University of Massachusetts Amherst
SCUA

Collection area: Farming & rural life (page 5 of 6)

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Peckham, Alford S.

Alford S. Peckham Collection
1940s-1990s
6 boxes (9 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 707
Image of New England agricultural event
New England agricultural event

Born in Newport, Rhode Island in 1919, Alford S. Peckham attended Rhode Island College, graduating in 1941, before serving in the U.S. Army 1st Division until receiving a medical discharge. For twenty-one years he worked as the manager of public relations for the United Farmers of New England, a cooperative of dairy farmers. His interest and expertise in agricultural history continued even after he left the cooperative for the Federal Reserve Bank in Boston; he was appointed the Massachusetts state agricultural historian in July 1989 and amassed his own collection of historical resources in the hopes of developing a Massachusetts Agricultural History Society. Peckham died on December 20, 2005 in Newport, Rhode Island, his home since his retirement in 1984.

Consisting chiefly of subject files, the Alford S. Peckham Collection covers topics ranging from agricultural history and fairs to dairy farmers and animal rights. Also included are photographs of agricultural events around New England, such as the Massachusetts Dairy Festival (1958), the American Dairy Princess (1961), and the Big E (1950s).

Gift of Sean M. Fisher, DCR Archives, June 2011
Subjects
  • Agriculture--Massachusetts--History
  • Agriculture--New England--History
  • Dairy farms--Massachusetts--History
  • Farms--New England--History

Rural American Women’s Conference

Rural American Women Conference Records
1978-1981
5 boxes (2.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 146

Feeling the frustrations of millions of women and girls in rural America who lacked the support or resources necessary to combat unemployment, inadequate medical care, and domestic violence, Jane Threatt along with several other women decided to form a non-profit organization that would unite these women and give them a national voice. Established in 1978, Rural American Women (RAW) was organized to promote the interests of rural women in the areas of equal rights, employment, education, family life, and freedom of all forms of discrimination.

In 1981 RAW held a series of five regional conferences throughout the country, and the bulk of this collection consists of records relating to the New England meeting. The records also include some materials documenting the group’s activities at their national headquarters in D.C., such as minutes, correspondence, newsletters, and pamphlets.

Subjects
  • Rural women
Contributors
  • Rural American Women

Sargent, Orlando, 1728-1803

Orlando Sargent Account Book
1753-1808
1 vol. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 139

Prosperous, slave-owning farmer from Amesbury, Massachusetts, who also served as town warden, selectman, and representative. Includes details of the purchases of agricultural products (corn, potatoes, lamb, rye, hay, molasses, wood, cheese), and related services with some of the town’s earliest settlers, widow’s expenses, expenses in support of his grandmother, and family dates.

Subjects
  • Agricultural prices--Massachusetts--Amesbury--History--18th century
  • Amesbury (Mass.)--Economic conditions--18th century
  • Amesbury (Mass.)--History--18th century--Biography
  • Amesbury (Mass.)--Officials and employees--History--18th century
  • Farm produce--Massachusetts--Amesbury--History--18th century
  • Farmers--Massachusetts--Amesbury--Economic conditions--18th century
  • Sargent family
Contributors
  • Sargent, Orlando, 1728-1803
Types of material
  • Account books

Smith, Gilbert, b. 1801

Gilbert Smith and Gilbert Smith, Jr. Account Books
1798-1846
2 vols. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 205 bd

Gilbert Smith was a shoemaker and doctor from New Marlborough, Massachusetts, and his son Gilbert Jr. was a prosperous farmer from Sheffield, Massachusetts. Includes merchandise sales, labor accounts, lists of boarders, and documentation of the sale of homemade butter and cheese to local merchants, as well as trade with the substantial rural black community of the region.

Subjects
  • African Americans--Massachusetts--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Agricultural laborers--Massachusetts--History--19th century
  • Agricultural wages--Massachusetts--History--19th century
  • Dairy products--Massachusetts--Marketing--History--19th century
  • Family--Economic aspects--Massachusetts--History--19th century
  • Farmers--Massachusetts--Sheffield--History--19th century
  • New Marlborough (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Sheffield (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
Contributors
  • Smith, Gilbert, 1801-
  • Smith, Gilbert, d. 1804
Types of material
  • Account books

Smith, Lewis

Lewis Smith Account Book
1784-1828
2 folders (0.15 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 085 b

A resident of Northampton, Mass., directly across the Connecticut River from South Hadley, Lewis Smith ran a substantial farm during the early decades of the nineteenth century. Settling in the village of Smith’s Ferry shortly after service in the American Revolution, Smith owned a part stake in a sawmill and produced and traded in an array of farm products, from grains and vegetables to grain, beef, and pork. A producer of apples and owner of his own mill, he produced large quantities of cider and vinegar.

In a standard double-column account book kept somewhat erratically, Lewis Smith recorded an extensive exchange of goods and services befitting a prosperous Northamptonite. Smith sold an array of goods he produced, from apples to dairy products, grain, beef, lard, and tallow, with cider from his mill (and briefly brandy) being the most consistent producer of revenue.

Subjects
  • Cider industry--Massachusetts--Northampton
  • Farmers--Massachusetts--Northampton
  • Northampton (Mass.)--History
Types of material
  • Account books

Smith, Nelson

Nelson Smith Account book
1835-1846
1 vol. (0.1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 386 bd

Born in Williamstown, Massachusetts, in about 1811, Nelson Smith was about thirty when he married Sallena Burnett of Granby. When Burnett’s father Bela died in 1846, Smith inherited the family farm of 125 acres, now situated on Burnett Street, where he and Sallena raised a family of at least six children. Nelson died in 1892 at the age of 81.

This slender book of accounts includes records of Smith’s financial transactions at a time in the 1830s when he was living in South Hadley, Mass. These include entries for rent, records of hiring out for work at a dairying, at Josiah W. Goodman’s brickyard (at a salary of $32 per month), or for unspecified labor. Other entries record the sale of tallow, cider, cordwood, rye, turnips, and other commodities.

Subjects
  • Farming--Massachusetts--South Hadley
  • South Hadley (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
Types of material
  • Account books

Sommer, Mark

Mark Sommer Papers
1966-2017
21 boxes (32 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 973

Mark Sommer, with Zetta, the first newborn goat at the Sommer homestead in northern CA, May 1985

Mark Sommer is an explorer, storyteller, and award-winning public radio and print journalist focused on advocacy and narratives of social, political, and environmental change and positive action. In Washington, D.C., Sommer found himself on hand for some of the 1960s pivotal moments, where he was involved with the Liberation News Service and the New Left think tank, the Institute for Policy Studies. Sommer moved to California in 1969 to explore the counterculture, spending several years journeying – spiritually, psychedelically, and physically between communes, farms, and wilderness homesteads along the western coast – before he and his wife built a self-reliant organic homestead in the deep woods of northern CA, where they lived from the 1970s to the 1990s. The resilience of nature deeply impacted Sommer’s outlook and work as a writer and journalist, driving his interest in the human capacity for overcoming adversity. Sommer founded and directed the Mainstream Media Project, a nonprofit media placement service scheduling leading edge thinkers and social innovators for extensive radio interviews, and Sommer served as host and executive producer of the internationally syndicated and award winning, one-hour weekly radio program, A World of Possibilities. Sommer is the author of three books (Beyond the Bomb, The Conquest of War, and Living in Freedom), and hundreds of op-eds in major newspapers worldwide. Current projects include short and movie length videos crafted from his photographs, films, interviews, and experiences.

Chronicling over five decades of creative and journalistic output of a life-long explorer and progressive advocate, the Mark Sommer Papers are an extensive collection, covering Sommer’s entire career and personal life from the late 1960s to the present. Writings include personal and multiple travel journals (including a unique trip to North Vietnam in 1968), correspondence, student essays, op-eds, articles, project and grant plans, memoirs, and book manuscripts. Additional journals exist in audio format, along with radio interviews where Sommer served as a guest. Slides, photographs, and movies cover Sommer’s family and home life to his wide-ranging travels and interests. Some main topics of coverage include foreign policy and international politics, progressivism, peace and conflict studies, the anti-nuclear and disarmament movements, wilderness and back-to-the-land experiences, and later in life fatherhood. Materials from Mainstream Media Project have been separated into the Mainstream Media Project Records.

Gift of Mark Sommer, May 2017
Subjects
  • Antinuclear movement
  • Counterculture--United States
  • Institute for Policy Studies
  • Journalists--California
  • Nuclear disarmament
  • Peace--research
  • Peaceful change (International relations)
  • Political activists
  • Reconciliation
  • Self-reliant living--California
  • Sustainable living
  • Travel writing
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975
Types of material
  • Articles
  • Correspondence
  • Diaries
  • Memoirs
  • Photographs
  • Sound recordings
  • Video recordings

Tilton, Hannah

Hannah Tilton Account Book
1845-1885
1 vol. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 250 bd

Born into a working class family from New Bedford, Mass., in Nov. 1829, Hannah Sisson was the daughter of a cooper Job Tilton and his wife Patience, and was raised in the multigenerational home owned by her grandparents John and Nancy Tilton. In April 1853, Hannah married George Oliver Tilton, a farmer from Chilmark on Martha’s Vineyard, and moved to the island.

The first 340 pages of this daybook detail the daily transactions of a general store in New Bedford between 1845 and 1847. The store traded in very small quantities of consumable goods, ranging from a gallon of molasses to 150 crackers, a pound of butter, a peck of potatoes or apples, flour, pork, and fish. Most purchases were for less than a dollar.

Acquired from Charles Apfelbaum, 1987
Subjects
  • General stores--Massachusetts--New Bedford
  • New Bedford (Mass.)--History
Types of material
  • Daybooks

Towle, Gifford H.

Gifford H. and Marjorie B. Towle Papers
1970-1987 (Bulk: 1945-1980)
24 boxes (33 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 881
Image of Gifford and Marjorie Towle, 1957
Gifford and Marjorie Towle, 1957

As a student at Mount Hermon School in the late 1920s, Gifford Hoag Towle met Marjorie Ripley Blossom, a young woman at the Northfield School for Girls. When Giff went on to the Massachusetts Agricultural College (BS 1932) and Marjorie to a midwestern Bible College for a year (before being called home due to a family crisis), they remained connected and after Giff’s graduation in 1932, they married. By the time that Giff graduated from Hartford Seminary, he had left his Quaker upbringing to enter the Congregationalist ministry, and he and Marjorie filled three pulpits near Pelham, Mass. In 1939, however, they were called by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions to serve as missionaries in the American Marathi Mission in Maharashtra State, central India. Following two years of intensive study of the Marathi language in Ahmednagar, they settled in Vadala, a rural village on the semi-arid plains, where they worked for thirty-four years, counting furloughs. In 1946 on furlough in the U.S., Giff earned a master’s degree in agricultural engineering from Cornell while pastoring a small church in the suburbs of Ithaca. In his agricultural work in India, Giff used the mission farm to demonstrate crop diversity and farm animal improvement; created co-operatives to enable poor farmers to use appropriate modern tools and machinery for pennies; taught good irrigation and soil conservation; and later built a Mechanical Unit and trained local Indians as mechanics to repair machinery and drill wells. Giff also invented a pump for which he never filed a patent, wanting instead to make it as widely available as possible. He built networks with relatives, churches, and non-profits to fund these efforts and get supplies.

The Towle Collection contains a wealth of information for research in three distinct areas: missions and religious matters; agriculture in “developing” countries; and the cultural and socio-economic context of social change in rural India. The Towles’ voluminous correspondence and reports offer a particularly rich view into mission life in India, including American participation through churches, relations between Hindus and Christians or between Christians, and the viability of these efforts. Marjorie’s letters are particularly vivid, adding significantly to our understanding of mission lives and experiences. The collection is equally rich in revealing the impact of the Towles’ agricultural work and for study of the efficacy of government agencies and non-profits seeking to understand cross-cultural issues.

Gift of Jean Reed, 2015
Subjects
  • Agriculture--India
  • India--Description and travel
  • Maharasthra (India)--Economic conditions
  • Missionaries--India
Contributors
  • Towle, Marjorie Blossom, 1907-1994
Types of material
  • Photographs

Twiss, Thomas D.

Thomas D. Twiss Account Book
1829-1873
1 vol. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 921 bd

A farmer and laborer in Antrim, N.H., Thomas Dimon Twiss was born in Beverly, Mass., in 1801. At the age of 24, Twiss married a local Antrim woman, Betsey Brackett, with whom he raised a family of three children.

This typical single-column account book of the mid-nineteenth century records Twiss’s diverse economic transactions, providing labor for the town in “braking rods” [breaking roads] and “digin graves”and to neighbors and for a wide variety of manual farm labor, including killing hogs, plowing, threshing, haying, and assorted carpentry work.

Subjects
  • Antrim (N.H.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Farmers--New Hampshire--19th century
  • Grave diggers--New Hampshire--19th century
Types of material
  • Account books
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