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Belchertown Sentinel

Belchertown Sentinel Collection

1915-2003
1283 digital items
Call no.: MS 845

A weekly community newspaper from a small town in western Massachusetts, the Belchertown Sentinel began publication in 1915. Featuring a mix of news and features focusing on Belchertown and adjoining communities of Amherst and Granby, the Sentinel was edited and published by its founder, Lewis H. Blackmer, for fifty years. Since changing hands twice in the period 1965-1975, the Sentinel has been published by Turley Publications. In 2013, with the centennial of the paper drawing near, the publisher and the Belchertown Historical Society cooperated on a project to digitize 88 years of the Sentinel funded by a grant from the Community Preservation Committee.

The Sentinel collection consists of digital copies only of the newspaper from its founding through 2003.

Subjects
Amherst (Mass.)--History--20th century
Belchertown (Mass.)--History--20th century
Granby (Mass.)--History--20th century
Newspapers--Massachusetts--Belchertown
Belchertown State School Friends Association

Belchertown State School Friends Association Records

1954-1986
30 boxes 20 linear feet
Call no.: MS 302

The Belchertown State School was formally opened in 1922 as an institution to train children with developmental disabilities and prepare them for integration into society. By the 1960s, conditions at the school had deteriorated to a degree detrimental to the residents, precipitating a string of lawsuits, beginning with Ricci v. Greenblatt in 1972, eventually leading to closure of the facility in 1992. The School’s Friends Association was established in 1954 to promote improved conditions at Belchertown State School and better treatment of “retarded” or “mentally challenged” citizens in Massachusetts more generally.

The bulk of the Belchertown State School collection consists of records of court appearances, briefs, the consent decree, and related materials, along with reports and correspondence relating to Massachusetts v. Russell W. Daniels, Ricci v. Greenblatt (later Ricci v. Okin), and other cases. Accompanying the legal files are clippings and photocopied newspaper articles; speeches; newsletters; draft of agreements; and scrapbooks.

The Massachusetts State Archives has a small amount of records related to Belchertown State School. They are housed under the Health and Human Services division in the archives.

Subjects
Persons with mental disabilities--Institutional care--Massachusetts
Ricci, Robert Simpson
Contributors
Belchertown State School
Ricci, Benjamin
Berlin, Bolton, Feltonville Stage Coach Line

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.

Subjects
Berlin (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
Bolton (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
Freight and freightage--Massachusetts
Stagecoach lines--Massachusetts
Contributors
Berlin, Bolton, & Feltonville Stage
Types of material
Account books
Beron, Alex

Alex Beron Collection

ca.1985-1992
3 boxes 4.5 linear feet
Call no.: PH 038

Alex Beron, Jr., was a member of the Association for Gravestone Studies and a photographer of New England gravestones.

The Beron collection consists of a many hundred color photographic prints of gravestones in Massachusetts and Connecticut, arranged town by town, and taken primarily in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Subjects
Gravestones--Connecticut
Gravestones--Massachusetts
Types of material
Photographs
Bigelow, Lambert

Lambert Bigelow Daybook

1822 Sept.-1823 May
1 vol., 169 p. 0.1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 975 bd

Lambert Bigelow (1821-1869) was proprietor of one of the most profitable general stores in Marlborough, Mass. Entering into partnership with his brother Levi in 1822, Bigelow grew to significant wealth, eventually joining with a friend and neighbor to establish the long-lasting firm, Morse, Bigelow, and Co. He died in 1869, survived by his wife and seven of eight children.

An early daybook maintained by the Lambert Bigelow’s newly established firm, and perhaps the first, this volume covers just over half a year of transactions (169 pages) typical of a New England country store of the 1820s. Bigelow’s customers purchased small quantities of goods ranging from molasses and rice to cotton and muslin, flour, sugar, tobacco, rum, “Holland gin,” and (rarely) brandy. Occasionally, Lambert dealt in daintier products such as cinnamon, raisins, and “cake chocolate,” or in specialty items like pudding pans, pitchers, and a black bean pot.

Subjects
General stores--Massachusetts--Marlborough
Marlborough (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
Contributors
L. and L. Bigelow
Types of material
Daybooks
Blackington, Alton H.

Alton H. Blackington Photograph Collection

1898-1943
15 boxes 4 linear feet
Call no.: PH 061
Depiction of Fortune teller, ca.1930
Fortune teller, ca.1930

A native of Rockland, Maine, Alton H. “Blackie” Blackington (1893-1963) was a writer, photojournalist, and radio personality associated with New England “lore and legend.” After returning from naval service in the First World War, Blackington joined the staff of the Boston Herald, covering a range of current events, but becoming well known for his human interest features on New England people and customs. He was successful enough by the mid-1920s to establish his own photo service, and although his work remained centered on New England and was based in Boston, he photographed and handled images from across the country. Capitalizing on the trove of New England stories he accumulated as a photojournalist, Blackington became a popular lecturer and from 1933-1953, a radio and later television host on the NBC network, Yankee Yarns, which yielded the books Yankee Yarns (1954) and More Yankee Yarns (1956).

This collection of glass plate negatives was purchased by Robb Sagendorf of Yankee Publishing around the time of Blackington’s death. Reflecting Blackington’s photojournalistic interests, the collection covers a terrain stretching from news of public officials and civic events to local personalities, but the heart of the collection is the dozens of images of typically eccentric New England characters and human interest stories. Most of the images were taken by Blackington on 4×5″ dry plate negatives, however many of the later images are made on flexible acetate stock and the collection includes several images by other (unidentified) photographers distributed by the Blackington News Service.

Gift of Yankee Publishing, Mar. 2012
Subjects
Coolidge, Calvin, 1872-1933--Photographs
Earhart, Amelia, 1897-1937--Photographs
Maine--Social life and customs--Photographs
Massachusetts--Social life and customs--Photographs
New England--Social life and customs--Photographs
New Hampshire--Social life and customs--Photographs
Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945--Photographs
Sacco-Vanzetti Trial, Dedham, Mass., 1921--Photographs
Types of material
Photographs
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--Brookfield
Asia--Description and travel
Brookfield (Mass.)--History
Cabinetmakers--Massachusetts--Brookfield
Congregational Church--Clergy--Connecticut
Congregational Church--Clergy--Massachusetts
Europe--Description and travel
Jersey cattle--Massachusetts
Morgan horse--Massachusetts
Yale University--Students
Contributors
Richmond Trading Company
Types of material
Ephemera
Photographs
Boarding House (Swift River Valley, Mass.?)

Boarding House Register

1850
1 vol. 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 098

Twenty-four page register kept by unnamed person, possibly from a Quabbin town, listing boarders by name, payment received, and employee accounts. Payments noted in detail from February to October, 1850. Boarders included several doctors and L.S. Hills, possibly Leonard S. Hills of the Amherst, Massachusetts hat factory. Employee accounts list many women with Irish surnames, including Ellen O’Leary, Ellen Callahan, and Margaret Murphy.

Subjects
Boardinghouses--Massachusetts--19th century
Irish American women--History--19th century
Types of material
Account books
Borchers, Kathy

Kathy Borchers Photojournalism Collection

1977-2018
7 boxes 2.75 linear feet
Call no.: PH 083
Depiction of Boy dressed as an eagle for the Fourth of July parade, Bristol, R.I., 1993
Boy dressed as an eagle for the Fourth of July parade, Bristol, R.I., 1993

An award-winning photojournalist, Kathy Borchers began a thirty year career with the Providence Journal in the mid-1980s. A native of Dayton, Ohio, she and her twin sister Karen (also a photojournalist) took up photography in high school and refined their technique as undergraduates at Bowling Green State University. After receiving her master’s degree at the Indiana University School of Journalism in 1981, Borchers worked for three years with the Topeka Capital-Journal before landing in Providence. In addition to covering general news and sports, she took on a number of special assignments and longer-form photoessays over the years in southern New England. She retired in 2015.

A rich sampling from a long career in photojournalism, the collection includes photographic negatives and prints along with associated published materials. Centered primarily on her time with the Providence Journal, the collection reflects the breadth of Borchers’ assignments, including general news, sports coverage, and longer-form photoessays, in both black and white and color The collection also includes five self-made books: three on long-term photographic projects for the Journal and two career retrospectives.

Gift of Kathy Borchers, July 2018
Subjects
Photojournalists--Rhode Island
Rhode Island--Photographs
Contributors
Providence Journal
Types of material
Photographs
Borkowski, Edward A.

Edward A. Borkowski Autobiography

ca.1980
1 folder 0.1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 124 bd

124-page handwritten autobiographical account written in Polish by 100 year-old Edward A. Borkowski of Turner Falls, Massachusetts.

Subjects
Polish Americans--Massachusetts--Turners Falls
Turners Falls (Mass.)--Social conditions
Contributors
Borkowski, Edward A
Types of material
Autobiographies