Monday, September 28, 2020

My Name

As a child I assumed that my name was unique, referring only to me. The idea that another person could have the same name had never occurred to me.

Then one day, while reading a magazine, I saw my name on the printed page, as the signer of a letter. "Sandy Nichols" had written a letter from Wyoming. How could that be possible?  I recall that she was my age, and pictured with a horse. I've forgotten which magazine (probably either American Girl, or Seventeen), but I've never forgotten the surprise of that discovery. 

Another discovery came during a formal event in Salem sometime later. I'd been invited to a dinner and dance at Hamilton Hall, a new experience for me. The dinner tables were set with fancy silverware and glassware, and little names cards to designate where each person was to sit. As I looked for my name and the name of the young man who had invited me, I was shocked to find "Sandy Nichols" at the HEAD of one of the big tables. Oops!  That can't be me! And it wasn't. A man with the nickname "Sandy" was the intended person for the prominent seat at the head of the table.  Phew! I was relieved to find my real seat elsewhere beside my date. We laughed about the name confusion.

Yesterday, in the Death Notices section of our local newspaper, I spotted my name again. Right at the top was a Sandra Nichols, referred to as "Sandy." She was younger, with a different birth name; Nichols was her married name. Still, it was jolt to recognize my birth name among the obituaries.

Today, searching on social media, I've found other examples, of course. One young woman seems to share many of my interests. Maybe I'll send her a note.  Or, perhaps it is best to leave her alone. She might still believe her own name is unique, and I wouldn't want to spoil that.

Sunday, September 27, 2020


This week, while reading a newspaper insert titled "100 Years" written by the League of Women Voters of Northampton, I encountered this sentence:

Because Massachusetts women had been able to vote for school committee members since 1879, and could equally hold any political office, meetings were held with Democratic and Republican party leaders in Northampton's seven wards asking for various women to be nominated, without success.

Immediately I thought about a woman in our family's history who had been among the first to vote in Danvers. What was that date? What documentation do we have?  Had I already shared that information via this blog?

Today I searched and found two relevant entries posted in February 2018:

Women's Rights 1870's  

1st vote by Danvers women 

In 1880 my great-grandmother was among the Danvers women who voted in a local election.

Thursday, July 16, 2020


This week my daughter brought to my attention an 1893 publication about a reunion in Danvers of people who had been active in the anti-slavery cause.

Here's a brief quote from the Preface, page xi, that mentions some family members:

Mrs. Abel Nichols, not to mention others, was of North Danvers, and she and her husband were among the best of abolitionists. Their daughter, the late Mrs. Eben G. Berry, recalled with what fear and trembling she was wont, as a young girl, to circulate anti-slavery documents, and their nephew, Mr. Andrew Nichols, now of Danvers, son of Dr. Andrew Nichols, remembers how he used to be stoned in the streets for procuring subscribers to anti-slavery papers.

The full publication (190 pages) is available online in the Internet Archive.  Title page:


 of the
held by the
 at the
APRIL 26, 1893,
With Introductions, Letters, and Sketches.

You can access the digitized copy at this address:

There is a search option, so you can type in a word or name, and find where it appears in the text.