cheese and shipped it to Washington, D.C. as a gift for the newly-elected...

Yiddish Book Rescuer Wins Genius Grant: July 17, 1989
On this day in 1989, an Amherst man who had spent more than a decade scrounging in dumpsters, basements, and attics was awarded a MacArthur Foundation...

William Pynchon Buys Land for Springfield: July 15, 1635
On this day in 1636, William Pynchon received the deed giving him title to most of what is now Springfield, Longmeadow, and Agawam. In exchange, he paid...

Ted Shawn Theater Opens at Jacob's Pillow: July 9, 1942
On this day in 1942, the first theater in the nation dedicated exclusively to dance opened at Jacob's Pillow in Becket, a small town in the Berkshire...

State Acts to Protect Mt. Greylock: June 20, 1898
On this day in 1898, the legislature established the first state park in Massachusetts on Mount Greylock. The tallest peak in the state, at almost 3500...

Chinese Workers Arrive in North Adams: June 13, 1870
On this day in 1870, a train arrived in North Adams with 75 young men from China hired to replace striking shoe workers. Over 2,000 people watched as...

Writer Edith Wharton Builds in Lenox: June 7, 1902
On this day in 1902, the writer Edith Wharton wrote to a friend about a visit to the site of her new home, The Mount, under construction in Lenox: "Lenox...

Springfield Dedicates Memorial to Dr. Seuss: May 31, 2002
On this day in 2002, Springfield celebrated the completion of a memorial to a hometown hero, Dr. Seuss. Located in the Library and Museum Quadrangle is...

The "Big E" Incorporated: May 27, 1914
On this day in 1914, a group of western Massachusetts businessmen created a new organization, the Eastern States Agricultural and Industrial Exposition....

Dam Breaks, Causing Catastrophic Flood: May 16, 1874
On this day in 1874, on the Mill River in western Massachusetts, an earthenwork dam gave way. A wall of water between 20- and 40-feet high and 300-feet...

Jury Finds Mary Parsons Not Guilty of Witchcraft: May 13, 1675
On this day in 1675, a Boston jury reached a verdict in the case of Mary Bliss Parsons of Northampton: they found her not guilty of witchcraft. In seventeenth-century...

Dewey Proposes Library Classification System: May 8, 1873
On this day in 1873, Amherst College junior Melvil Dewey made a proposal to the faculty. He had been working in the college library and was frustrated...

Berkshire-Hathaway Announces Mill Closing: May 7, 1958
On this day in 1958, the North Adams Transcript reported that the owners of the Berkshire-Hathaway Company had passed a death sentence on their factory...

Agrippa Hull Enlists: May 1, 1777
On this day in 1777, Agrippa Hull, a freeborn black man from the Berkshire County town of Stockbridge, signed on to serve in the Continental Army for...

Springfield Armory Closes: April 30, 1968
On this day in 1968, there was great sadness in Springfield as the city's historic armory closed its doors after nearly two centuries as the leading...

Annie Oakley Purchases Smith & Wesson Gun: April 25, 1888
On this day in 1888, Annie Oakley, the star female sharpshooter in Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show, purchased a Model 3 handgun made by the Springfield...

Flood Devastates Springfield: March 21, 1936
On this day in 1936, the worst flood in the state's recorded history inundated the city of Springfield. An unusually cold and snowy winter, followed...

Sophia Smith Endows New Women's College: March 8, 1870
On this day in 1870, a shy but determined woman from Hatfield willed that her fortune be used to establish a women's college in Northampton. The...

Clarence Birdseye Tests Frozen Food: March 6, 1930
On this day in 1930, shoppers in Springfield became the first Americans to find frozen food in their grocery stores. A test marketing program was designed...

Northampton Bank Receives Ransom Note: February 28, 1876
On this day in 1876, a ransom note was sent to the Northampton National Bank. Just a month earlier, a notorious gang of New York thieves had managed to...

Mt. Holyoke Cable Car Burned: February 17, 1965
On this day in 1965, Massachusetts officials burned what was left of the wooden tramway that had carried thousands of people to the summit of Mt. Holyoke....

Holyoke Man Invents Volleyball: February 9, 1895
On this day in 1895, a new game was first played at the YMCA in Holyoke. Many of the men who came to the Y were excited about another new game, basketball,...

Silvio Conte Dies: February 8, 1991
On this day in 1991, Representative Silvio Conte died at age 70. A Republican in a largely Democratic state, more liberal than most members of his party,...

Jonathan Edwards Ordained: February 5, 1727
On this day in 1727, Jonathan Edwards was ordained in Northampton. Two years later, he succeeded his grandfather as minister of what was then the largest...

Rebels Attack Springfield Arsenal: January 25, 1787
On this day in 1787, 2,000 farmers from western Massachusetts attacked the new federal arsenal at Springfield. The government soldiers returned fire,...

Indian Boys Arrive in Longmeadow: January 23, 1800
On this day in 1800, Thomas Thorakwaneken Williams arrived in Longmeadow with his two young sons, Eleazer and John. Thomas was the grandson of Eunice...

UMass Researchers Clone Calves: January 20, 1998
On this day in 1998, two researchers affiliated with the University of Massachusetts drew worldwide attention when they went public with a birth announcement....

Norman Rockwell Wins Medal of Freedom: January 10, 1977
On this day in 1977, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, was bestowed on 83-year-old Norman Rockwell. The country's...

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