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Holyoke’s Continental Connection: Belle Skinner And The Rebuilding Of Interwar France With Joe Maspo

Holyoke’s Continental Connection: Belle Skinner and the Rebuilding of Interwar France with Joe Maspo

Thursday October 1, 2020 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm

For those who lived in northeastern France, the end of World War One did not mean a return to life as normal. After facing years of devastation, villages up and down the Alsace-Lorraine could finally begin the slow rebuilding process. Enter Holyoke’s own Belle Skinner. This is the story of how a hometown philanthropist earned the French Legion of Honor and cemented her place as the region’s “godmother,” a nickname still used by local residents today. Join us on Thursday, October 1st 2020 as we explore the fascinating history behind a monumental fundraising effort that transformed a region and uncover a legacy that stretches over three thousand miles from western Massachusetts to the town square intersection of Rue Belle Skinner and Place d’Holyoke in rural Meuse.

Dedication Plaque to Belle Skinner

Joseph Maspo is a historian and native Holyoker with a deep appreciation for his hometown’s unique past. While his primary academic research has focused on the environmental history of National Parks and forestry in early 20th century North America, Holyoke’s storied past remains a point of personal interest. As a graduate student in England, he sought out and visited Holyoke’s European connections whenever possible, including a trip to Belle Skinner’s beloved Hattonchâtel. He has previously collaborated with the Wistariahurst Museum and Holyoke History Room on a variety of processing and organization projects.

Joe Maspo

To Register for this Program: Please register below for the link to this live lecture, hosted on Zoom. You must have a free Zoom account to attend. Instructions on accessing the lecture will be included in your confirmation email.

This program is funded by a Community Development Block Grant. The demographic information collected in this registration form will be used only to help us report back regarding our community impact and for no other purpose.

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