Editor's note: In previous installments of our historic membership roster, we've been able to provide a biographical paragraph on most members, largely thanks to the powers of Google to locate sometimes obscure data sources. It turns out, however, that our members joining before 1920 or so are far more Googleable than those joining in 1920 and later, so some of these bios are very brief indeed. As in prior installments, some of the basic information here comes from Harold Hutchins' research in city directories at the Berkshire Athenaeum. If any reader can supplement the information listed here, we would be much obliged — contact Martin Langeveld, the Club historian/webmaster, at the "Contact Us" link at the top of the right column.
Philip C. Ahern — 1907-1987 — Born in Boston; grew up in Newton, Mass.; graduated from Bowdoin College in 1932; upon graduation, he became a consultant to the National Municipal League on a study of the city manager form of government. In 1935 he was the first employee hired by George Gallup for his polling service. After two years, with the Gallup organization, he worked for four years with at New York advertising firm of Young and Rubicam before moving to Pittsfield, where he became executive director of the Pittsfield Taxpayers Association. In 1950, he became Pittsfield's director of administrative services, and in 1957 he became the first executive director of the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, a post he held until his retirement. He was also a founder of the Franklin County Resource Conservation and Development Council. He died in 1987 in Wiliamstown at the age of 80.
Rev. James Gregg — retired clergyman. This was Rev. Gregg's second period of membership in the Club. See his biography posted at his first date of joining in 1916.
Frederic Parker —Berkshire Woolen Co. executive, Born Sept. 20, 1890; died Oct. 15 1969.
Lawrence W. Peirson — 1889-1968 — Ferry Lumber Yard executive, graduated from Williams College in 1912; died in Pittsfield, January 1968
Jay C. Rosenfeld —1895-1975 — owner, with his brother Stanley, of Rosenfeld's Clothing Store. An amateur violinist, he served at music critic for The Berkshire Eagle for 55 years. He died of cancer at the age of 80 in 1975.
Joseph C. Nugent —1898-1973 — Principal of North Junior High School (now Reid Middle School); served as Secretary of the Club.
Rev. Christian B. Jensen —Pastor of the First Baptist Church
Randolph H. Wilkinson — 1903-1986 — General Counsel, Berkshire Life Insurance Company. Died in Hancock, NH, April 1986.
Paul K. Fodder — 1906-1992 — Trust officer at Agricultural National Bank. Born Dec. 4, 1906; died in Pittsfield May 16, 1992.
Rev. Harold L. Nevers —The third pastor of the Second Congregational Church. Nevers succeeded Rev. T. Nelson Baker, the church's second pastor, who had joined the Club in 1931 and died in 1941. Nevers was a graduate of Yale Divinity School and began his pastorate in Pittsfield in 1939, with Baker serving as pastor emeritus. Observing that his church was "sandwiched in between two barrooms," Nevers guided the church through the process of selling that building, and acquiring property at the corner of Onota Street and Columbus Avenue, where a new sanctuary was created in an existing homestead (and where the current building of Second Congregational Church was eventually constructed). At the time, the church was "sandwiched between two barrooms" on First Street. Born Feb. 4, 1916; died in Vader, Washington, July 22, 1999.
Rabbi Maurice T. Galpert — 1917-1988 — Rabbi, Temple Anche Amunim. Born in Canton, Ohio March 5, 1917; died in Sierra Madre, Cal. March 6, 1988. Galpert earned a bachelor's degree in education from Kent State University and a master's degree in comparative literature from the University of Iowa. He was ordained in New York in 1945. After serving about five years at Temple Anshe Amunim, he served at Temple Beth Sholom, Santa Ana, Cal., and then at the Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center for 36 years. According to his LA Times obituary: "A prolific author, Galpert translated major works of poetry from German, Yiddish and Hebrew into English. Associates said his diverse interests ranged from an encyclopedic knowledge of baseball to a love of classical music, particularly Mozart."
Dr. Reo J. Marcotte — 1910-1983 — Director of the House of Mercy. Previously he served as assistant director of New Haven Hospital. He graduated from Hope College, Holland, Michigan in 1932. After serving in Pittsfield for nine years, in 1953 he moved to Belmont, Mass. to become CEO of Mount Auburn Hospital, a post he held until his retirement in 1972.
Charles T. Masterson — 1905-1996 — Executive at General Electric Co. Practiced architecture in Cleveland, became designer for General Electric Plastics. Born Jan. 24, 1905; died Santa Clara, Cal. April 21, 1996.
Rabbi Solomon E. Cherniak — 1912-1960 — Rabbi at Temple Anshe Amunim. Born in Brooklyn in 1912; died in Mobile, Alabama in 1960, where he had served as rabbi of the Springhill Avenue Temple. Served as a Navy chaplain during World War II. Born April 8, 1911, died in Mobile, Ala. July 22, 1960.
Robert G. Newman — 1912-2009 — Librarian, Berkshire Athenaeum from 1946 to 1981. Born in Pittsfield June 25, 1912; died at Kimball Farms in Lenox, Mass. April 26, 2009. He was a 1929 graduate of Pittsfield High School and earned a bachelor's degree cum laude from Dartmouth College in 1934, a master's degree in English literature from Harvard University in 1935 and a bachelor's degree in library science from Columbia University in 1946. He enlisted in the Army three days after Pearl Harbor, became an officer in March, 1943, primarily served as Chief of the Military Personnel Branch at Camp Edward, and was discharged in March, 1946, with the rank of Captain. He was President of the Reserve Officer's Association of Berkshire County. Mr. Newman was employed by the Berkshire Athenaeum in various positions from 1935-1941 and returned, following his military service, to the position of chief librarian. During his tenure he led the fight for the new Berkshire Athenaeum as the needs of the community outgrew the facilities of its old building. The new facility opened for business on Sept. 4, 1975, and the auditorium in the building was later named in Mr. Newman's honor. He was President of the Massachusetts Library Association, President of the Western Massachusetts Library Club and a member of the American Library Association and the New England Library Association. He was on the Advisory Council and Executive Committee of The Western Massachusetts Regional Public Library system. He was President of the Melville Society and an author of various articles in learned publications about Herman Melville. Active in supporting the Pittsfield Community, he was Trustee and Clerk of City Savings Bank, Trustee and Secretary of Hancock Shaker Village, Corporator and member of the Board of Governors Berkshire Medical Center and Trustee, St. Luke's Hospital. He was chairman of the Pittsfield School Buildings Survey Commission, a member of the Pittsfield Community Schools Commission, Chairman of the Pittsfield City History Commission, Clerk of the Pittsfield World War II Honor Roll Commission, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Berkshire County Historical Society. He was a former board member of the Rotary Club of Pittsfield with which he was associated for 53 years. He was a board member of the Coolidge Hill School, a Director of the Automobile Club of Berkshire County, and Mason, 32nd Degree. Newman was a Temple Board member and the official historian of Temple Anshe Amunim, a member of the Rabbi's Isabella Kelm Scholarship Advisory Committee and the Temple's "1972 Man of the Year." [Berkshire Eagle obituary]
Dr. Harry Evenden Judson —1916-2006 — Born Dec. 20, 1916; died in Bonita Springs, Florida on Feb. 9, 2006. An ophthalmic surgeon, Judson grew up in Syracuse and attended Syracuse Central High School, where he became president of the student body, and entered Hamilton College following his graduation in 1935. In 1939, Judson went on to the Syracuse University College of Medicine. He obtained his M.D. degree in 1943, and on April 24 of that year, was married to Barbara B. Hopkins in Syracuse. After having interned at Syracuse Medical Center hospitals, Dr. Judson served a three-year ophthalmology residency at Manhattan Eye and Ear Hospital in New York City. In 1946, Harry Judson established his private practice as an ophthalmic surgeon in Pittsfield, MA. During his more than 30 years of practice he served as chief of the ophthalmology and otolaryngology divisions of the Berkshire Medical Center, Hillcrest Hospital, and St. Luke’s Hospital, as well as a member of the executive board of each. A diplomate of the National Board of Medical Examiners and elected president of the Eastern New York Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Association, he also served on the teaching staff of the Albany and Berkshire medical centers. Credited with performing the first successful corneal transplant in western Massachusetts, he concluded his distinguished medical career with retirement following a serious boating accident in 1977. Outside of his practice, Harry Judson pursued a great variety of athletic interests, including hockey, skiing, sailing, golf, and tennis. He was an active member of the National Ski Patrol and medical director of its New England district. In addition, he was a past president of the Pittsfield Rotary Club and head deacon and executive committee member of the First Congregational Church in Pittsfield. After his retirement, Harry and Barbara Judson spent most of the year in Bonita Springs on the west coast of Florida. Judson died on February 9, 2006, in Bonita Springs, of complications from Parkinson’s disease and pancreatic cancer. [Hamilton College necrology]
Paul G. Brassard — lawyer, partner in the firm Henderson Brassard.
Roger B. Linscott — editorial writer at The Berkshire Eagle. He rose to the post of Associate Editor, principally in charge of the editorial pages. In 1973, Linscott was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his editorials, including those taking a stand against the war in Vietnam. Born Jan. 22, 1920; died in Falls Village, Conn., Sept. 22, 2008 at the age of 88.
Rabbi Perry Nussbaum — 1908-1987 — Born in Toronto, Feb. 16, 1908; graduated in 1933 from Hebrew Union College and was ordained as a rabbi there. He briefly served congregations in Melbourne and in Amarillo, Texas before becoming a prison chaplain in Pueblo, Colorado in 1937. In 1941 he became rabbi of Temple Emanu-El in Wichita, Kansas, and in 1943 joined the Chaplain Corps of the U.S. Army, serving in the Philippines and attaining the rank of colonel in the Army Reserve. After the war, he served congregations in Trenton, N.J. and Long Beach, N.Y. before coming for to Pittsfield as rabbi of Temple Anshe Amunim in 1951, serving for three years. From here he became rabbi of Temple Beth Israel in Jackson, Miss., where he served until his retirement in 1973. He was there during the civil rights era, and the temple's new building in 1967 was heavily damaged by a Ku Klux Klan dynamite bombing, and later that year Nussbaum's house was similarly bombed while he and his wife were sleeping in it. He moved to San Diego after retiring in 1973, and died in March, 1987.
Dr. Robert Jackson Tracy — 1914-2009 — Born in Telluride, Colo. to William Evarts Tracy and Edith Jackson Tracy on April 10, 1914. He grew up in Concord, Mass. He was educated at the former Lenox School for Boys graduating in 1932. He followed his older brother and father to Yale graduating in 1936. Two years later, he entered Harvard Medical School graduating in 1942 and proceeded to train in surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital. World War II interrupted his training, and he was assigned to the 110th Evacuation Hospital in General George Patton's Army landing on Utah Beach in August 1944. The hospital was heavily involved in The Battle of the Bulge, and it was the only hospital on the southern flank which did not retreat. The hospital was awarded five campaign ribbons for excellence in action. Dr. Tracy was discharged as a captain. Following his service, he returned to Massachusetts General Hospital to complete his surgical training. He came to the Berkshires in 1949 and practiced at the three Pittsfield hospitals and also Fairview Hospital in Great Barrington. He became Chief of Surgery and Director of the surgical residency training program at Berkshire Medical Center. He introduced vascular surgery to Berkshire County and became a leading practitioner of this new discipline. For this, he was honored in December 1963 and became a "Hall of Fame" surgeon. He was enlisted as an Associate Professor of Surgery at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Dr. Tracy was known to his colleagues and his patients for his kindness, gentleness and skill.
Dr. Tracy was a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, a Diplomate of the American Board of Surgery, a member of the New England Surgical Society and a member of the New England Society of Vascular Surgery. He maintained his relationship with Lenox School and became both a longstanding trustee of the school and the school physician for many years. He was an outdoorsman, an enthusiastic boater, a passionate downhill skier and an avid golfer which he continued to play into his nineties. Died Dec. 11, 2009, at Kimball Farms, Lenox, Mass.
Judge F. Anthony Hanlon —1899-1981 — Berkshire County Probate Judge. Born Jan. 17, 1899; died in Pittsfield, June 1981.
Rev. William Coolidge Hart —Pastor at First Church of Christ. Born October 17, 1916; died Fairfield, Conn. June 18, 2000. Served as a chaplain in the U. S. Air Force before coming to First Church. He was a native of Bedford, Mass. and a graduate of Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine and of Andover-Newton Theological Seminary. For a short time he was the assistant minister at Old South Church in Boston. He assumed the First Church pastorate on January 1, 1953, and resigned "rather suddenly" in September, 1958 to become editor of The Christian Century, and thereafter Manager of Public Affairs for General Electric Co. in Bridgeport, Conn.
Harold L. Hutchins, Jr. — 1916-1996 — Executive director of Pittsfield General Hospital, and of Berkshire Medical Center when it was formed through the merger of Pittsfield General Hospital and the House of Mercy. Born August 17, 1916; died in Pittsfield, October 1996.
Rabbi Harold I. Salzmann — 1922-2018 —Rabbi, Temple Anshe Amunim. The son and grandson of traditional rabbis trained in the religious schools of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (today’s Slovakia), as a youth he received a very thorough training in Biblical Hebrew and Talmud-Torah studies. Eager to explore newer avenues in Jewish thought, Rabbi Salzmann pursued his rabbinical studies in the Reform Movement at the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, where he was ordained in 1950. Throughout his life, he continued his scholarship in theology and as a teacher who trained bar and bat mitzvah children as well as adults. An amateur historian, he collected antique postcards of the Berkshires, possessed a wealth of knowledge about the postal service of British Mandate Palestine, and had begun to write a history of the Jewish community of the Berkshires before his death.
Before joining the US army as a chaplain at the rank of Second Lieutenant (and later an Army Reserve Captain), he and his wife Audrey (ne Pastor) whom he married in 1950, held a pulpit in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. His time as a chaplain for the Western Area Command took him to Germany and Belgium; in Luxembourg, he took part in a dedication ceremony to honor General George Patton. Turning down a full time commission in the US Army, he returned to civilian life in 1954. He frequently remarked that it was the natural beauty of the Berkshires and his ability to be active in both Jewish and secular life that made him turn down other job offers at larger congregations in New York and Rhode Island.
Over a period of 64 years, Rabbi Salzmann dedicated his life to building his Reform Jewish community in Pittsfield. He raised funds and along with the Temple board, engaged an architect to design and to build the new synagogue that is currently home to Congregation Anshe Amunim on Broad street in Pittsfield. The Temple’s membership grew and gained new financial stability through the generosity of congregants who shared his vision. Although he retired early, he remained active as the emeritus rabbi, often stepping in to replace his younger colleagues to conduct services, funerals and weddings. The Temple honored both the Rabbi and his wife, recently renaming the religious school in their honor. Nationally, he was recognized by his alma mater, the Hebrew University of Cincinnati, with an honorary doctorate in 1975.
At least in equal measure, Rabbi devoted himself to the civic life of the Berkshires, as a citizen and one of its most dedicated religious leaders. Shortly after coming to Pittsfield, he became a member of the Rotary Club. In 2012, fellow Rotarians recognized his many decades of service to Rotary and the community with the Paul Harris Award. One of the longest serving members of the clergy in the Berkshires, he delivered more invocations at parades and high school graduations than any other rabbi, priest or minister in the county. Active in many other capacities in the city and county, from the board of trustees of the Berkshire Medical Center to the committee that restored the World War I memorial in Veterans’ Park on South St. A longtime member of the Berkshire Clergy Association, he embodied the civic spirit of the Kennedy-era. In addition to his love of collecting books and stamps, he remained the secretary-treasurer of the Monday Evening Club, well into his 90s. He died Sept. 25, 2018.
Thomas F. Plunkett, Jr. —1925-2009 — Born in Pittsfield; attended Princeton University and then Ohio University; served in Army artillery during World War II in Belgium and Austria; returned to Princeton and graduated in 1946, majoring in French literature. Rowed in the 1948 Olympic trial finals; rowed in the 1949 Cup race at Henley, England. Ward 3 Councilman; Vice President of First Agricultural Bank; chairman of the board of the Berkshire Athenaeum. Born in Pittsfield Oct. 11, 1925; died in Pittsfield April 6, 2009.
Rev. Ellis J. Holt —1910-2000 — Pastor of First Baptist Church. Born Feb. 6, 1910; died Cape Elizabeth, Maine, May 18, 2000. He was born in Phillips, Maine. His family then moved to Lamoine, where he spent his childhood, vacations and retirement. Ellis was educated at Higgins Classical Institute, Charleston, and at Boston University College of Liberal Arts, where he graduated in 1931. An honors graduate of Andover Newton Theological School in 1934, he was ordained on July 2, 1934, at the First Baptist Church of Littleton, Mass. Known as "Sam," he served as pastor of American Baptist congregations in Littleton (1934-1936) and Pittsfield (1957-1963), Massachusetts; and Portland (1936-1938), Calais (1938-1942), Auburn (1942-1957), and Waterville (1963-1969). Over the course of his 40-year career in the ministry, he held a variety of important positions in the American Baptist Convention. Ellis retired in 1975 to Lamoine to the home that his grandfather, Rev. William H. Rice, had constructed 100 years previously and where he and his family had vacationed throughout his career. During his retirement he was active in the Lamoine Baptist Church and the Lamoine Historical Society.
Robert D. Bardwell, Jr. — 1920-1989 — President, Bardwell D'Angelo & Bowlby Insurance Agency. Born Nov. 28, 1920 Died in Pittsfield, June 27, 1989.
Rev. E. Roy Burchell — 1934-2007 — Pastor, First Church of Christ in Pittsfield. Born in Pittsburgh in 1921 and educated at Washington and Jefferson College in Washington, Penn. and at Hartford Theological Seminary, Burchell was "one of the more controversial ministers in First Church history" according to the 1976 church history by Weston Morrill. A writer of poetry, prose and drama, Burchell took strong political positions and advocated for the First Church endowment to be invested in low-income housing in Pittsfield. Burchell resigned the First Church pastorate in 1968 to go to the West Center Church, Bronxville, N. Y. as pastor, First Church of Christ — died in Bronxville, January 1990.
Norman Rockwell — artist and illustrator, Stockbridge, Mass. Born Feb. 3, 1894, died November 1978. Rockwell was a 20th-century American painter and illustrator. His works continue to enjoy a broad popular appeal in the United States for their reflection of American culture. Rockwell is most famous for the cover illustrations of everyday life scenarios he created for The Saturday Evening Post magazine for more than four decades. Born in New York City, Rockwell served in World War I as a military artist. He moved to Arlington, Vermont in 1939, and to Stockbridge, Mass. in 1953, so that his wife could be treated at the Austen Riggs Center, a psychiatric hospital. Eventually, when he began suffering poor health, he placed his studio and the contents with the Norman Rockwell Museum, which continues to hold the largest body of his work, more than 700 original paintings, drawings and studies, along with his archives. [Wikipedia] Club members recall that when Rockwell's turn came to present a paper, he would sometimes bring paintings or drawings to the meeting and talk about them off the cuff. However, several papers and sets of notes for talks have survived in the archives at the Museum, and have been published on this blog. At Rockwell's funeral, the pallbearers were five members of the Monday Evening Club along with Rockwell's son Jarvis.