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Cheshire Historical Society receives nearly $1 million

KEENE — Two longtime residents of Cheshire County have bequeathed almost $1 million to the Historical Society of Cheshire County.

“This means a great deal for the society. We’re a small non-profit that relies heavily on a small endowment to survive, so this will be of considerable assistance going forward,” Alan Rumrill, director of the historical society, said Thursday.

Chloe Curtis-Cherkassky and David R. Proper left the separate donations in recent months.

“Both Chloe and David were students of local history. Chloe enjoyed genealogy and wrote memoirs of her childhood. David loved learning about and sharing the region’s history. Both led quiet, unassuming lives and their extremely generous support ensures that Cheshire County’s history will be remembered for generations to come,” Rumrill said in the announcement.

Curtis-Cherkassky died last October at the age of 95.

She left a significant sum, which according to the society will be used to strengthen the society’s endowment and address immediate capital needs of the society’s buildings.

She was a former insurance company worker and reporter for a weekly newspaper in Massachusetts.

She had lived in Keene since 1976.

Proper died in January at age 80. He had lived in Keene most of his life and had written a history column for The Sentinel for 48 years.

He had been a member of the Historical Society of Cheshire County for 65 years. His bequest was directed to the society’s endowment, especially to support its library and archives.

He had worked as a schoolteacher and had been involved with libraries at Historic Deerfield in Deerfield, Mass., for 25 years.

Neither donor left any immediate survivors.

“Our purpose is to share local history. We are here to collect, preserve and communicate,” Rumrill said. “As a small professional non-profit organization, additional funds of this nature are very substantial for us.”

The Historical Society of Cheshire County is located in Keene. Last year the society put on about 140 programs, including living history events, school tours of the Wyman Tavern in Keene, teacher workshops, summer camps, and an archaeological field school.

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