Tag Archives: Food Service

Mississippi Mud

by Rick Teller '70, Williston Northampton Archivist
A limited number of copies of Anna's Cookbook are available for a contribution of $10.00. Please contact the Archives.
A limited number of copies of Anna’s Cookbook are available for a contribution of $10.00. Please contact the Archives.

This post originated in a recent exchange on Facebook.  Certain Northampton School for Girls alumnae were reminiscing about favorite ‘Hamp meals — perhaps with an emphasis on ‘Hamp desserts.  Happily, some of these delights were collected in Anna’s Cookbook, compiled by Ruth Jeffers Wellington ’41 in 1967 to honor cook Anna Kowalski on the occasion of her retirement, after 40 years managing Northampton School’s kitchen.

Anna’s assistant, Ceil Desmarais, succeeded her, so the transition was seamless.  And Ceil made the not-entirely-seamless pilgrimage to Easthampton when ‘Hamp and Williston joined forces in 1971.

A personal note.  I was a Williston Academy student with the unique privilege — and privilege it was — of having a parent on the Northampton School for Girls faculty.  Among the perks of being a faculty brat was the ability to show up at the Montgomery House dining room and get fed.  Now I’m not going to insult anyone’s intelligence by suggesting that having lunch with Mom was a major incentive in bicycling six miles after Saturday class.  There were other attractions.  Only one of them was the food.

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Thanksgiving, 1885

wardman thanksgiving 1
Thanksgiving, 1885. (Click on all images to enlarge.)

Thanksgiving, a national holiday since 1863, had special significance in Massachusetts, its state of origin.  But the tradition of a school vacation is relatively recent.  In the 19th century Williston Seminary celebrated the day, but that was all. Still, Seminary students welcomed any holiday.

George Benjamin Wardman, class of 1889, kept a scrapbook of his first two years at Williston, which he entered in the fall of 1885.  It is a fascinating collection.  Wardman saved printed memorabilia of debates, theatrical events (to which he happily journeyed significant distances), ballgames, dances, musical entertainments, the occasional restaurant meal – all in all, evidence of a student deeply committed to every aspect of school life except, perhaps, the academic program.

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