Why Deerfield?

A Colonial Revival Vision

George Sheldon

Of central importance to the creation of old Deerfield was the vision and work of George Sheldon, who infused vast amounts of energy into remembering and promoting Deerfield's past. The acknowledged keeper of the town's history by the late nineteenth century, George Sheldon's two-volume A History of Deerfield, Massachusetts remains a standard reference for scholars. His interest in the town's history was no doubt influenced by the fact that he was a descendant of the Sheldon family which lived in the Old Indian House in February 1704. For many decades, this building was the only visible landmark of Deerfield's most famous French and Indian raid. It was largely through George Sheldon's efforts that an organization dedicated to collecting and remembering Deerfield's history, the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association (PVMA), was founded in 1870.

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© Memorial Hall Museum, Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association


George Sheldon's dress, a mixture of up-to-date garb and colonial-era icons such as silver-buckles on his shoes and a tri-cornered hat, exemplifies the easy coexistence of the past with the present for Colonial Revival proponents. Frances and Mary Allen, platinum print, 1898.

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