Now I can say that the Diocesan Archives project is progressing: our first official visitor came to visit the Archives for research on January 24th!
Dr. David Hosford, Professor Emeritus from the Department of History at Rutgers University, phoned me shortly after the 1st of the year to inquire if he could access St. James’, Greenfield’s Vestry Meeting Minutes from 1847-1849. Professor Hosford is writing a biography of Henry Alexander Sykes (1810-1860), a little known architect from Suffield, CT, who worked in and around Springfield, Amherst and Greenfield, and designed the St. James’ Church in Greenfield as well as some of the buildings at the Amherst College campus.
As I am known for saying, I love a challenge! I wrote down Professor Hosford’s contact info and told him I would do my best to see if I could find what he was looking for in our yet-to-be-organized 80-odd microfilm collection, which is currently housed in a file drawer in the basement of the Cathedral. Well, as luck would have it (or some odd twist of fate) when I approached the messy file drawer in the basement containing the microfilm reels, three reels were sitting out on top of the file cabinet, and, you guessed it, they were the three reels of St. James’, Greenfield’s records!
Professor Hosford made an appointment and drove out from New Marlborough to view those early St. James’ records. He was even gracious enough to bring his own microfilm reader, as the Diocese doesn’t own one! Professor Hosford hopes that his work on Architect Henry Sykes will be published soon. To learn more about architect Henry Sykes, click here: http://www.suffield-library.org/localhistory/sykes.htm