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Mount Toby Meeting of Friends Collection, 1977-1991

1 box (1.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 694

The Northampton Monthly Meeting of the Society of Friends (later the Middle Connecticut Valley Monthly Meeting) was formally established in 1939, bringing together the small community of Friends in Western Massachusetts. In 1959, the small preparative meetings in Amherst, Greenfield, Northampton, and South Hadley agreed to consolidate to create a more vital gathering. After five years without a fixed location, a Friend was moved to donate three acres of land on Long Plain Road in Leverett on which to build a proper meetinghouse. When that building opened in 1964, the meeting was renamed the Mt Toby Meeting.

Reflecting a strong history of promoting peace social justice, the Mt. Toby collection documents Friends’ involvement in a wide variety of issues ranging from war tax resistance (Randy Kehler and Betsy Corner), the “Colrain action” when the Kehler/Corner house was seized by the IRS), peace education and civil disobedience, refugee resettlement, the Sanctuary movement, and support for LGBT issues and racial equality. The collection consists largely of fliers and newsletters, ephemera, and newspaper clippings.


  • Corner, Betsy
  • Kehler, Randy
  • Mount Toby Meeting of Friends (Quakers)
  • Pacifists
  • Peace movements--Massachusetts
  • Sanctuary movement
  • War tax resistance--Massachusetts

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends Quaker History Collection, 1783-1950

1 box (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 926

During the early twentieth century, the library at the Moses Brown School (formerly the Friends Boarding School) became an informal repository for Quaker manuscripts reflecting the history and work of the Society of Friends. Most of these materials were later transferred for custody to the school’s governing body, the New England Yearly Meeting of Friends.

This miscellaneous assortment of letters was apparently set aside by the staff at the Moses Brown School due to their historical content and preserved in the “vault.” Many of the letters appear to have been retained as good examples of Quaker expression of family and friendly bonds or as documentation about significant periods in Quaker history, particularly the Gurneyite-Wilburite controversy of the 1840s, and several touch on Quaker involvement in the antislavery and peace movements. Of special note are four interesting letters from the Quaker minister and social reformer, Elizabeth Comstock, written during and just after the Civil War; a series of nine lengthy letters from a visiting English minister Isaac Stephenson, traveling through New England meetings; a substantial series of letters from prominent Friend Samuel Boyd Tobey; and three letters from Harriet Beecher Stowe to Sarah F. Tobey regarding attempts to connect Stowe with Alexander T. Stewart in hopes of raising funds for her plans for the education of women.


  • Antislavery movements--United States
  • Gurney, James Joseph
  • Society of Friends--History
  • Wilbur, John,


  • Comstock, Elizabeth L.
  • Stewart, Alexander Turney, 1803-1876
  • Stowe, Harriet Beecher, 1811-1896
  • Tobey, Samuel Boyd, 1805-1867

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends Records, 1654-2016

(384.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 902

In 1661, less than a decade after the first Friends arrived in British North America, the precursor to the New England Yearly Meeting was organized as the Rhode Island Yearly Meeting. As one of approximately two dozen yearly meetings in the United States, the NEYM currently comprises eight quarterly meetings and approximately 85 monthlies, which are the basic unit of organization for the Society. Like many Yearly meetings, the NEYM has been diverse in spiritual practice, reflected in a history of separations and reunions. Most famously, Orthodox Friends in New England divided in the 1840s into the increasingly evangelically-oriented Gurneyites, who went by the name Yearly Meeting of Friends for New England (joining Friends United Meeting in 1902), and the Wilburites, sometimes called Conservative Friends. In 1945, the disparate branches formally reunited.

Consolidated beginning in the 1960s, the NEYM collection contains the official records of the New England Yearly Meeting from its founding in the seventeenth century to the present, along with records of most of its constituent Quarterly, Monthly, and Preparative Meetings and records of Quaker schools and trusts. As varied as the Quaker practice they document, these records include minutes of meetings for business; committee records; newsletters, financial records; some personal papers; printed books and serials; and an assortment of photographs, audiovisual materials, microfilm, and electronic records. Of particular note are the vital statistics recorded by the Monthly Meetings, including general information on births, deaths, marriages, membership, and obituaries, and specifically-Quaker information on removals (formal letters written as members moved from one meeting to another), denials, testimonies (beliefs and convictions), and sufferings (penalties Quakers suffered for following testimonies). The Archives Committee of the NEYM is a partner in records management and on-going documentation of the Meeting and its constituent bodies. The collection also includes several thousand Quaker books and pamphlets, including the libraries of Moses and Obadiah Brown and several individual monthly meetings. The records of most monthly meetings in Maine are held at the Maine Historical Society, while important bodies of records are held at the Newport Historical Society (some Nantucket and Rhode Island Meetings) or at individual Monthly Meetings.


  • Quakers--New England
  • Society of Friends--New England--History

The Records of the New England Yearly Meeting of Friends (NEYM) offer rich documentation of three and half centuries of Quakers in our region and the culture in which they lived. The heart of the collection are the records of the Yearly Meeting itself, but most Quarterly and Monthly meetings are represented as are some Quaker schools and other organizations, and there is a substantial library of Quaker books and periodicals, including the libraries of Moses and Obadiah Brown.

This volume is a guide for any researcher interested in the records of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in New England. In addition to providing a comprehensive list of the official records created by New England Quakers, it also gives a brief history of each meeting.

The bulk of the guide is arranged by meeting. To use it, a basic understanding of the administrative structure of the Society of Friends would be very helpful. The largest body is the Yearly Meeting. For many rather confusing reasons, there have been several different yearly meetings active in New England. The largest, New England Yearly Meeting, has covered almost the entire region since 1661. The yearly meeting has been composed of quarterly meetings since the early 18th century. They in turn are composed of monthly meetings, which are the basic administrative unit of the Society of Friends. Almost all of the membership information is recorded on the monthly meeting level. The monthly meeting is sometimes subdivided into smaller meetings: preparative meetings, which prepare business for the monthly meetings; and meetings for worship, which generally create no records.

The records of the yearly meetings appear first in this guide, then the quarterly meetings, then monthly meetings. There are no separate entries for preparative meetings or meetings for worship; they are discussed under the appropriate monthly meeting.

The entries for each meeting include the following information:

Name. If a meeting changed names over the years, only one entry is made, under the name the meeting held for the longer time. “See…” references are made under all other known names. If two meetings merged to form a new meeting, all three are given entries. If the name of one of the merging meetings was retained, however, it is not given a new entry.

Place. The place given is the town the monthly meeting was based in for most of its life. It is mainly provided to give a general idea of a meeting’s region; many meetings met on a rotating basis in several locations. For quarterly meetings, the states which it covers are listed. This can help narrow down a search for a specific area.

A brief history of the meeting. For monthly meetings, this history will generally describe the meetings for worship that preceded the monthly meeting, tell where the meeting was set off from, list name changes, and describe which monthly meetings were set off or joined to the meeting. The history will also try to explain any confusing circumstances regarding the structure of the meeting. However, the histories generally make no effort to explain where the meetings met, or when meeting houses were built. Nor do these histories describe prominent members or dramatic events. This would be impossible to do well in a volume of this size. Published histories are available for many of the older meetings, and these are mentioned in the notes when possible.

Quarterly meetings (given only for monthly meetings). Since 1705, all monthly meetings in N.E.Y.M. have been con- stituent parts of a quarterly meeting. Before 1699, they were direct constituents of the Yearly Meeting.

Constituent meetings. Many different sorts of smaller meetings are listed here. This information is provided mainly as a way to determine where residents of a certain town may have attended monthly meeting at a specific date. The information is somewhat unreliable, especially regarding dates.

Formally constituted preparative meetings met for business, and reported monthly to their monthly meetings. Their dates, except in very early meetings, are generally easy to discern from monthly meeting minutes. Sometimes, a monthly meeting would have only one preparative meeting, or none. Generally, preparative meetings named after their monthly meetings are not listed. One problem is that there was no formal provision for preparative meetings between 1901 and 1950. Many preparative meetings continued to meet for business during this time, usually under the heading of “particular meeting”, and are listed as preparative meetings.

Other sorts of meetings may or may not have been formally connected to their monthly meetings, and include particular meetings, meetings for worship, indulged meetings, worship groups, allowed meetings and midweek meetings. No attempt has been made to distinguish between these types of meetings, which are all listed as “W.G”. The dates are often impossible to determine, as they kept no records, and monthly meetings have not always kept track of their existence. However, they are important, being at the center of the spiritual life of Friends. Generally, any meeting for business is also a meeting for worship, but is not listed separately as such.

Records. These tables show all the records of each meeting known to be in existence. For many of the newer meetings, no records have yet been sent to the archives; as a rule, very recent records can often be obtained only through the clerk of the meeting. The records are arranged in the following order: men’s minutes; women’s minutes; joint minutes; rough minutes; vital records; ministry and counsel or equivalent; committee records; miscellaneous loose papers; newsletters.

The information given includes the type of record, the dates covered by each record, the quantity, the location of the original, and the microfilm number (if any). See the glossary and list of abbreviations for details. All of the records with microfilm numbers are available on film at the Rhode Island Historical Society Library. In addition, those with asterisks are available at the Maine Historical Society, those with plus signs are available through the Family History Centers, and those with an @ symbol can be found at the Nantucket Historical Association. In some cases, records have been missing for many years, have never been sent to the Archives, and are presumed to be irretrievably lost; an effort have been made to show this. Researchers should know that meeting minutes are generally closed for a period of twenty years before being open to the public, except for the printed Yearly Meeting minutes.

Tulip poplar leaves
Tulip poplar leaf Arthur Mange Collection

Drawing upon the unique materials under their care, the staff of the Department of Special Collections and University Archives organize two to three exhibits a year in their reading room and work regularly with their colleagues in the general library to prepare other exhibits for display on the Lower Level of the W.E.B. Du Bois Library.

Current Exhibit

Through The Photographer’s Eyes: The Diana Mara Henry Collection (20th Century Photographer)

August 19, 2016-January 13, 2017
Location: SCUA and Learning Commons, Du Bois Library

The work of photojournalist Diana Mara Henry spans four decades of political, social, and cultural change in America. After graduating from Harvard with a degree in government in 1969, Henry returned to New York to work as a researcher with NBC News and as a general assignment reporter for the Staten Island Advance, but in 1971 she began to work as a freelance photographer. Among many projects, she covered the Democratic conventions of 1972 and 1976 and was selected as official photographer for both the National Commission on the Observance of International Women’s Year and the First National Women’s Conference in 1977, and while teaching at the International Center of Photography in Manhattan from 1974-1979, she developed its community workshop program and was a leader in a campaign to save the Alice Austen House. Her body of work ranges widely from the fashion scene in 1970s New York and personal assignments for the family of Malcolm Forbes and other socialites to political demonstrations, cultural events, and photoessays on one room schoolhouses in Vermont and Ulster County, NY, and everyday life in Brooklyn, France, Nepal, and Bali

Henry’s photographs have appeared in government documents, magazines, books such as Newsweek’s Pictures of the Year 1977, and the 1989 Pulitzer and Tony award-winning play The Heidi Chronicles. They have been exhibited in many locations including a one-woman show at the Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, NY; The Park Avenue Armory, NYC; and The American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar, Richmond, VA. In addition to the UMass Amherst Libraries, Henry’s photographs are in the collection of the National Archives.

The exhibit features photographs taken by Henry along with a rich array of related materials—including speeches, press releases, brochures, and her own notes—collected over the years; taken together they document the political and cultural scene of the second half of the twentieth century. Items on display cover a wide range of topics from the Vietnam Veterans Against the War, The Women’s Pentagon Action, the McGovern campaign, the New York State Women’s Meeting and First National Women’s Conference to Permaculture, New York politics, and New York society.

Upcoming Exhibits

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends Records

January 20, 2017-June 2017
Location: SCUA and Learning Commons, Du Bois Library

Consolidated beginning in the 1960s, the NEYM collection contains the official records of the New England Yearly Meeting from its founding in the seventeenth century to the present, along with records of most of its constituent Quarterly, Monthly, and Preparative Meetings and records of Quaker schools and trusts. As varied as the Quaker practice they document, these records include minutes of meetings for business; committee records; newsletters, financial records; some personal papers; printed books and serials; and an assortment of photographs, audiovisual materials, microfilm, and electronic records. Of particular note are the vital statistics recorded by the Monthly Meetings, including general information on births, deaths, marriages, membership, and obituaries, and specifically-Quaker information on removals (formal letters written as members moved from one meeting to another), denials, testimonies (beliefs and convictions), and sufferings (penalties Quakers suffered for following testimonies).

The collection also includes several thousand Quaker books and pamphlets, including the libraries of Moses and Obadiah Brown and several individual monthly meetings.

Brother David Steindl-Rast Papers

August 2017-January 2018
Location: SCUA and Learning Commons, Du Bois Library

Brother David is one of the most important figures in the modern interfaith dialogue movement, leaving Mount Savior in the mid-1960s to study Zen Buddhism with Hakuun Yajutami, Shunayu Suzuki, and Soen Nakagawa. He was the first Benedictine to learn directly from Buddhist teachers and received Vatican support for his bridge-building work in 1967. When not in seclusion, Brother David has served as a teacher of contemplative prayer, the intersection of Zen and Catholicism, and gratefulness as a spiritual practice. Through many books and articles, lectures, and residencies in spiritual centers like Tassajara and the Esalen Institute, Brother David has developed an influential philosophy and much of the current popularity of mindfulness and Zen-influenced living and activism owes a debt to his teachings.

The Brother David Steindl-Rast Papers include Brother David’s extensive published and unpublished writings, sermons, memoirs, personal journals, correspondence, photographs, recordings, and videos of his teachings. His papers extend back to his youth in Vienna, documenting his childhood and experience during the war, including a complete run of Die Goldene Wagen, the children’s magazine published by Brother David’s mother Elisabeth Rast.

Exhibits online
100 photos: Arthur Mange
Arthur Mange

Photographs from the collection of Arthur Mange.

Photographer: DMH
Diana Mara Henry Photographs

Photographs from the collection of Diana Mara Henry. An exhibit by Chuck Abel.

E.D. Hudson

An examination of social reform and antislavery in Antebellum New England. An exhibit by Charles Weisenberger.

Rhetoric or Research
Rhetoric or research

interprets student protests against CIA recruitment at UMass Amherst during the 1980s through a selection of images taken by student photojournalists.
By Tom Hohenstein (ETHIR recipient, 2011).

Gordon Heath

A digital curriculum for teaching U.S. history using archival resources. An exhibit by Emily Oswald (ETHIR recipient, 2011).

Behold And See As You Pass By
I see dead people

An online exhibit on gravestones and mortuary art in Early New England drawn from the Association for Gravestones Studies Collections. By Molly Campbell (ETHIR recipient, 2011)

Robot reader

Science fiction readership in the Cold War and beyond. An exhibit by Morgan Hubbard.

Fifteen letters
Letters home

Conrad D. Totman’s letters home from Korea, 1954-1955. An exhibit by Alex McKenzie.

Du Bois photographs

An online exhibit on the life and legacy of W.E.B. Du Bois based on his papers.

Herbals and Insects
A scarab beetle

A selection of rare botanical and entomological books from the SCUA collections.

A bee

Books on bees and beekeeping. An exhibit by Richard A. Steinmetz.

William K. Hefner Papers, 1962-1978

6 boxes (9 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 129
Bill Hefner for Congress
Bill Hefner for Congress

In 1960, William K. Hefner (1915-1993) became one of the first of new breed of radical pacifists to run for elective office, when he ran as a peace candidate for Congress in the 1st district of Massachusetts. An accountant from Greenfield, Hefner was involved at a national level with movements for peace and civil rights. An early member of SANE, a founder of Political Action for Peace in 1959 (now CPPAX) and the Greenfield Peace Center (1963), and an active member of the American Friends Service Committee, War Resisters League, Turn Toward Peace, and the World Without War Conference, Hefner was an energetic force in the movements for peace and disarmament, civil rights, and a more just economic system. He ran unsuccessfully for office in three elections between 1960 and 1964, and supported peace candidate H. Stuart Hughes in his bid for election to the U.S. Senate in 1962.

The Hefner papers offer a remarkable record of politically-engaged activism for peace and social justice in the early 1960s. With an intensely local focus, Hefner was tied in to the larger movements at the state and national level, corresponding with major figures such as A.J. Muste, Bayard Rustin, Benjamin Spock, and Arthur Springer. The collection includes particularly rich documentation of the early years of Political Action for Peace, which Hefner helped found, with correspondence, minutes of meetings, and publications, as well as equally rich materials on Hefner’s bids for congress in 1960 and 1962.


  • American Friends Service Committee Western Massachusetts
  • Antinuclear movement--Massachusetts
  • Civil Rights movements--Massachusetts
  • Greenfield Community Peace Center
  • Massachusetts Political Action for Peace
  • Nonviolence
  • Pacifists--Massachusetts
  • Peace movements--Massachusetts
  • Platform for Peace (Organization)
  • Political Action for Peace
  • SANE, Inc
  • Turn Toward Peace (Organization)
  • United States. Congress--Elections, 1960
  • United States. Congress--Elections, 1962
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements


  • Boardman, Elizabeth F
  • Hefner, William K.
  • Hughes, H. Stuart (Henry Stuart), 1916-1999
  • Muste, Abraham John, 1885-1967
  • Rustin, Bayard, 1912-1987
  • Springer, Arthur

Types of material

  • Minutes

Stonewall Center Records, 1962-2005

22 boxes (33 linear feet)
Call no.: RG 030/2/6

Following a series of homophobic incidents on the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1985, the Program for Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Concerns was established as an administrative center in the Office of Student Affairs. Later renamed after the notorious riots in New York, the Stonewall Center has provided the campus and surrounding community with cultural and educational programming through speakers, films, video and book library, Speakers Bureau on LGBTQ issues, referrals and support, advocacy and community outreach.

The records of the Stonewall Center include documentation of day to day operations, including phone logs, memos, and budget information, as well as posters and press releases for events, publications, campus and external reports, training manuals, surveys, newspaper clippings, and ephemera such as banners, tee-shirts, and buttons.


  • Gay college students--Massachusetts
  • Gays--Services for
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Students
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Program for Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Concerns


  • Stonewall Center
  • Yeskel, Felice

Samuel Austin Collection, 1718-1920

2 boxes (1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 937

An historian and educator, Samuel Austin (1816-1897) was known for his long association with the Friends Boarding School in Providence, R.I. (later renamed the Moses Brown School). An alumnus who married an alumna, Elizabeth H. Osborn, Austin taught at the Boarding school for decades and was instrumental in gathering and preserving documents relating to the school. He wrote and lectured regularly on the history of Friends’ education and on the Boarding School, and its noted teachers and alumni.

A product of the historical work of Samuel Austin, the collection contains both essays, notes, and talks on the Friends’ Boarding School in Providence and on Moses and Obadiah Brown, and some significant original documents used by Austin in his research. Noteworthy among the original materials are a fascinating series of records from monthly and quarterly meetings in and near Rhode Island, mostly in 1787-1793; a rich series of epistles received by Smithfield Monthly Meeting from other meetings in New England (1718-1767); some key printed epistles from Yearly Meetings, including those on war (London, New England, and Philadelphia Yearly) and slavery (London and Philadelphia). Of equal note are a series of letters from Elisha Thornton (a New Bedford merchant, educator, and antislavery advocate), a lengthy letter on doctrine from John Wilbur, and a 1765 sermon from Rachel Wilson.


  • Antislavery movements
  • Brown, Moses, 1738-1832
  • Friends Boarding School (Providence, R.I.)
  • Peace movements--Rhode Island
  • Quaker women--Rhode Island--18th century
  • Quakers--Education--Rhode Island
  • Rhode Island--History--18th century
  • Society of Friends--History--Rhode Island


  • Thornton, Elisha, 1748-1816
  • Wilbur, John 1774-1856

Types of material

  • Correspondence
  • Minutes (Administrative records)

Thomas Gould, A list of the names of publick Friends, who have visited New England, 1838

1 vol. (0.1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 903 bd

Born in Middletown, R.I., on May 25, 1730, Thomas Gould was part of an extended Quaker family in Newport County and descendant of one of the first Quaker converts in Rhode Island. Enjoying success as a “mechanic” and farmer, according to Representative Men and Old Families of Rhode Island (1908), he married Alice Chase of Portsmouth in March 1757 and raised a large family of five boys and five girls. Gould died on May 3, 1795.

This slender volume includes a chronological record visits to New England by Public Friends: Quakers who were considered to have a special gift in prayer or public speaking and who often traveled widely to minister.


  • Quakers--New England

Types of material

  • Booklets

Howland Family Papers, 1727-1886 (Bulk: 1771-1844)

2 boxes (0.75 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 923

The Howland family of East Greenwich, R.I., figured prominently in New England Quakerism during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and contributed to the state’s public affairs. Brothers Daniel (1754-1834), an approved minister, and Thomas Howland (1764-1845), an educator, were active members of the Society during the tumultuous years between the 1780s and 1840s, caught up in the moral demands for a response to slavery and other social issues and in the divisions wrought by evangelical influences.

Centered largely on the lives of Thomas Howland, his brother Daniel, and Daniel’s son Daniel, the Howland collection is an important record of Quaker life in Rhode Island during trying times. As meeting elders, the Howlands monitored and contributed to the era’s major controversies, and the collection is particularly rich in discussions of the impact of slavery and the passionate struggle between Friends influenced by the evangelically-inclined Joseph John Gurney and the orthodox John Wilbur. Thomas’ complex response to his commitment to the antislavery cause and his fear of disrupting meeting unity is particularly revealing. Also of note is a series of responses from monthly meetings to queries on compliance with Quaker doctrine, obtained during the decade after the American Revolution.


  • Antislavery movements--Rhode Island
  • East Greenwich (R.I.)--History
  • Peace movements--Rhode Island
  • Temperance--Rhode Island


  • Bassett, William, 1803-1871
  • Brown, Moses, 1738-1836
  • Friends' Boarding School (Providence, R.I.)
  • Gurney, Joseph John, 1788-1847
  • Howland, Daniel
  • Howland, Daniel, 1754-1834
  • Howland, Thomas, 1764-1845
  • Moses Brown School
  • New England Yearly Meeting of Friends
  • Shearman, Abraham, 1777-1847
  • Society of Friends--Controversial literature
  • Society of Friends--History
  • Tobey, Samuel Boyd, 1805-1867
  • Wilbur, John, 1774-1856
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