Monthly Archives: February 2014

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New finds + a new angle

I was in the library on completely unrelated business this past weekend when I spotted a display case of old images featuring  the school and town in relation to the Mohawk Trail. It turns out that the opening of the Mohawk Trail in 1914 as a scenic tourist route and the Mohawk Trail Pageant in North Adams was arguably a much bigger deal for the people than the first World War would turn out to be. I knew about this event but it kind of slipped to the back of my mind because at the time I didn’t feel it was relevant and I didn’t realize how important it was for the town. After pursuing further research on the subject I’m excited to devote a significant portion of my website to this event.

The image that caught my eye in the library is a group photo from the pageant featuring faculty and students form the North Adams Normal School

Mohawk Trail Pageant 1914 1EDIT



I forgot to mention Mary Curran! I found her name in the city report under leave of absence for military service and googled her name on a whim. It turns out she was a very active figure in the North Adams community as well as the other places in which she lived. She grew up in North Adams and taught  at one of the schools here.  There is a collection of her papers open for research at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Unfortunately they are not digitized but I am more than willing to make the trip as she seems like an important figure to discuss. I still have not been able to find out the nature of her leave of absence for military service.

Site Outline

As far as the basic outline of my website goes I will definitely be taking a narrative approach. I have a decent amount of materials to work with but it’s still rather on the slim side so I think that would be the most appropriate route to take. Going off of what I have right now, it would make the most sense for me to focus on a few key figures (WWI veterans, students at the Normal School, Teachers, etc.) but have those figures supported by a larger narrative of the city and the school.

I like to think of it as an upside-down pyramid where the information gets more specific as it comes to a point.


I would really like to use the Timeline tool for my site, though I’m not quite sure yet how I would manage it or what information I could use to fill it out. But I think it’s a fantastic, simple tool that would add a lot to my site without being over-complicated or difficult to maneuver. Depending on how much more information I can find on the Influenza epidemic in North Adams I might use it for that. I can’t really think of any other tools I’d like to use at the moment. I’d really like to keep my site as clean and simple as possible, aesthetically and technically.

I think it would be fantastic if all our websites were linked in someway. I think its very important to show that even though we are all doing different schools, this project was is very much a group effort and learning experience. The simplest way to do this would be to have each of our sites link to a page that gives a brief overview of the project and contains links for all the schools.

Sources so far:

MCLA Archives-Local Newspaper, Student scrapbooks, yearbooks, course catalogs, sheet music, and misc. items.

North Adams Public Library-Annual city reports, Hoosac Tunnel Collection, No. Adams Monday Club Collection, Ruth B. Browne Collection, Berkshire Genealogy Index.

Using TimelineJS

I thoroughly enjoyed creating my practice timeline in TimelineJS. It is incredibly easy to use and the finished product looks gorgeous. I will definitely think about using this for my final website as it is attractive, user friendly, fairly simple to create, and is a nice way to relay historical information. I really love the different media options it is able to include…not that I think I’ll be including any tweets in a timeline about WWI, but it’s nice to have the ability to do so if I wished. I’d give this tool an A+!

A Few Things

I have found some wonderful things this past week that have made me very hopeful for the end product of this project.

In the City’s 1918 annual report I found a transcription of a fantastic speech given by the Mayor which touches on the effects of war time on North Adams. I’ve also been looking through the yearbooks, which have luckily been digitized.


The 1918 yearbook in particular offers a great picture of the school activities during the war.

I also visited two of the massive cemeteries in town and found a gentleman who was twice a congressman on both State and Local levels and served on the World War Draft Board in 1917.

Overall it’s been a great week for this project and I’ve found that there are more materials available to me than I’d previously thought.