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Letter from second headmaster of Deerfield Academy

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(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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In 1799, while he was second headmaster of Deerfield Academy in Deerfield, Massachusetts, Claudius Herrick wrote this appeal to an acquaintance to join the academy faculty. The letter is a valuable historical record both of the academy about six months after it opened in January of that year and of the community in which the school had gained prominence. Herrick described the building, with its classrooms, museum and library; he talked of the subjects being offered to the seventy-plus male and female students; he described the town's main street; and he mentioned notable town residents. Herrick assured "Friend Lewis" that if he made the move he would not lack for interesting acquaintances, including Deerfield's "Men of a liberal Education" who were "exceedingly agreeable as Society," as well as "Gentlemen, and Ladies from the neighboring towns." Comparing the academy to Yale College in New Haven, he also assured Mr. Lewis of the school's promising future although it could not afford large salaries at the time due to funds that were "in an unproductive state." Herrick's prediction was borne out, as today Deerfield Academy is a highly regarded private secondary school that draws students locally and from all over the world.


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