Results for: “Textile workers--Massachusetts--Economic conditions--19th century” (897 collections)SCUA

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Labor, work, and industry

Picket line, New Bedford
Picket line, New Bedford, 195
“Teamsters crossed the Hathaway picket line”

Western Massachusetts was an early and important center of both industrialization and the development of organized labor, and in recent years, it has experienced many of traumatic effects of de-industrialization and economic transformation. The Department of Special Collections and University Archives seeks to document the history of organized labor, the experience of work, and business and industry in New England.

At the heart of the SCUA holdings is a suite of collections documenting the organized labor movement in New England. The official records of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, a large and important collection, is joined by records for trades ranging from clothing and textile workers to carpenters, electrical workers, and granite cutters.

Of particular note is the John W. Bennett Labor History Collection, a large assemblage of labor-related realia and ephemera, including hundreds of badges, pins, watch fobs, lighters, and other artifacts distributed to union members at annual conventions and other union events. The collection is a unique resource for study of the iconography of organized labor and includes items from representative unions and locals ranging from the Knights of Labor in the 1870s to the present. While centered on New England, the Bennett Collection extends nationally.

View our brochure on documenting labor, work, and industry (pdf).

Significant collections

  • Organized Labor
    • From the records of the Massachusetts State AFL-CIO to the papers of union locals and labor leaders.
  • See all Business and industry
    • Manufacturing
      • The industrial heritage of New England is represented in collections ranging from the records of the Clement Co., Lamson and Goodnow, and the Northampton Cutlery Company (manufacturers of cutlery), the American Writing Paper Company, the Rodney Hunt Co. (a manufacturer of textile machinery and waterwheels), and Smith and Wesson. The most recent collection is the papers of Sidney Topol, CEO of Scientific-Atlanta, a corporation at the forefront of the growth of cable television in the United States.
    • Merchants and mercantile exchange
      • Account books and other business records for a number of New England merchants dating back to the eighteenth century, ranging from small scale traders to keepers of rural general stores to shipping merchants trading in the Atlantic economy.

Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union. New England Joint Board

ACTWU New England Joint Board Records, 1974-1987.

8 boxes (12 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 241

Records of the New England Joint Board of the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union include union administration files, company files, and publications. Company files document interactions between the union and companies such as Best Coat Co.; Healthtec, Inc.; Image Wear; M & M Pants Co.; Soloff & Son, Inc.; and Wear Well Trouser Co.

Subjects

  • Clothing trade--Labor unions--New England
  • Labor unions--New England
  • Textile workers--Labor unions--New England

Contributors

  • Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union

Clement Company (Northampton, Mass.)

Clement Company Records, 1881-1934.

61 boxes, 103 ledgers (43 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 099

In mid-nineteenth century, the Connecticut River Valley in Massachusetts emerged as a center of cutlery manufacture in the United States. In 1866, a group of manufacturers in Northampton including William Clement, previously a foreman at Lamson and Goodnow, founded Clement, Hawke, and Co. in Florence to produce both hardware and cutlery, and after several reorganizations, the firm spawned both the Northampton Cutlery Co. (1871) and the Clement Manufacturing Co. (1882, formerly International Screw). Clement produced high quality table cutlery and was an early adopter of stainless steel. The company ceased operations in about 1970.

The Clement Company’s records include extensive correspondence files (1881-1934), along with journals and ledgers, payroll accounts, employee information, and other records. The records provide excellent documentation of wages, working conditions, the labor forces, and technological change in the industry, as well as the efforts of local workers to unionize.

Subjects

  • Cutlery trade--Massachusetts

Contributors

  • Clement Company (Northampton, Mass.)

Drury, Luke, 1737-1811

Luke Drury Papers, 1746-1831.

4 boxes (3 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 258

Soldier in Revolutionary War and Shays Rebellion, later a state legislator and local politician from Grafton and Marlboro, Massachusetts. Drury’s papers contain family and business (farm and mill) correspondence, notes of hand, bills, receipts, and legal papers as well as records pertaining to the town of Grafton. Collection also includes papers of Timothy Darling and the Goulding, Place, and Sherman families.

Subjects

  • Grafton (Mass.)--History
  • Massachusetts--History
  • Shays' Rebellion, 1786-1787

Contributors

  • Darling, Timothy
  • Drury, Luke, 1737-1811
  • Goulding, Israel
  • Sherman, Thankful Temple

Types of material

  • Deeds

Enfield (Mass.)

Enfield (Mass.) Collection, 1800-1939.

8 boxes (4 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 010
Birdseye view of Enfield, ca.1915
Birdseye view of Enfield, ca.1915

Situated at the confluence of the east and west branches of the Swift River in western Massachusetts, Enfield was the largest and southernmost of the four towns inundated in 1939 to create the Quabbin Reservoir. Incorporated as a town in 1816, Enfield was relatively prosperous in the nineteenth century on an economy based on agriculture and small-scale manufacturing, reaching a population of just over 1,000 by 1837. After thirty years of seeking a suitably large and reliable water supply for Boston, the state designated the Swift River Valley as the site for a new reservoir and with its population relocated, Enfield was officially disincorporated on April 28, 1938.

The records of the town of Enfield, Mass., document nearly the entire history of the largest of four towns inundated to create the Quabbin Reservoir. The core of the collection consists of records of town meetings and of the activities of the town Selectmen, 1804-1938, but there are substantial records for the Enfield Congregational Church. The School Committee, Overseers of the Poor, the town Library Association, and groups such as the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Bethel Masonic Lodge.

Subjects

  • Enfield (Mass.)--History
  • Enfield (Mass.)--Politics and government
  • Enfield (Mass.)--Religious life and customs
  • Enfield (Mass.)--Social life and customs
  • Quabbin Reservoir Region (Mass.)--History
  • Quabbin Reservoir Region (Mass.)--Social life and customs
  • Women--Societies and clubs

Contributors

  • Daughters of the American Revolution. Captain Joseph Hooker Chapter (Enfield, Mass.)
  • Enfield (Mass. : Town)
  • Enfield (Mass. : Town). Overseers of the Poor
  • Enfield (Mass. : Town). Prudential Committee
  • Enfield (Mass. : Town). School Committee
  • Enfield Congregational Church (Enfield, Mass.)
  • Enfield Congregational Church (Enfield, Mass.). Women's Auxiliary
  • Enfield Congregational Church (Enfield, Mass.). Women's Missionary Society

Types of material

  • Account books
  • Church records
  • Photographs
  • Sermons

Estey, Joseph W.

Joseph W. Estey Account Book, 1809-1827.

1 vol. (0.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 093

Joseph W. Estey was the owner of a farm in Greenwich, Massachusetts with a grist and sawmill. The account book (started in Springfield and Ludlow, Massachusetts with his business partner Abner Putnam) documents business dealings, hired male and female help, personal and farm expenses (hiring tanners and blacksmiths), and a deed.

Subjects

  • Agricultural laborers--Massachusetts--Greenwich
  • Domestics--Massachusetts--Greenwich
  • Farmers--Massachusetts--Greenwich
  • Greenwich (Mass.)--Economic condition--19th century
  • Howe, Edward
  • Howe, Gideon
  • Lincoln, Benjamin
  • Ludlow (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Marcy, Laban
  • Mills and mill-work--Massachusetts--Greenwich
  • Oaks, John
  • Parson Clapp Tavern
  • Putnam, A. W.
  • Putnam, Abner
  • Springfield (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Vaughan, Josiah
  • Ware Manufacturing Co. (Ware, Mass.)
  • Warner, John

Contributors

  • Estey, Joseph W.

Types of material

  • Account books

George H. Gilbert & Company

George H. Gilbert Co. Records, 1842-1931.

26 boxes, 126 vols. (36 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 096

In 1841, George H. Gilbert and Charles A. Stevens formed a partnership to manufacture broadcloth and cloaking in Ware, Massachusetts. Ten years later, the partnership dissolved and each partner carried a part of the business into separate establishments. The newly formed George H. Gilbert Company continued making high-grade woolen flannels, for which it developed a national reputation, until 1930.

Records, consisting of correspondence, financial records and cash books, construction contracts, sales lists, production records, and sample books, document the operation of Gilbert and Stevens and later the Gilbert Company for almost a century. The labor accounts (1851-1930), document the phases of the varying ethnic composition of the workforce — Irish, French-Canadian, and eventually Polish — well as the family orientation of the mills.

Subjects

  • Textile industry--Massachusetts
  • Ware (Mass.)--History

Contributors

  • George H. Gilbert and Co

Types of material

  • Account books

International Brotherhood of Paper Makers. Eagle Lodge

International Brotherhood of Paper Maker Records. Local 1 (Eagle Lodge : Holyoke, Mass.) Records, 1901-1978.

1 box (0.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 081

First organized as Eagle Lodge in Holyoke, Massachusetts, the United Brotherhood of Paper Makers was granted a charter by the AFL in May 1883. Almost as soon as the union was established, however, it faced a serious struggle for power from within. Hoping to maintain their higher economic and social status, the machine tenders ultimately organized their own union, and the two remained separate for a number of years until they finally merged in 1902 as the International Brotherhood of Paper Makers.

The surviving records of the Eagle Lodge, Local 1 of the International Brotherhood of Paper Makers, include by-laws, minutes, correspondence, some contracts, a ledger, and three histories of the local and the early days of the union.

Subjects

  • Labor unions--Massachusetts
  • Paper industry workers--Labor unions--Massachusetts
  • Paper industry workers--Massachusetts--Holyoke

Contributors

  • United Paperworkers International Union

Types of material

  • Minutes (Administrative records)

Rundlett, Samuel H.

Samuel H. Rundlett Daybooks, 1873-1879.

3 vols. (0.2 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 214 bd

Teamster from Newburyport, Massachusetts. Three daybooks document his work for local businesses (hauling bales of raw cotton and finished cloth, delivering coal, produce, fertilizer, and goods), prices paid for freight handling, and forms of payment (cash, credit at a store, and produce from a local farmer). Of note is Rundlett’s delivery of goods to the Newburyport branch of the Sovereigns of Industry, a workingmen’s cooperative association.

Subjects

  • Newburyport (Mass.)--History
  • Sovereigns of Industry
  • Teamsters--Massachusetts--Newburyport

Types of material

  • Daybooks

Valley Peace Center (Amherst, Mass.)

Valley Peace Center Records, 1965-1973.

28 boxes (13.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 301

In the summer of 1967, members of University of Massachusetts Amherst campus groups, such as the Faculty Group on War and Peace and the Students for Political Action, joined with individuals from other area colleges and from the community at large to form the Valley Peace Center of Amherst for the purposes of opposing the Vietnam War, providing draft counseling, eliciting pledges from the government to avoid first use of nuclear and biological weapons, and reduction of the power of the “military-industrial complex”. The Center was active for more than five and a half years, drawing its financial support largely from the community and its human resources from student and community volunteers.

Correspondence, minutes, volunteer and membership lists, financial records, newsletters, questionnaires, notes, petitions, clippings, posters, circulars, pamphlets, periodicals, other printed matter, and memorabilia. Includes material relating to alternative service, boycotts, war tax resistance, prison reform, environmental quality, and political candidates.

Subjects

  • Amherst (Mass.)--Social conditions--20th century
  • Draft--United States--History
  • Pacifists--Massachusetts
  • Peace movements--Massachusetts--Amherst
  • Social movements--Massachusetts--Amherst
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements--Massachusetts--Amherst
  • Westover Air Force Base (Mass.)--History--20th century

Contributors

  • Valley Peace Center (Amherst, Mass.)

Types of material

  • Ephemera
  • Pamphlets
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