is with deep sadness that Orchard House notes the passing of Eric
Parkman Smith, Treasurer of The Louisa May Alcott Memorial Association
on Friday June 15th, 2007, at the age of 97.
Mr. Smith began his association with
Orchard House sitting on his Mother's lap at the very first LMAMA
Board of Directors meeting in the Dining Room of Orchard House
in 1911 at the age of one year! Mr. Smith's cousins,
Whitney & Lydia Smith, served as Board Treasurer and President,
respectively, in the 1960s and 70s, and since the late
1990s, another cousin, Lowell (Sandy) Smith, has continued the tradition
of a Smith family member being Treasurer of LMAMA.
Mr. Smith also loved and was honored to portray Bronson Alcott during
Living History programs at Orchard House, and was featured in the
premier issue of Yankee Magazine's "Christmas in New England" publication,
a photo of which (see above) will be on temporary display
in the Study as a tribute to Mr. Smith's love and dedication to Orchard
the Alcott family.
Mr. Smith had a very personal connection to the Alcotts as well. His
Mother, Helen Train Blanchard, and her two sisters were privileged to
know Louisa May Alcott! She even presented them with a copy
of Little Women she inscribed: "To the Little Women of
the House of Blanchard, from their friend, L. M. Alcott, December 1881." This
copy has been handed down through Mr. Smith's family and, as
he wrote, "This book, now ragged and tattered from hundreds of readings
by 'the little women,' their children, and grandchildren, became the
prized possession of our family." He was also very proud of
the fact that his family and their Concord friends actually provided
the inspiration for Louisa to write Jack and Jill in 1880.
A brilliant and well-spoken gentleman, and a highly successful
businessman, Mr. Smith used his keen financial talents to keep Orchard
House on a sound footing during his tenure as Treasurer. Although
never married, Mr. Smith was especially fond of his many nieces and nephews,
and was always delighted to be in the company of all children. With
his ready wit, a thorough knowledge of Concord family genealogies and anecdotes
about the Town, an abiding collateral interest in Henry David Thoreau,
and a gentle, caring nature, Mr. Smith will be sorely missed by all who
knew him, and, the Town of Concord has truly lost one of its most devoted
Contributions in Mr. Smith's memory have been requested to be
made to Orchard House and should be addressed to P.O. Box 343, Concord,
you may click here
to use our secure online donation form.
Mr. Smith's full obituary.