Famous Americans in Northampton

Alexander Graham Bell

Alexander Graham Bell was came to Northampton in the 1870s to teach his father's system of "Visible Speech" at Clarke School for the Deaf. To this day, the school serves deaf and hearing impaired children from around the world from its base in Northampton.

Amelia Earhart

Earhart spent some time in Northampton, too, learning engine mechanics while her sister studied at Smith College.

Bob Dylan

Singer Dylan gave a rare interview to 60 Minutes from his room at the Hotel Northampton

Eric Carle

Eric Carle, American author, designer and illustrator of children's books who sold more than 145 million copies of his books around the world, lived in Northampton for more than 30 years. He died in May 2021 in Northampton at the age of 91.

Franklin Pierce

Franklin Pierce, 14th President of the United States, graduated from Northampton Law School.

Jenny Lind

The famous 19th century singer and actress Jenny Lind gave Northampton its current nickname, Paradise City, when she was in Northampton to perform at the Academy of Music, calling the city "The Paradise of America."

Kurt Vonnegut

Novelist Kurt Vonnegut lived in Northampton for a brief period.

Leonard Baskin

Leonard Baskin, one of the sculptors who created the Franklin D. Roosevelt memorial in Washington D.C., also lived in Northampton.


Oprah stayed at the Hotel Northampton during Smith College's graduation weekend in 2017. Oprah was their Keynote Speaker.

President Calvin Coolidge

Former president of the United States Calvin Coolidge was a lawyer here and served as Northampton's Mayor before he traveled to the White House. You can visit his bust in front of Memorial Hall on Main Street. The Calvin Coolidge Bridge was President Coolidge’s most notable contribution to Northampton and to the United States.

Rachel Maddow

MSNBC and American television news program host Rachel Maddow had her start on our own WHMP radio.

Reverend Jonathan Edwards

Reverend Jonathan Edwards, who was often considered the greatest American philosopher of the Colonial period and was widely credited with sparking the Great Awakening, preached from Northampton for a number of years. Mr. And Mrs. Andrew Carnegie visited often in the 1800's.

Richard Yarde

Painter Richard Yarde calls Northampton home.

Sojourner Truth

Sojourner Truth was a nationally known advocate for justice and equality between races and sexes during the 19th century. Sojourner Truth arrived in Florence (a village of Northampton) in 1843, joining the Northampton Association of Education and Industry, a utopian community dedicated to equality and justice. Truth and many of the country’s important abolitionists helped establish Florence as a center of antislavery resistance. Several Florence homes were stops on the Underground Railroad.

Sylvester Graham

Sylvester Graham, a Minister, lecturer, and a creator of the graham cracker, died in his home in Northampton. Now, a local restaurant - Sylvester's - operates in his former home.

Sylvia Plath

American poet Sylvia Plath lived here while at Smith College. Some of her papers are collected in their library.

Tracy Kidder

American writer and Pulitzer Prize Winner Tracy Kidder was a visiting Lecturer at Smith College in 1985 and 1986. He also wrote Home Town, a fascinating book about the everyday workings of Northampton.