Priscilla Pike
Priscilla (Pris) Pike, who died in November 2021, bequeathed a substantial gift to Forbes Library. Born in the hilltown of Chester, just east of Pittsfield, Pris moved to the Valley to attend UMass and Smith College. For more than four decades, she worked in Northampton and for six decades, she was a library patron at Forbes.

Pris taught at The Clarke School for the Deaf when it was a residential school program and she resided on campus herself at what is now the Magna House Condominiums. The proximity of the school and her residence there in the Round Hill neighborhood of Northampton, meant that Teacher Pike could regularly take her students on outings to Forbes Library.

Katharine Hepburn once visited Teacher Pike’s class at the Clarke School to observe her teaching and to learn more about the education of deaf children. Katharine, Spencer Tracy, and Louise Treadwell Tracy started a California school based on what Louise learned about raising her deaf son John Tracy. Teachers from Clarke School, including Pris, visited the John Tracy Center in California. Pris Pike was also known for her work with teachers from around the world who attended the Smith College/Clarke Teacher Training Program.

Her most recent home in the Valley was at the Lathrop Community in Easthampton where she lived for a decade. A resident at that retirement community, called her the “Mayor of the Inn,” because she was very intentional about welcoming new residents and checking in on their needs.

She was an active and longstanding member of the First Churches. She used the community bus to attend services until the time of the pandemic. Pris repeatedly organized book discussions at Lathrop led by her friend, Peter Ives. She was a book lover and participated in a memoir writing group at Lathrop.

A note with her gift said that Pris was confident the funds would be used to enhance the quality of life for all in our community.