November 2007 Newsletter


A message from the President

This is the first newsletter since our 2007 reunion in Westfield, so for those of you who were not in attendance and those who haven’t seen the review on our website I thought I’d mention a few highlights and memories from that occasion. A number of factors came together in making the reunion the very enjoyable time that it was.  The location had been considered for some time, and with past president Bob Magovern’s help (he is on the board of trustees of Westfield State College) we were able to confirm it as the site of last June’s reunion.  The fact that many Dickinsons have lived in the Westfield/Granville area over the years, and still do, also made it a desirable location.  Having the reunion in an academic setting was certainly conducive to initiating the theme of Dickinsons in the education field.

We had beautiful weather for our weekend, and great food both for the Friday evening dinner at School Street Bistro and for the reunion lunch at the college.  The total attendance was lower than in the last few years, but we did see some members who hadn’t attended for some time and welcomed some new members as well.  Nancy Payne, who retired as secretary last year, was recognized with a framed certificate of appreciation.  Other retired board members who were recognized were the late Robert Bock, publications chair, and his wife, Bucky, genealogist, who was not able to attend.

We enjoyed two outstanding speakers: Ken Haar and Bob Brown.  Ken spoke about the Dickinson School of Southwick and Bob gave us some insight into the development of education, particularly that of teachers, in 19th century Massachusetts and indeed America.  The subject of Bob’s talk was John W. Dickinson, professor, college president and secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Education.   All in attendance enjoyed the pleasant, comfortable facilities and services provided for us by Westfield State College.

In June of 2008 we bring our reunion back to Amherst and to Amherst College for the first time in 125 years.   We will be celebrating the grand reunion of 1883 as we continue our emphasis on education.  Attendance at reunions has been dropping in the past few years, so this upcoming reunion should be an excellent time to reverse that trend.  If you have never attended a reunion, this is one you should not miss.  And if you haven’t attended for a while, please make plans to join us for what should be a very memorable one.

Alan C. Dickinson, president

                                               1883 – 2008

                                    A SPECIAL REUNION COMING UP

June 21, 2008 is the date to save for our special reunion, the 125th anniversary of the reunion of 1883.  It will take place on the campus of Amherst College, as did the 1883 meeting.  The venue will be the dining room of the Lewis-Sebring Commons in Valentine Hall.  It is a very elegant, comfortable and well-equipped room, although not the actual location of the original meeting.  In 1883 over 400 Dickinson cousins met in College Hall, which was the former Congregational Church of Amherst.  The building is still there, but now houses college offices, particularly the treasurer’s office.

Our main speaker for the reunion will be Polly Longsworth.  Polly is familiar to regular attendees of our reunions and has spoken to us in years past.  She is a well-known Emily Dickinson scholar and expert on the Dickinsons of Amherst.  Polly is currently at work on a much-anticipated biography of Emily Dickinson.  She is also an honorary member of the Dickinson Family Association.

Friday evening, June 20, our traditional reunion dinner returns to the Lord Jeffery Inn in Amherst.  It will be preceded by a short open board meeting and social hour and will take place in the charming “Windowed Hearth Room” as it did in 2006.

We have instituted a series of monthly update/reminders on the reunion which are sent by e-mail to all whose e-mail address we have.  The first went out in October and they will continue in non-Newsletter months to keep you abreast of developments in our plans for this special occasion.  We really want to have a good turnout, so please plan early to attend.

                                             NEWS FROM THE GENEALOGY DEPARTMENT

Last year we regretfully accepted the resignation of long-time genealogist, Margaret Bock.  Our newly elected genealogist, Adrienne Weible, actually started working with “Bucky” before she had officially retired.  Now Adrienne is eager to devote a good chunk of her time to entering genealogical information in our database.  This could eventually lead to publication of a supplement to our 3rd edition genealogy or to another new edition.  However, her work depends on submissions of information from our members.

New members often have a great deal of data to transmit to the genealogist.  But the rest of us should also remember that new information is always being generated.  Whenever there are births, deaths or marriages in your family you should send the details to Adrienne so she can add them to the database.  Also, have you checked your family’s information as it stands in the current genealogy?  If there are errors or omissions, these should be brought to her attention.

Contact Adrienne by e-mail at or by postal mail at 4 Briar Cliff Dr., Wilbraham, MA 01095, or by phone, 413-599-0016.  Let’s keep her busy!

                                                       A MILESTONE FOR MARY DICKINSON

At the 2007 Reunion former president Philip B. Dickinson announced that his mother would be celebrating her 100th birthday in October of this year.  Mary M. Dickinson of Granville, Massachusetts, did indeed turn 100 this October.  A birthday card was sent to her from all of us in the DFA.  Bob Leslie reported that he and his wife Muriel (a cousin of Mary’s) attended a gathering in Mary’s honor on October 7 and that she was very alert and looking wonderful.  Congratulations, Mary!!

                                                                NEW SCHOLARSHIP CHAIR

The slate of officers voted in at the last annual meeting included a new chair of the Scholarship Committee.  She is Carrie Salzer and she has been a member of the committee for several years.  Carrie is the daughter of Bob Magovern, past president and current historian of the DFA.  We are grateful that Carrie is willing to take on this position and confident that she will do an excellent job.  Watch for the new scholarship forms for 2008 which will be posted on the website by the first of the year, if not before.

                                                                COOKBOOK   “Family Fare”

Hi, everyone!

I hope you are all having a wonderfully colorful season!  At the beginning of November, I will be heading to Utah for a winter of skiing and post-graduate, non-English related seasonal employment! We still have plenty of copies of our cookbook, Family Fare!  The books make excellent holiday gifts, and they provide numerous ideas for holiday cooking and baking.  While I am in Utah, I will continue to take and ship orders for cookbooks with the help of my awesome Mom, Clara.

To order copies of Family Fare, you can visit the DFA website and print the available order form.  Fill it out and send it to Clara Pinkham at 278 Reitman Court, Rochester Hills, MI 48307

The cookbook is $14 per copy, which includes shipping.  Please include a check with your order form.

Thank you, enjoy the book, and have a great holiday season!


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