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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President’s Message
One of the rewards of being webmaster is the occasional e-mails (or letters) I receive from people who have discovered our website and are anxious to find out if they are descendants of Nathaniel Dickinson.  Most of the time I’ve been able to track down a connection through our genealogy book and invariably they are delighted to find this new knowledge of their “roots.”   And the DFA benefits by adding new members!     

An interest in family history is certainly something that all members of the DFA have in common.  Admittedly, this often comes with maturity.  I was in my 50s before I really got hooked.  But recently we have seen a growing number of younger members joining our ranks.   We even have people in their 20s and 30s on our board and/or committees, and we’re very happy to have them.     

The annual reunion is a wonderful way to explore family history and to share your stories and reminiscences with other cousins.  I hope that many of you will take advantage of that opportunity this year at our reunion in Amherst.   Also, if you have something you’d like to display that relates to your family history or to Dickinsons in general, bring it along and we’ll make room for you to show it.      

I look forward to seeing many of you this June in Amherst.                         

Alan C. Dickinson, president  

	5 PM		Board Meeting,  Lord Jeffery Inn, Amherst
	6 PM		Social Hour, Lord Jeffery Inn, Amherst
	7 PM		Dinner, Lord Jeffery Inn, Amherst
	9 AM – Noon	Gathering of Cousins, South Congregational Church, Amherst
	12 Noon	Welcome and Lunch,  lower level, church hall
	1 PM		Annual Meeting and Program,  upper level, sanctuary
	1 PM		Children’s Activities, lower level, youth room
	Jones Library, Amherst:  Emily Dickinson Special Collection Room
		Friday 10-5 PM and Saturday 2-5 PM 
	Emily Dickinson Museum, Main Street, Amherst
		9 – 10 AM Saturday; special tour for DFA members; see article elsewhere in this 				newsletter
		2 – 4:30 PM   Sunday June 25;  Emily Dickinson’s Gardens: Tour & Speaker. (Fee)
	First Congregational Church, Main Street, Amherst  (Designed by Austin Dickinson)
		Open every day for viewing.
	Cemetery tours – on your own.
		West Street Cemetery and Wildwood Cemetery in Amherst.
		Quabbin Park Cemetery in Ware, MA.
	Quabbin Reservoir
		Visitor Center, Belchertown, 9 AM to 4:30 daily.
		Swift River Valley Historical Museum, New Salem, Sunday 1-4 PM
Please return your reservation card as soon as possible.
Directions to all events and activities will appear in the June newsletter.

The Emily Dickinson Museum of Amherst is offering our members a special tour at 9AM on the morning of our reunion, June 24, 2006.  This will be a one hour tour and will include both the original Dickinson Homestead and the Evergreens, home of Emily’s brother Austin.  If you wish to participate in this tour please indicate that on the reservation card when you return it.  The price will be $6 for adults and $4 for children, collected at the time of the tour.  Tour groups are limited to 10 people, so we need to know how many groups to plan for.  If you haven’t visited these houses you should avail yourself of this opportunity.

We received 55 responses from our January mailing.  From these returns 62 persons are interested in attending this year’s reunion and 19 for the Friday dinner.  Approximately 300 letters were sent out, so we are hoping that many who didn’t respond will decide to come and help boost the final tally.

We also received donations totaling over $1700. We thank those of you who responded to our appeal.  The donations were nearly equally divided between the general and the scholarship funds.  We’re very pleased to see the additions to our scholarship fund as we feel this is one of our most important  endeavors.  If you haven’t yet contributed please consider sending a donation along with your reunion registration, or, for that matter, at any time.

The deadline for submitting applications for the 2006 DFA Scholarship is April 30.  If you know of someone who intends to apply this year, please remind them of this impending deadline.  Any questions, contact Alan Dickinson, scholarship committee chair: 413-596-9648 6 Garden Lane, Wilbraham, MA 01095. anbdickinson@charter.net.
Text Box: SAD NEWS

Each year’s reunion is a happy occasion except when it comes time to read the obituaries for the previous year.  Although we usually wait until the annual meeting, we are mentioning here the passing of one of our members.  Harvey A. Dickinson of Belchertown, MA passed away on March 10.   Harvey had been a member of the DFA for only 2 years, but those of us who knew him knew a wonderful gentleman with a wealth of knowledge of the Swift River Valley.  He had agreed to share some of that knowledge with us in our reunion program this year.  His death is a loss not only for his family but also for this association.  Our sincere condolences go out to Harvey’s wife, Doris, and their family.

We continue to work toward the goal of publishing a 3rd edition of our genealogy.  Unfortunately, we have not yet solved a major problem in readying the manuscript for printing.  This book of over 1500 pages is a very complex project.  We have already overcome obstacles along the way and are working to resolve this last one.  Hopefully the book will still be ready this year and we’ll announce it as soon as we can.  Meanwhile, the 2nd edition is still available for purchase.
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