Dr. James Lincoln Huntington founded the Porter-Phelps-Huntington Museum in 1948. This Cross-stitch shows Dr. Huntington as a young boy with his family. Stitched in 1900, the image depicts his family members in age order. Underneath the family reads "E M P to L St A H", meaning the cross-stitch was given to “L St A H”- Lily St. Agnam Huntington, Dr. Huntington’s mother- from someone with the initials ‘E.M.P’. The cross-stitch currently hangs in the second floor South East Bedchamber of the museum where Lily summered after her husband’s death. Following are short bios of this Huntington family who assisted Dr. Huntington in founding the PPH museum.
Click here to view the online finding aid for the PPH collection at the Amherst College Archives.
George Putnam Huntington
George Putnam Huntington, born in 1844, was the first of Frederic Dan and Hannah Dane Sargent Huntington’s seven children. George, like his father, became an Episcopal minister and was ordained Deacon in 1868. In 1869, George became the first rector of St. Paul’s Church in Malden, Massachusetts, where he met his wife, Lily St. Agnam Barrett. Upon his retirement from St. Paul’s, the women of the parish made him a quilt which is now on display at the PPH museum. Lily and George married in 1874 and had six children: Henry “Barrett”, Constant, James, Michael “Paul”, Catharine, and Frederic (Freddie); each depicted in the cross-stitch. In 1904, just 15 years after Freddie was born, George died, possibly from typhoid fever. And just four hours prior to George’s death, his father Frederic Dan passed away. On July 11th, 1904, Barrett, Constant, James, Paul, Catharine, and Freddie, lost both their grandfather and father in a matter of hours.
Lily St. Agnam Barrett Huntington
Born in 1848 in Malden, Massachusetts, to Henry and Lucy Theodora Gellineau Steams Barrett, Lily St. Agnam was raised Unitarian but baptized and confirmed in the Episcopal faith in 1874 and married the rector of her parish, George Putnam Huntington. The couple lived and raised their first four children in Malden until 1884 when, due to George’s failing health, they moved to Ashfield, Massachusetts, where they had two more children. Now closer to the family home in Hadley, “Forty Acres”,Lily, George, and their six children often summered there. At 56 years old, Lily became a widow while still taking care of her youngest three children. In the fall of 1904, a few months after her husband’s death, Lily bought a house in Leicester, Massachusetts, where she lived with Paul, Catharine, and Freddie, until each went off to college. A few years later, in 1908 or 1909, Lily moved to Lexington, Massachusetts where she lived until 1920. By this point, her children had modernized the family home at “Forty Acres,” where Lily summered until her death in 1926.
Henry Barrett Huntington
Henry Barrett Huntington, known as Barrett, was the first child of George and Lily. Barrett was born in 1875 in Malden, Massachusetts. In 1893, he attended Harvard and later taught English Composition and Literature at Harvard, Dartmouth, and Brown University. After the death of Hannah Dane Sargent, his grandmother, in 1910, Barrett tried to run “Forty Acres” as a dairy. However, as Barrett lived in Providence, Rhode Island, and didn’t commute to Hadley often, his dairy was not successful. In 1905, Barrett married Alice Howland Mason. Alice and Barrett had four children: Elizabeth, born in 1906, twins Arria Sargent and George Putnam, born in 1909, and Mary Hopkins, born in 1915. Alice died in 1946 at the age of 65, Barrett died 19 years later in 1965.
Constant Davis Huntington
In 1876, George and Lily’s second son, Constant Davis Huntington, was born. Following in his brother’s footsteps, Constant attended Harvard in 1895. In 1902, Constant became the head of G.P. Putnam’s Sons Publishers, first in New York and then in 1905, in London. Constant and his wife Gladys Theodora Parrish had one daughter: Georgiana Mary Alfreda, born in 1922. Until his death in 1962, despite living far away in London, Constant remained involved in the Hadley family home as his brother James worked towards opening the Porter-Phelps-Huntington Museum in the late 1940s.
James Lincoln Huntington
The third son of George and Lily, James Lincoln Huntington was born in 1880. Although James was born in Malden, his family moved to Ashfield in 1884, when James was four. In 1902, James graduated from Dartmouth College and attended Harvard Medical School five years later. As an obstetrician and gynecologist, James studied in Germany and later practiced in Boston. In 1911, James married Sarah Higginson Pierce and together they had two sons: Benjamin Lincoln, born in 1912, and John Higginson, born in 1916. James and Sarah divorced in June of 1944 and in December of the same year, James married his second wife: Agnes Genevieve Keefe. In 1948, James founded the Porter-Phelps-Huntington Museum where he gave tours until his death in 1968.
Michael Paul St. Agnam Huntington
Known as Paul, Michael Paul St. Agnam Huntington was born in 1882 in Malden as the fourth son of George and Lily. While his brothers all went away to boarding school, Paul was chronically ill as a child and remained home. In 1902 Paul attended Harvard University, then Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 1906, and Cambridge Theological Seminary in 1914. Three years later, in 1917, Paul was ordained Deacon and served as Priest at Emmanuel Church in Boston. In 1922, Paul married Lona Marie Goode. Lona died in 1956, at just 59 years old after they had been married for 34 years. During those years, Paul and Lona had three children: William Paul, born in 1923, David Mack Goode, born in 1926, and Charles Phelps, born in 1928. In 1937, at 9 years old, Charles was killed in an automobile accident. Paul not only outlived his wife by 11 years, but also his youngest son by 30. Paul died in 1967.
Catharine Sargent Huntington
The only daughter of George and Lily, Catharine Sargent Huntington was born in 1887 and was the fifth of six children. In 1911, Catharine graduated from Radcliffe College which had been founded just 32 years prior. When it was founded, Radcliffe was nicknamed the “Harvard Annex” as it provided women education and instruction from Harvard faculty. After she graduated, Catharine taught English at a boarding school in Connecticut and later worked with the YMCA in France. In 1927, Catharine was arrested at a demonstration against Sacco and Vanzetti’s execution. Along with her activism, Catharine was largely involved in American theatre. In 1940 she founded the Provincetown Playhouse, in 1938 founded the New England Repertory Theatre in Boston, and in 1965 Catharine won the Rodgers and Hammerstein award for “having done the most in the Boston area for the American theatre.” Further, on her 97th birthday, Catharine was recognized by Governor Michael Dukakis and the Massachusetts Legislature for her contributions to American theater. Catharine died in 1987 at the age of 99. Click HERE to learn more about Catharine Sargent Huntington.
Frederic Dane Huntington
Freddie Huntington, the sixth and youngest child of George and Lily, was born in 1889. When Freddie was just 14 years old, his father and grandfather died on the same day. Freddie was therefore supported through school by his mother and five older siblings. In 1912, Freddie attended Harvard and was admitted to the Bar in 1915. However, Freddie wasn’t able to practice law for very long before he became Sargent of Artillery of the Massachusetts National Guard in Mexico in 1916 and was sent overseas the next year as a captain in World War I. Before returning to the United States in 1919 after the war had ended, Freddie served at Chemin des Dames and Meuse-Argonne, two battles that were crucial in the Allies’ offensive effort during the war. After the armistice of November 11th, 1918, which ended the fighting of World War I, Freddie was detailed as Judge Advocate. In 1924, Freddie married Elsie Entress. There is evidence that Freddie may have suffered from PTSD after his return from World War I. Soon after his 49th birthday in 1940, Freddie committed suicide after killing his dog in the Old Hadley Cemetery. His wife, Elsie, died eight years later.
Family, Porter-Phelps-Huntington. “Porter-Phelps-Huntington Family Papers, 1698-1968 (Bulk 1800-1950) Finding Aid.” Text. Accessed August 21, 2019. http://asteria.fivecolleges.edu/findaids/amherst/ma30_main.html.
Huntington Family Genealogical Memoir — Supplement 1915 to 1962. Norwich, CT: The Huntington Family Association, 1962.
Huntington Genealogical Memoir — 1633 to 1916. Hartford, CT: Huntington Family Association, 1915.
“Our History.” Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. Accessed August 21, 2019. https://www.radcliffe.harvard.edu/about-us/our-history.