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Great Barrington and Alford Turnpike Corporation

Great Barrington and Alford Turnpike Corporation Records, 1833-1846

In June 1811, the Great Barrington and Alford Turnpike Corporation was incorporated with the aim of constructing a road at the northern end of the Fifteenth Massachusetts Turnpike, stretching from Great Barrington, Mass., through Alford and North Egremont before crossing the state line and ending in Hudson, New York. Under the direction of Josiah Milland and Jacob and John Van Deusen (who lived near the road), the corporation was apparently not exceptionally profitable. A leg of the turnpike through Great Barrington was made free in 1831, and in 1846, having failed in their petition to receive compensation for loss of privileges, the corporation transferred the road into public management.

Although only a slender 21 pages in length, this record book is nearly the only documentation of the finances for a small, but typical turnpike company in antebellum Massachusetts. The book includes somewhat sparse records of receipts from the toll booths and expenditures for maintenance, extending from 1833 until the corporation was dissolved in 1846. At the end of the book are wo pages of personal expenses associated with a trip to Ohio.

Subjects
  • Great Barrington (Mass.)--History
  • Toll roads--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • Milland, Josiah
  • Van Deusen, Jacob H.
  • Van Deusen, John

Hampshire Council of Governments

Hampshire Council of Governments Records, 1677-1974
90 volumes, 17 boxes (80 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 704
Hampshire Council of Governments Records image
Title page, Volume 1 (1671)

The Hampshire Council of Governments is a voluntary association of cities and towns and the successor to the former government of Hampshire County, Massachusetts, that was abolished in 1999. A body politic and corporate, its charter ratified by Massachusetts General Law 34B, S20(b), the Council oversees roadways, the electricity supply, building inspection, tobacco control, cooperative purchasing, and other services for member communities.

The Hampshire Council collection contains a dense record of county-level governance in western Massachusetts from the colonial period through the mid-twentieth century with extensive documentation of the actions of the County Commissioners, and before them the Court of Common Pleas and Court of General Sessions. Rich in documenting the development of the transportation infrastructure of western Massachusetts, the collection offers detailed information associated with the planning and construction of highways, canals, ferries, and railroads, but the early records offer a broad perspective on the evolution of the legal and cultural environment, touching on issues from disorderly conduct (e.g., fornication, Sabbath breaking) to the settlement of estates, local governance, public works, and politics.

Subjects
  • Bridges--Massachusetts--Hampshire Count
  • Dams--Massachusetts--Hampshire Count
  • Hampshire County (Mass.)--History
  • Hampshire County (Mass.)--Politics and government
  • Indians of North America--Massachusetts
  • Northampton (Mass.)--History
  • Northampton (Mass.)--Social life and customs
  • Railroads--Massachusetts
  • Roads--Massachusetts--Hampshire County
  • Taverns (Inns)--Massachusetts--Hampshire County
Contributors
  • Hampshire County (Mass.). County Commissioners
  • Massachusetts. Court of General Sessions of the Peace (Hampshire County)
  • Massachusetts. Inferior Court of Common Pleas (Hampshire County)
Types of material
  • Civil court records
  • Maps

Massachusetts Governmental Activities Exposition

Massachusetts Governmental Activities Exposition Photograph Album, 1930
88 images (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: PH 043
Massachusetts Governmental Activities Exposition Photograph Album image
Library exhibit

To celebrate its tercentenary in 1930, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts organized over two thousand events in 253 communities, drawing over eleven million visitors. One of the most elaborate of these events was the Exposition of Governmental Activities held at the Commonwealth Armory in Boston between September 29 and October 11. A celebration more of contemporary governmental activity than the historical precedents, the exposition featured displays representing nearly every branch of government, from the Department of Education to the state police, mental and public health, public welfare, transportation, agriculture, labor, and industry.

P.E. (Paul) Genereux (1892-1977), a commercial photographer from East Lynn, was hired to document the exhibits and displays in the Exposition of Governmental Activities, producing commemorative albums containing silver gelatin prints, carefully numbered and backed on linen. This disbound album includes 88 of the original 175 prints, including interior and exterior shots, with an additional image by Hildebrand.

Subjects
  • Massachusetts Governmental Activities Exposition--Photographs
  • Massachusetts--Centennial celebrations, etc.
Contributors
  • Genereux, P. E.
Types of material
  • Photographs

Faber, William A.

William A. Faber Ledger, 1848-1853
1 vol. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 244 bd

Owner of a livery stable in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Includes lists of stabler activities, customers (individuals and businesses), and employed ostlers. Also contains method of payment (cash and services), and one labor account for Fred Berry, a nineteen year old Afro-American who was one of three ostlers living in Faber’s household at the time.

Subjects
  • African Americans--Massachusetts--Great Barrington
  • Berry, Fred
  • Burghardt, Thomas, b. 1790
  • Cab and omnibus service--Massachusetts--Great Barrington
  • Coaching (Transportation)--Massachusetts--Great Barrington
  • Crane, Albert S
  • Girling and Doolittle
  • Granger and Hill
  • Great Barrington (Mass. : Town)--Economic conditions
  • Ives, George
  • Pynchon, George
  • Rose Cottage Seminary (Great Barrington, Mass.)
  • Stables--Massachusetts--Great Barrington
Contributors
  • Faber, William A., b. 1818
Types of material
  • Account books

Du Bois Homesite

Du Bois Homesite Dedication Video, 1969
1 item

As a child, W.E.B. Du Bois lived for several years on a five acre parcel of land on the Egremont plain near Great Barrington, Mass. Although barely five when his family moved into town, Du Bois never lost his feeling for this property that had been in his family for six generations, and when presented with the opportunity to reacquire the site in 1928, he accepted, intending to build a house there and settle.

Walter Wilson and Edmund Gordon purchased the Du Bois homesite in 1967 with the intention of erecting a memorial to Du Bois’ life and legacy. On October 18, 1969, the site was formally dedicated as the W. E. B. Du Bois Memorial Park, with civil-rights activist and future Georgia legislator Julian Bond giving the keynote address and Ossie Davis presiding as master of ceremonies. Nineteen years later, the Du Bois Memorial Foundation donated the property to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, designating the University of Massachusetts Amherst as custodian.

Narrated by Davis and including Bond’s keynote address, this documentary (originally shot on 16mm motion picture film) depicts the 1969 dedication ceremonies. For additional information, please visit the website for the Du Bois boyhood homesite.

Subjects
  • Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963--Homes and haunts
  • Great Barrington (Mass.)
Types of material
  • Motion pictures (Visual works)

Whitaker, Elizabeth W.

Elizabeth W. Whitaker Collection, 1802-1989
1 box (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 682
Elizabeth W. Whitaker Collection image
Gravestone, No. Guilford, Conn.

A physical education teacher from Rome, New York, Elizabeth W. Whitaker became an avid recorder of gravestone inscriptions in the 1940s. She died in 1992 at the age of 93.

The core of the Whitaker collection consists of 25 receipts and accounts relating to the early marble industry in western Massachusetts. The key figures in this series are Rufus Willson and his father-in-law, John Burghardt, who quarried stone near West Stockbridge, Mass., conveying it to Hudson, N.Y. The collection also includes a selection of photographs and postcards of gravestones, mostly in New England and New York; two folders of typed transcriptions and newspaper clippings of epitaphs from the same region, ranging in date from the early colonial period to the mid-19th century; and a price list of Barre granite from Wetmore and Morse Granite Co., 1934.

Subjects
  • Gravestones--Massachusetts
  • Marble industry and trade--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • Association for Gravestone Studies
  • Burghardt, John
  • Whitaker, Elizabeth W
  • Willson, Rufus
Types of material
  • Photographs
  • Receipts (Financial records)

American Friends Service Committee. Western Massachusetts

American Friends Service Committee Records, 1975-2005
24 boxes (36 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 459

Established in 1968 in response to the war in Vietnam, the AFSC office in western Massachusetts did not limit its focus to draft and military counseling, instead the organization broadened its focus over time to include educational and outreach programs for a variety of peace and socal justice issues. Today the chapter focuses on economic justice, campaigns against U.S. military intervention, and actions to combat racism and classism. With an emphasis on serving the community of western Massachusetts, the program is equally committed to calling attention to issues of both national and local importance. Recent campaigns range from ending the war in Iraq and supporting peace in Columbia to preventing the construction of a new jail in Chicopee.

The collection consists chiefly of subject files that together provide a picture of the various issues in which the western Massachusetts AFSC was involved. Topics range from the organization’s earliest focus, the Vietnam War, to the first Gulf War, landlord/tenant relations, immigration, and landmines. The collection also includes materials relating to public figures, some of whom traveled to the region to speak.

Subjects
  • Activists--Massachusetts
  • Massachusetts--Economic conditions
  • Peace movements--Massachusetts
  • Social justice--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • American Friends Service Committee. Western Massachusetts

Communist Party of Massachusetts

Communist Party of Massachusetts Collection, 1942-1954
1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 538

Documenting Communist Party activities in Massachusetts during the 1940s-1950s, this small collection consists of pamphlets, broadsides, and election materials, which cover issues such as housing, freedom of speech, McCarthyism, and the war in Korea.

Subjects
  • Communism--United States--History
  • Communists--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • Communist Party of Massachusetts

Massachusetts AFL-CIO. Directly Affiliated Local Unions

Massachusetts AFL-CIO Directly Affiliated Local Unions Records, 1930-1980
1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 044

This small collection provides background on labor unions in Massachusetts that, lacking a national scope, join the AFL-CIO as Directly Affiliated Local Unions (DALUs). Taken together, these records provide some basic information on the names and descriptions of companies that have agreements with DALUs, the numbers of union members involved, the occupations represented, and jurisdiction.

Subjects
  • Labor unions--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • Massachusetts AFL-CIO

Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition (MassCann)

Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition (MassCann) Records, 1990-2008
6 boxes (9 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 840
Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition (MassCann) Records image
JoeJoe and Pres. Bill Downing at Boston Freedom Rally, 1996. Photo by Sam Robbins.

The Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition (MassCann) is a state affiliate of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. Founded in October 1990 by a group of Boston-based activists, MassCann is a strictly grassroots not-for-profit group that works to ameliorate laws against the use and possession of marijuana and to raise public awareness about the potential of marijuana and hemp products. In addition to lobbying legislators and promoting ballot initiatives to decriminalize adult possession in the Commonwealth, MassCann sponsors public events, such as the landmark conferences held at Harvard Law School in 1991 and 1994, a series of Tax Day protests (1994-1998) calling for regulation and taxation of marijuana, and most famously the Boston Freedom Rally, the second largest anti-prohibition gathering in the country held annually since 1992.

The MassCann collection documents the work and interests of a grassroots advocacy organization dedicated to ending marijuana prohibition, from oganizational and administrative records relating to events it sponsors, particularly the Boston Freedom Rally, to promotional materials and materials relating to the legal environment, and medical marijuana. The collection also includes a wealth of video, compact discs, and audiotapes documenting MassCann events along with recordings of commerical programming on marijuana.

Subjects
  • Marijuana--Law and legislation
  • Marijuana--Physiological effect
  • Marijuana--Therapeutic use--Social aspects
Contributors
  • National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (U.S.)
Types of material
  • Sound recordings
  • Videotapes
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