PSU’s museum of the White Mountains receives collection of history and materials
FROM LEFT, Plymouth State University President Sara Jayne Steen, Museum of the White Mountains Director Dr. Catherine Amidon, Ann Newton and Jack Newton stand with a sampling of the collection of historic White Mountains books the Newtons recently donated to the museum.COURTESY
PYMOUTH — A collection of White Mountains related books, maps and historical material has been donated to Plymouth State University’s Museum of the White Mountains by John W. (Jack) and Anne H. Newton of South Natick, Mass.
The Newtons said they chose to donate the 6,000 volume collection to the MWM because the gift will allow the public to enjoy and understand the region’s rich history.
“By placing our collection at PSU’s Museum of the White Mountains, this resource will receive the curatorial attention it deserves and will now be available in perpetuity to scholars, researchers, students and interested members of the public. It is our hope that others will make similar donations in the future to augment the Museum’s research resources and to keep the collection current,” the Newtons said.
The Museum, set on the picturesque campus of Plymouth State University, will open this month with presentations, exhibitions and programs for researchers, students and the public. PSU President Sara Jayne Steen said Newton’s gift is a great example of commitment to the region.
“Plymouth State is proud to be the recipient of such an extraordinary collection, long admired by White Mountains devotees,” Steen said. “Jack and Anne’s generosity will assure the treasure they have assembled will become an invaluable resource to all who are committed to the study and preservation of the White Mountains’ historical, cultural and environmental legacy, just as the Newtons are.”
Over time, the MWM collections will become available digitally so visitors, regardless of their location, can enjoy the museum’s offerings, including Newton’s collection. MWM Director Catherine Amidon said Newton’s donation transforms the museum into a comprehensive research site.
“First and then subsequent editions of early books and guides will afford opportunities to study not only the literature but the changes and edits over time,” Amidon said. “It is Jack’s dedication to collecting and his rigor in collections management that makes this collection truly special.”
Jack Newton has enjoyed a long and productive relationship with organizations dedicated to preserving and advocating for the White Mountains region. Newton is a life member of the Appalachian Mountain Club, served as its Treasurer and on the governing Council during the 1970s.
In 1976 he was Chairman of the AMC’s 100th Year Centennial Celebration. He also served as a Trustee and Treasurer of the Mount Washington Observatory for more than 15 years and remains a Life Trustee of that organization. Newton first became acquainted with the White Mountains region as a college student (Dartmouth College ’53, Tuck School ‘54).
After entering the working world as a CPA in Boston, and later as a corporate financial officer, he stayed in New England, often visiting northern New Hampshire and in 1967 eventually acquiring an old farmhouse property in the hamlet of Lost Nation, N.H., east of Lancaster, a town in which Mrs. Newton’s maternal ancestors were early settlers in 1816. It was during this time they started seriously collecting White Mountain material.
“This interest captivated me and led to me to form lasting friendships with many others having similar interests,” said Jack Newton. “In my travels I often visited antiquarian book dealers, always on the lookout for that obscure undiscovered item that is usually only found on the dark back shelves. Today, with the advent of the Internet, the whole experience of seeking and collecting has lost much of its personal charm. However,
I am now looking forward to observing how this collection will used to further the mission of the White Mountain Institute and the Museum of the White Mountains at PSU.”
Not surprisingly, Newton believes his gift represents a special bond among those who treasure the White Mountains region.
“I encourage others to consider providing the MWM with similar materials that will provide a historical overview of the White Mountains from the past, in the present and into the future.”
The Museum of the White Mountains will open to the public in February, featuring its inaugural exhibition, Passing Through: The Allure of the White Mountains. The gallery will be open six days a week with free admission.