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Nichols, Reuben

Reuben Nichols, The adventures and ramblings of a sailor

1840
1 vol. 0.1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 901 bd

The son of a Revolutionary War veteran from Fairfield County, Conn., Reuben Nichols went to sea as teenager and spent a quarter of a century sailing the Atlantic aboard merchant ships and privateers. After rising to become master of the New York and Savannah packets Exact and Angelique in the 1830s, he retired to a life on shore near Bridgeport.

This vigorous account of a life on the antebellum seas runs Nichols’ childhood hardships through a series of adventures at sea in war and peace. An observant and effective writer, Nichols describes voyages to western and northern Europe, the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, and South America during and after the War of 1812. During a colorful career, he took part in the operations of warships and privateers, witnessed attempted mutinies and desertions, rescued the abolitionist John Hopper from a mob in Georgia, and was drawn into the struggles for colonial liberation. His experiences aboard the privateer Kemp and descriptions of Haiti, Cape Verde, Spain, Gibraltar, Turkey, and Argentina are particularly evocative.

Acquired from William Reese, Mar. 2016

Subjects

Abolitionists--GeorgiaArgentina--Description and travel--19th centuryAruba--Description and travel--19th centuryGibraltar--Description and travel--19th centuryHaiti--Description and travel--19th centuryHopper, John, 1815-1865Merchant ships--ConnecticutMutinyPrivateeringSailors--ConnecticutSpain--Description and travel--19th centuryStratford (Conn.)--HistoryTurkey--Description and travel--19th centuryUnited States--History--War of 1812--Naval operations

Types of material

AutobiographiesMemoirs
North Bridgewater (Mass.). Treasurer

North Bridgewater (Mass.) Treasurer Account Book

1858-1881
1 vol. 0.15 linear feet
Call no.: MS 223 bd

In the years after it separated from Bridegwater in 1821, North Bridgewater emerged as a center of manufacturing. During the industrial boom years of the mid-nineteenth century, it grew into the largest producer of shoes and boots in the nation, boasting 97 factories by the end of the century. In 1874, the town changed to its current name, Brockton, and it was incorporated as a city seven years later.

Nearly two thirds of this town treasurer’s account book from North Bridgewater (later Brockton), Massachusetts, is devoted to a monthly accounting of money paid to the families of Civil War volunteers, beginning in April 1861 and carrying through 1881, made mostly by town treasurer R.P. Kingman; accounts of school district expenses and revenues for the years 1858 to 1869, for the 14 school districts in North Bridgewater (teacher salaries, supplies, and accounts with textbook publishers such as Harper & Bros. and Heath & Co.); and listings of salaries paid town officers, including the Superintendent of Streets, Overseer of the Poor, city clerk, city treasurer, and the Police Department.

Acquired from Charles Apfelbaum, 1987

Subjects

Police--Massachusetts--North BridgewaterSchools--Massachusetts--North BridgewaterUnited States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865

Contributors

North Bridgewater (Mass.). Treasurer

Types of material

Records (Documents)
Ozer Family

Ozer Family Papers

ca. 1935-2015
10 boxes 13.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1002
Ruth and Abe Ozer celebrating their 90th birthdays in 2010.
Ruth and Abe Ozer celebrating their 90th birthdays in 2010.

Born five days apart in June 1920 in Manhattan, Abraham Jay Ozer (born Abraham Ozersky) and Ruth Sydell Ozer (born Ruth Sydell Newman) married in 1947 after Abe returned from his army service in Australia, New Guinea, and the Philippines. Abe received the Purple Heart after being wounded by shrapnel from a kamikaze attack on his ship after the Battle of Leyte Gulf in 1944. Returning to New York, Abe and Ruth began their romance, after being friends earlier as part of a Workmen Circle teen group, and lived almost the entirety of the rest of their lives in the Amalgamated Housing Cooperative in the Bronx, the country’s oldest nonprofit housing cooperative. The Ozers were involved in the social, cultural, and financial community of the cooperative, originally founded by Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union members, and decidedly Jewish and progressive in its early decades. Working for RKO Pictures Inc. and as a substitute teacher, Ruth also volunteered at the local Amalgamated nursery school, which her daughters Alison and Stephanie attended as children. Self-employed in the insurance business, Abe served on several of the community’s boards and societies, and later volunteered as a dispatcher for ambulances in the Amalgamated, and as a tour guide at the Bronx Zoo. The two were also able to pursue their passion for travel, beginning their adventures in 1969 with a trip to the United Kingdom. Over the next thirty-five years they would take more than fifty international and national trips.

The Ozer Family Papers primarily document the lives of Abe and Ruth Ozer, including their high school and college years, their correspondence and other records from Abe’s military service in the 311th and then 168th Ordnance Depot Company, additional war correspondence between Ruth and other parties, and extensive documentation of the couple’s many years of travel, including selected slides, photographs, travel planning documents, and Ruth’s detailed travel journals for each trip from 1969 through 2005. Additional materials cover the Amalgamated Housing Cooperative, RKO Pictures Inc., and other aspects of the Ozer’s lives, including numerous oral history interviews and home movies on formats ranging from 8mm film to digital. The greater Ozer family is also represented, from a family tree back to Abe’s grandparents from Belorussia, to content and interviews with his mother, Sadie Uretsky, and several folders of clippings about Abe’s brother, Bernard Ozer, an important figure in fashion, and former vice-president of Associated Merchandising Corporation. Additional content on the Ozer’s children, grandchildren, and extended family rounds out the collection. An additional two boxes of family photographs and albums, added to the collection later, remain unprocessed.

Gift of Alison Ozer, November 2017

Subjects

Bronx (New York, N.Y.)--Social life and customsHousing, CooperativeHunter College--StudentsJews--New York (State)--New YorkLeyte Gulf, Battle of, Philippines, 1944TourismTravelUnited States. Army. Ordnance CorpsWorld War, 1939-1945

Types of material

Letters (Correspondence)Oral historiesPhotographsSlides (photographs)
Passin, Herbert

Herbert Passin Collection

1944-1955
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 565

A distinguished scholar of contemporary Japan, Herbert Passin was born in Chicago on Dec. 16, 1916. After completing a doctorate in anthropology in 1941, Passin was inducted into the Army and sent to the Army’s Japanese language school in Ann Arbor, Michigan, for training. Assigned to duty in Tokyo in December 1945, he became chief of the Public Opinion and Sociological Research Division under Gen. Douglas MacArthur. During his tour of duty, Passin coordinated a series of sociological studies of Japanese village life to help guide U.S. Occupation policy, particularly as it dealt with land and labor reform.

The Passin Collection contains reports and notes of sociological surveys of two Japanese villages, Yuzurihara and Yawatano, conducted by U.S. Occupation authorities in 1946 and 1947, along with a wartime report by Arthur Meadow of “Japanese character structure based on Japanese film plots and thematic apperception tests on Japanese Americans,” and a post-war letter from the novelist Takami Jun.

Gift of James and Sibylle Fraser, Oct. 2007

Subjects

Japan--History--Allied occupation, 1945-1952Japan--Sociology--Occupation

Contributors

Passin, Herbert

Types of material

Letters (Correspondence)
Peasley, Alonzo A.

Alonzo A. Peasley Diaries

1861-1863
2 vols. 0.2 linear feet
Call no.: MS 608 bd
Depiction of Fragments of the 1st Massachusetts Infantry flag
Fragments of the 1st Massachusetts Infantry flag

Born in Dorchester, Mass., Alonzo A. Peasley enlisted in the 1st Massachusetts Infantry in May 1861, only weeks after the outbreak of the Civil War. Sent almost immediately southward, Peasley’s regiment was deployed in the Battles of Glendale and First Bull Run in July, and served with the Army of the Potomac throughout the Peninsular Campaign, Frederickbsurg, and Chancellorsville. As part of the 2nd Division, 3rd Army Corps on July 2, 1863, the 1st Massachusetts suffered a 40% casualty rate during fierce fighting along the Emmitsburg Road in Gettysburg, with Peasley sustaining serious wounds. Hospitalized for several months, he was transferred to the Veterans Reserve Corps to serve out his enlistment. In later life, Peasley worked as a letter carrier in Boston.

Exceptionally well-written, observant, and above all active, Peasley’s diaries offer a fine account of a private’s life in the Civil War. The two volumes include detailed descriptions of life in the 1st Massachusetts Infantry covering the entire period from the day the regiment left the state in June 1861 until the time of Peasley’s wounding at Gettysburg in July 1863. Among the highlights are a minutely detailed, thoroughly extended account of Peasley’s first major engagements (Blackburn’s Ford and First Bull Run), excellent account for the Peninsular Campaign, and a stunning account of the Second Battle of Bull Run.

Gift of William A. Carroll, June 2009

Subjects

Bull Run, 1st Battle of, Va., 1861Bull Run, 2nd Battle of, Va., 1862Peninsular Campaign, 1862United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865United States. Army--Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, 1st (1861-1864)

Contributors

Peasley, Alonzo A

Types of material

Diaries
Perry, Henry H.

Henry H. Perry Papers

1940-1942
4 boxes 2 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1019

A Quaker investment broker and attorney, Henry H. Perry was born in Rhode Island in about 1885. A prominent figure in the New England Yearly Meeting, Perry was called upon by the American Friends Service Committee to act as director of three of the Massachusetts Civilian Public Service Camps: Royalston, Petersham, and Ashburnham. Under the Selective Service Act of 1940, negotiations between the Selective Service and the major peace churches resulted in the creation of a system by which conscientious objectors were allowed to refrain from direct participation in the war, by serving instead in Civilian Public Service camps. Assigned to “work of national importance,” they filled in for war-related manpower shortages in a variety of areas, including the Forest Service, Soil Conservation Service, mental hospitals, telephone line maintenance and repair, fire-fighting, and clearing fire debris that was left in the wake of the 1937 New England hurricane. Living in Petersham with his wife Edith (Nicholson), Perry served as director of the camps from June 1941 until they were discontinued in October 1942. Perry writes, in a letter dated November 1942, that he is “no longer connected to CPS;” his correspondence is addressed from Dover, MA, showing that he relocated to the Boston area. However, little information is available about him after the camps closed.

This collection consists of administrative and business records concerning the start up, operation, and shut down of the AFSC-run CPS Camps in Royalston, Ashburnham, and Petersham, Mass. Camp Directors were under mandatory orders to keep the strict records that make up the bulk of this collection—administrative documentation, correspondences, health records, itineraries, financial reports and budgets, all pertaining to camp operations. This documentation acted as a deliberate gesture, demonstrating the competency and legitimacy of CPS camp work to Selective Service authorities. However, this collection also contains some personal correspondence and notes not directly related to camp administration, that give a personal, everyday-life, glimpse at the stresses, struggles, and emotional labor, on the part of Quakers, who had to step up, come together, and make the best of a terrible situation: protecting and caring for conscientious objectors during a time of war.

Part of the New England Yearly Meeting of Friends Records, April 2017.

Subjects

Civilian Public ServicePacifists--MassachusettsQuakers--MassachusettsWorld War, 1939-1945--Conscientious objectors

Contributors

American Friends Service CommitteeSociety of Friends

Types of material

Newsletters
Pike, Phillip N.

Phillip N. Pike Papers

1917-1919
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 722
Depiction of Phillip N. Pike (seated) and friend, 1918
Phillip N. Pike (seated) and friend, 1918

A 21-year-old carpenter, Phillip N. Pike left his home in North Adams, Massachusetts, in August of 1917 to enlist in the Signal Corps. Ordered first to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas for training, and then to France in December of 1917, Pike was assigned to the 78th Aero Squadron of the American Expeditionary Forces, doing construction work on bases where the squadron was stationed. In recognition of his skills, he earned promotion to corporal and then sergeant before the war’s end. The squadron served primarily in Romorantin (Loir-et-Cher) and was redesignated the 490th Aero Squadron before demobilizing in late 1918.

The Pike letters are a relatively voluminous and interesting set of soldier’s letters from the First World War, written from the perspective of a worker on an air base. Although he was not an aviator, Pike’s letters contain many details about life on active duty with the AEF, from the time of his entry into the service in August 1917 through the last days of the war.

Subjects

World War, 1914-1918

Contributors

Pike, Phillip N.

Types of material

Letters (Correspondence)PhotographsPostcards
Polish Soldiers Relief (Chicopee, Mass.)

Polish Soldiers Relief Correspondence

1941-1942
4 items 0.1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 219 bd

Four postcards sent to Polish Soldiers Relief of Chicopee in 1941 concerning Polish prisoners of war in German camps.

Subjects

Polish Americans--MassachusettsPrisoners of WarWorld War, 1939-1945
Politella Family

Politella Family Papers

1915-2004 Bulk: 1938-1956
2 boxes 3 linear feet
Call no.: MS 885
Depiction of Dario, Antonio, Lillian, and Joseph Politella in Amherst, ca.1930
Dario, Antonio, Lillian, and Joseph Politella in Amherst, ca.1930

When Antonio Politella emigrated from Italy to Lawrence, Mass., in 1910, he joined an older half-brother Walter Pollano, but left behind his wife and infant son. Working as a pharmacist under Pollano, Politella was successful enough to reunite his family in 1919, and eventually raised a family of three, all of whom went on to earn undergraduate degrees at Massachusetts State College and dedicate their lives to education. The eldest child, Joseph (’33), served in the Army Air Corps during the Second World War, earned a PhD in philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania, and taught in eastern religions at Kent State University. Lillian (’42) became a French teacher, while Dario (’47), an aviator during the war, earned his doctorate at Syracuse and taught journalism at UMass Amherst for many years.

The Politella family collection contains correspondence received primarily by Lillian Politella (’42), the bulk of which reflects the impact on the war on both her family and college. Among the letters are dozens written by her brothers Joseph (’33) and Dario (’47) and friend Donald W. Cadigan (’39) while in the service, which are joined by an evocative series from their teacher and mentor, Ray Ethan Torrey. Torrey’s letters in particular offer insight into Mass. State College during and after the war and are replete with news about acquaintances and complaints about liberals and current events.

Gift of Norma E. Parras, Nov. 2015

Subjects

Buddhism--Study and teachingHinduism--Study and teachingMassachusetts State College--HistoryMassachusetts State College--StudentsMysticismTheosophyWorld War, 1939-1945

Contributors

Politella, DarioPolitella, JosephPolitella, V. LillianTorrey, Ray Ethan, 1887-1956

Types of material

Photograph albumsPhotographsScrapbooks
Post-War World Council

Post War World Council Collection

1942-1961
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 307

Founded and chaired by Norman Thomas in 1942, the Post-War World Council sought to lay the groundwork for a democratic and anti-imperialist end to the Second World War. As the face of the organization, Thomas promoted the pacifist ideals of internationalism, disarmament, and decolonization, however his failing health in the early 1960s led to the decline of the Council and its formal dissolution in 1967.

This collection consists of pamphlets from the Post War World Council that document a range of opinions concerning the war and the world, including titles such as “Saboteurs of Victory,” “The Case Against Compulsory Peacetime Military Training,” “The Future of the Far East,” and “Disarmament in the Post War World.”

Gift of Stephen Siteman, 1990

Subjects

Anti-imperialist movementsPeace movementsWorld War, 1939-1945

Contributors

Post-War World Council

Types of material

Pamphlets