Gifford H. and Marjorie B. Towle Papers, 1970-1987 (Bulk: 1945-1980).
24 boxes (33 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 881
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.
- India--Description and travel
- Maharasthra (India)--Economic conditions
- Towle, Marjorie Blossom, 1907-1994
Types of material
University of Massachusetts Amherst. College of Natural Resources and the Environment, 1882-2007.
(53.5 linear feet).
Call no.: RG 015
During its first seventy five years, the mission of Massachusetts Agricultural College gradually expanded from its original focus on teaching the science of agriculture and horticulture. Coping with the changing demands of research and teaching in a disparate array of fields, responsibilities for the administration of University units were reorganized at several points, culminating in the formation of the College of Natural Resources and the Environment in 1993.
This record group consists of Dean’s annual reports, organizational charts, personnel lists, committee minutes, lecture materials, data sheets, maps and census statistics, conference proceedings, course catalogs, directories, publications, handbooks, records of the Agricultural Experiment Station, photographs and audio-visual materials, and other related materials.
Access restrictions: Portions of this collection are stored off-site and require advance notification for retrieval.
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Agricultural Experiment Station
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. College of Natural Resources and the Environment
- University of Massachusetts Amherst. Stockbridge School of Agriculture
Urbana Wine Company Records, 1881-1911.
6 boxes (9 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 660
Founded by John W. Davis, H.H. Cook, A.J. Startzer and others in 1865, the Urbana Wine Company was among the earliest and most successful wineries in the Finger Lakes region of New York. Organized in Hammondsport, N.Y., the center of the eastern wine industry, Urbana’s claim to fame was its widely popular Gold Seal Champagne and other sparkling wines and along with Walter Taylor, they dominated regional wine production during the Gilded Age. The winery survived passage of Prohibition in 1919 , both World Wars operating under the Gold Seal label, but was closed by its parent company, Seagrams, in 1984.
The Urbana Records are concentrated in the period 1881-1885, as the company was growing rapidly. Among other materials, the collection includes a range of correspondence, receipts, some financial records, and tallies of grapes. Additional material on the company is located in Cornell University’s Eastern Wine and Grape Archive.
- Wine industry--New York
Truman Wheeler, Jr., Account Book, 1813-1833.
1 vol. (0.1 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 036 bd
Truman Wheeler, Jr., of Great Barrington, Mass., is considerably more obscure than his father, a prominent merchant, but in the two decades after the War of 1812, he made his living raising and selling rye, oats, and corn, tending sheep, and operating a substantial cider mill.
Wheeler Jr.’s account book records an array of fairly typical transactions in a non-cash economy, in which goods (grain, cider, barrels, food) or services (rental of the cider mill, lodging, labor) of one sort were exchanged for another. The frequency and scale of his cidering operation, and his rental of his cider mill when not used, is a distinguishing feature of his account book, which includes accounts with members of the Burghardt, Ives, Tucker, Warner, Wheeler, Willcox, and other families, as well as with Jack Negro, to whom Wheeler sold grain, pork, and brandy in exchange for assistance in haying.
- Cider industry--Massachusetts--Great Barrington
- Farmers--Massachusetts--Great Barrington
- Great Barrington (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
Types of material
John Woodward Account book, 1838-1868.
1 vol. (0.1 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 063 bd
John Woodward was a farmer in Groton, Mass., during the middle decades of the nineteenth century. Although little is known of his life, it appears that Woodward was born in nearby Tyngsboro on March 7, 1813, and that he married twice: first to Rebecca Sawtelle of Groton in 1823 and second to Mary Jane Nutting — almost 30 years his junior — in Dec. 1866. With Mary Jane, at least, he was highly reproductive, fathering his first son, a seventh child, at the age of 66. Woodward died in Groton on Apr. 20, 1895, and was buried in his family’s ancestral home of Dunstable.
John Woodward’s accounts document the financial transactions of fairly typical farmer in Groton over the period of three decades. Raising an array of produce, from cranberries and chestnuts, to squash, barley, apples, and turnips, Woodward also raised poultry and a variety of livestock. The ledger documents the day to day exchanges of food and labor that comprised the core of the local economy. Noteworthy among his customers are locally prominent families such as Blood and Swett and at least two Nuttings.
- Groton (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
Types of material
Eunice P. Wyman Account Book, 1814-1840.
1 box (0.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 163
Account book of Eunice P. Wyman of Concord, Massachusetts documenting financial transactions relating to her farm and homestead. She gained income not only from selling products (butter, soap, syrup for a sick man, pigs), but also through selling the services of her sons John and Franklin (picking apples, driving cows, digging potatoes, butchering, digging wells, shoveling gravel) and renting half her house to a man who paid, in part, by performing chores (putting rockers on an arm chair, white washing two rooms, making a flower box).
Wyman’s goods and her sons’ services were typically paid for in cash or by exchange of goods or services (cider and vinegar, wool, by driving her cattle home from Stoddard’s pasture, shoemaking, plowing the garden, by “himself and oxen to go into town to get 23 rails and 11 posts,” use of wagons, horses, carts, and oxen). Customers have been identified as being from Concord, Carlisle, Acton, and Westford. The account book includes records of grocer Porter Kimball of Sterling, Massachusetts (1814), and recipes.
- Concord (Mass.)--History--19th century
Types of material