The University of Massachusetts Amherst
Robert S. Cox Special Collections & University Archives Research Center
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Barton, George W.

George W. Barton Papers

1889-1984 Bulk: 1914-1920
4.5 linear feet
Call no.: RG 050 B37

George W. Barton was born in Sudbury, Massachusetts in 1896. After attending Concord High School in Concord, Barton began his studies in horticulture and agriculture at Massachusetts Agricultural College.

The Barton collection includes diaries, scrapbooks, photographs, newspaper clippings, programs, announcements, and his herbarium, and relates primarily to his career at the Massachusetts Agricultural College where he studied horticulture and agriculture from 1914-1918.

Biographical Note

George W. Barton was born in Sudbury, Massachusetts in 1896. After attending Concord High School in Concord, Massachusetts, Barton began his studies in horticulture and agriculture at Massachusetts Agricultural College in Amherst. He entered the college in 1914 and completed his degree in 1918. His tenure at “Mass Aggie” included military training, which he writes about in his diaries. In addition to his scholastic endeavors, through which he produced his own herbarium documenting over twenty local plant species, Barton participated in a number of extracurricular activities. He was a member of the college rifle team, the Christian Association and the Commons Club. The latter was a social events club, and in this aspect of his life Barton was extremely active. He attended many performances, dances, and recitals in the Amherst area including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, a performance by humorist Ralph Bingham, as well as numerous events at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts and Amherst College.

Barton traveled west following his graduation and spent some time in Tacoma, Washington participating in an apple raising study. In the early 1920s he moved south to Pasadena, California where he researched oranges. His early career in California included a position as roadside tree inspector for the County Department of Forestry and Firewarden as well as a position in the business department of the Pasadena Post newspaper. It was in Pasadena that Barton met his future wife, Nellie Taylor Murray, a Boston native. Both George and Nellie spent their childhoods in Massachusetts, yet met on the west coast in 1922. They were married in 1924

During World War II, Barton grew culinary herbs such as sage, marjoram, and sweet basil to supplement the failing wartime market. After the war the foreign market improved and Barton was no longer making a profit from his herbs. After a brief stint as Los Angeles County agricultural inspector he found employment with the Germain Seed and Plant Company, a job he would keep until his retirement in 1962. Mr. and Mrs. Barton helped in organizing a Presbyterian Church in La Canada, California in 1948 for which Barton served on the Session for 12 years, as secretary of the Board of Trustees for four years, and as Clerk of Session for two years. Eventually Barton took over church publicity.

The couple was also involved with the Boy Scouts: Mr. Barton was a district commissioner of the Pasadena-San Gabriel Valley Council and Mrs. Barton served as president of the Federation of Mother’s auxiliaries to Boy Scouts. As evidenced by his extensive photograph collection, Barton was also interested in photography and was twice president of the La Canada Camera Club, for which he later published the club’s monthly flyers. Barton also served as president of the La Canada Valley Garden Club. In his later years Barton belonged to La Canada Beautiful and Descanso Gardens Guild. Mr. and Mrs. Barton joined the Los Angeles Breakfast Club in 1972. George W. Barton died in La Canada, California on June 5, 1980.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The George W. Barton Papers include diaries, scrapbooks, photographs, newspaper clippings, programs, announcements, and Barton’s herbarium. The papers relate primarily to his career at the Massachusetts Agricultural College where he studied horticulture and agriculture from 1914-1918.

Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

The collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation

Cite as: George W. Barton Papers (RG 50/6 Class of 1918). Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst.

History of the Collection

Gift of Janet Barton, November 2002 and June 2005.

Processing Information

Processed by Meghan L. Fahey, May 2005.

Additional Information


Diary Excerpts

Saturday September 12, 1914
a.m. No chapel. Chemistry lab from 8.10 to 10.00. Got in our stock for the semester. Walked down towards East Amherst. Never knew before that the Central Vermont R.R. operated in this section.
p.m. Franklin and I went up into the orchards and vineyards this after. Plenty of signs of “Keep Out.” Went down to Chapel tonight at 7.00. Night-shirt parade. I had to carry a sign. We marched up town lock step. Some had to make speeches. Broke and ran for dear life when we got back as far as the Catholic church. I got nabbed. Tried again but no use. Only 5 of us left. Some excitement. Got home about 10.00.

Sunday October 11, 1914
a.m. Camlett came down here and we walked to breakfast. Got a globe up town. Wrote a letter to Luis and mailed it and the one to J. Lee on way to dinner.
p.m. Franklin and I rode over to ‘Hamp on our bicycles. Rode all around the place. Some girls over there. One of a trio threw the bottom of an ice cream cone in the street. She did not look where she was throwing it and it almost hit me. They had quite a good time over it. Got a puncture in my rear tire. Pumped it up over there but it was flat before I reached home. Went to church. Camlett came down about 8.30 and played till after ten. Had a fine time.

Wednesday October 28, 1914
a.m. Feeling mighty bum. Those hot dogs I ate last night knocked me out.
p.m. Went over on Clark Hill in Drill Mass meeting after supper. Some upperclassmen nailed me when I came out of Chapel and made me put my name on Tufts Special list. Not going if I don’t feel well.

Thursday September 16, 1915
a.m. Classes begin tactics. Sections will probably be changed. That effects me as I am a corporal in a Freshman Company. Did not drill this morning. Lieut. Fleet talk to all officers. Came home. English with Ma. Goessman at 10.10. Physics at 11.10 with Billy.
p.m. Agronomy lab. Took a trip out of doors. First down thru the Ravine to get a look at the cross sections of formation where they are at work by the power plant. Next down to the corncribs + then a little farther on to a sandy knoll. Then across the brook that empties into the Creek to a grove. That was all. Studied formation of soil. Am His at 4.10 1 hr. Built a bonfire out in the fort after supper. Then went down back of the barns to the cornfield + got the Freshmen. They were out for rope pull practice. Charged them in a fake attempt to get the rope. Brought them up to the bonfire where speeches were made and songs were sung.

Saturday June 10, 1916
p.m. Ruth called up this morning but I wasn’t here so I called up this afternoon. Just to inform me to tell the fellows that the meeting would be at the Church instead of at 76 Main as Mrs. Chandler had gone away. Only a short meeting. Played Donkey and then danced till 11.30. Went home with Ruth. Left sometime after 12.00.

Wednesday September 27, 1916
a.m. Up to the Commons Club. Went up town and got a Brownie 2A camera and film.
p.m. Assembly at 1.30. Went up town and got my shoes Got card signed for Drill.

Sunday October 1, 1916
p.m. Took my camera down and got two pictures of the chapel before dinner. One of the pond after went up to the Commons Club for a little while. Got my C.C. Chronicle.

Saturday October 7, 1916
a.m. work on potatoes in Agronomy
p.m. Football game with Connecticut Aggie. We won 12-0. 10 minute periods. Saw Bowdoin beat Amherst in last few minutes play. Saw freshman win the Flag Rush. Movies after supper and in the Auditorium. Camlett’s brother and Anna were up. Davis’ brother and Father brought them up. Anna came up for Dwight’s sake. Met them all. Of course I knew Anna. Movies were great. Went up stairs + sleep so Anna and her brother could have our room. Camlett went up to the Common’s Club.

Friday October 13, 1916
a.m. Looked up Phil Palmer this morning at Chapel and asked him to come down to a social at 76 Main tomorrow night. Said he was going to the Republican rally. Class in Spanish dismissed at 11.35. Marched up town to give the team a send off to Dartmouth.

October 31, 1916 Tuesday Hallowe’en Night
p.m. Went down to church at 7.45. Did not half the boys show up who said they’d come. Had 11 couples and a few, only a few, extra girls. Some came in late. Had the usual Halloween tricks. Had some dancing to mix things to begin with. Then played Jenkins. More fun. Cider and doughnuts for refreshments. Gord cider. More dancing. Washed up tumblers and took down some of the decorations. Went home with Ruth. Got to bed at about 1.00. AM.

Tuesday November 7, 1916 Election Day
p.m. Great time in the Auditorium. A 6 reel, a 4 reel and a 1 reel. Election returns. More noise and fun than a little.

Thursday 30, 1916 North Sudbury Mass. Thanksgiving Day
p.m. Had dinner at house. Still rain. Pig got out and we had a deuce of a time getting her in again. Chased her around in the muck, mire, + water Fine about 6.30.

Monday July 2, 1917
a.m. Hoed potatoes. Father + I had to go up to Vissochi’s. Had a horse choking. Came back + finished the spuds.
p.m. Followed the mowing machine up in the orchard + pulled brush out of the way.

Friday February 1, 1918
a.m. Practiced radio sending. Dwight + I went skiing over back of the Ent. Bldg. Took three good tumbles apiece. Darn near broke my neck last time. […hit] the snow head first. Dwight broke the toe off one of his skis going down just before me. Ladies called up Marion Underwood and made a date for tomorrow night. Varsity Basketball with Stevens Institute. They won 45 & 18. Some team.

Wednesday February 6, 1918
a.m. Somebody got away with my Rural Law book this morning just at the close of class. Don’t know who. Am. His. Test this morning.
p.m. Reported in uniform for calisthenics Radio tonight. Seus used earphones sat around the fire in our room and loafed. Wrote a letter to Marion Underwood telling her who her chaperon for Saturday is. Snow-storm started about noon.

Saturday May 3, 1919
Fair and warm. Went to Maynard with eggs this morning. One [guy] bot the whole lot and when half unpacked said they were too small + so had to pack all up again. Sold them all next trip. Got the song “Mickey.” Planted a few potatoes this afternoon. In such a hurry he would not treat them. Brot up a load of wood + unloaded it. Fire over at White Pond. Got over to Mr. Harper’s + and came home – way over. Went over to Concord tonight and took out a $100 Liberty. Then went over to Fairyland + located it with satisfaction. Oh, but it – A wonderful night and crescent moon. Bobobucks are here.

Series Descriptions

The series consists of newspaper clippings, photographs and a photograph album, genealogical materials, and diaries. Barton’s Concord High School Diploma from 1914 is located in this series. Newspaper clippings include an announcement for George W. Barton’s 50th wedding anniversary, his election to the position of president of The Friends of the La Canada Library, and his obituary. Diaries span June 27, 1914 to May 23, 1923 with daily entries documenting domestic life of the family and his experiences at Massachusetts Agricultural College. The 1923 diary contains entries regarding Barton’s early relationship with Nellie. The diaries include a significant collection of newspaper clippings, the majority of which are song lyrics. Military documents and documents relating to treatment received at New England Deaconess Hospital in Boston in 1918 and 1919 are also included in this series. The first photograph album includes photographs of the campus and surrounding area: Mt. Sugarloaf, Mt. Toby, Sunderland Bridge, and the Holyoke range. Also depicted are Lake Michigan, Camp Grant, Illinois and Niagara Falls. The album also depicts Barton’s travels to the west coast of the United States. The second album illustrates Barton’s first few years in California.


Included in this series are event announcements, programs, and college publications from George Barton’s tenure at Massachusetts Agricultural College. Included in this series is a small selection of Barton’s college notebooks. The series also contains an excerpt from the 1918 Index yearbook, commencement programs from 1918 and 1920, alumni mailings, and a statement of the college purpose. College publications include the Massachusetts Agricultural College Calendar from 1915-1917, The Massachusetts Collegian, and The Squib. In addition the series contains a M.A.C. scrapbook compiled by George W. Barton.


This series contains twenty species folders of George W. Barton’s herbarium and his 1908 edition of Gray’s New Manual of Botany.

Contents List
Series 1. Biographical
Barton family genealogy and oral history recorded by Eleanor Beede Spinney
1984, undated
Box 1:1
Camera: A-1 Junior Kodak
Box 4:1
Concord High School Diploma
Box 8
Concord High School Pendant
Box 1:2

1914 June 27-1914 Nov 22
Box 1:3
1914 Nov 23-1915 May 5
Box 1:4
1915 May 6-1915 Nov 17
Box 1:5
1915 Nov 18-1916 Aug 25
Box 1:6
1916 Aug 26-1917 May 25
Box 1:7
1917 May 26-1917 Dec 22
Box 1:8
1917 Dec 23-1918 May 11
Box 1:9
1919 Jan 1-1919 Dec 31
Box 1:10
1921 Jan 1-1921 Dec 31
Box 1:11
1922 Jan 1-1922 Dec 31
Box 1:12
1923 Jan 1-1923 May 23
Box 2:1
Diary contents: loose items, newspaper clippings, membership card for Pasadena Young Men’s Christian Association
Box 2:2
Foreign language school lessons
Box 2:3
Level Book 373
Box 2:4
Maps of Barton homestead in Sudbury Massachusetts, the town of Amherst, and Massachusetts Agricultural College
1889, 1907, 1911
Box 2:5
Medical War Manual: Laboratory Methods of the U.S. Army
Box 2:6
Military items
Box 2:7
Newspaper clippings: announcement of appointment to Presidency of library, obituary, 50th wedding anniversary, and tour to Hawaii
1974, 1980, undated
Box 2:8
Paper party hat
Box 2:9
Pasadena Evening Post: Tournament of Roses Edition
Box 2:10
Photograph album
Box 3:1
Photograph album
Box 3:2
Photograph album (CD-ROM) and loose photos
Box 3:3
Poetry by George W. Barton
Box 3:4
Poetry by Albert C. Turner
Box 3:5
Publication: George Hunt Barton excerpts from Reminiscences
1912, 1914-1915, 1918-1921
Box 3:6
Song lyrics including Boast Old Aggie, Sons of Old Massachusetts, Boys of Massachusetts, and class song
Box 3:7
Spell of the Yukon and Other Verses
Box 3:8
Box 3:9
Series 2. Massachusetts Agricultural College
College event programs
Box 5:1
Commencement programs, alumni mailing and directory, 1918 Index entry, and statement of the college purpose
Box 5:2
Commons Club membership certificate and initiation banquet programs
1916, 1918, 1920
Box 5:3
Local Events: includes Amherst College baseball schedule, Cushing Academy dance card, Holyoke Theater Burlesque show schedule, newspaper clippings
Box 5:4
Publication: The Friday War Cry
Box 5:5
Massachusetts Agricultural College bulletin
Box 5:6
Massachusetts Agricultural College calendar
Box 5:7-9
Massachusetts Agricultural College cigarettes and cigarette box
Box 5:10
Massachusetts Agricultural College Diploma
Box 8
Massachusetts Agricultural College Extension publications
Box 5:11
Massachusetts Agricultural College library circular
Box 5:12
Massachusetts Agricultural College military department diploma
Box 8
Massachusetts Agricultural College scrapbook
Box 8
The Massachusetts Collegian
1915, 1917
Box 5:13-14
Notebook: English
Box 5:15
Notebook: Zoology
Box 5:16
Notes: loose notes from notebooks
Box 5:17
Photograph: Commons Club
1918, undated
Box 8
Publication: The Squib
Box 6:1
Rifle team: certificate
Box 6:2
Rifle team: photograph
Box 6:3
Textbook: Five-Place Logarithms
Box 6:4
Series 3. Herbarium
Gray’s New Manual of Botany
Box 7:1
Herbarium labels
Box 7:2
Herbarium samples
Box 9


Botany--Study and teachingHorticulture--Study and teachingMassachusetts Agricultural College--Students


Barton, George W

Types of material