Biography of Hon. Orlando Curtis Bidwell

In the exacting and wide-reaching profession of the law, Hon. Orlando Curtis Bidwell, of Great Barrington, stands among the leaders in Berkshire County. His large natural ability was supplemented by careful preparation and his entire career has been guided by a lofty idealism, which marks his every step of progress. As a servant of the people, as well as in his professional capacity, Mr. Bidwell has made an honorable and admirable record, while his affiliations with organized movements bear definite and constructive results. He is a son of Marshall S. and Sophia L. (Bidwell) Bidwell, his father a merchant and farmer throughout his active lifetime, died in 1902, and the mother also died in 1902.

Orlando Curtis Bidwell was born in Monterey, Massachusetts, March 17, 1862. He attended the public schools and is a graduate of Lee High School, class of 1882, and his graduation from Williams College occurred in 1886, with the degree of Bachelor of Arts. Taking up the study of law under capable preceptors, Mr. Bidwell began his professional career in Elmira, New York, in 1889. About one year later he was admitted to the bar of Massachusetts, as well as the New York State and Federal courts, and locating in Great Barrington in 189o, he has practiced here ever since. Mr. Bidwell has gone forward along general lines of activity from the beginning and large interests have been placed in his hands from time to time, giving his name wide influence in the profession. Mr. Bidwell has made his influence felt in the world of finance as trustee of the Great Barrington Savings Bank, which he has also served as attorney for seventeen years. A Republican in his political affiliations, he has held various offices in the town and districts of his residence and in 1918 took his seat, by vote of his townsmen, in the House of Representatives of the State of Massachusetts. His three subsequent reelections retained him in office during four legislative sessions and during this period he has served as a member of the Judiciary Committee, chairman of the Committee of Agriculture, also as a member of the Committee on Third Reading. Fraternally he is affiliated with Cincinnatus Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, of Great Barrington; also Berkshire Chapter, Royal Arch Masons; and Berkshire Commandery, Knights Templar. He is president of the Monterey Cooperative League, a welfare community organization of Monterey, where he has a summer home, and was president for several years of the Fish and Game Club, of Great Barrington. His religious affiliation is with the Congregational Church.

Orlando Curtis Bidwell married, June 4, 1891, at Salamanca, New York, Helen Higley, daughter of Rev. Henry M. and Annette (Bliss) Higley. Mr. and Mrs. Bidwell are the parents of four children: Margaret L., an artist of New York City; Marshall S., concert organist and teacher of organ at Coe’s College, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Gertrude S., secretary to Dr. Bakeland, head of the Bakelite Corporation, of New York; and Helen Louise, a graduate of Wellesley College, class of 1924, now taking a post-graduate course in hygiene and physical culture.


Lockwood, John H. (John Hoyt); Bagg, Ernest Newton; Carson, Walter S. (Walter Scott); Riley, Herbert E. (Herbert Elihu); Boltwood, Edward; Clark, Will L. (Will Leach); Western Massachusetts A History 1636-1925; New York and Chicago: Lewis historical publishing company, inc., 1926

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