This project was a collaboration of an anthropology class at Mount
Holyoke College (Anthr 275: Doing Ethnography) and the
Hadley Historical Society in the spring of 2007. Special thanks
go to Bob Judge and Ted Belsky of the historical society
for their help developing and organizing this project.
The old South Hadley High School in South Hadley Falls functioned
as a combined town hall and high school from its beginning in
1956, when the new high school was built on Newton Street. The
old building continues to function as town hall and a focus of
for all those who attended it as students.
In total, 36 people were interviewed, with participants spread
out between the graduating years 1936 to 1958. The South
Society developed a list of people willing to be interviewed.
Students were assigned mostly in pairs to conduct interviews in
March 2007 in
the old high school building. Thanks go to Patricia Vinchesi and
other South Hadley town officials for
to use their space. During the course
of interviewing, local newspapers
covered the project. Full transcribed
will be donated to the South Hadley Historical Society,
as well as the complete digital audio files.
This website is organized around audio clips excerpted from longer
interviews. Students were asked to select several of the most interesting
passages from the interviews they conducted. Later, a smaller group
of students and Prof. Joshua H. Roth helped organize the audio clips
into the sixteen categories listed on the left column of this site.
The collection of audio clips within each category at times reveal
differences of opinion which raise questions about the subjectivity
of recollection, the diversity of experience, and the probability
the school changed over the course of its history. Noteworthy differences
of opinion arise in the categories "girls and pearls and girls'
"Mason Dixon line," and "lunchtime." Was
physical education offered girls each year, or only certain years?
Did a cafeteria operate continuously in the 1940s and '50s? Did residential
class background play a significant
in structuring student interactions? Some of these questions were
resolved relatively easily with archival research. Images show that
at least from 1940
to 1944, there were girls' basketball teams at South Hadley high
school. The immediate question that arises is what impact the war
had on athletics for women? Other questions relating residence and
class relate to personal experience and socioeconomic factors
that call for further oral histories, archival investigation, and
Click the following for one student's review of anthropological
literature about high schools.
Members of the South Hadley Historical Society provided us with newspaper
articles and photographs covering the initial construction on the old high
school building in 1913, as well as the new building in 1956.
NOTE TO PARTICIPANTS ON SELECTION OF AUDIO CLIPS
Thanks go to all those who participated in this project. The interviews
comprise dozens of hours of digital recording, yet the website contains
a collection of short audio clips that represent only a small
portion of what was
recorded. Complete audio files and transcripts can be found at
the Historical Society.
Although every interview included interesting material, participants
are not represented by a uniform number of audio clips on the website.
Certain people have as many as eight or nine clips on the website
while others have just one or two. In the case of a couple of participants,
no audio clips were included at all. This demands some explanation,
for the representation does not suggest anything about the quality
or interest of the recorded material so much as the differing
sensibilities of the students tasked with the job of selecting
audio clips. Students were all instructed to select four or five
most interesting comments from each of the interviews that they
conducted. Some selected a lot, while others were parsimonious
in their selection and only included a few gems. In a couple of
cases, certain audio files themselves were corrupted and could
not be retrieved. One student failed the class for not completing
work related to this project. I hope that you will understand that
this was a student project for a class in which they were learning
how to conduct research, not a project by a professional oral historian.
That said, most students did a great job, and I hope that you are
happy with how the site has developed. There is a certain amount
of repetition in some accounts. Lots of people had comments about
Mr. Foley and Ms. Driscoll, and included similar characterizations
of how stern yet respected they were. Audio clips were extracted
from a fuller context of the interview, but hopefully do not
misrepresent the intentions of the speaker. I took a certain amount
in categorizing the clips into the eighteen categories that appear
in the left hand column. Certain categories could be combined
or split. Your feedback is most welcome.
Graduates of South Hadley High School who participated in this
Dorothea M. Connor Barry, June Miller Beattie, William Bennett,
Mary O'Connor Boulais, Wayne Boulais, Cecilia M. Schaffer Charlebois,
George Charlebois, John
Jr., David Daly, Dolores Augusta Daly, Brian D. Duncan, Ruth
L. Warner Ellison, Agnes Robillard Everson,
Claudette Houle Finck, Beverly Smith Galusha,
Joe Gaunt, Cecile Fournier Girard, Joan Clark Hazen, David
Judge, Mary Miller Kates, Marian Purcell Kennedy, Carol M. Croke
Kent, Doris Dansereau Kuzeja, Robert Lespara, Shirley Martin, Marion
Fernandes McCormick, Edgar
E. Noel, Joyce Gagne Roberts, Paul Robillard, William L. Schenker,
Richard Scott, Charles V. Taugher, Faye Taugher Taylor, R. Michael
Thornton, Ruth B. Henniquin Thornton,
Josephine Burek Wojnarowski, Douglas Young, Linda Warner Young,
and John R. Zebryk
Anthropology 275: “Doing Ethnography: Research Methods
Faculty: Joshua H. Roth
Students: Charlina Ahn, Danielle Babcock, Caroline Bauer, Barbara
Burns, Caralie Cahill, Rachelle Coleman, Tenzin Dolkar, Megan
Estes-Gaudette, Cheyenne Gleason, Nafkote Gurmu, Leah Ingeno,
Emily Korab, Erica Lehrer, Stephanie Maher, Sarah Mitchel, Alina
Melissa Proulx, Sofia Redford, Lillian Smith, Alison Stoll, Heather
Van Werkhooven, Megumi Yoshida, Thea Youngs, Susannah Zietz
Photo of meeting at Mount Holyoke College of some of the project
participants, MHC students, and members of the Historical Society
after all the
collected. At this meeting, we discussed
clips on the website. Photo by Dale Johnston.