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Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA)

Northeast Organic Farming Association Records

1977-2007
12 boxes 6.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 461

The Northeast Organic Farming Association began as the vision of a New York City plumbing supplies salesman and has grown into a large association supporting information-sharing, education, collaboration, and certification. Increasingly influential non-profit organization with chapters in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont, NOFA has “nearly 4,000 farmers, gardeners and consumers working to promote healthy food, organic farming practices and a cleaner environment.”

The NOFA collection includes records, publications, ephemera, photographs, and other materials from NOFA chapters in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont, along with material from the Interstate Council. The collection includes information on NOFA’s conferences and programs, educational work, lobbying, and their initiatives in organic certification and organic land care.

Subjects

Agriculture--MassachusettsOrganic farmingOrganic gardeningSustainable agriculture

Contributors

NOFA Massachusetts
Allis Family

Allis Family Collection

1956-1958
1 vol. 0.15 linear feet
Call no.: MS 269 bd

The Allis family began farming in Whately, Mass., in 1716, when John Allis came into possession of a property that would be the home to nine generations of his descendants. A typically diverse operation, the farm centered on cattle and dairying and crops such as hay and potatoes, supplemented throughout the year by sugaring, the manufacture of lye soap, bee culture, and opportunistic work ranging from slating to the construction of water systems for farms. It was sold out of the family in 1957.

This small collection contains two closely-related memoirs about the Allis family and their farm in Whately, Mass., focusing on the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Written by Lucius Howes Allis, the last Allis to own the farm, when he was 72 years old, “The Allis farm and its families” contains a lengthy genealogy, transcriptions of a handful of family deeds and documents, and brief stories about Lucius’ father Irving during his trip to Kansas and on the farm. “Up on the hill” is a lively memoir written by William R. Phinney, an alumnus of Massachusetts Agricultural College and apparently a friend of the Allis family. Phinney’s account contains excellent accounts of the lives of Elliot, Irving, and Lucius Allis, about farm life in the late nineteenth century, dairying, beekeeping, and other topics.

Subjects

Agriculture--Massachusetts--WhatelyAllis family--MassachusettsBees--Massachusetts--WhatelyCattle--Massachusetts--WhatelyDairy farmers--Massachusetts--WhatelyFarms--Massachusetts--WhatelyFires--Massachusetts--WhatelyHatfield (Mass.)--HistoryIndian Territory--Description and travelKansas--Description and travelMaple sugar industry--Massachusetts--WhatelyWhately (Mass.)--History

Contributors

Allis, Lucius Howes, 1886-1963Phinney, William R.

Types of material

Genealogies (Histories)Memoirs
Blanchard Family

Blanchard-Means Family Papers

ca.1770-1970
48 boxes 67 linear feet
Call no.: MS 830
Depiction of Abby Blanchard (later Mrs. Oliver W. Means) at Jacquard punching machine, ca.1890
Abby Blanchard (later Mrs. Oliver W. Means) at Jacquard punching machine, ca.1890

The seat of seven generations of the Blanchard and Means families, Elm Hill Farm was established prior to 1797, when the joiner Amasa Blanchard began acquiring property in Brookfield, Mass., as he looked forward to his marriage. The success he enjoyed in farming was a spark for his family’s prosperity. Amasa’s son Albert Cheney Blanchard left Brookfield in the 1830s to pursue commercial opportunities out west as a partner in the Richmond Trading Co., in Richmond, Ind., and by the time he returned home to take over operations after his father’s death in 1857, Albert had earned a fortune. In the years after the Civil War, Elm Hill grew to 1,300 acres crowned by a mansion built in 1870 that became the center of a compound of eight buildings. Each subsequent generation at Elm Hill has left its own distinctive mark. Albert’s son Charles P. Blanchard, a minister and talented amateur photographer, developed a renowned herd of Morgan horses, and Charles’ daughter Abby and her husband, the minister Oliver W. Means, added a herd of Jersey cattle that included a prize-winning bull, Xenia’s Sultan, imported in 1923, and the cow, You’ll Do Lobelia, better known as the original, real-life Elsie the Cow. Abby’s daughter-in-law, Louise Rich Means, laid acres of spectacular gardens on the estate. Following Louise’s death in 2009, Elm Hill left family ownership.

Consisting of nearly two centuries of papers that accumulated on the Elm Hill estate, the Blanchard-Means collection stretches from a handful of documents from the late eighteenth century relating to landholdings and Amasa ‘s work Blanchard as a joiner, to a blossoming of correspondence, photographs, ephemera, and realia dating from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Well-educated, well-traveled, and well-informed, the Blanchards and Means were prolific letter writers, and their papers provide wonderful insights into the lives of a religiously-devoted family from the New England elite. Among the highlights of the collection are the extensive records from the Richmond Trading Company and from the farm’s livestock and gardening operations (both Morgans and Jerseys) and a remarkable photographic record that document the family, the evolving landscape of Elm Hill, and the town of Brookfield, as well as hundreds of images from C.P. Blanchard’s world tours in the 1890s.

Subjects

Agriculture--Massachusetts--BrookfieldAsia--Description and travelBrookfield (Mass.)--HistoryCabinetmakers--Massachusetts--BrookfieldCongregational Church--Clergy--ConnecticutCongregational Church--Clergy--MassachusettsEurope--Description and travelJersey cattle--MassachusettsMorgan horse--MassachusettsYale University--Students

Contributors

Richmond Trading Company

Types of material

EphemeraPhotographs
Brooks, Burt V.

Burt V. Brooks Photograph Collection

1889-1934
3 boxes 1.5 linear feet
Call no.: PH 060
Depiction of

The artist Burt Vernon Brooks was one of the outstanding chroniclers of daily life in the Swift River Valley before it was inundated to create the Quabbin Reservoir. Born in Brimfield, Mass., in 1849 and raised in Monson, Brooks moved to Greenwich with his family in the 1870s, where he worked on the family farm. At some unclear point before he turned 40, Brooks became active as an artist, painting local homes and scenery and taking photographs of the landscape, residents, and daily life in the Quabbin region. A prolific photographer, he was, in the words of historian Donald W. Howe, “hardly ever seen without his camera strapped to his back,” remaining active for decades. Three years after following his second wife to the west, Brooks died in Los Angeles in 1934.

The great majority of the 92 photographs in this collection are 5×7″ dry plate glass negatives taken by Brooks in the earliest years of the twentieth century, documenting the houses and people of Greenwich. Brooks’ work includes landscapes, houses, and a significant series of images of the Hillside School, but some of his best works are studio portraits, images of people at home or with their carriages, and posed scenes of children at play or at work. The collection also includes eight images by Brooks at Enfield, Greenwich, and Dana that are the property of the Swift River Valley Historical Society, and six images taken by Chetwynd and Pike in the Quabbin region to document properties slated for removal.

Gift of Friends of Quabbin through Gene Theroux, Paul Godfrey, and Les Campbell, June 2014

Subjects

Agriculture--Massachusetts--Greenwich--PhotographsCarriages and carts--Massachusetts--Greenwich--PhotographsChildren--Massachusetts--Greenwich--PhotographsDana (Mass.)--PhotographsDwellings--Massachusetts--Greenwich--PhotographsEnfield (Mass.)--PhotographsGreenwich (Mass.)--PhotographsHillside School (Marlborough, Mass.)Horses--Massachusetts--Greenwich--PhotographsNew Salem (Mass.)--PhotographsPlowing--Massachusetts--Greenwich--PhotographsPrescott (Mass.)--Photographs

Types of material

Dry plate gelatin negativesGelatin silver negativesPhotographs
Chandler, John S., 1836-1916

John Chandler Account Book

1853-1914
1 vol. 0.1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 287 bd

A mariner and whaleman originally from Provincetown, Massachusetts, John S. Chandler (1836-1916) relocated to Bucksport, Maine, in the 1870s to provide care for his aging in-laws.

Chandler’s account book and diary includes records of crewmembers on various voyages, accounts for labor, supplies, and merchandise, pasted-in bills for taxes, clothes, coal, boots, and other commodities, and a journal of Chandler’s farming activities, consisting of notes on labor performed, items and livestock sold, weather accounts, new purchases, and notation of personal visits and trips.

Subjects

Bucksport (Me.)--Economic conditionsBucksport (Me.)--Social life and customsFarmers--Maine--BucksportMerchant mariners--Massachusetts--History--19th centuryProvincetown (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th centuryShip captains--Massachusetts

Types of material

Account books
Crouch, Rebecca

Rebecca Crouch Papers

ca.1936-1986
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 602

In the late 1870s, a middle-aged farmer from Richmond, Minnesota, Samuel Crouch, married a woman eleven years his junior and asked her to relocate to the northern plains. Possessed of some solid self-confidence, Rebecca left behind her family a friends and set out to make a life for herself, adjusting to her new role as step-mother and community member, as well as the familiar role of family member at a distance.

The Crouch Papers includes approximately 225 letters offering insight into life in Minnesota during the late 1870s and early 1880s, and into the domestic and social life of a woman entering into a new marriage with an older man. Rebecca’s letters are consumed with the ebb and flow of daily life, her interactions with other residents of the community at church or in town, the weather, and chores from cooking to cleaning, farming, gardening, writing, going to town, or rearranging furniture.

Subjects

Farmers--MinnesotaMinnesota--Social life and customs--19th centuryWomen--Minnesota

Contributors

Crouch, RebeccaJones, SarahLoomis, Emma

Types of material

Letters (Correspondence)
Duesing, Bill

Bill Duesing Collection

1995-2000
14 items 1.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 760
Depiction of Bill and Suzanne Duesing
Bill and Suzanne Duesing

A pioneer in organic agriculture in New England, Bill Duesing has been as an environmental educator, writer, artist, and lecturer over for four decades. After graduating from Yale University (1964), Duesing worked as a Cooperative Extension agent before turning to organic principles in the early 1970s. Emphasizing sustainability and greater local food sufficiency, he has been instrumental in developing organic standards for gardening and land care and he has served as both founding president and later executive director of the Northeast Organic Farming Association Connecticut and president of the NOFA Interstate Council. During the 1990s, Duesing produced two radio shows, “Living on the Earth” (WSHU) and “The Politics of Food” (WPKN), and he is author of Living on the Earth: Eclectic Essays for a Sustainable and Joyful Future (1993).

The Duesing collection consists of transcripts of his radio show, “Living on the Earth” (1990-2000) and fourteen recordings of “The Politics of Food,” which was broadcast monthly over WPKN (89.5 FM) in Bridgeport in 1997-1998. Each half hour segment of “Politics” included news, a fifteen minute interview, recipes, and tips, with interviewees including Mel Bristol, Jac Smit, Vincent Kay, John Wargo, Hugh Joseph, Joseph Kiefer, Julie Rawson, Michael Sligh, Kathy Lawrence, Lee Warren, and Elizabeth Henderson.

Subjects

Cookery, Health aspectsLiving on the EarthNatural foods--CertificationOrganic farmingOrganic farming--Law and legislationPolitics of foodSustainable agriculture

Contributors

Henderson, Elizabeth, 1943-Rawson, Julie

Types of material

Audiotapes
Gershuny, Grace

Grace Gershuny Papers

1975-1997
2 boxes 3 linear feet
Call no.: MS 793
Depiction of Soul of Soil
Soul of Soil

An organizer, consultant, and educator in the alternative agriculture movement, Grace Gershuny has been active in the field since the 1970s when she worked for the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA), developing its first organic certification program. As a leader in the movement, Gershuny helped to establish both the Organic Trade Association and the Organic Farmer: The Digest of Sustainable Agriculture. Today she continues to write and teach on the subject, serving as a faculty member at a number of colleges, most recently Green Mountain College.

The collection consists chiefly of printed material from a run of the Organic Farmer to Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas (ATTRA) publications and organizational newsletters, such as the Rural Education Center. Amongst these publications are a few small but significant groups of materials including notes from Gershuny’s role as the NOFA VT coordinator in 1979 and her drafts and notes for the second editions of The Soul of Soil.

Subjects

Farming--United StatesNortheast Organic Farming AssociationOrganic farmersOrganic farming

Contributors

Gershuny, Grace
Henderson, Elizabeth, 1943-

Elizabeth Henderson Papers

1966-2011
10 boxes 15 linear feet
Call no.: MS 746
Depiction of

A farmer, activist, and writer, Elizabeth Henderson has exerted an enormous influence on the movement for organic and sustainable agriculture since the 1970s. Although Henderson embarked on an academic career after completing a doctorate at Yale on the Russian poet Vladimir Mayakovsky in 1974, by 1980, she abandoned academia for Unadilla Farm in Gill, Mass., where she learned organic techniques for raising vegetables. Relocating to Rose Valley Farm in Wayne County, NY, in 1989, she helped establish Genesee Valley Organic CSA (GVOCSA), one of the first in the country, and she continued the relationship with the CSA after founding Peacework Organic Farm in Newark, NY, in 1998. Deeply involved in the organic movement at all levels, Henderson was a founding member of the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) in Massachusetts, has served on the Board of Directors for NOFA NY, the NOFA Interstate Council, SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education) Northeast, and many other farming organizations at the state, regional, and national level, and she has been an important voice in national discussions on organic standards, fair trade, and agricultural justice. Among other publications, Henderson contributed to and edited The Real Dirt: Farmers Tell about Organic and Low-Input Practices in the Northeast and co-wrote Sharing the Harvest: A Citizen’s Guide to Community Supported Agriculture (1999, with Robyn Van En) and A Manual of Whole Farm Planning (2003, with Karl North).

Offering insight into the growth of the organic agriculture movement and the organizations that have sustained it, the Henderson Papers document Henderson’s involvement with NOFA, SARE, and the GVOCSA, along with her work to establish organic standards and promote organic practices. Henderson’s broad social and political commitments are represented by a rich set of letters from her work educating prisoners in the late 1970s, including correspondence with Tiyo Attallah Salah-El and John Clinkscales, and with the American Independent Movement in New Haven during the early 1970s, including a nearly complete run of the AIM Bulletin and its successor Modern Times.

Subjects

American Independent Movement (Conn.)Community Supported AgricultureGenesee Valley OrganicNortheast Organic Farming AssociationOrganic farmingPeacework Organic Farm (Newark, N.Y.)Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program

Contributors

Clinkscale, JohnSalah-El, Tiyo Attallah

Types of material

Newspapers
Heywood, Benjamin, 1746-1816

Benjamin Heywood Daybooks

1784-1807
17 vols. 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 239 bd

Harvard educated and a veteran of the American Revolution, Benjamin Heywood was a jurist and prosperous farmer from Worcester, Mass.

Includes documentation of civic and farming activities, such as which animals were put to pasture on what date, which pastures were leased to others, the names and terms of indentured laborers, and the sale/exchange of agricultural products to customers such as Isaiah Thomas, William Eaton, Nathaniel Stowell, Ithamar Smith, and Jonathan Rice. Also contains references to family members.

Subjects

Farmers--Massachusetts--WorcesterWorcester (Mass.)--History

Types of material

Daybooks