Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Club's historic membership roster, part VI: members joining 1916-1941

Editor's note: No new members joined from 1913 to 1915.  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.


Rev. James Edgar Gregg —Born in Hartford, Conn. Nov. 24, 1875; grew up in Colorado Springs; graduated from Harvard University in 1897; attended Harvard Divinity School 1900-1901; taught school in Rhode Island for three years; prepared for ministry at Yale, receiving a Bachelor of Divinity in 1903. Came to Pittsfield as an assistant to (Club member) Rev. William V. W. Davis at First Church of Christ and was ordained at First Church; became the second minister of Pilgrim Memorial Church in Pittsfield. From there, went to Kirk Street Congregational Church in Lowell; returned to Pittsfield to succeed Dr. Davis at First Church in 1912. Presided over the 150th anniversary observances at First Church. Resigned his pastorate in 1918 to accept an unsought appointment as the third president (then called principal) of the Hampton Institute in Virginia where he served until 1929; received a Doctor of Divinity from Yale in 1918. At historically-black Hampton, he was notably involved in a controversial episode in 1927 in which students revolted with a strike against the perceived overly conservative and paternalistic policies of the white administrators. Gregg retired to Pittsfield and rejoined the Club in 1942. He died in 1946.


Elmer Gerrish Bridgham — Principal of Pomeroy School. Born July 18, 1871 in W. Minot, Androscoggin County, Maine. Attended Hebron Academy, Hebron, Maine. Graduated from Middlebury College in 1897, and taught school from that time until he was seventy years old in Pulaski, New York; Gouverneur, New York; Owego; Princeton, Illinois; Sitka, Alaska; Lenox Massachusetts, and Pittsfield. Author of a history of the Bridgham family. 

Rev. Vincent Godfrey Burns — pastor of South Congregational Church. In 1927, his resignation was reported in Time Magazine as follows (April 24, 1927):
Because his flock did not relish his criticism of U.S. Secretary of State Kellogg's Latin American policy, the Rev. Vincent G. Burns of the South Congregational Church, Pittsfield, Mass., recently resigned his pastorate. Said he: "In a day when hypocritical clergymen are mouthing old theologies, in a day when mammon-worshiping, penny-pinching hypocrites are defending the system that exploits millions and sucks the lifeblood out of the workers around the world, in a day when snobs and aristocrats hold up the iron wall of class and caste, I have dared to stand up and tell the truth concerning these soul-blasting tyrannies."

Burns wrote the introduction to a book by his brother, Robert Elliott Burns, entitled I am a Fugitive from a Georgia Chain Gang, originally published in 1932, reissued by the University of Georgia Press in 1997 and still in print as of 2010. The book was a bestseller, later turned into a movie, that recounted Robert's conviction on a minor charge and his sentence to a ten-year sentence on a chain gang, virtually a death sentence in its day, and his subsequent escapes. Eventually, the brothers had a falling-out when Vincent sued Robert for a share of the profits from the book and movie. The film was remade in 1987 as The Man who Broke 1000 Chains for HBO. Vincent became an Episcopal priest and poet, serving as poet laureate of Maryland from 1962 until his death in 1970.


Joseph J. Lawrence — a writer who lived at 39 Harding St.

Lorne B. Hulsman — 1881-1957. Graduated from Boston University in 1905. Listed as principal of Melrose High School in 1916; listed as principal of Pittsfield High School as of 1919. As of 1925, employed at C. D. Parker Co., an investment brokerage located in the Berkshire Life Insurance building in downtown Pittsfield Buried in Elm Street Cemetery, Braintree, Mass.

James M. Rosenthal — Pittsfield city solicitor, partner in the firm of Cummings & Rosenthal. A frequent contributor to the American Bar Association journal.


Rabbi Harry Kaplan — Spiritual leader of Temple Anshe Amunim. Harry Kaplan was born on October 6, 1901 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He was educated in the public schools of Minneapolis. In 1923 he graduated from the University of Minnesota, with the degree of Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Sociology and Community Organization. He was a member of the first graduating class of the Minneapolis Talmud Torah, a nationally known Hebrew School. He was ordained as rabbi from the Jewish Institute of Religion, New York City, in 1927, while also receiving a Master of Hebrew Literature, cum laude. He took postgraduate work at the University of Wisconsin, at Ohio State University, and at the Geneva, Switzerland Institute of International Studies. From 1926 to 1935 he was Rabbi at Temple Anshe Amunim in Pittsfield. From 1935 until his death in 1969 he was Ohio State University Hillel Director. In addition he was Midwest Regional Director for the B'nai B'rith Hillel Foundation and a member of the National Hillel Cabinet. he was also a member of the Central Conference of American Rabbis and a Rotarian. He was a past President of the Jewish Teachers' Association of the New England Liberal Schools, of the Pittsfield Council of Social Agencies, and of the Alumni Association of the Jewish Institute of Religion. Rabbi Kaplan's articles appeared in Religious Education, The National Jewish Monthly, and The Commentator. Rabbi Kaplan was honored in 1953 with the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity by Hebrew Union-Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1955 Ohio State University gave him an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws. Harry Kaplan died on February 7, 1969. He was survived by his wife, Theresa, and four children.

Rev. John Gratton — Born in London, U.K.; naturalized as a U.S. citizen in 1922. Studied law in London; in the U.S., worked as a farmhand to put himself through Drake College, Des Moines, Iowa; graduated from Union Theological Seminary in 1922. Served five years at Palisades Park Presbyterian Church, New Jersey; came to Pittsfield to become pastor at First Church in 1928 and served until 1952. While at First Church, he initiated the expansion and renovation of the parish house completed in 1952, the rebuilding and enlargement of the sanctuary organ the same year, and the merger that year of the separately constituted Church and Parish. As well, he presided over the church's 175th anniversary observance in 1939.

Dr. Floyd Smith — Pittsfield's first pediatrician

Charles H. Wright — Assistant District Attorney, Massachusetts Legislator. Born in Hinsdale, Mass. Sept. 12, 1870; attended Pittsfield High School, Williston Seminary, 1888; Williams College (A. B.), 1892; George Washington University (LL.B.) 1894; private secretary Congressman Wright in 1892-5; lawyer in Pittsfield beginning 1895. Common council 1897-8; alderman 1899; board of health 1900-08 (chairman); commission to revise city charter 1903-04; assistant district attorney 1906-14; appointed examiner of titles in Land Court 1898; trustee western diocese Episcopal church. Masons (past master Crescent lodge) Scottish rite; Elks (P. E. R. Pittsfield lodge; P. D. D. western Massachusetts); Trustee of St. Andrew's church, Washington, D. C.; Park and Country clubs. On committees on pardons, charitable institutions and prisons; finance, accounts and warrants; State House; military and naval affairs in Council of 1915-16.


Dr. John Blanchard Thomes — physician and surgeon. Born in Cumberland, Maine August 9, 1870; graduated from Dartmouth Medical School in 1895; died Portland, Maine, April 18, 1977.

Maurice A. Levy — Pastor of the First Baptist Church. Graduate of Newton Theological Seminary; previously served the First Baptist Church of Hingham, Mass.; chaplain of the Pitttfield Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons.

Thomas Nelson Baker Baker was born a slave in Northampton County, Virginia in 1860; he graduated from the Hampton Institute (now Hampton University) in Hampton, Virginia in 1885; from the Mount Hermon School for Boys in Gill, Mass. in 1889; and from Boston University as valedictorian in 1893. He earned a Bachelor of Divinity in 1896 and a Ph.D. in philosophy in 1903 from Yale University, the first African-American to earn a Ph.D. in philosophy anywhere in the United States, and the first former slave to do so. (No other African-American earned a Ph.D. in philosophy from Yale until 1946. One earlier Ph.D. in Philosophy was granted to an African-American by a university in Belgium.) His doctoral dissertation was entitled "The ethical significance of the connection between mind and body."  After his ordination he took charge of the Dixwell Avenue Congregational Church, a black church in New Haven, and came to Pittsfield in 1901 as the second minister of the Second Congregational Church.  (The first was the Rev. Samuel Harrison, chaplain of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment during the Civil War.) He married Lizzie Baytop, an 1884 graduate of Hampton, who served as its librarian. He died in Pittsfield Feb. 25, 1941. His son, Thomas Nelson Baker Jr., born in Pittsfield in 1906, became a professor of chemistry at Virginia State College. See also "Not Pity But Respect," a 2013 Monday Evening Club paper by Robert G. Anderson about T. Nelson Baker.

Dr. Modestino Cricitiello — 1894(?)-1982. Physician and surgeon in Pittsfield. Born in Avellino, Italy, came to the United States with his parents at the age of 9. Graduated from Princeton University in 1917 and from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1921. He served during World War I with the Army Medical Reserve while attending college, and during World War II he was chief of surgery with the 1000-bed 117th General Hospital near Bristol, England. He was discharged in 1945 as a lieutenant colonel. He came to Pittsfield in 1922 and opened a practice in medicine and surgery; was associated with the Pittsfield Department of Health, campaigning for the pasteurization of milk. He developed the clinical pathology department at St. Luke's Hospital in 1926, establishing there one of the first schools for laboratory technicians in western Massachusetts. He was a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a member of the Massachusetts Medical Society.


Dr. Horace K. Richardson — Assistant medical director, Austen Riggs Foundation, Stockbridge. Co-author with Austen Riggs of "The Role of Personality in Psychotherapeutics." Later active in Baltimore. Born about 1880, died 1962.


Merle Dixon Graves — Born October 13, 1887 in Bowdoinham, Maine (son of Rev. Lucien Chase Graves and Annie Dixon Graves); graduated from Amherst College, 1908; graduated from Harvard Law School 1912; married Clara Cooley Stevenson; lawyer; member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives 1921-1924; owner of "Gravesleigh," an estate on Williams Street. Much of this property is now the Canoe Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary operated by the Massachusetts Audubon Society.

Arthur M. Robinson — Lived in Williamstown; Register of Probate and Insolvency, North Adams; later a probate judge; served on the Mt. Greylock State Reservation Commission.

Rev. George A. Tuttle — pastor of South Congregational Church. Earlier pastor of Second Congregational Church, East Amherst, Mass.


Rev. Henry Gordon Ives — Pastor of the Unitarian Church. Previously pastor of the Amherst Unitarian Universalist Society, 1919-1929, and earlier at the Congregational Unitarian Society, Andover.

Francis Harold Henshaw — librarian, Berkshire Athenaeum. Native of Indiana, graduate of Occidental College. Worked as assistant librarian in the Los Angeles Public Library, then obtained a master's degree from the Columbia University School of Library Science. In 1946, he became State Librarian of Texas, serving until 1950.


John J. O'Connell — manager at Pittsfield Electric Company


Gardner Flick Knight — Born in Somerville, Mass., April 22, 1901. Attended Cambridge Latin School; graduated from Harvard University 1922. Became a Fellow of the Actuarial Society of America in 1935. Assistant to the state actuary of the division of Savings Bank Life Insurance, 1925-1927; examiner and assistant actuaryof the Massachusetts Insurance Department, 1927-1935; appointed associate actuary of the Berkshire Life Insurance Company; actuary in 1938; vice president and actuary in 1942; senior actuary in 1960. He was a charter member of the Boston Actuaries Club and did not miss a single meeting from its formation in 1931 until his final illness. Served as chairman of the Community Chest and on the board of the Girls Club, Salvation Army and the Red Cross. President of the Berkshire Harvard Club in 1948. Member of the First Baptist Church and lay preacher for the Berkshire Union Chapel; past president of the Pittsfield Area Council of Churches. Married to Elsie. F. Nelson. Died in Pittsfield, April 13, 1962.


William S. Annin — Berkshire Eagle editorial writer; Richmond selectman and teacher; dairy farmer in Richmond; longtime "Our Berkshires" columnist.

Herbert C. Dunkley — born 1908, died 1986. Born in Earls Barton, England, Dunkley moved from Canada to Pittsfield to become assistant actuary for the Berkshire Life Insurance Company. From Pittsfield, he moved to Minneapolis as actuary for North American Life and Casualty Insurance Company. Later he became a consulting actuary in California. He maintained a dual career as an organist, performing as a radio organist for the Canadian Broadcasting Company. He was a member of the American Guild of Organists and of the American Theater Organ Society.


Rabbi Saul Habas — replaced Rabbi Kaplan at Temple Anshe Amunim in 1935. Health problems necessitated his resignation from this position in 1943.


Stuart C. Henry — curator of art at the Berkshire Museum beginning about 1932; director beginning in 1939 as successor to Laura Bragg.

Charles W. Kellogg — writer for The Berkshire Eagle.


Charles W. Butler — teller, Berkshire County Savings Bank.

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