for Research and Writing on the History and Purpose of Deerfield Academy

To tell the story of Deerfield Academy is in part to tell the story of American education in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and to tell of the town itself, Deerfield’s place on earth.

- linus Travers '54 excerpt from the Foreword to Deerfield 1797-1997: A Pictorial History of the Academy

My contention (is that) individuals who do not know their past are not good captains for the America in which they will live, and, hopefully, prosper. Therefore, no student ought to leave Deerfield without an understanding of what Deerfield Academy and private secondary school education have made possible for them.

- Richard Montague '52 Excerpt from a Letter written to head of School Margarita Curtis, December 2017

Through the generosity of Richard W. Montague ’52, Deerfield Academy is able to offer two students a grant of $1750 each to support their research of one aspect, theme, or person directly related to the Academy (beginning in 1797), and examined through one or more of the following lenses: history of the village and the Academy’s connection to it, growth and expansion of the school, philosophy surrounding curriculum, the influences of modern-day founders Frank L. and Helen Childs Boyden on independent school education, or the purpose (and role) of independent schools (and more broadly, non-profit organizations).

  • The Montague Grant is open to all 11th and 12th grade Deerfield students.
  • Proposals consisting of a research question and annotated bibliography (past winning proposals may be viewed here) are due by October 9, 2023, and should be submitted to Ms. Day in the Deerfield Academy Communications Office for judging by an assembled panel. The students with the winning proposals will be notified on October 23, 2023 of their selection.
  • Completed (final) papers must be a minimum of 2000 words and a maximum of 3000 words, must follow the rules/characteristics of narrative nonfiction and/or expository nonfiction, and must be submitted as a Word doc or PDF (via email) to Ms. Day in the Deerfield Academy Communications Office by March 18 (first day of Spring Term 2024).
  • The Academy reserves the right to publish each year’s final paper in print or digital format and may submit a student’s work for publication in outside journals, magazines, or websites (ie The Concord Review).
  • Students are required to use primary sources in their research, and are encouraged to use sources from the Academy Archives, only some of which are digitized. Because of that limitation, students should consider their proximity to campus (and the archives) when choosing their research topic. Ms. Lozier, the Academy Archivist, is available for consultation about topic choice, and the librarians have constructed this LibGuide to assist with distance research.
  • The Deerfield Academy Archives contains a wide variety of material related to the history of the school, including manuscript collections, buildings and grounds files, administrative records, student activities records, publications, scrapbooks, and photographs. Some collections popular with Deerfield Academy classes are publications such as the Pocumtuck and The Deerfield Scroll, manuscript collections such as the Thomas W. Ashley Collection and the Jennie Maria Arms Sheldon Papers, the Student Publications Collection, the Helen Childs Boyden Collection, the Town of Deerfield Collection, and others. For more on the Archives’ holdings see these finding aids.
  • Digitized material includes: The Deerfield Scroll, 1928-2018; Pocumtuck (yearbook), 1928-2015; Deerfield Magazine, 1944-present, and a wide variety of photographs.

Previous Winners

Below are the essays as published in Deerfield Magazine. Design, layout, and editing courtesy of the Communications Office.

Frequently Asked Questions

Once a week, School Meeting begins with the singing of one of Deerfield’s school songs, and at every Sunday sit down dinner the whole school comes together and sings the Evensong. During the spring term, as seniors prepare to graduate, they are called upon many times to join in the Evensong. Even at the Academy’s annual Investiture event, alumni, parents, and students gather at sunset to sing the Evensong together. All these songs hold very special meaning for students, alumni, and faculty alike.

In most cases, digital scans can be provided. Contact the Academy Archives if you are looking for a specific archival photograph.

Frank Boyden was Deerfield’s longest serving headmaster from 1902-1968. His time at Deerfield is captured in John McPhee’s 1966 book, The Headmaster. For additional information, please contact the Academy Archives.

If you have materials that you wish to donate, please contact Anne Lozier, Academy Archivist. Of particular interest are scrapbooks, correspondence, ephemera, photographs, and audiovisual material. 

Contact Academy Archives

Boyden Library, Room B03
Mon-Fri, 8:30am–4:30pm

PO Box 87
Deerfield MA 01342