Sycamores at Reunion/Graduation Weekend, May 16-17, 2014


Sycamores has seldom appeared so grand as it did during the two days of graduation weekend of 2014 when we had over 100 visitors.  Here you see the former housemother’s room with its new Wilton carpet and a newly upholstered tufted chair. 

    The most valuable item Ruggles

Woodbridge owned when he died in 1819 was his looking glass, worth $75.  One of the four men who carried out his probate inventory was Peter Allen, the husband of Abby Wright, who founded the private school for girls where fancy embroidery was taught, alongside such subjects as French, rhetoric, and history.  

    This reproduction of an 18th C looking glass was made by Ken Williamson who carved and gilded the phoenix which surmounts the mahogany frame.


    In the opposite corner of the room, above

the chest of drawers, hangs an embroidery

from the Abby Wright school, wrought by

Sophia Morgan in memory of her father

Lucas, her mother, Tryphena, and her sister

Mary Theodocia.  Sophia died shortly after

her embroidery was framed in Northampton in

in 1805.

The Parlor, the room opposite the housemother’s room is now graced with newly upholstered furniture.  The rugs are temporary; they will soon be replaced with a Wilton carpet, a reproduction of a 19th C design in keeping with the William Morris wallpaper.

The dining room where the fifteen students who lived in Sycamores had dinner with their housemother now has a dining table, eight chairs and a sideboard, gifts of Carrie Lee Henderson.  The Wedgewood china is on loan from Barbara Cummings of the Sycamores Committee.  The brass chandelier, like almost all of the chandeliers in Sycamores is a gift of Mount Holyoke College.  It once hung in a College dining room or living room.

A reproduction of the original 18C fireplace is now in place in Rm 3, the south room on the front of Sycamores.

Just outside the door into Rm 3, in the hall, is a

telephone such as might have been in

Sycamores in the first half of the 20th C.  It was

initially in a tiny phone booth so that students

could make outside calls with some degree of


On the third floor Ken Williamson has just finished renovating the bathroom that was in use by students until 1972.  The shower and shower curtain rod were added to the claw-foot tub at some time in the mid 20th C.  The bathroom has only a single light. 

The two sinks were used

by the eight women who

lived on this floor.  Remarkably

this bathroom has no electrical


The 3rd floor will become a

unique museum of four typical

dormitory rooms of various

decades.   Single handedly

Carolyn Chesebrough Foster,

’58, has outfitted one room

with the items she had in her

room at Sycamores in 1956. 

See The Bark of the Tree,

2013, our annual newsletter.


                                                                                               Ken Williamson, May, 2014