Western Massachusetts Library Club Records, 1898-2006.
7 boxes (3.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 492
Situated in a region known for its progressive spirit, the Western Massachusetts Library Club was established in 1898 to respond to the unique needs of librarians overseeing small or rural libraries, and to foster camaraderie among local colleagues. Almost immediately, however, the club expanded its focus, taking positions on issues ranging from modern library practices to national legislation and leading the way in the expansion of services for public libraries, all while maintaining its identity as an advocate for local libraries and librarians.
The collection is richest in records that document the early history of the club including detailed meeting minutes, news clippings, programs, and circulars. Beginning in the late 1960s, the club’s activities are captured primarily through membership lists and meeting notices and programs. Taken together, the records trace the growth of the WMLC for more than a century from its establishment to the present.
- Cutter, Charles A. (Charles Ammi), 1937-1903
- Western Massachusetts Library Club
Joseph Laurence Black History of the Book Collection, 1789-1964.
128 items (3 linear feet).
Call no.: RB 023
A scholar of early modern British literature, Joe Black received his BA and PhD from the University of Toronto and taught for several years at the University of Tennessee Knoxville before joining the English faculty at UMass Amherst in 1994. Rooted in the history of the book, his research on seventeenth-century literature has examined the intersection between writing and the material and social context of production as well as the dialogue between print and manuscript culture.
The Black collection is an eclectic assemblage of American imprints designed to assist study and instruction in the history of the book. The collection includes two long runs of pulp novels, Beadle’s Frontier Series and the American Revolution-inspired Liberty Boys of ’76, examples of almanacs, prompt books, and works form the early national period in publishers’ bindings.
- Books--History--United States
- Dime novels, American
Types of material
Rocco and Barbara Verrilli Collection of Charles Lamb, 1741-1932 (Bulk: 1798-1834).
1 box, 79 volumes (13 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 939
A poet, critic, and essayist, and close friend of Coleridge and Wordsworth, Charles Lamb was a popular figure in literary circles in late Georgian Britain. Born in London in 1775, Lamb began working in the accounting office of the British East India Company at the age of seventeen. Despite struggling with mental illness in his family, he built a reputation as a writer. With an elegant, eccentric, and somewhat antiquated style, he became known first for his poetry, but soon gained notice for prose and criticism. Written with his sister Mary, Tales from Shakespeare (1808) achieved notable success, however Lamb’s fame rests primarily on the essays he wrote during the 1820s under the pseudonym Elia. Lamb died from erysipelas on Dec. 29, 1833.
From the 1960s through 2010s, Rocco and Barbara Verrilli built this extensive collection of first and early editions of Charles Lamb’s writing. Among the volumes they acquired are Lamb’s personal copy of his first publication, Poems on Various Subjects; a rare copy of his first book for children King and Queen of Hearts (1806); and a presentation copy of his best known work, Elia (1823). The twenty-five manuscript items in the collection are particularly noteworthy. Displaying a characteristic combination of charm, wit, and insight, these include a long letter to Robert Southey discussing poetry; humorous letters to his admirer John B. Dibdin; an acrostic by Lamb on the name of Sarah Thomas; and two particularly fine letters to the poet Edward Dyer, including an eye-witness account of the agricultural rebellion known as the Swing Riots.
- Authors, English--19th century
- Poets--Great Britain
- Verrilli, Barbara
- Verrilli, Rocco
New Victoria Publishers Records, 1974-2009.
6 boxes (11 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 883
Founded in 1975 in Lebanon, NH by Beth Dingman, Claudia McKay (Lamperti), Katie Cahill, Nina Swaim, and Shelby Grantham, New Victoria Printers became one of two all-female print shops in New England at the time. Believing strongly that, “the power of the press belongs to those who own it,” they began to solicit work from non-profit and politically-oriented groups. Like its namesake Victoria Press, an 1860s women run print shop in London owned by Emily Faithful, an early advocate of women’s rights, New Victoria was also committed to feminist principles. The shop offered work and training in printing, machine work, and other traditionally male dominated fields; initially focused on printing materials from the women’s movement; and was organized as a collectively owned and democratically run organization. Additionally, the shop functioned as a defacto women’s center and lesbian hub for Lebanon and the surrounding area, a place of education, community, creativity, and activism, and soon publishing opportunities, as the group founded New Victoria Publishers in 1976 to publish works from their community. The print shop closed in 1985, with Dingman and McKay taking over the running of the non-profit publishing company out of their home in Norwich, VT, with an emphasis on lesbian fiction in addition to other women-focused works. An early bestseller, Stoner McTavish by Sarah Dreher, put them on the map, with the company publishing over a hundred books by and about lesbians, winning three Lambda Literary Awards and several other honors.
The New Victoria Publishers Records consist of photographs, newsletters and cards put out by the collective, materials printed by the press, marketing and promotional materials, author correspondence, graphics and cover art, book reviews, financial and legal records, histories of the organization, news clippings, and an almost full run of the books published by the company. The collection is particularly rich in documenting the work and production of a women owned business within the feminist press movement as well as the lesbian publishing industry.
- Collective labor agreements – Printing industry
- Feminist literature – Publishing
- Lesbian authors
- Lesbians' writings -- Publishing
- Women printers – New England
- Women publishers – New England
- Beth Dingman
- Claudia McKay
- New Victoria Printers
- New Victoria Publishers
Types of material
Barbara Parker History of the Book Collection, 1508-1905.
75 items (12 linear feet).
Call no.: RB 007
A long-time librarian at UMass Amherst and Brown University, Barbara Parker became an avid collector of rare books. Interested in the history of printing, binding, and book design, and herself a bookbinder, Parker collected widely, from early printing to the Victorian book artists of the Chiswick Press.
The Parker Collection contains an eclectic mix of books to illustrate various aspects of the history of the book through 1900. The collection includes eight volumes printed prior to 1600, a fine leaf from the Nuremberg Chronicles, and a strong collection of the work of Charles Whittingham and the Chiswick Press. In addition to fine examples of binding and illustration, the collection includes works printed by Elsevier, Gregorium de Gregoris, and Domenico Farri, five by Joseph Barbou, and two each by the Aldine Press, Simon Colin, and John Baskerville.
Rural Massachusetts Imprints Collection, 1797-1897.
48 items (3 linear feet).
Call no.: RB 012
Although printing requires a substantial capital investment in equipment before any hope of profitability can be entertained, there have been numerous attempts over the years to set up printing houses in communities with astonishingly small population bases. In even the most remote Massachusetts towns, people like John Metcalf (Wendell), Ezekiel Terry (Palmer), and John and Solomon Howe (Enfield and Greenwich) operated as printers during the nineteenth century, specializing in a quotidian array of broadsides, song sheets, almanacs, toy books, and printed forms, hoping to supplement, or provide, a decent living.
This small, but growing collection consists of materials printed prior to the twentieth century in small Massachusetts towns, defined as towns with populations less than about 2,500. Although few of these houses survived for long, they were important sources for rural communities. Typically simple in typography, design, and binding, even crude, the output of such printers provides an important gauge of the interests and tastes of New England’s smallest and often poorest communities.
- Children's books--Massachusetts
- Howe, John, 1783-1845
- Howe, Solomon, 1750-1835
- Metcalf, John, 1788-1864
- Terry, Ezekiel, 1775-1829
Types of material
Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP) Records, 1992-2012.
3 boxes (3.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 868
Originating in 1991, the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP) was established “to create a global network for book historians working in a broad range of scholarly disciplines.” With more than 1,000 members, research interests include the composition and reception of books as well as their survival and transformation over time.
Records cover the earliest days of the organization’s development, including founding documents, and document a variety of their activities from hosting conferences and publishing a newsletter to promoting scholarship.
- Authors and readers
- Publishers and publishing
Swedish Book Design Collection, 1922-1961 (Bulk: 1922-1942).
ca.250 vols. (17 linear feet).
Call no.: RB 026
James H. Fraser and his wife Sibylle were eclectic and sometimes omnivorous collectors of the book arts, dedicated to the scholarly exploration of visual culture, the book, and the avant garde. A former Director of the Library at Farleigh Dickinson University and a consultant to many other academic libraries, James Fraser developed an omnivorous passion for German and Eastern European graphic design and book culture and had interests that ranged from Socialist children’s books to Judaica, the American left, Mongolian printing, and Japanese posters of the 1980s. James Fraser died in the fall 2013 and was survived by Sibylle and their two children.
This unusual collection of over 250 volumes is a product of the Frasers’ interest in Swedish book jacket design. Consisting nearly entirely of soft cover volumes printed between the 1920s and 1960s, primarily pre-war, and not necessarily written by Swedish authors, the collection reflects the work of many illustrators drawing on a range of graphic styles, from avant garde modernism to the later parts of the collection, which includes translations of popular works by writers such as Ian Fleming and Agatha Christie.
- Fraser, James H.
- Fraser, Sibylle
Gene Abair Alcoholism Collection, ca.1875-1962.
ca. 100 vols. (11 linear feet).
Call no.: RB 002
After joining Alcoholics and Anonymous in Springfield to regain control over his life, Gene Abair emerged a new man. And a bibliophile. A janitor with a limited education, Abair began to collect books relating to alcoholism and temperance, eventually devoting himself to making his growing collection available to alcoholics and non-alcoholics alike as a lending library. The collection was acquired by UMass in 1972 with the assistance of Abair’s friend, Mrs. Walter E. Carlson, and about 100 titles (of over 400) were transferred to SCUA.
The Abair Collection includes works on the physiology, psychology, ethics, and social history of alcohol consumption from the mid-19th through the mid-twentieth centuries. Among other items, it includes key works on medical aspects of inebriety, personal narratives and biographies of temperance leaders and alcoholics, and books on the formal temperance movement and prohibition.
- Abair, Gene
- Drinking of alcoholic beverages
Edward H. Abbe Papers, 1828-2004.
22 boxes (28.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 736
Born in Syracuse, N.Y., in 1915 and raised largely in Hampton, Va., Edward Abbe seemed destined to be an engineer. The great nephew of Elihu Thomson, an inventor and founding partner in General Electric, and grandson of Edward Folger Peck, an early employee of a precursor of that firm, Abbe came from a family with a deep involvement in electrification and the development of street railways. After prepping at the Rectory and Kent Schools, Abbe studied engineering at the Sheffield School at Yale, and after graduation in 1938, accepted a position with GE. For 36 years, he worked in the Industrial Control Division in New York and Virginia, spending summers at the family home on Martha’s Vineyard. After retirement in 1975, he and his wife Gladys traveled frequently, cruising both the Atlantic and Pacific.
Ranging from an extensive correspondence from his high school and college days to materials relating to his family’s involvement in engineering, the Abbe collection offers an in depth perspective on an educated family. An avid traveler and inveterate keeper, Ed Abbe gathered a diverse assemblage of letters, diaries, and memorabilia relating to the history of the Abbe, Peck, Booth, Gifford, and Boardman families. The collection is particularly rich in visual materials, including albums and photographs, depicting homes, travel, and family life over nearly a century.
- Abbe family
- Boardman family
- Booth family
- Electrical engineers
- General Electric
- Gifford family
- Kent School--Students
- Peck family
- Rectory School--Students
- Yale University--Students
- Abbe, Edward H
- Abbe, Gladys Howard
- Abbe, William Parker
- Peck, Edward F
- Peck, Mary Booth
Types of material
- Letters (Correspondence)