News article

Haverhill’s Man Who Weighed Souls

By David Goudsward
Special to Wavelengths

Duncan MacDougall (1866-1920) was a Glaswegian born, Boston trained physician who immigrated to Haverhill in 1886. Upon receiving his medical degree from Boston University School of Medicine in 1893, he returned to his adopted hometown of Haverhill, started his medical practice and married Mary Storer, a Maine native. In 1895, their only son, John Storer was born, followed by the finalization of Dr. MacDougall’s naturalization in 1896. His home and medical practice were located on Main Street at the corner of Fountain Street, now the site of the Social Security building. The late Greg Laing, archivist at the Haverhill Public Library, visited the family as a youth and believed the maple tree on the front lawn is from the original MacDougall home.

Members of Local 38 International Typographical Union picket outside the Haverhill Gazette on Merrimack Street in downtown Haverhill in 1957.

No Survivors in Haverhill’s Titanic Newspaper Battle

News Coverage Flourished During Journal vs. Gazette War
By Tim Coco
WHAV President & General Manager (volunteer)

(These occasional magazine-style articles help expand upon, and illuminate, historical topics raised during WHAV’s Open Mike Show, heard live Monday nights from 6:30 to 8:30. Your feedback is welcome.)

News media competition helps ensure the inner workings of every government department are exposed to the light of day and held accountable, every service club talk is covered and every military personnel homecoming is treated with reverence. During a relatively short period of time Haverhill residents were the beneficiaries of such fierce media competition. From the end of 1957 to the middle of 1965, the Haverhill Gazette and the Haverhill Journal fought what would become, literally, a titanic battle to the death.

The Armstrong grave at Locust Grove Cemetery, Merrimac, Mass.

How FM Inventor Armstrong Links to Two Sisters from Merrimac and Poet Whittier

By Tim Coco
WHAV President & General Manager (volunteer)

Part 1 of 2

The idea that any one person is only six introductions away from any other was first explored in the 1929 short story “Chains” by the Hungarian author Frigyes Karinthy. This “small world” phenomenon appears to be borne out locally when one studies such seemingly disparate figures as FM radio inventor Edwin Howard Armstrong, two sisters from Merrimac, Mass. and famous local son John Greenleaf Whittier. A corollary to this concept of six degrees of separation might involve compression of geography instigated by the modern and efficient movement of people. How else might we explain how the Merrimac sisters closed the gap between the Merrimack Valley and metropolitan New York, how a great nephew of poet John Greenleaf Whittier came to independently make the same loop or why Armstrong, buried in the Bronx after his death in 1954, rests in Merrimac today?

How FM Inventor Armstrong Links to Two Sisters from Merrimac and Poet Whittier (Part 2)

By Tim Coco
WHAV President & General Manager (volunteer)

Last month, in part 1, we discussed the theory about how any one person is only six introductions away from any other and found immediate local connections between FM radio inventor Edwin Howard Armstrong, two sisters from Merrimac, Mass. and famous local son John Greenleaf Whittier. The sisters, Esther Marion and Marjorie McInnes grew up in Merrimac and went to work for the then-new Radio Corporation of America (RCA). While there, Marion met Major Armstrong, who became RCA’s largest stockholder when he sold the company several of his radio patents. In Part 2, we learn of Armstrong’s connections to Greenleaf Whittier Pickard and WHAV.

Haverhill’s Pivotal Role in One Historic Massachusetts Gubernatorial Election

By Tim Coco
WHAV President & General Manager (volunteer)

During the Massachusetts gubernatorial election, voters heard classic arguments. The conservative was a former leader of business and banking interests, held a law and order background and argued for more personal responsibility. Liberals backed a perennial politician who sided with the unions, fought for investing in public works projects and thought needy children should receive free clothing for school. Michael S. Dukakis vs. John W. Sears?

Smith

Amateur Journalism’s Haverhill Run

By David Goudsward
Special to Wave~Lengths

On June 9, 1921, retired small business owner Charles W. Smith received a visitor at his home on Haverhill’s Groveland Street. Smith was the internationally known and respected elder statesman of the amateur press movement and the publisher of The Tryout. Amateur journals—small magazines, hand set type, printed by hand, collated and bound by hand—were mailed for free to other amateur journalists. His visitor was a long-time correspondent, officer of a national amateur press organization and a regular contributor to amateur journals, legendary for his critiques of fellow amateur writers and poets. His name was Howard Phillips Lovecraft.

soldiers monument

Hannah Duston and the Mysterious, Mostly Missing Monument

By David Goudsward
Special to Wave~Lengths

Monuments to Hannah Duston range from statues to the garrison house built by her husband Thomas just a little too late to be useful. Each has its own story, but this is the story of the monument to Hannah’s exploits that still exists, but doesn’t. On March 14, 1697, Thomas and Hannah Duston lived in a house on the west side of Little River in the then-town of Haverhill. The story of her capture, escape and return is already well known, albeit glamorized in ways that Hannah herself wouldn’t recognize. It is the location of the Duston home where our story begins.