Category: PEOPLE

High School Students Complete Senior Project

June 12, 2018

Wellesley High School Seniors Max Perozek and Thomas Weiss (left to right) joined the Wellesley Historical Society for their senior project this spring. Max and Thomas committed a significant amount of time in their 4th quarter to complete the project and we are thankful for their efforts. They processed hundreds of historic photos in the Townsman Collection by removing harmful adhesive tape, transferring important information about each photo onto acid-free paper, and placing them in protective sleeves. The photos dated from the 1980’s-1990’s and include images of several elementary schools and the high school. Thanks to their efforts, these photos are now available for research.

We wish the best to Max and Thomas as they head off to college in the fall!

Left to right: Thomas is carefully removing adhesive tape which was used by the Townsman staff to affix the date and subject to each photo.

Max wears white cotton gloves while handling the photos so that oils from his hands do not transfer to the photos.

Kathleen Fahey, Curator

Ether Day – History Mystery, October 2016

 

Question – October 15, 2016

Every October, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) celebrates Ether Day. On this day, a Wellesley resident is recognized as being the first person to publicly demonstrate the use of ether for anesthesia during surgery at MGH on October 16, 1846.  This person lived in the home pictured above, appropriately named “Etherton Cottage.” Do you know the name of this noted Wellesley resident?  Return on Oct. 28th for the answer!

Answer – October 28, 2016

The name of the Wellesley resident who lived at Etherton Cottage was Dr. William Thomas Green Morton.  Surprisingly, Dr. Morton was a dentist, not a medical doctor, when he demonstrated the use of anesthesia.  Dr. Morton manufactured artificial teeth and did so in an outbuilding on his property.  In fact, it was his patients’ discomfort while having teeth pulled that led to his interest in anesthesia.

Dr. Morton lived at Etherton Cottage with his wife and five children when Wellesley was still part of Needham.  The property had extensive grounds with barns and outbuildings.  Morton farmed the land and raised Jersey cows, geese, hens and ducks. When William Morton died in 1868 the property passed to his wife and children.  His family sold the property to H.H. Hunnewell in 1878.  Shortly after Wellesley was incorporated in 1881, Mr. Hunnewell gifted the land to the town to build a town hall and library.  H.H. Hunnewell had Etherton Cottage moved to a nearby flat section of land, aptly named Morton Field, where it stood for about 40 years before it was torn down.

Wellesley Town Hall still stands on the property formerly occupied by Etherton Cottage.  If you are ever up for a game of hide and seek, see if you can find the stone marker pictured below.  It is located at Town Hall and reads, “Here lived Dr. W.T.G. Morton, He gave to the world the use of ether in surgery A.D. 1846.”

For more information on Morton and his role in the discovery of anesthesia, please click on this PBS article: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/the-painful-story-behind-modern-anesthesia/

Ellen Murphy, Volunteer Research Assistant