The Lee Family Legacy
“Our family is delighted that Day and Nancy Lee left a bequest to the PVMA to ensure that its important work continues for future generations.”
The Reverend Pamela Lee Cranston
“If you care about the heritage of Old Deerfield and Western Massachusetts, I encourage you to become a member of the 1704 Legacy Society.”
My parents, Day and Nancy Lee, were two early enthusiastic and long-time donors of the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association. My father particularly appreciated the PVMA because, as a history teacher, he understood the importance of preserving, maintaining, collecting, and cataloging historic primary sources and artifacts. My mother loved researching and writing a booklet on Samuel Willard for the PVMA. She also enjoyed being a docent, where she dressed up in a white colonial dress and used her acting skills to tell visitors and school children all about the history of the Indian House Museum. This inspired my parents to choose PVMA among several other charities to support in their estate planning.
After my father came to Deerfield to teach at Deerfield Academy in 1961, the Headmaster, Frank Boyden, moved our family from faculty housing in Pocumtuck Dorm to the Doll House, #9 Memorial Street, Deerfield, MA. In 1922, Matilda S. Hyde bought and converted an old barn and called it the Doll House. During the 1920s, she famously sold cut-out paper dolls of captives of the Deerfield Raid – colored drawings of Eunice Williams, Abigail Nims, and Thankful Stebbins. She also ran a tearoom in the long front parlor, which later served as my father’s library and study.
So for me and my younger brother David, most of our childhood was spent living directly across the street from what is now the whole PVMA complex – the Memorial Hall, the old Grammar School, the Town Hall, and the old brick clerk’s office and library.
I remember one of my first Saturday mornings in our new home when my brother David, aged 10, excitedly dragged me across the street to the Memorial Hall to see something in the upstairs exhibit which particularly fascinated him. It was a Revolutionary War soldier’s uniform, complete with a powder horn and musket. That old brick museum was chock full of antiques and artifacts. I remember how we were both amazed by the restoration of the original Deerfield Academy classroom from 1799. Wise beyond his years, he said to me, “You should spend a lot of time here.”
Of course, we also spent a lot of time at the Town Hall theater where my parents directed and played in many productions of the Stockade Players during the 1960s-70s. I was also in a production of Mark Twain’s “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” with music from “Camelot” hosted by Bement School, which my parents directed. I also explored the old town library, where I discovered many glorious first editions of the old Wizard of Oz books.
As an amateur genealogist, I have always appreciated the wealth of genealogical information and family papers, letters and diaries collected by the PVMA Library, not to mention its stellar publications, and see these as major contributions to understanding the social history of Western Massachusetts and New England.
Contact: Timothy Neumann 413-774-7476, ext. 100 or email@example.com
10 Memorial Street P.O. Box 428 Deerfield, MA 01342-0428