November 5, 2007: This website is an archive of the former website,, which was created 10 years ago by Charles Jenks. It became one of the most populace sites in the US, and an important resource on the antiwar movement, student activism, 'depleted' uranium and other topics. Jenks authored virtually all of its web pages and multimedia content (photographs, audio, video, and pdf files. As the author and registered owner of that site, his purpose here is to preserve an important slice of the history of the grassroots peace movement in the US over the past decade. He is maintaining this historical archive as a service to the greater peace movement, and to the many friends of Traprock Peace Center. Blogs have been consolidated and the calendar has been archived for security reasons; all other links remain the same, and virtually all blog content remains intact.

THIS SITE NO LONGER REFLECTS THE CURRENT AND ONGOING WORK OF TRAPROCK PEACE CENTER, which has reorganized its board and moved to Greenfield, Mass. To contact Traprock Peace Center, call 413-773-7427 or visit its site. Charles Jenks is posting new material to, a multimedia blog and resource center.

Search site - New! Calendar - Calendar Archive
Contents - Archives - War Crimes - GI Special - Student Activism - Links

War on Truth  From Warriors to Resisters
Books of the Month

The War on Truth

From Warriors to Resisters

Army of None

Iraq: the Logic of Withdrawal

See Photo-Album of Amherst Vigil
See Amherst Vigil Website

Margaret and Lee Holt
Founders of the Amherst Vigil and Much More

Lee and Margaret Holt (front, sitting) at Amherst vigil dinner in honor of Lee's 91st birthday.
See more on the Amherst Vigil at

Margaret Goddard Holt ­ painter, writer, educator, community activist, leaflet-maker/distributor, prolific letter-writer, decades-long peace and justice vigiler, wife, mother, aunt, friend ­ died on January 1, 2004 at the Extended Care Center in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Born in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania to Harold and Fanny Goddard, natives of Worcester, Massachusetts, she absorbed the values of the Quaker Society of Friends, though she never became a member. Her father, an English professor at Swarthmore College, was an eminent scholar of Shakespeare, sharing his love of “the word” and the wonders of the mind and the imagination with daughters Margaret and Eleanor.

Margaret graduated from Swarthmore High School in 1929. Wanting to draw pictures “as far back as I can remember”, she studied art in a variety of institutions including the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the W.P. A. projects of the FDR Administration, the Art Students’ League in New York City, and the summer Cummington, Massachusetts School of Arts. Margaret’s landscapes entice you to smell the hay fields; her portraits invite you to imagine the stories of that old farmwoman, the cockney gardner, and the thin, tired-looking cigar maker.

Margaret not only opened up vistas with her art. Her love of literature was profound, informing her everyday thoughts and actions with a sense of history and current reality ­ uniting the particular with the universal. She quoted from the works of Shakespeare, Blake, and Emily Dickenson throughout the day and often at 3 a.m. when she had trouble sleeping. Their words were like precious friends offering nourishment and sustenance to herself and others with whom she so eagerly shared. In her later years, Margaret was also guided and fascinated by Zen Buddhism, in particular, the teachings of poet-philosopher, Lao Tse.

Before Margaret’s marriage to Lee Elbert Holt in 1939, she taught at the Gordon School in Providence, R.I., at Shady Hill in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and at Rose Valley, Pennsylvania. Lee and Margaret were married for 64 years and had two children, Geoffrey and Alison. In 1947, after living in Indiana, Wisconsin, New York, and Connecticut, their family settled in Springfield, Massachusetts where Lee taught English at American International College and Margaret worked part-time teaching art therapy with handicapped people at United Cerebral Palsy and Munson State Hospital.

After the World War II U.S. bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the beginnings of the Cold War decades, Margaret awakened to the need to organize for a nuclear test ban treaty. The passionate painter became the passionate activist (with sketchbook in hand) educating herself and others, organizing, and marching with thousands in the social movements of the 1960s. Margaret and Lee coordinated a 1967-1972 Vigil in Springfield against the U.S. war on Viet Nam; Margaret co-founded the Springfield chapter of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and was a delegate of women from all over the world who visited Pope John XXIII in Rome, Italy, calling for a world without war; she marched in the Poor People’s Campaign of 1963 in Washington, DC; she was a “back-bone” member of the Gray Panthers of the Pioneer Valley; and her concern for prisoners and prison-related issues led to many years of weekly correspondence with three Texas Death Row “grandsons.”

For years, wherever there was a peace and justice gathering, Margaret set up a table of her wares: buttons, articles, pamphlets and petitions-to-sign. Her frequent letters-to-the editor provoked new ways of thinking. She was a copious, careful reader; a faithful letter writer to friends, strangers, organizations ­ often stuffing the envelope with the latest vigil flyer or an interesting newspaper clipping. She encouraged people to read, to think, and to act. Along with her activist work, Margaret and Lee enjoyed extensive hiking on country roads, camping in state and national parks throughout the United States, and traveling in Europe including Greece, the country she especially loved.

Margaret and Lee helped establish the Amherst Vigil for a Nuclear Free World in 1979. For the last 24 years ­ come rain, shine, or snow ­ they and others have gathered at the Amherst Common every Sunday noon for a Vigil addressing a wide array of local to global peace and justice issues.

Margaret Goddard Holt painted her world large with imagination. Whether enjoying lunch at Kelly’s Restaurant, reading a biting commentary by Bruce Watson, studying the shadows moving across the hillside, sitting in her wheelchair talking with a friend at the Sunday vigil ­ Margaret was intensely engaged, present, fully conscious of both the beauty and the suffering of this world.

Jeanine Maland

     Dr. Lee E. Holt of Amherst, Massachusetts died at home of a sudden heart attack on Friday January 23, 2004 ­ just three weeks after the death of his wife, Margaret Holt, on January 1, 2004.

     Residing in Springfield and Amherst, Massachusetts since 1947, Lee Holt is known best as esteemed scholar-teacher (in the truest sense of the term) and as peace and justice activist accompanying his wife Margaret at local vigils for over 30 years. In the last decade, he was a daily caregiver to Margaret in their home.

     Born in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1912, he attended high school in Wilmington, Del., lived in Buffalo and New York City and graduated from Swarthmore College in 1934 in Philosophy.

     He received his master’s degree in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia and his doctorate from the University of Wisconsin. In 1939 he married Margaret Goddard and by 1942 they had two small children, Geoffrey and Alison. 

     He then taught at Indiana University, Union and Williams Colleges, and devoted 30 years as professor at American International College in Springfield, Massachusetts. When Lee retired from AIC in 1977, Dr. Milton Birnbaum saluted him as being “a member of that almost extinct and certainly endangered species ­ the complete scholar and humanist, a 20th century embodiment of the Renaissance ideal.”

     Indeed, over the course of his teaching career, Lee taught a wide variety of English literature courses, world literature, remedial English, technical writing, mathematics, physics, German, and the works of the great Russian novelists ­ Tolstoy, Chekhov, and Dostoyevski. During the social movements of the 1960s when more black students enrolled in college classes, he designed and taught an Afro-American course. They studied “The Autobiography of Malcolm X”, numerous articles written by James Baldwin, and “The Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison.

      Lee was also a life member of the Springfield Library Association, served as an officer of the National College and New England College English Association and The Modern Language Association of America. More than 50 articles and editorials by him were printed in various journals. He also wrote a book on Victorian novelist, Samuel Butler.

     Since 1922, Lee was an enthusiastic camper, hiker, and bicyclist ­ pitching his tent in almost every state within the U.S. Upon his retirement and move to Amherst in 1977 - when he wasn’t reading or writing letters for Amnesty International - Lee and Margaret enjoyed extensive camping trips to the many U.S. national parks and monuments. They hiked hundreds of miles along mountainous trails, down into canyons - renewed by the beauty, fascinated with the new acquaintance of people, plants, animals, trees, flowers, and ancient dwellings on ancient lands. Using only black and white film, Lee photographed the varied landscapes as Margaret painted and sketched. They also traveled widely in Europe.

     In the last two years, in spite of failing eyesight and general health problems of old age, Lee remained engaged in local, national, and global issues and events. He kept his weekly stand at the Amherst Sunday vigil, listened to informative books-on-tape provided by the Blind Association, and turned his stereo speakers up LOUD so he could enjoy listening to his classical music. He cared for Margaret with steadfast devotion. At age 91, he faithfully practiced his own advice given to his students long ago: “Study what you love and what you want to dedicate your life to.”

Margaret and Lee are survived by son Geoffrey and partner Thelma Parker of Hinsdale, New Hampshire; daughter Alison Holt of South Pasadena, California; nieces, nephews, and great-nieces and nephews and many friends. Memorials can be sent to: Rosenberg Fund for Children, 116 Pleasant Easthampton 01027; or to Arise for Social Justice, 94 Rifle St. Springfield, MA 01105. A joint Memorial Service for Lee and Margaret will be held in the spring.   

Jeanine Maland

Page created January 29, 2004 by Sunny Miller and Charlie Jenks