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Nathan Loomis' Copy Book
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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Copy books were used for class exercises in school. The elaborate "Preface" page was intended not only for Loomis' amusement, but to display his talents: penmanship, illustration, and erudition. The latter is demonstrated by the Greek inscription hidden in the clouds to the right of the Preface paragraph. Nathan Loomis was born in Ashfield, Massachusetts, in 1794, the son of the Rev. Josiah Loomis, who headed Ashfield's second Baptist church. Loomis attended the Sanderson Academy, a co-educational school that prepared students for college. It operated as a private school for most of the 19th century but became the town's high school early in the 20th century. The original building burned in 1939 but was rebuilt; the second building became Ashfield's elementary school. In 1820, Josiah Loomis moved his family; including his son, Nathan, who had married a local girl, Waite Jenks Barber; to Fulton County, New York. Nathan's fifth child a son Eben, was born in 1828. Eben's only child was Mabel Loomis, who lived in Amherst, Massachusetts, and was the wife of Amherst College professor David Todd. Mabel Loomis Todd is best known for helping Emily Dickinson produce her first book of poems.
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