The Goddess of Knowledge and Maiden Charity

Former city poet laureate Leslea Newman posited, tongue in cheek, that Northampton was fated to be Lesbianville “in 1884, when Thomas M. Shepherd designed the official city seal, which depicts the Goddess of Knowledge holding hands with the Maiden Charity.”  I included this quote in one of the earliest blog posts  along with a fuzzy reproduction of the city seal and a request for a better reproduction.

 

Recently, out of the blue, this three year old wish was granted. Elizabeth Sharpe, Co-Executive Director of Historic Northampton, sent me a scan of the original artwork by Shepherd from their holdings. Thank you Betty. Historic Northampton is also online if you are out of town and wish a browsing visit, including old maps and other sources. https://www.historicnorthampton.org/    and is also on Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/HistoricNorthampton/

 

NORTHAMPTON-TOWN-SEAL-copy (1)
Northampton City Seal by Thomas M. Shepherd Courtesy of Historic Northampton

 

SOURCES:

__Leslea Newman. “Greetings from Lesbianville U.S.A.: grrrls, goddesses, and Gloria Steinem! Northampton, Mass., is the Sapphic center of America, tucked away among New England academia,” The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine), 1 March 2005, /Greetings+from+Lesbianville+U.S.A.%3A+grrrls,+goddesses,+and+Gloria…-a0129710080.

__ Historic Northampton. https://www.historicnorthampton.org/    Check out the History Sources Online feature and also on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/HistoricNorthampton/

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5 thoughts on “The Goddess of Knowledge and Maiden Charity

  1. I love Northampton and feel lucky to be there every day I go to work.

    I like this town seal on many levels beyond the two female representions. There’s the oxbow in the distance, and perhaps that’s Mt. Tom, and what appear to be silk moths and mulberry fruits and leaves in the border.

    Liked by 2 people

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