60 years of Berkshires Week: A Timeline

Related Story | Editor Kate Abbott reflects on 60 years of Berkshires Week.

July 10, 1954:

The first issue of a Berkshires Week-style publication appears as the Saturday Magazine, a one page section of the Eagle published weekly that summer. The first editor is Richard B. Kimball. By the end of the summer, the section is called the "Berkshire Eagle Weekender."

1955: Berkshires Weekend is brought back as "Berkshire Week," a weekly supplement.

November 1955: Berkshires Week wins award of merit from the National Association of Travel Organizations.

1960: The Eagle's lead photographer, William Tague, takes over from Kimball as editor of Berkshires Week. He publishes an "Eagle Eye" photospread in each issue of Berkshires Week.

July 7, 1962:

Norman Rockwell's son Tom pens a Berkshires Week article denying having written his father's memoir. Norman claimed Tom wrote it and that he had not even read the book.

July 21, 1962:

Berkshires Week publishes a story on Sinclair Lewis's relationship with the Berkshires. Apparently Lewis frequently passed through but always had an excuse not to be interviewed by The Eagle. Nevertheless, the article has a great anecdote. "At first, he wanted to serve on the faculty of Williams College. But, when on his first meeting with President James Phineas Baxter III, he suddenly announced this desire, the college head was so nonplussed that he could only mumble vaguely in response. When no invitation was immediately forthcoming, Lewis became angry and withdrew entirely from any participation in Williamstown affairs." -- Edna Thomas

July 28, 1962:

Eagle Eye on Louis Armstrong at the Music Barn. He performed on July 15. Dave Brubeck, Duke Ellington, and Les Brown all play the Barn that summer.

1964-1967: Ruth Bass edits.

1969: Whitt Bernie takes over.

Summer 1969:

In its second year, Tanglewood Trends, the festival's nonclassical concert series, features Janis Joplin, Joni Mitchell, The Who, B.B. King, and Jefferson Airplane.

1970-1982: Except for in 1973, Berkshires Week is a supplement to both The Eagle and the Torrington Register. It covers the Berkshires and Litchfield, Conn.

1970: Holly McLennan edits.

July 3, 1970:

The Clark, we report, has installed audioguides. Have no fear, they use casettes so they need not be rewound, and they only weigh two pounds. Best of all, you can pause them to look at art left out of the recording.

1971: Annette Heuser edits.

1972: Mark Miller steps in.

1973: Berkshires Week is subsumed into UpCountry, a short-lived year-round monthly magazine covering rural New England.

1974: Berkshires Week is revived (and "Berkshires" becomes plural). UpCountry continues to cover similar material.

1976-1978: Vicki Sanders edits the magazine.

April, 1976:

The childhood home of W. E. B. Du Bois in Great Barrington was made a National Historic Landmark after "eight years of foot-dragging, avoidance and hostility" by "leading elements of the town," we reported in the Aug. 20 issue. In 1968, proposals to build a memorial had resulted in bombing threats, and even with backers like Sidney Poitier, Norman Rockwell and William Gibson, there was no physical monument by the time the site was dedicated.

Aug. 18, 1977:

A New Yorker on a bus tour tells our reporter, "I really like that Pittstown for its cleanliness."

Meanwhile, Joel Grey, who won a Tony, an Oscar, and a BAFTA for Cabaret, appears at Williamstown Theatre Festival as the titular character in Chekhov's Platonov.

1978-1981: Jurgen A. Thomas edits the magazine.

June 25, 1981: The magazine switches to full color covers. The first shows grass skiers.

Fall, 1981: The magazine runs through November. William Tague returns to edit it in the fall.

1982: Anthony G Rud edits.

July 23, 1982:

Dick Cavett performs in "Room Service" at Williamstown Theatre Festival, while Sigourney Weaver and John Shea appear in the Berkshire Theatre Festival's "Animal Kingdom." Weaver was newly famous for 1979's "Alien," and Shea was nearly unheard of. Later that summer, Sam Waterston would return to WTF after a 12 year hiatus.

1983-1986: Martha Nordstrom edits the magazine.

August 9, 1985:

An Amherst professor invents the Berkshire town of Ripton and applies for state funds in its name, receiving several grants. James Obermyer of Berkshires Week argues that "allegations of Ripton's non-existence are, of course, balderdash."

It lacks a zipcode only because it is too small to have a post office, Obermyer says. Town Hall has a portrait of President Eisenhower because "nobody's gotten around" to changing it and "he was our last good president aanyway." The town's motto, according to Obermyer, is "Ripton. A State of Mind."

1987: Nada Samuels edits.

1987: The magazine begins publishing year-round, as part of the new Sunday Eagle.

1989: The magazine is moved from Sunday to Friday.

April 10, 1997:

Our cover story is titled, "Roam with ROM: CD helps plot hikes." We interview the spokesmon of a New Hampshire company called Earthvisions which sells a $99 CD of New England topo maps.

1990s: Randall Howe edits.

July 6, 1997:

The 75th anniversary of the Lincoln Memorial is celebrated at Chesterwood, the estate of its sculptor, Daniel Chester French.

1997: Berkshires Week's annual reader-chosen Best of the Berkshires awards begin.

June 6, 1998:

Berkshires Week's Pop Critic picks his most anticipated concerts. On the list: Beck at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.

Summer 2002:

After 20 years, the renovation of The Mount's gardens is completed. When the process began, archaeologists "were faced wih overgrown pathways and leaf mold eight inches deep." They rebuilt the gardens as close to the originals as possible using "meticulous analysis of old photographs and written material." Dutch elm disease-resistant elm specimens had to be found as well.

Summer 2003:

At Herman Melville's Pittsfield home, Arrowhead, a collection of J. M. W. Turner prints owned by Melville were exhibited. Turner's seafaring scenes made good company for Mount Greylock, which Melville pictured as a whale..

Aug. 21, 2003:

Berkshires Week's Peter McLaughlin visits Bennington's new Covered Bridge Museum. Of its introductory video, he writes, "It's as if Ken Burns had made a short documentary on covered bridges," which is of course completely plausible. Mandy Patinkin performs at Williamstown Theatre Festival.

1990s-2008: Lesley Beck edits.

2008-Now: Editor Kate Abbott takes over the magazine.

January 2014: The magazine expands to Berkshires Week and the Shires of Vermont, published by The Eagle, the Bennington Banner and the Manchester Journal, year-round.


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