Academy Archives

  • What’s the history of the Academy?

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    Days of Glory, for More than 200 Years

    Our Head of School


    Margarita O’Byrne Curtis was appointed Deerfield’s 55th Head of School in July of 2006. Dr. Curtis graduated from Tulane University and earned her doctorate in Romance Languages and Literature from Harvard University. Before becoming a faculty member at Phillips Academy Andover, she taught at Harvard and won, for four consecutive years, the Certificate of Distinction in Teaching from the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning.

    Dr. Curtis believes that Deerfield, because of its traditions, close-knit community, and dedicated faculty, is uniquely positioned to provide a superior education, building character, along with a commitment to educational excellence. She engages the skills and talents of devoted and caring faculty and staff as she collaboratively develops a bold vision that will carry Deerfield into its third century.

    The Early Years

    On March 1, 1797, Governor Samuel Adams signed a bill granting a charter for the founding of an academy in Deerfield. The school’s trustees pledged the Academy to “the instruction of youth, and the promotion of piety, religion, and morality.”

    The arrival of Frank L. Boyden in 1902 marked the beginning of the second significant phase of the Academy’s history. Thousands of Deerfield graduates fondly remember Mr. Boyden not only as the driving force of the Academy, but also as the major figure of their developmental years.

    “The test of worth of any school… is the record of service of her alumni.”
    — Frank L. Boyden

    In 1968, after 66 years of leadership, Mr. Boyden retired as headmaster. He was succeeded by David M. Pynchon. Mr. Pynchon greatly expanded and strengthened the curriculum and faculty. He continued his predecessor’s efforts to solidify the Academy’s economic support.

    Following the Boyden Legacy

    Mr. Pynchon left Deerfield in May 1980, and Robert E. Kaufmann was appointed headmaster. Mr. Kaufmann, who had taught under Mr. Boyden in the 1960s, oversaw Deerfield’s transition from an all-boys school to a coeducational institution, and he also completed a major building and renovation program. Mr. Kaufmann retired as headmaster in 1994.

    Eric Widmer, a graduate of Deerfield’s Class of 1957, was appointed headmaster in July of 1994. During his 12 years of leadership, Mr. Widmer strengthened the Academy’s commitment to financial aid, initiated exciting international learning opportunities, and enhanced the physical environment for both living and learning by introducing state-of-the-art technology throughout the campus. Mr. Widmer retired in June of 2006 to serve as the founding Headmaster of King’s Academy in Madaba, Jordan.

  • Does Deerfield have a school song?

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    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:

    The Deerfield Evensong
    Words by Richard Warren Hatch
    Music by Ralph Herrick Oatley
    Far beyond each western mountain
    Gleam the fires of dying day;
    Softly from each hidden fountain
    Flows the river on its way.
    All the valley lies in splendor
    Hushed before the coming night;
    From a hundred ancient windows
    Flashes back the sunset’s light.Now the meadow-wind’s soft whisper
    Stirs the old elm’s silhouette,
    Bends each leafy tower above us,
    Caught in evening’s dusky net.
    Now the day is done with striving;
    Let the heart hold memory bright;
    Soon these halls and fields we’re leaving—
    Raise we song before the night.Let the circling night be softened
    By the ember’s last faint glow;
    In the firelight we will gather
    Bound by song before we go.
    Deerfield Days are days of glory,
    Memory lives in every one;
    Let no other name be spoken
    Till the even-hour is done.
    The Deerfield Song
    Words by Ralph Herrick Oatley
    Her sons and daughters rally
    In thoughts of Deerfield days,
    When in Pocumtuck Valley,
    We sing their songs of praise,
    Deerfield, Deerfield, Deerfield, Hail!New laurels we’ll bring to thee,
    Won on life’s field;
    Honor and victory, to thee we will ever yield.
    Let’s pledge loyal hearts again;
    Come now with all your might,
    And sing to the glory of the Green and the White.And once again our voices
    We lift to praise her fame.
    Each loyal heart rejoices
    In glory of her name.
    Deerfield, Deerfield, Deerfield, Hail!

    The Deerfield Cheering Song
    Words by Philip E. Charron, Jr.
    Music by J. Clement Schuler

    Deerfield! Go onward marching,
    Loyal though win or lose,
    And though the odds may be great
    We’ll fight for vict’ry
    Vict’ry for you we choose.
    Fight down the fields of green, now!
    (Our foes) shall vanquished be.
    For we will back you to stand
    With the best in the land
    Old Deerfield! We’re cheering for thee.

  • I’m reading the book Death Be Not Proud about Johnny Gunther, a former Deerfield student, for a school project. Do you have any pictures or information about him?

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    The Deerfield Archives may be of assistance.

  • Where can I find more information about Deerfield’s legendary Headmaster Frank L. Boyden?

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    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 visit the Deerfield Archives.

  • Is there a way for me to obtain copies of old archival photos?

    Email  the Academy Archives if you are looking for a specific archival photo, that they may be able to find for you. 

  • Are there older copies of the Scroll that I can look at?

    The Boyden Library has older copies of the Scroll available for viewing. You can also get in contact with the Academy Archives for more information.