Governor Dummer Academy History, 1763-1963

By John W. Ragle | Go to book overview
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It was early in the summer of 1956 that, at the request of the Board of Trustees of Governor Dummer Academy, I began work on this History. From the start, encouragement and helpful suggestions have been forthcoming. This has been particularly the case with Dr. Claude M. Fuess and Dr. Edward W. Eames, without whose guidance I would many times have been in difficulty. It was easy for me to agree to undertake the History of a school about to achieve its 200th birthday, a school which dated from prior to the founding of our nation. The first problem came in deciding how the story should be told. This book is the fruit of that decision: it does not purport to be a scholarly work, pains- takingly annotated; on the contrary, its primary purpose is to catch the spirit of the Academy in the various periods of its history, and to do this through characterization and anecdote. Nevertheless, in the course of the story nothing will be found for which there is not sound historical evidence.

With the exception of an occasional school vacation, the work on this book has been done during ten-week periods of the summer. This has had its shortcomings, for it has meant sorting out and picking up the threads each year, after many months spent the project. I wish to thank sincerely the Board of Trustee of the Academy, and its representatives -- Dr. Eames; Dr. Fuess; its President, Mr. Marshall B. Dalton; and most recently the new Headmaster, Mr. Valleau Wilkie, Jr. -- for their unending patience and understanding.

Though a considerable portion of the material for this history has come from the collections of the Essex Institute in Salem, the Harvard University Archives, the Boston Athenaeum, and the Newburyport Public Library, most of it has been found in the Governor Dummer Academy Archives. For this reason, whatever merits this History may possess redound in very large part to the credit of the late James M. Barriskill, without whose insight and interest it would not exist.

An antiquarian by vocation, Mr. Barriskill devoted himself, during his eleven years as a teacher at the Academy, to the order


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