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 alw48@aol.com 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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A message from the President

Our 2007 reunion begins a series in which we recognize the contributions of Dickinsons to the field of education.  It also appears to be the first time on record that our reunion has been held on a college campus since the grand reunion of 1883 at Amherst College.  Westfield State College was not founded by a Dickinson, as was Amherst, but John Woodbridge Dickinson was one of its most illustrious presidents and indeed a major contributor to the development of education, especially teacher education, in this country.  We will be fortunate to hear more about John Dickinson from our main speaker, Dr. Robert Brown, former chair of the history department at WSC and now historian of the City of Westfield. 

During the historian’s report in the annual meeting we will also hear from Kenneth Haar, a current faculty member at the college.  Ken is a trustee of the Dickinson School of Southwick, Massachusetts.  He will relate the interesting story of that former school and its impressive trust fund which still exists.

We will be meeting in the large space on the ground floor of the New Residence Hall.  It is very accessible and handicapped parking spaces are nearby.  An adjacent game room is available for children with a safe outdoor area nearby for play if the weather is good.  Our meeting room has comfortable chairs, is air-conditioned and has a view of the woods  which surround the campus.  The college food service will cater the lunch, with a menu similar to those of recent years including chicken, succotash and strawberry shortcake.  Our past president, Bob Magovern, is a trustee at WSC and he raves about the food, so it’s bound to be good!

Although the location is a bit removed from places we’re used to, I think you will find it very enjoyable, so I hope you will decide to come.  Bring along any materials you care to exhibit, and don’t forget to bring your children!  I sincerely hope that we will have a good showing at this year’s reunion.

Alan C. Dickinson, President

                  137th ANNUAL REUNION SCHEDULE


            5 PM                Board Meeting, School Street Bistro, Westfield, MA

            6 PM                Social Hour, School Street Bistro

            7 PM                Dinner, School Street Bistro  (Old building, new restaurant, great food!)


            9:30 AM          Gathering of Cousins, New Residence Hall, Westfield State College

Parking:  Commuter parking lot off Western Avenue

            12 Noon          Welcome and Lunch

            1:15 PM           Annual Meeting and Program

            1:15 PM           Children’s Activities, game room and/or college quadrangle or gym


            Westfield Athenaeum  (www.westath.org);  Center of town, on the green.

                        Friday and Saturday  8:30 AM to 5 PM

            Stanley Park  (www.stanleypark.org)

                        Just east of the college, on the south side of Western Avenue.

            First Congregational Church  (www.churchonthegreen.org)   Center of town. The church welcomes DFA members to attend the 10AM Sunday service.

            The Berkshires  (www.berkshires.org)

                        Tanglewood, summer home of the Boston Symphony, the Norman Rockwell Museum , many other museums and a multitude of other attractions are in this beautiful region. 

Please return your reservation card as soon as possible.

Driving directions will appear in the June newsletter.

                                                WESTFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS

 Westfield, the site of our 137th Annual Reunion has been home to a state college since 1892.  It opened as Westfield  State Normal School, later changed to Teacher’s College and in 1956 moved from downtown to its present location on Western Avenue where it became Westfield State College.

Westfield was established in 1669 and was then the westernmost town in Massachusetts.  For many years it was mostly an agricultural community, but the 19th century brought industrialization and Westfield became known as the “Whip City” in reference to one of its early products.  Since that time the town has been home to the Columbia Bicycle Co. and Stanley Home Products among many others.

Today’s City of Westfield is a busy confluence of three major routes: US 20 and 202 and MA 10 (“The College Highway”).  On the central green stands the Westfield Athenaeum, a very unique library dating back to 1830 which also includes outstanding History and Art museums established in the 1920s.  North on rte. 202 is Barnes Airport.  West on Western Avenue, just before the college, is Stanley Park, a large, well-maintained recreation area open to the public which is especially known for its gardens and fountains.  Driving west on rte. 20 takes you to the Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts.  We hope all who attend our 137th reunion will take advantage of the new venue and explore this beautiful part of the state.

                                   JANUARY SURVEY

Over 320 forms were mailed in January and as of early March we had received 62 responses.  A total of 43 persons were hoping to attend the reunion and 16 the Friday dinner.  More than 80% of our membership didn’t respond, and if you are among them, we do hope you will decide to come.  And we hope each of you will encourage others to attend as well.

Donations of about $1600 were also received with the response cards and we sincerely thank those who contributed. While we are always grateful for contributions to our operating budget, regretfully this year’s contributions to the scholarship fund were down from last year.  We are trying to build up that fund so we can help more students each year.  If you haven’t yet contributed, please consider using the enclosed envelope to send in a contribution, even if you can’t attend the reunion.


A new and exciting season has begun at the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst, Massachusetts.  In addition to last year’s new tour, “This was a Poet,” of the Homestead only, there will be two more new tours this year.  One, “Grounds of Memory,” is a self-guided landscape tour of the grounds of both the Homestead and The Evergreens.  An audio “wand” will direct visitors to eighteen stops, provide historical information and quote some of Dickinson’s poems.  The narrator is Richard Wilbur and it will be available starting in late April.  The other new tour focuses on architecture.  Some of our current tour guides are being trained to give this tour which will be available in early June.

The major tour, “Emily Dickinson’s World,” which includes both houses, will be enhanced this year by the chance they are an excerpt from a historic radio broadcast made at The Evergreens in 1940 by Ted Malone.  During the 1930s and 1940s, Martha Dickinson Bianchi, the poet’s niece, frequently hosted visitors at The Evergreens in the “Emily Room” to share the story of her aunt’s life and work. 

If you are anywhere near the museum this year, make it a point to stop in.  It is about an hour from the site of our reunion, but if you are in the area for an extra day or two, plan on visiting.  For more information, call    413-542-8161 or look online at www.emilydickinsonmuseum.org.

                             ANNUAL SCHOLARSHIP ALERT

The deadline of April 30 is fast approaching!  Anyone who plans to apply for the DFA college scholarship and has not already sent in the application should do so promptly.  We plan to notify the winner in early June.  Mail to scholarship chair, Alan Dickinson, 6 Garden Lane, Wilbraham MA 01095.  Questions: 413-596-9648; anbdickinson@charter.net.

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A message from the President

Happy New Year to all!  I hope 2007 will be a good one for you. At this time of beginnings and new beginnings I’ve been thinking about the origins of the Dickinson Family Association.  It evidently had its beginning with a gathering of one Dickinson Family in Glastonbury, CT, in 1859.  From that time on, the reunion gathering has always been a focal point  for the association’s endeavors.

As it became desirable to document the many members of the different family groups and their ancestors, our emphasis on genealogy evolved.  Nowadays, a fascination with family history is probably the primary thing that draws people to our organization.  With our members spread across the United States and several other countries, it is impossible for all to attend the annual meeting.  However, many have attended at least once, and some frequently travel a good distance to be with us.

 Admittedly, not everyone is interested in family history.  I myself was only casually interested until I was in my fifties. It was one of my students who first informed me of this organization and loaned me a copy of the genealogy.  From that moment, I was hooked, and set about researching my “roots.”   It was a few years before I actually became a member of the DFA, but that was before there was a website or a newsletter.

Those of you who are reading this undoubtedly know how intriguing family history is.  I hope you will pass this on to your children, grandchildren, etc.  We have been seeing more of the younger generations recently at our reunions, and it we need to expand this in the future.  To do that we need your help.  Perhaps it would make a good New Year’s resolution!

Alan C. Dickinson, President

                                                                                    2007 REUNION

Our annual reunion in June will be in Westfield, Massachusetts this year.  The Saturday events will take place in Scanlon Hall on the campus of Westfield State College.  The main speaker will be Dr. Bob Brown, a former member of the faculty and currently historian for Westfield.  He will speak on the history of the college and of a former president, John W. Dickinson, whose achievements in education were felt on the local, state and national level.  The Friday evening dinner will be at the School Street Bistro in Westfield.  More details may be found on the web site.  

f you are staying overnight, the best suggestion for accommodation are those in West Springfield on Rte. 5 (Riverdale St.) which you can find on last year’s list.  You can also consult the college’s web site.  A new list will accompany the April Newsletter.

                                                          JANUARY SURVEY

Enclosed with this newsletter is our annual January Survey card.  Please take a moment to look it over, fill it out and return it in the envelope provided.

We do this each year for several reasons.  One is to obtain up-to-date e-mail addresses from those of you who have them.  One or two newsletters each year are sent by e-mail which saves us time and money.  If you prefer not to receive newsletters by e-mail make a note to that effect.  Another is to get a feel for the interest in this year’s reunion. We know not everyone who says they plan to come will be able to, but if your intention at this time is to attend, please  mark it so. 

We also need to find people who are interested and willing to actively help in the running of the organization. If you live within reasonable driving distance of Holyoke, W. Springfield or Sturbridge MA, where our board meetings are held please strongly consider volunteering to help us in one of the categories listed.  We especially need someone to assume duties of secretary at this time.

And last, but not least, if you are able to make a contribution to the operating expenses of the DFA or to its scholarship fund (or both!) we encourage you to do so.  Since we have no dues we depend on and are grateful for the generosity of our members in helping with expenses, primarily for mailings and the web site.


We were saddened to learn that Robert W. Bock passed away on December 17, 2006.  Bob, the husband of our genealogist, Margaret “Bucky” Bock, was for many years the publications treasurer for the DFA.  He resigned from that post a year ago but remained on the board as a member at large. We are grateful for the dedication he showed to the DFA over the years, and we express our deepest sympathy to Bucky and family.  He will surely be missed.

                                      SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATIONS SOUGHT

Once again we are accepting applications for our scholarship.  Two changes have been made to our scholarship form and policy.  One is that we will notify the winner(s) early in June so that hopefully they can attend the reunion and be recognized.  The second affects the way the committee makes the awards.  The DFA scholarship was established for financial assistance to students attending accredited four-year colleges.  Until now we have given preference to entering freshmen among equally qualified candidates.  Since many students attend a junior college for one or two years and then transfer to a four-year school we have slightly modified this policy.  We will give preference now to first-time applicants among equally qualified candidates.  Thus a sophomore, junior or even senior will be considered on a par with entering freshmen provided they have never before applied.

This does not preclude prior applicants from re-applying.  Should their qualifications exceed those of first-time applicants, they may receive the scholarship.   We are looking forward to the year when our funds are such that we can award scholarships to all well-qualified applicants, regardless of year.  So far we are not at that point.  As always, we encourage our members to strongly consider making contributions, bequests, etc., to our scholarship fund so that we might soon reach that goal.

For more information or application forms visit our website or write the committee chair, Alan Dickinson, 6 Garden Lane, Wilbraham, MA 01095.

                                            EMILY DICKINSONS LINEAGE

The poet, Emily Dickinson, was in the eighth generation of Dickinsons in America.  Since last June’s reunion, which included a tour of her home, it has been requested that we print her lineage in a newsletter, so here is an abbreviated version taken from our new genealogy:   Nathaniel1bp. 3 May 1600 Billingborough, Lincolnshire, England, d. 16 Jun 1676 Hadley MA;   Samuel2, b. 15 Jul 1638 Wethersfield CT, d. 30 Nov 1711 Hatfield MA;  Ebenezer3, b. 2 Feb 1681 Hatfield MA, d. there 16 Mar 1730;  Nathan4, b. 30 May 1712 Hatfield MA, d. 7 Aug 1796 Amherst MA Nathan5, b. 19 Oct 1735 Amherst MA, d. 3 Aug 1825 Amherst MA;  Samuel Fowler6, b. 9 Oct 1775 Amherst MA, d. 22 Apr 1838 Hudson OH;  Edward7, b. 1 Jan 1803 Amherst MA, d. 16 Jun 1874 Boston MA;  Emily Elizabeth8, b. 10 Dec 1830 Amherst MA, d. 15 May 1886 Amherst

                                                   NEW MEMBERS

Several new listings have been added to our membership roster over the past year (Nov. 2005-Nov. 2006). Some were from the 2006 reunion, some found us online, and some are related to members and we’ve just now put them on the mailing list.  They are listed here in alphabetical order with their state of residence:  Robert Allen, IL; Marian Anderson, MA; Anne Boggiano, NJ; Doleta Dickinson Chapru, WI; Lynne Cunningham, CA; Andrew & Kristin Dickinson, CO; Cynthia L. Dickinson, MA; Ellen Dickinson, MA; Gordon & Jean Dickinson, CO; Jane Dickinson, CO; Ken Dickinson, NH; Matthew & Elizabeth Dickinson, CO; Stan Dickinson, NY; Steven Dickinson, MA; Barbara Giguere, MA; Stacey & Trevor Holmes, IL; Heather Houghton-Smith, MA; Sharon Kaples, NY; Barbara Dickinson Lyons, MA; Stephen R. Martin, NC; Danny McPeek, CA; Kathleen Ann Morgan, AZ; Ginny Olson, CA; Stephen Rantz, NC; Carrie Salzer, MA; Carolyn Wacker, OR; Frank R. Welcome, CT.

We’re delighted to welcome these cousins to our membership list and hope this kind of growth continues in the future.  If you know of someone who is not on our mailing list and you think would like to receive our newsletters, encourage them to contact our membership clerk, Beth Landolina: bethl0719@sbcglobal.net

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Annual reunion, 2006

                          Amherst, Massachusetts

                                              FRIDAY, JUNE 23

                   5:00 PM               Board Meeting at Lord Jeffery Inn

                   6:00 PM               Social Hour at Lord Jeffery Inn

                   7:00 PM               Dinner at Lord Jeffery Inn

                                              SATURDAY, JUNE 24

                   9:00 AM               Special Tour at Emily Dickinson Museum

                   9:00 AM               Registration and Social Time begins

                                                at South Congregational Church, Amherst

                   12:00 PM             Welcome and Lunch

                   12:45 PM             Annual Meeting of the Association

                   1:30 PM               Speaker:  Clif Read

If you haven’t yet replied to our April mailing or should you need one, a duplicate response form is provided below for your convenience.


This year we are back in Amherst, a town which presents many great opportunities.  If you arrive early on Friday, you can spend some time in the special collections room at the Jones Library.  It is open from 10-5, and also on Saturday from 1-5.  Some Emily Dickinson manuscripts are housed there as well as abundant genealogical and historical books.

Depending on weather, Friday may also be a good time for a visit to one of Amherst’s cemeteries.  West and Wildwood are relatively central and contain the graves of Emily and Austin, respectively.  North and South Amherst also have cemeteries with Dickinson graves.

We also recommend a visit to the First Congregational Church.  It is open every day for self-guided tours.  Austin Dickinson was a prime force in the design and construction of this building.

On Saturday, the Emily Dickinson Museum will present a special one-hour tour for our members at 9 am.  You will be able to visit both Emily’s home and that of her brother, Austin.  If you are still around on Sunday you may want to take in their special event, a lecture and garden tour.  For more details go to:  www.emilydickinsonmuseum.org

Our reunion speaker, Clif Read, is Supervisor of Interpretive Services at the Quabbin Visitor Center.  He will speak on the history and current status of the reservoir.  We noted in our last Newsletter that Harvey Dickinson, who was also to speak, passed away in March.  Harvey will be with us, however, through a short video interview which he did a few years ago for public TV.

We highly recommend a drive to the Quabbin.  The visitor center is about 15 minutes from Amherst. It is open 9-4:30 every day and provides spectacular views of the lake.  The Quabbin Park Cemetery is nearby with many graves moved from the flooded valley, and there are hiking trails all around the reservoir.

Another possibility is the Swift River Valley Historical Society Museum.  It is open on Sunday from 1-4 pm.  There are exhibits and much information about the towns that were eliminated by the reservoir project and the people who lived there.

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