DRACUT — The late Edna Cutter, a farmer and civic leader, has been announced as the 2018 Varnum Award recipient by the town of Dracut.
“Edna Cutter was born in 1885 and that’s all I’m going to tell you,” Selectman Tony Archinski said during Tuesday’s Board of Selectmen meeting. “Many of you remember driving by the Cutter Farm, if you’re familiar with the west side of town and so, at our next meeting, we’ll tell you the whole story of Edna Cutter and why she so deserves this award.”
The Varnum Award is given to a member (either living or deceased) of the Dracut community who exemplifies the civic and patriotic spirit of Joseph Bradley Varnum. Varnum was a veteran of the American Revolution who later served as a delegate to the Massachusetts state convention and voted for the ratification of the U.S. Constitution.
There were four total nominations this year, according to Selectmen’s Secretary Shannon Rowe. The names of the other nominees have not yet been released. Cutter was chosen unanimously by members of the Varnum Award Subcommittee, according to Archinski, who sits on the subcommittee.
Born in Dracut to Charles and Annie (Macomber) Cutter, Cutter was a “farmerette” — a woman who is a farmer or farmhand — on the Mammoth Road farm.
A lifelong resident of Dracut, Cutter after graduating from Lowell High School in 1904 went on to study at Smith College and then at Cornell University. After graduating from Cornell in 1912 with a Master of Arts in horticulture, Cutter returned to Massachusetts to teach at her alma mater, Smith College.
During World War II, Cutter taught farmerettes how to farm and garden. Had it not been for the crucial role women played to harvest the nation’s crops around that time, food would have been even scarcer, both at home and on the fighting fronts, according to Prologue Magazine, a publication by the National Archives and Records Administration.
Cutter later returned to Dracut and began managing the family farm. When she was not working, she was actively involved in different clubs and served as a Dracut library trustee for 30 years. She also served on the then-School Board (now School Committee) for nearly 20 years. She died at the age of 82.
Archinski told The Sun there will be a reception honoring Cutter and the other nominees at 6 p.m., before the next Board of Selectmen meeting on Feb. 27.
Follow Amaris Castillo on Twitter @AmarisCastillo.