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P.O. Box 698

Heath, MA 01346

Board of Directors 2022-2023

President: Ned Wolf

Vice-President: Claire Rabbitt

Treasurer: Bob Viarengo

Curator / Archivist: Dana Davidson

Secretary: Nina Marshall

Board Members:

   Heather Hathwell

   Jack Estes

Contact us:


The Heath Historical Society is a tax-exempt 501(c)3 organization. We will gladly accept your tax-deductible donations of any size. We use donations to help maintain the precious old buildings and to preserve - and gather - the various writings and artifacts related to Heath. Please consider donating to our organization to help us keep the history of Heath alive.

We are always on the lookout for people who might be interested in helping with the Historical Society. Any skill is welcomed. We need enthusiastic individuals who are willing to plan and organize and learn.

See any board member for more information,

or send us an email.

New Donations to the Collection

Spotlights on artifacts or images recently donated

to the Heath Historical Society Collection.

Exploring the Mysteries of Glass Negatives, July 2023

~ By Ned Wolf ~

In March of 2022 I received a phone call from Fred Shipman who introduced himself as the president of the Piermont, NH Historical Society.  He asked if I would be interested in receiving some glass negatives taken by the photographer Henry Seldon Allen in the 1880s in Heath.  I answered with an enthusiastic ‘Yes’ and wrote down the phone number he gave me of Karen Ameden of the Jamaica, VT Historical Foundation.  Fred said that at the same time he would be giving Karen glass negatives taken in Jamaica, he would also give her the ones taken in Heath.  Later I could arrange to receive the ones of Heath from Karen.  That occurred on a dark, rainy March day in the parking lot of Applebee’s in Greenfield.  The more Karen told me of Allen genealogy the more eager I became to see Henry’s photos.  While Henry was born in a town next to Jamaica, his father was born in Heath as were 3 of his 6 stepbrothers and 1 of his 3 stepsisters.
Each of the 5 X 8 panes of glass were protected by a brown paper envelope on which Henry had written short notes in pencil:  James Allen’s Birthplace; The Mill in Mill Hollow once owned by James Allen;  Academy, Heath, Mass.;  The Hastings Homestead to cite just 4 of them.  Protecting the enveloped panes was a small wooden box somewhat like a birdhouse but open at one end.  By holding each negative up to the light just briefly, I could make out enough to whet my appetite for the higher quality image of a computer scan.
I took the negatives to my cousin Terry Dun who used the Shelburne Historical Society scanner.  We oohed and aahhed at the photograph-like images on the screen while pausing to zoom in for such questions as “Was the exterior of that house white clapboards or red brick painted white?”  The display of photos in the Old Town House on July 1st offered explanations for Henry’s calling the Red House, which preceded Sawyer Hall, the “Academy” and for his calling the Rev. Strong House just east of the Church “The Hastings Homestead.”  I’ve had wonderful discussions with Heathans about these photos.  Some questions remain unanswered.

The Elijah Allen house on

West Hosmer Road. 

Only the cellar hole remains.

The house of Henry Allen’s father James in the Dell before he moved to Winhall, Vermont.  It was located up the bank from the Thanes’ house Pondside.

This double negative combines one of Henry Allen’s photography shops in Vermont with a mill building in the Dell.

A view from below the dam in the Dell.

The Red House on the site of Sawyer Hall.  The Red House was replaced by Sawyer Hall in 1897.

The Hastings homestead in Heath Center just east of the church.

The Roger Leavitt House in Charlemont on the grounds of Charlemont Academy.

Much appreciation to all who helped bring these glass negatives back to Heath!

Several members of the family of

W. Carl and Nina (Stockwell) Smith 

have contributed some wonderful images and artifacts that were handed down to them by their late aunt, 

Margaret Smith Jones.

North Heath, July 25, 1915

Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Thompson, John Thompson (age 8 months), Mr. and Mrs. W. Carl Smith (nee Nina Stockwell), Margaret and Robert Smith. From a postcard by C.W. Johnson, Springfield, MA

From the Society archives...

Marriage announcement of W. Carl Smith and

Miss Nina Stockwell, 

October 1910

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