The University of Massachusetts Amherst
Robert S. Cox Special Collections & University Archives Research Center
CredoResearch digital collections in Credo

Collecting area: Farming & rural life

Newland, Jacob and John E.

Jacob and John E. Newland Account Book

1798-1849
1 vol. 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 197 bd

Jacob Newland and his son John Everit Newland were farmers in Mansfield, Mass., during the earlynational period. A Revolutionary War veteran, Jacob died in 1823, leaving much of his operation to John, his second son.

The account book kept by Jacob Newland and later John E. Newland of Mansfield, Massachusetts, details much about the work of these farmers and their interaction with neighbors in eastern Mansfield during the early nineteenth century. The customers, most of whom seem to have been fellow farmers, made frequent use of the Newlands’ animals and animal-drawn vehicles (carriage, “waggon,” “slay”) for riding and work, in addition to purchasing products, using the Newlands’ labor, and leasing pasture land. The book also served as a leaf press and scrapbook for newspaper items bearing upon the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, mention of social events and anniversaries, children’s sayings, short romantic fiction, and as a copybook for poetry.

Acquired from Charles Apfelbaum, 1987

Subjects

Farmers--Massachusetts--Mansfield

Contributors

Newland, John E. (John Everit)

Types of material

Account books
Newton, Levi

Levi Newton Diary

1889-1890
1 vol. 0.1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 998 bd

A farmer living in the Quabbin region, Levi Newton spent most of his life within a few miles of the adjoining towns of North Dana and New Salem. Born in 1830, Newton was married three times and raised two sons and a daughter. He died in New Salem in 1919.

Written at a time when his son Willie was living at home and his wife Persis was struggling with her health, Levi Newton’s pocket diary is a terse record of the daily life of a farmer in the great Quabbin region. Little more than a sentence or two in length, each entry makes quick note of the weather, travel, and Levi’s and Willie’s activities for the day, but there are relatively frequent references to the ailments and ultimate death of Persis and occasional notes on the anniversaries of the death of family members. The Newtons raised wheat, potatoes, cattle, hay, and oats on their farm and occasionally record hauling logs and other miscellaneous work.

Subjects

Farmers--Massachusetts--North DanaNewton familyNewton, Persis PrattNorth Dana (Mass.)--HistoryWives--Death--Massachusetts--North Dana

Types of material

Diaries
Nopper, John

John Nopper Photograph Collection

2012-2013
25 photographs 0.1 linear feet
Call no.: PH 078
Howard Prussack in a field at High Meadows Farm in Putney, VT
Howard Prussack at High Meadows Farm in Putney, VT

A farmer for over thirty years along the Connecticut River in Vermont, John Nopper came to photography later in life. Drawn to the challenge of capturing individuals and environments in his and surrounding communities, Nopper focuses on portraits and landscapes, and specializes in 11”x17” or larger printing, emphasizing the depth of tone in his black and white photography. His photograph projects often focus on the instruments and individuals of a specific industry or place, and frequently document subjects and vocations he feels warrant increased attention, either due to their methods, like his work documenting traditional maple sugaring and printing practices, or due to current events, such as a more recent project as an embedded photographer within a Vermont city police department.

The John Nopper Photograph Collection currently consists of twenty-five, 11”x17”, black and white prints from the exhibit “Plowing Old Ground: Vermont’s Organic Pioneers,” along with the descriptions from the project. In a collaborative effort with interviewer and writer Susan J. Harlow, Nopper photographed the subjects of Harlow’s interviews for an exhibit featuring interview summaries and quotations alongside photographs from six farms and their farmers, all pioneers in the history of organic farm production, marketing, and distribution in Vermont. The collection also includes digital photographs not printed, as well as digital versions of most of the prints.

Gift of John Nopper, July 2017

Subjects

Northeast Organic Farming AssociationOrganic farmers--VermontOrganic farming--StandardsOrganic farming--VermontSustainable agriculture

Types of material

Photographs
North Hadley Farmers Club

North Hadley Farmers Club Records

1856-1863
1 vol. 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 616 bd

At a December 1856 meeting, the farmers of North Hadley, Mass., approved the proposal that “the interest of Agriculture would be materially promoted by the formation of a farmers club.” Drafting a constitution, they elected Lewis Fish President, Joseph H. Shattuck Vice President, and Levi Stockbridge (a key figure in the early history of the Massachusetts Agricultural College) Secretary, and for several years thereafter, they met regularly to pursue their mission of elevating farming through education and the application of scientific principals to agriculture. The club appears to have folded during the later years of the Civil War.

The minute book contains a relatively detailed record of the meetings of a typical late-antebellum farmers’ society in New England. Typically held during the slower seasons, the meetings centered around discussions of new methods for improving the profitability of farming, from proper plowing to manuring, breeding, marketing, and the various “experiments they have tried” on their farms, but some discussions ran into debates over the morality of tobacco farming or general ideas for improving the social image and status of farming. The minute book includes relatively detailed synopses of each meeting, with the entries prior to 1861 tending to be a bit more extensive.

Subjects

Farming--Massachusetts--North HadleyNorth Hadley (Mass.)--HistoryTobacco

Contributors

North Hadley Farmers ClubStockbridge, Levi, 1820-1904

Types of material

Minute books
Peckham, Alford S.

Alford S. Peckham Collection

1940s-1990s
6 boxes 9 linear feet
Call no.: MS 707
Depiction of New England agricultural event
New England agricultural event

Born in Newport, Rhode Island in 1919, Alford S. Peckham attended Rhode Island College, graduating in 1941, before serving in the U.S. Army 1st Division until receiving a medical discharge. For twenty-one years he worked as the manager of public relations for the United Farmers of New England, a cooperative of dairy farmers. His interest and expertise in agricultural history continued even after he left the cooperative for the Federal Reserve Bank in Boston; he was appointed the Massachusetts state agricultural historian in July 1989 and amassed his own collection of historical resources in the hopes of developing a Massachusetts Agricultural History Society. Peckham died on December 20, 2005 in Newport, Rhode Island, his home since his retirement in 1984.

Consisting chiefly of subject files, the Alford S. Peckham Collection covers topics ranging from agricultural history and fairs to dairy farmers and animal rights. Also included are photographs of agricultural events around New England, such as the Massachusetts Dairy Festival (1958), the American Dairy Princess (1961), and the Big E (1950s).

Gift of Sean M. Fisher, DCR Archives, June 2011

Subjects

Agriculture--Massachusetts--HistoryAgriculture--New England--HistoryDairy farms--Massachusetts--HistoryFarms--New England--History
Porter-Phelps-Huntington Family Papers

Porter-Phelps-Huntington Family Papers

1698-1968 Bulk: 1800-1950
200 boxes 90 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1148

The Porter-Phelps-Huntington Family Papers document the history of one extended family
over 270 years (or eight complete generations) and the family’s connection to its ancestral
home, “Forty Acres,” in Hadely, Massachusetts. Forty Acres was a working farm, its name not a
true description of the land under cultivation, which consisted of six hundred acres acquired
by its first owner, Moses Porter, and a significant growth in acreage under his son-in-law,
Charles Phelps. Subsequent generations produced a number of clergy, lawyers, a sea captain,
merchants, factory owners, army officers and doctors. There were artists, writers, publishers,
an actress, and numerous housewives, of necessity, multi-skilled.

The personal papers from these family members contribute valuable insights into our understanding of the evolution
of American society during the last 250 years. Letters and diaries reveal the significant
impact of major events in American history, beginning with the French and Indian War up
through the twentieth century. These writings provide scholars a glimpse into personal
perspectives on wars, political and economic upheavals, religious revivals, social
developments, family relationships, divisions of labor between men and women, as well as the
day-by-day domestic life of the family, their servants and enslaved people.

Gift of Porter-Phelps-Huntington Foundation, Inc., December 2021.

Subjects

Clergy--MassachusettsFamily farms--Massachusetts--HadleyForty Acres (Hadley, Mass.)Hadley (Mass. : Town)--HistoryHistoric sites--Massachusetts--Hadley--Conservation and restorationHuntington familyPhelps familyPorter familyPorter-Phelps-Huntington House Museum (Mass.)Social reformers--New York (State)Theater--Massachusetts

Contributors

Barrett, Lucy Stearns, 1828-1916Huntington, Catharine Sargent, 1887-1987Huntington, Elizabeth Whiting Phelps, 1779-1847Huntington, George Putnam, 1844-1904Huntington, Hannah Dane Sargent, 1822-1910Huntington, James O. S., 1854-1935Huntington, Lilly St. Agnan Barrett, 1848-1926Phelps, Charles, 1717-1789Phelps, Elizabeth Porter, 1747-1817Porter, Elizabeth Pitkin, 1719-1798Porter, Moses, 1722-1755

Types of material

DiariesLettersPhotographs
Richards family

Richards Family Collection

1692-1818
2 vols. 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1030 bd

A prosperous farmer in the southern reaches of Massachusetts Bay Colony, James Richards was born on June 2, 1658, and never ventured far from his from his home in Weymouth or the adjoining town of Braintree. The son of William Richards and his wife Grace Shaw, and a member of the third generation of Richards in the new world, James was characteristically diverse in his economic activities, raising livestock (sheep and pigs), harvesting salt grass, making salt, and raising crops including rye, corn, and barley, which he malted, presumably for the production of beer. Although most of his transactions were local, he traded as far away as Charlestown and Barnstable.

The Richards family ledgers include a daybook from James Richards kept between 1692-1710 and an account book from his great grandson Jacob Richards kept a century later, along with loose receipts from generations of Richards in between. The volume associated with James Richards records sales of goods produced on his Weymouth farm, including barley, rye, “Indian corn,” salt, mutton and lamb, pork, and eggs, along with occasional records of the sale of goods such as shingles, “board nails,” clapboards, molasses and sugar, lamp oil, tobacco, and cloth. The sparser records from Jacob Richards include accounts that include the sale of cider; cord wood; pine, oak, and maple boards; and shoes.

Gift of Carolyn Taylor, June 2017, through the UMass Press.

Subjects

Agriculture--Massachusetts--WeymouthAgriculture--Massachusetts--WeymouthWeymouth (Mass.)--Economic conditions--17th centuryWeymouth (Mass.)--Economic conditions--18th century

Contributors

Richards, Jacob, 1778-Richards, James, 1658-1711

Types of material

Account booksDaybooks
Rural American Women’s Conference

Rural American Women Conference Records

1978-1981
5 boxes 2.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 146

Feeling the frustrations of millions of women and girls in rural America who lacked the support or resources necessary to combat unemployment, inadequate medical care, and domestic violence, Jane Threatt along with several other women decided to form a non-profit organization that would unite these women and give them a national voice. Established in 1978, Rural American Women (RAW) was organized to promote the interests of rural women in the areas of equal rights, employment, education, family life, and freedom of all forms of discrimination.

In 1981 RAW held a series of five regional conferences throughout the country, and the bulk of this collection consists of records relating to the New England meeting. The records also include some materials documenting the group’s activities at their national headquarters in D.C., such as minutes, correspondence, newsletters, and pamphlets.

Subjects

Rural women

Contributors

Rural American Women
Sargent, Orlando, 1728-1803

Orlando Sargent Account Book

1753-1808
1 vol. 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 139

Prosperous, slave-owning farmer from Amesbury, Massachusetts, who also served as town warden, selectman, and representative. Includes details of the purchases of agricultural products (corn, potatoes, lamb, rye, hay, molasses, wood, cheese), and related services with some of the town’s earliest settlers, widow’s expenses, expenses in support of his grandmother, and family dates.

Subjects

Agricultural prices--Massachusetts--Amesbury--History--18th centuryAmesbury (Mass.)--Economic conditions--18th centuryAmesbury (Mass.)--History--18th century--BiographyAmesbury (Mass.)--Officials and employees--History--18th centuryFarm produce--Massachusetts--Amesbury--History--18th centuryFarmers--Massachusetts--Amesbury--Economic conditions--18th centurySargent family

Contributors

Sargent, Orlando, 1728-1803

Types of material

Account books
Smith, Gilbert, b. 1801

Gilbert Smith and Gilbert Smith, Jr. Account Books

1798-1846
2 vols. 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 205 bd

Gilbert Smith was a shoemaker and doctor from New Marlborough, Massachusetts, and his son Gilbert Jr. was a prosperous farmer from Sheffield, Massachusetts. Includes merchandise sales, labor accounts, lists of boarders, and documentation of the sale of homemade butter and cheese to local merchants, as well as trade with the substantial rural black community of the region.

Subjects

African Americans--Massachusetts--Economic conditions--19th centuryAgricultural laborers--Massachusetts--History--19th centuryAgricultural wages--Massachusetts--History--19th centuryDairy products--Massachusetts--Marketing--History--19th centuryFamily--Economic aspects--Massachusetts--History--19th centuryFarmers--Massachusetts--Sheffield--History--19th centuryNew Marlborough (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th centurySheffield (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century

Contributors

Smith, Gilbert, 1801-Smith, Gilbert, d. 1804

Types of material

Account books