Mary Lyon, born in 1797 in the small rural township of Buckland, Massachusetts became a school teacher at the age of 17. Inspired by her own struggles to obtain an education, she worked hard to expand academic opportunities for young women. An American pioneer, she was a remarkable woman who founded the worldwide model of higher education for women–Mount Holyoke College in 1835, the first all women’s institute of higher education offering the same curriculum as its male counterparts. Mary Lyon proved that women were as intellectually capable as men, and that an institution for women offering a college curriculum could survive financially.
See more at her Wikipedia page.
Room #1, The Red Room, is named after Mary Lyon.
Abby Wright was born in Wethersfield, Connecticut in 1774. She attended Westfield Academy in 1800-1801, and boarded with the Stebbins family in from 1803-06 while she opened and operated her own school for the education of young girls in South Hadley. She taught reading, writing, and arithmetic, and also skill with needle and thread. The key characteristics of Abby Wright’s technique includes a combination of painting on silk, stitchery on silk and coiled silver thread. By the early 19th century, pictorial needlework constituted a major product for New England schools teaching needlework.
Room #3, The Cream Room is named after Abby Wright.
Skinner is the thirteenth owner of record of the Daniel Stebbins House. He was born May 23, 1862. He earned a Bachelors of Philosophy of Science from Yale Scientific School in 1883. Returning to Holyoke, he joined his brother William in the silk factory, known as the Skinner Manufacturing Co. He eventually served as vice president and treasurer of Skinner Mills, as well as service on the boards of the Hadley Falls Trust Company of Holyoke, and the New England Telephone and Telegraph Company.
In 1916 he acquired the Mountain House and surrounding land on Mount Holyoke and in 1940 donated the property to make a state park. During the early 1920s he acquired most of the properties on both sides of Woodbridge Street. In 1923 he and his brother William and sister Elizabeth, purchased the Daniel Stebbins House. Under the directions of the architect Allen N. Cox, the back ell was extensively remodeled to allow for interior modernization. No fundamental changes were made to the original square Federal building and much of the original woodwork including the mantels on all the upstairs fireplaces were left intact.
Skinner had an extensive relationship with Mount Holyoke College, serving on the Board of Trustees from 1905 to 1931. He and his brother William donated the funds for Skinner Hall at Mount Holyoke, constructed in 1915. At his death in 1946, Skinner left The Orchards golf course, the Skinner Museum, and a life insurance policy of $50,000 to the college.
Francis Perkins (born Fannie Coralie Perkins in April 10, 1880-May 14, 1965) was an American sociologist and workers-rights advocate who served as Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Secretary of Labor,1933-1945, the longest to serve in that position, and the first woman to serve as a cabinet secretary. She was the principal architect of the New Deal, credited with formulating policies to shore up the national economy following the nation’s most serious economic crisis and helping to create the modern middle class. She was in every respect a self-made woman who rose from humble New England origins to become America’s leading advocate for industrial safety and workers’ rights. She graduated from Mt. Holyoke College in 1902.
You can read more on her Wikipedia page.
Our first floor room, The Royal Room is named after Francis Perkins.
In 1914, Massachusetts Agricultural College (now UMass), Amherst, Mount Holyoke, and Smith joined International YMCA College (now Springfield College) to form the Committee on University Extension of the Connecticut Valley Colleges, a joint continuing education program for the Pioneer Valley. In later years, Amherst, Mount Holyoke, Smith, and MAC–later known as Massachusetts State and UMass–increased their collaboration, culminating in the formation of an inter-library loaning program in 1951 and a joint astronomy department in 1959. Finally, in 1965, Amherst, Mount Holyoke, Smith and UMass incorporated the Four College Consortium, which became the Five College Consortium when Hampshire College was founded in 1968.
The five colleges operate both as independent entities as well as mutually dependent institutions. The mission of the consortium is to support long-term forms of cooperation that benefit the faculty, staff and students of the five colleges. Shared academic and cultural resources are the primary initiative of the consortium. This means that students at each of these schools are permitted and encouraged to take classes at the other colleges (through “cross-registration”) at no additional cost to the student. Student groups and organizations often draw participants from all five campuses and several academic programs are run by the Five Colleges (for example: astronomy, dance, some foreign languages, and women’s studies). The colleges also participate in an inter-library loan program, allowing students, staff, and faculty to take advantage of all five campuses’ collections.
The Five College Radio Astronomy Observatory was founded in 1969 by the Five College Astronomy Department. Together, the Five Colleges operate WFCR (Five College Radio), an NPR member station operating at 88.5 MHz in the FM band.
You can find out more at https://www.fivecolleges.edu.
Dr. Daniel Stebbins was the physician who designed and built this house in 1795. He was born on April 2, 1766 in Springfield, MA. He was educated at Yale and practiced medicine in Longmeadow for several years before moving to South Hadley where he also engaged in merchandising and other pursuits by which he accumulated a handsome estate. He built this house in 1795 and lived here until 1806 when he and his family moved to Northampton. He was a man of ambition and compassion, integrity and piety. He was deeply interested in all objects conducive to public welfare and served as the Hampshire County Treasurer for 35 years. He was benevolent, charitable and devoted to the public good. Dr Stebbins owned this house until 1812 when he sold it to Evan Johns, Clerk. He died in Oct 7, 1856.
Room #2, The Blue Room is named after Dr. Daniel Stebbins.