Friday, October 24, 2008


The first volume of The Dummer News, a student-organized publication at Dummer Academy, was published in 1897. The Dummer News staff was able to secure advertising revenues from a considerable number of local advertisers to help the publication get off the ground. This paper covered noteworthy items of importance to the school, a round-up of the academy’s sporting events, and student commentaries. Often featured in the publication were colorful, tongue-in-cheek stories painting faculty, staff, and students in humorous, sometime comprising situations. One such story—a four-part tale of faculty members tangled up in on-campus whiskey distillery—appeared in the October 1902 to February 1903 issues, and featured a Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) spy, bumbling prosecution, and one decidedly sleepy juror. It makes for a great read (albeit with a rather abrupt ending embedded in the "Notes" section of February 1903). We hope you enjoy the story.

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Generous Donation of Century-Old Photographs

Many of the items housed in The Governor’s Academy (TGA) Archives found their way to the school as generous donations of TGA alumni, their families, and friends of the academy. The photographs seen in this blog entry were graciously donated by William Cooney, grandson to Henry Frost Wood of Brighton, Massachusetts. Mr. Wood was a graduate and the valedictorian of the Dummer Academy Class of 1903. The first photograph shows a close-up of Mr. Wood, for easy identification in the other photographs. (He is in the back row of the first four group pictures.)

Mr. Wood came from Brighton, Massachusetts, and was involved in many activities while a student at the academy. The donated photos show Mr. Wood as part of Dummer Academy’s 1902 football team and 1903 baseball team, likely as a team manager for the latter. Additionally, he was on the staff of the monthly student-run publication, The Dummer News. The remaining photographs show Mr. Wood pictured with his dorm-mates and as part of the larger Dummer Academy student body more than a century ago.

Mr. Wood maintained ties to the school after his graduation, becoming a member of the Sons of Dummer Academy in 1905. This society was formed in 1822 to provide former Dummer Academy students with a venue for socialization and, according to archives records, a vehicle for promoting the “usefulness and reputation” of the academy. Interestingly, new members were accepted upon payment of $1.00. Mr. Wood also participated in the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the founding of Dummer Academy in 1913.

Our sincere thanks go out to William Cooney for this generous donation to TGA’s Archives. We will take the utmost care in maintaining these photographs in our climate-controlled facility on campus so that they may be enjoyed for years to come.

For our readers, we gladly accept donations large and small to the Archives. To make a donation, please contact Laurie DiModica, Manager of the Archives, at 978-499-3347 or via e-mail:

Friday, October 10, 2008

Donkey Basketball

Of the many fundraisers conducted by The Governor’s Academy organizations, among the most original has to be donkey basketball. The first-ever donkey basketball event, which featured spirited competition between students from the Class of 1984 and faculty members, was held in the fall of 1983 as one of two fundraisers run by the Governor Dummer Academy (GDA) Ski Club. The December 15, 1983 edition of The Governor, with a short article about the fundraiser, is shown here. After a hiatus of a few years, donkey basketball events were again held in the Alumni Gymnasium. Enjoy the photos below!