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Lecture series continues on March 21

The Longmeadow Historical Society announces the second in the Spring 2007 Historical lecture series. This three-part series is being held at the Storrs Library's Betty Ann Low Meeting Room, on March 21, and Wednesday April 18 at 7 pm. The public is invited to all the lectures. Admission is free. For more information log onto:, click on "calendar" or e-mail at:

On March 21, Alfred McKee will talk about Hermon Newell, a Longmeadow stonecarver. Al and his wife Betsy live in Newell's house, built around 1801. Once they discovered that their house was built by a stonecutter, they began a search to learn more. Both in the medical field, the McKees have been researching, and restoring their old house since moving to the area in 1989.

Newell was born in Monson in 1774, later settling in Longmeadow and marrying Lois Burt. Newell was an active stonecarver in the Connecticut Valley, with signed gravestones being found from Windsor, Conn. to South Hadley, Mass. So far, at least 30 signed stones have been found, mostly carved from the local smooth-grained red sandstone. The lecture will illustrate Newell's style, and also talk about other local carvers, including Hermon's son Simeon.

The series wraps up on April 18 with Tom Kelleher, speaking about "The Art and Mystery of Coopering".

Tom Kelleher is currently Curator of Historic Trades, Mills, and Mechanical Arts at Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. In his over twenty years at that premier living history museum, he has worked as a costumed historical interpreter, trainer for the cooper shop, supervisor of the mills, coordinator of historic trades, research historian, and program coordinator. Kelleher has researched and developed dozens of historic characters and programs, which he has presented at scores of museums, schools, and historical societies around the country.

Before entering the museum field, Kelleher taught social studies at the secondary level.

Kelleher has been making round wooden containers by hand for over twenty years. The men who followed this once common and now all but extinct trade are called coopers. Until a century ago the pails, vats, casks and kegs made by coopers were ubiquitous.

As he makes a wooden bucket Kelleher will explain the tools and process step by step. He will discuss the history behind the rise and fall of the cooper's trade and the simple secrets of making a water-tight wooden container.