Westfield State hosts “Whips of Westfield: The Rise and Decline of an American Industry”

Westfield State University will host a Westfield 350th Anniversary speaker event titled “Whips of Westfield: The Rise and Decline of an American Industry,” on Wednesday, May 1, in Scanlon Banquet Hall at 6:30 p.m.

The presentation will be delivered by Westfield native Bruce W. Cortis, who has been engaged in historical and genealogical research for over two decades and co-authored Russell Massachusetts, Establishment of a New England town and early Historical Notes with his father, Ralph E. Cortis. He is a past president of the Western Massachusetts Genealogical Society. 

His presentation will highlight his research on the whip industry through the early 19th century to the mid-20th century in Western Massachusetts. It will include discussions of early whip makers and companies, labor issues within the industry, patents, inventions, and the general growth of the industry throughout the 19th century prior to its consolidation in the 1890s and early 1900s. His recently published novel Whips of Westfield, the Rise and Decline of an American Industry, will be available for purchase at the event. 

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, please visit     

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