Eye Mind Heart: A View of Amherst College at 200

Amherst College Bicentennial 1821 2021

Eye Mind Heart: A View of Amherst College at 200 is the signature book of Amherst College’s bicentennial.

In her mission to write the College’s history, author Nancy Pick ’83 wondered what it was actually like to be at Amherst at different times in the past. What classes did students take in 1821? What were admissions requirements in 1921? What did students protest about in 1971? The result is Eye Mind Heart: A View of Amherst College at 200, a beautifully designed and lavishly illustrated book that aims to be as entertaining as it is illuminating.

Based on years of research, the book shares the familiar as well as the untold stories of the people of the College—the poets, the Nobel Prize winners, the groundbreakers, and the controversies. “When I took on this project in 2015, my assignment from the College was to write the book I’d want to read,” said Pick, a former newspaper journalist and the author of three previous books about history.

In her afterword, President Biddy Martin wrote, “Pick’s witty and imaginative book reads like a conversation she is having with her readers about the people, traditions, and intellectual feats that attach us to Amherst.” Eye Mind Heart also has a foreword by Cullen Murphy ‘74, former College trustee chair and editor at large for The Atlantic magazine.

“I’ll say this much,” Pick said, reflecting on the daunting nature of the project: “No other college has ever published a book like Eye Mind Heart. Especially not Williams.”

The cover of the book Eye Mind Heart by Nancy Pick showing a blue-tinted photo of Johnson Chapel

Eye Mind Heart: A View of Amherst College at 200

By Nancy Pick
239 Pages
Binding: Hardcover
Subject: Nonfiction, General

About the Author

Nancy Pick, a former reporter for the Baltimore Evening Sun, is the author of several books. Her first book, The Rarest of the Rare (HarperCollins/Scala Arts), about the treasures of Harvard’s natural history collections, was named one of the best science books of the year by Discover magazine.

In 2018, her book Les Ombres de Stig Dagerman (The Writer and the Refugee), written together with Lo Dagerman, was published in France by Maurice Nadeau.

A graduate of Amherst College, she lives in western Massachusetts with her husband, the writer and law professor Lawrence Douglas.

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For an accessible ebook version of Eye Mind Heart, please email bicentennial@amherst.edu

Amherst College: The Campus Guide

Amherst College Bicentennial 1821 2021

In honor of its 2021 Bicentennial, Amherst College has commissioned three keepsake books. The first, available for purchase now, is Amherst College: The Campus Guide, by Pulitzer Prize-winning, former Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin ’79.

The beautifully photographed guide tells the stories of nearly 100 campus buildings, landscapes, sculpture and interiors. Organized as a series of six walks, it accompanies the reader on a richly engaging tour through time and space, history and culture. The last chapter covers three notable off-campus buildings: the Five College Library Depository, better known as The Bunker; Amherst House at Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan, built in 1932 to resemble an Amherst fraternity house; and the architecturally distinguished Folger Shakespeare Library, in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol, that illuminates the life, work and times of the great playwright.

Throughout Amherst College: The Campus Guide, Blair Kamin ’79 interweaves in-depth analyses of the College’s architecture and landscape architecture with campus lore. Readers will learn, for example, of the townspeople who gathered to construct Amherst’s first building, South College, in 1820 and how the poet Emily Dickinson’s grandfather secured a donation from a farmer in nearby Pelham to fund the iconic Johnson Chapel. A specially commissioned hand-drawn map locates buildings and highlights historic and contemporary architecture elements throughout the Amherst campus.

Read a recent article by Blair Kamin '79 about Amherst's architectural stewardship. 

A book with the title Amherst College: An Architectural Tour and a photo of Johnson Chapel

Amherst College: The Campus Guide

By Blair Kamin ’79
Forward by Biddy Martin
Photographs by Ralph Lieberman

Princeton Architectural Press, 2020
256 pages, 120 color and black-and-white photographs
$37.50 paperback with flaps and a campus map

About the Authors

Blair Kamin ’79 is the Pulitzer Prize-winning former architecture critic of the Chicago Tribune.

Biddy Martin is the president of Amherst College.

Ralph Lieberman is an architectural historian and photographer.

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Amherst in the World

Amherst College Bicentennial 1821 2021

In celebration of the 200th anniversary of Amherst College, a group of scholars and alumni explores the school’s substantial past in Amherst in the World. In this volume the story of how an institution that was founded to train Protestant ministers began educating new generations of industrialists, bankers, and political leaders with the decline in missionary ambitions after the Civil War. The contributors trace how what was a largely white school throughout the interwar years begins diversifying its student demographics after World War II and the War in Vietnam.

The histories told here illuminate how Amherst has contended with slavery, wars, religion, coeducation, science, curriculum, town and gown relations, governance, and funding during its two centuries of existence. Through Amherst’s engagement with educational improvement in light of these historical undulations, it continually affirms both the vitality and the utility of a liberal arts education.

A book titled Amherst in the World with a globe and mammoth skeleton on the front cover

Amherst in the World

Edited by Martha Saxton
Distributed by Amherst College Press
663 Pages
20 Contributors
Licensed under Creative Commons

About the Editor

Martha Saxton is an American professor of 
history and women's and gender studies at 
Amherst College who has authored several 
prominent historical biographies.

Contributors & Works

Fulfilling the Founders’ Purpose: The Religious Careers of Early Amherst College Graduates by Gary J. Kornblith; Remembering Edward Jones: First Black Graduate, Missionary Hero, “Genteel Young Man of Excellent Disposition” by David W. Wills; Amherst and the Native World by Frederick E. Hoxie; Niijima Jō, the Dōshisha, and the Christian Liberal Arts in Meiji Japan by Trent Maxey; Exclusivity, Segregation, and Democracy: Amherst College and Its Fraternities by Nicholas L. Syrett; Jewish Experience at Amherst College by Wendy H. Bergoffen; Coeducation: The Unanticipated Revolution by Martha Saxton; Creating a Place for Latinidad at an Elite Liberal Arts College: Amherst College, the 1970s through Today by Rick López; Remembering Dunbar: Amherst College and African American Education in Washington, DC by Matthew Alexander Randolph; Feeding Amherst by Daniel Levinson Wilk; “The farthest West shakes hands with the remotest East”: Amherst College, China, and Collegiate Cosmopolitanism in the Nineteenth Century by K. Ian Shin; “Vesuvius at Home”: Emily Dickinson, Amherst, and Nineteenth-Century Popular Culture by David S. Reynolds; “Fables of Extinction”: Geologist Edward Hitchcock and the Literary Response to Darwin by Jane F. Thrailkill; Eclipses, Ecology, and Emily Dickinson: The Todds of Amherst by Julie Dobrow; The “Meiklejohn Affair” Revisited: Amherst and the World in the Early Twentieth Century by Richard F. Teichgraeber III; The Amherst Man in the Jazz Age by Debby Applegate; “We are and will be forever Anti-Slavery Men!”: Student Abolitionists and Subversive Politics at Amherst College, 1833–1841 by Michael E. Jirik; “Some of the Sweetest Christians”: The Wartime Education of Amherst’s Boys in Blue by Bruce Laurie; “Ain’t Gonna Pay for War No More”: Taxes, Resistance, and Antiwar Activism in the Pioneer Valley and Beyond by Molly Michelmore; “A Pervasive and Insistent Disquiet”: Amherst College in the 1960s by Christian G. Appy.

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