Special Collections and University Archives
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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.

American Express Company Florence Office Records, 1867-1890

3 boxes (3 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 298

Records of express agent Watson L. Wilcox of Simsbury, Connecticut and Florence, Massachusetts documenting Wilcox’s work for the American Express Company and the evolution of the company from a small shipping business to a delivery organization whose services contributed to the growth of the local and regional economy. Records consist of agent books, receipt books, and waybills listing accounts of local companies and residents for the sending, receiving and delivery of freight, telegraph messages, express cash, goods and packages.


  • American Merchant's Union Express Company
  • Express service--Massachusetts--Florence--History
  • Florence (Mass.)--Economic conditions
  • Florence Manufacturing Company
  • Florence Sewing Machine Company
  • Hill, Samuel L
  • Industries--Massachusetts--Florence--History
  • New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railroad Company
  • Nonotuck Silk Company
  • Parsons, I. S
  • Simsbury (Conn.)--Economic conditions
  • Williston, A. L


  • American Express Company (Florence, Mass.)
  • Wilcox, Watson L., 1832 or 3-1896

Kenyon Leech Butterfield Papers, 1889-1945

(12 linear feet)
Call no.: RG 003/1 B88
Kenyon L. Butterfield
Kenyon L. Butterfield

An agricultural and educational reformer born in 1868, Kenyon Butterfield was the ninth president of Massachusetts Agricultural College and one of the university’s most important figures. An 1891 graduate of Michigan Agricultural College and recipient of MA in Economics and Rural Sociology from the University of Michigan (1902), Butterfield entered university administration early in his career, becoming President of the Rhode Island College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts in 1903 and, only three years later, of the Massachusetts Agricultural College. Possessed of a Progressive spirit, Butterfield revolutionized the college during his 18 years in Amherst, expanding and diversifying the curriculum, quadrupling the institutional budget, fostering a dramatic increase in the presence of women on campus and expanding the curriculum, and above all, helping to promote the Smith-Lever Act of 1914 and developing the Cooperative Extension Service into a vital asset to the Commonwealth. Nationally, he maintained a leadership role in the field of rural sociology and among Land Grant University presidents. After leaving Amherst in 1924, Butterfield served as President at Michigan Agricultural College for four years and was active in missionary endeavors in Asia before retiring. He died at his home in Amherst on Nov. 25, 1936.

The Butterfield Papers contain biographical materials, administrative and official papers of both of his presidencies, typescripts of his talks, and copies of his published writings. Includes correspondence and memoranda (with students, officials, legislators, officers of organizations, and private individuals), reports, outlines, minutes, surveys, and internal memoranda.


  • Agricultural education--Massachusetts--History--Sources
  • Agricultural education--Michigan--History--Sources
  • Agricultural extension work--Massachusetts--History--Sources
  • Agricultural extension work--United States--History--Sources
  • Agriculture--United States--History--Sources
  • Education--United States--History--Sources
  • Food supply--Massachusetts--History--Sources
  • Higher education and state--Massachusetts--History--Sources
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College--Alumni and alumnae
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College--History
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College--Students
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College. President
  • Massachusetts State College--Faculty
  • Michigan Agricultural College--History
  • Michigan Agricultural College. President
  • Rural churches--United States--History--Sources
  • Rural development--Massachusetts--History--Sources
  • Women--Education (Higher)--Massachusetts--History--Sources
  • World War, 1914-1918


  • Butterfield, Kenyon L. (Kenyon Leech), 1868-1935
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.

International Oil Working Group Collection, 1957-1987 (Bulk: 1980-1985)

29 boxes (15 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 268

The International Oil Working Group (IOWG) is one of a number of organizations that worked to implement an oil embargo initiated by the United Nations General Assembly against South Africa to protest the country’s policies of apartheid. The IOWG grew out of the Sanctions Working Group established in 1979. Although the nature and timing of the change in names is unclear, it appears that Dr. Teresa Turner was instrumental in the formation of both groups and was primarily responsible for their organization and administration. Other directors included Luis Prado, Arnold Baker and Kassahun Checole. While the group was loosely organized, it maintained the basic structure of a special advisory board with a pool of research associates. Primary activities involved researching topics related to the oil embargo; writing papers for regional, national, and international conferences; giving testimony at UN meetings; providing information to governments, unions and other groups committed to aiding in the implementation of the oil embargo; lecturing to students and members of the community on the subject of sanctions against South Africa; and collaborating with the UN Center Against Apartheid. Research topics included tanker monitoring to detect and expose those shipping companies that broke the embargo; the energy needs in those countries in southern Africa which depend upon South Africa to meet some of their energy demands; ways to effectively implement and enforce the oil embargo; trade union action by oil transport workers; Namibian independence and decolonization; and underground oil storage in South Africa.

Collection consists of administrative papers including financial records, minutes and association history materials; correspondence; printed materials produced by the IOWG; conference files; UN documents relating to South Africa and sanctions; and reference materials, including published reports, news clippings, newsletters and journals, related to oil shipping, tanker information and South African economic and political activity generally.


  • Apartheid--South Africa--History
  • Economic sanctions--South Africa--History
  • Embargo
  • Namibia--History--Autonomy and independence movements
  • Namibia--Politics and government--1946-1990
  • Petroleum industry and trade--History--20th century
  • Petroleum industry and trade--Political aspects--South Africa
  • South Africa--Politics and government--1978-1989
  • Tankers--South Africa--History


  • International Oil Working Group
  • Turner, Terisa

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

Ebenezer Pope Ledger, 1810-1821

1 vol. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 167 bd

Blacksmith who was prominent in the town affairs of Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Includes debit and credit entries, the method and form of customer payment (cash, services, labor, and goods such as corn, potatoes, wheat, cider brandy, hog, veal, sheep, lambs, and an ox), and an entry noting the building of the Great Barrington and Alford Turnpike in 1812. Also includes documentation of seamstress activity and of African American customers.


  • African Americans--Massachusetts--Great Barrington--History--19th century
  • Barter--Massachusetts--Great Barrington--History--19th century
  • Blacksmiths--Massachusetts--Great Barrington--Economic conditions--19th century
  • George, Negro
  • Great Barrington (Mass.)--History--19th century
  • Great Barrington and Alford Turnpike (Mass.)--History
  • Palmer, Anna M
  • Toll roads--Massachusetts--History--19th century
  • Wages--Men--Massachusetts--Great Barrington--History--19th century
  • Wages--Women--Massachusetts--Great Barrington--History--19th century
  • Wages-in-kind--Massachusetts--Great Barrington--History--19th century


  • Pope, Ebenezer

Types of material

  • Account books

Berlin, Bolton, & Feltonville Stage Ledger, 1854-1867

1 vol. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 138

Stage coach line that carried passengers and mail from Berlin, Bolton, and Feltonville (Hudson) to the Boston area. Includes account book documenting expenses of running the line, with passenger fares recorded elsewhere. Last several pages contain an individual’s accounts, as well as photocopies of passages about the stage coach line and a poem written when the company folded. Amos Sawyer, Jr., and his son-in-law Lorren Arnold ran the business.


  • Berlin (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Bolton (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Freight and freightage--Massachusetts
  • Stagecoach lines--Massachusetts


  • Berlin, Bolton, & Feltonville Stage

Types of material

  • Account books

Zephaniah Buffington Account Book, 1803-1808

1 envelope (0.1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 226

Quaker merchant and farmer from Dartmouth, Massachusetts. Includes two major notations about a large cheese purchase and the sale of hoes in Washington County, New York. Also contains inventories of goods, notations for notes payable and notes receivable, and accounts of his farm (including amounts of cheese made, accounts of farm tools, and the keeping of cows and sheep).


  • Bristol County (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Cheese
  • Cheesemakers--Massachusetts--Dartmouth
  • Dairying--Economic aspects--Massachusetts
  • Dartmouth (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Farmers--Massachusetts--Dartmouth
  • Hoes
  • Merchants--Massachusetts--Dartmouth
  • Quakers--Massachusetts--Bristol County
  • Quakers--New York (State)--Washington County
  • Washington County (N.Y.)--Economic conditions--19th century


  • Buffington, Zephaniah, 1771-

Types of material

  • Account books

Judi Chamberlin Papers, ca.1970-2010

30 boxes (45 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 768
Judi Chamberlin, 2000
Judi Chamberlin, 2000

A pioneer in the psychiatric survivors’ movement, Judi Chamberlin spent four decades as an activist for the civil rights of mental patients. After several voluntary hospitalizations for depression as a young woman, Chamberlin was involuntarily committed for the only time in 1971, having been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Her experiences in the mental health system galvanized her to take action on patients’ rights, and after attending a meeting of the newly formed Mental Patients’ Liberation Project in New York, she helped found the Mental Patients’ Liberation Front in Cambridge, Mass. Explicitly modeled on civil rights organizations of the time, she became a tireless advocate for the patient’s perspective and for choice in treatment. Her book, On Our Own: Patient Controlled Alternatives to the Mental Health System (1978), is considered a key text in the intellectual development of the movement. Working internationally, she became an important figure in several other organizations, including the Center for Psychiatric Rehabilition at Boston University, the Ruby Rogers Advocacy Center, the National Disability Rights Network, and the National Empowerment Center. In recognition of her advocacy, she was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the President’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities in 1992, the David J. Vail National Advocacy Award, and the 1995 Pike Prize, which honors those who have given outstanding service to people with disabilities. Chamberlin died of pulmonary disease at home in Arlington, Mass., in January 2010.

An important record of the development of the psychiatric survivors’ movement from its earliest days, the Chamberlin Papers include rich correspondence between Chamberlin, fellow activists, survivors, and medical professionals; records of her work with the MPLF and other rights organizations, conferences and meetings, and her efforts to build the movement internationally.


  • Antipsychiatry
  • Ex-mental patients
  • People with disabilities--Civil rights
  • People with disabilities--Legal status, laws, etc.


  • Mental Patients Liberation Front
  • Mental Patients Liberation Project
  • National Empowerment Center

Types of material

  • Videotapes
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