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Collection area: Religion (page 1 of 6)

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American Friends Service Committee. Western Massachusetts

American Friends Service Committee Records, 1975-2005
24 boxes (36 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 459

Established in 1968 in response to the war in Vietnam, the AFSC office in western Massachusetts did not limit its focus to draft and military counseling, instead the organization broadened its focus over time to include educational and outreach programs for a variety of peace and socal justice issues. Today the chapter focuses on economic justice, campaigns against U.S. military intervention, and actions to combat racism and classism. With an emphasis on serving the community of western Massachusetts, the program is equally committed to calling attention to issues of both national and local importance. Recent campaigns range from ending the war in Iraq and supporting peace in Columbia to preventing the construction of a new jail in Chicopee.

The collection consists chiefly of subject files that together provide a picture of the various issues in which the western Massachusetts AFSC was involved. Topics range from the organization’s earliest focus, the Vietnam War, to the first Gulf War, landlord/tenant relations, immigration, and landmines. The collection also includes materials relating to public figures, some of whom traveled to the region to speak.

Subjects
  • Activists--Massachusetts
  • Massachusetts--Economic conditions
  • Peace movements--Massachusetts
  • Social justice--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • American Friends Service Committee. Western Massachusetts

Austin, Samuel

Samuel Austin Collection, 1718-1920
2 boxes (1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 937

An historian and educator, Samuel Austin (1816-1897) was known for his long association with the Friends Boarding School in Providence, R.I. (later renamed the Moses Brown School). An alumnus who married an alumna, Elizabeth H. Osborn, Austin taught at the Boarding school for decades and was instrumental in gathering and preserving documents relating to the school. He wrote and lectured regularly on the history of Friends’ education and on the Boarding School, and its noted teachers and alumni.

A product of the historical work of Samuel Austin, the collection contains both essays, notes, and talks on the Friends’ Boarding School in Providence and on Moses and Obadiah Brown, and some significant original documents used by Austin in his research. Noteworthy among the original materials are a fascinating series of records from monthly and quarterly meetings in and near Rhode Island, mostly in 1787-1793; a rich series of epistles received by Smithfield Monthly Meeting from other meetings in New England (1718-1767); some key printed epistles from Yearly Meetings, including those on war (London, New England, and Philadelphia Yearly) and slavery (London and Philadelphia). Of equal note are a series of letters from Elisha Thornton (a New Bedford merchant, educator, and antislavery advocate), a lengthy letter on doctrine from John Wilbur, and a 1765 sermon from Rachel Wilson.

Gift of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, 2016
Subjects
  • Antislavery movements
  • Brown, Moses, 1738-1832
  • Friends Boarding School (Providence, R.I.)
  • Peace movements--Rhode Island
  • Quaker women--Rhode Island--18th century
  • Quakers--Education--Rhode Island
  • Rhode Island--History--18th century
  • Society of Friends--History--Rhode Island
Contributors
  • Thornton, Elisha, 1748-1816
  • Wilbur, John 1774-1856
Types of material
  • Correspondence
  • Minutes (Administrative records)

Babbitt, Elwood, 1922-

Elwood Babbitt Papers, 1974-2000
2 boxes (3 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 517
Elwood Babbitt Papers image
Elwood Babbitt, 1970. Photo by Gary Cohen

Clairvoyant from youth, Elwood Babbitt developed his psychic abilities at the Edgar Cayce Institute, and by the mid-1960s, was well known in Western Massachusetts through his readings and lectures, often opening his home to other seekers. Charles Hapgood, a professor at Keene State College, worked closely with Babbitt studying the physical effects of the medium’s trance lectures, and by 1967, he began to take on the painstaking process of transcribing and copying them. With communications purporting to come from Jesus, Albert Einstein, Mark Twain, and the Hindu god Vishnu, among others, these lectures formed the basis for several books by Hapgood and Babbitt, including Voices of Spirit (1975) and Talks with Christ (1981). Babbitt ultimately established a non-profit, alternative school, the Opie Mountain Citadel, which was essentially run out of Babbitt’s home in Northfield.

The collection consists of proofs of publications, lectures, some correspondence, film reels, and transcripts of spiritual communications for which Babbitt was the medium.

Subjects
  • Channeling (Spiritualism)
  • Hapgood, Charles H
  • Mediums–Massachusetts
Contributors
  • Babbitt, Elwood, 1922-

Blanchard Family

Blanchard-Means Family Papers, ca.1770-1970
48 boxes (67 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 830
Blanchard-Means Family Papers image
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

Book of Hours (Use of Rome)

Book of Hours (Use of Rome), ca.1465
1 vol. (144 fol. linear feet)
Call no.: MS 963
Book of Hours (Use of Rome) image
Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Books of hours are the most common surviving form of the medieval book and are as diverse as the patrons who commissioned them. Beginning in the mid-thirteenth century, they flourished as part of a rich array of devotional works used to frame the temporal structure of a community’s spiritual lives. In keeping with individual spiritual and aesthetic preferences, books of hours were often customized to appeal to the particular purchaser, and they vary greatly through time and from region to region.

This diminutive and comparatively austere book of hours (Use of Rome) appears to have been produced near Bruges between about 1460 and 1470, possibly influenced by the prolific illuminator Willem Vrelant. Written in Latin in a skilled Gothic Italic Rotunda hand, the book lacks a calendar and miniatures of any kind, nor is there any evidence that any were ever present.

Subjects
  • Books of hours--Belgium--Early works to 1800
Contributors
  • Catholic Church--Liturgy--Texts--Early works to 1800
  • Catholic Church--Prayers and devotions--Latin--Early works to 1800
  • Hammer, Christian, 1818-1905
  • Virgin, Thore, 1886-1957
Types of material
  • Books of hours

Brown, Moses, 1738-1832

Moses Brown Papers, 1713-1840
3 boxes (1.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 930

In the early Republic, Moses Brown emerged as an ardent abolitionist, a social reformer, and one of the best known philanthropists in his native Providence, R.I. A Baptist who converted to the Society of Friends in 1774, Brown had made a fortune as a merchant, partly in the triangular trade, but a crisis of conscience brought on by the ghastly results of an attempted slaving voyage in 1765 and the death of his wife in 1773 led him to reexamine his life. Withdrawing from most of his business affairs, Brown joined the Society of Friends and emancipated his slaves. He was a founder of the Providence Society for the Abolition of Slavery in 1786 and a strong voice for peace, temperance, and universal education.

A small, but rich archive of the personal papers of Moses Brown, this collection centers on Brown’s activities in antislavery, peace, and educational reform and his connections to the Society of Friends between the 1760s and 1830s. In addition to significant correspondence with major figures in early antislavery cause, including Anthony Benezet, George Benson, William Dillwyn, and Warner Mifflin, and some material relating to the Providence Society for the Abolition of Slavery, the collection includes outstanding content on peace activism. In addition to materials from Moses Brown, the collection includes letters to Moses’ son Obadiah Brown and some fascinating letters and manuscripts relating to Moses’ friend and fellow Friend, Job Scott.

Gift of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, 2016
Subjects
  • Antislavery movements--Rhode Island
  • Peace movements--Rhode Island
  • Quakers--Rhode Island
  • Rhode Island--History--18th century
Contributors
  • Benson, George W., 1808-1879
  • Brown, Obadiah, 1771-1822
  • Mifflin, Warner
  • Providence Society for Abolishing the Slave-Trade
  • Providence Society for the Abolition of Slavery
  • Scott, Job, 1751-1793

Buffington, Zephania, 1771-

Zephaniah Buffington Account Book, 1803-1808
1 envelope (0.1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 226

Quaker merchant and farmer from Dartmouth, Massachusetts. Includes two major notations about a large cheese purchase and the sale of hoes in Washington County, New York. Also contains inventories of goods, notations for notes payable and notes receivable, and accounts of his farm (including amounts of cheese made, accounts of farm tools, and the keeping of cows and sheep).

Subjects
  • Bristol County (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Cheese
  • Cheesemakers--Massachusetts--Dartmouth
  • Dairying--Economic aspects--Massachusetts
  • Dartmouth (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Farmers--Massachusetts--Dartmouth
  • Hoes
  • Merchants--Massachusetts--Dartmouth
  • Quakers--Massachusetts--Bristol County
  • Quakers--New York (State)--Washington County
  • Washington County (N.Y.)--Economic conditions--19th century
Contributors
  • Buffington, Zephaniah, 1771-
Types of material
  • Account books

Chadbourne, Paul A. (Paul Ansel),1823-1883

Paul A. Chadbourne Papers, 1865-1883
1 box (1 linear feet)
Call no.: RG 003/1 C43
Paul A. Chadbourne Papers image
Paul A. Chadbourne

After distinguishing himself as a chemist on the faculty at Williams College and serving one term in the State Senate, Paul Chadbourne was called upon in 1866 to become the second president of Massachusetts Agricultural College. Although he pressed an ambitious agenda for building a College from scratch, ill health forced him to resign only a year later. He returned to MAC after holding faculty positions in Wisconsin and at Williams, filling a second stint as president from 1882 until his death in 1883. Though brief, he set an important precedent by creating a “scientific and literary” track of study to complement the “agricultural and scientific” one, and by pushing for the financial support of poor students.

The collection includes correspondence of and about Chadbourne, drafts of speeches and sermons, published writings, biographical and genealogical material, and reports from the Massachusetts Board of Agriculture (1865-1881).

Subjects
  • Agricultural education--Massachusetts
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College. President
Contributors
  • Chadbourne, Paul A. (Paul Ansel),1823-1883

Clark, Clarence Carroll

Clarence Carroll Clark Papers, 1909-1981
2 boxes (1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 393

Ordained as an Episcopal priest in 1911, Dr. Clark accepted the position of director of the Chapel of the Comforter in Greenwich Village, New York, a mission that abandoned its traditional Christian practices in favor of the teachings of theosophy. A prolific writer and lecturer, Clark stressed in his work the similarities between Eastern and Western religions, and emphasized his belief that unity among religions would bring about a spiritual re-awakening throughout the world. After serving as director of the Chapel of the Comforter for more than forty years, Clark retired in 1950.

Clark’s papers document his career as a professor of English, Episcopal priest, theosophist, and Director of the Chapel of the Comforter. Consisting of correspondence, lecture notes, and his writings, the collection chronicles his religious beliefs as well as his research on Emily Dickinson and her poetry.

Subjects
  • Dickinson, Emily, 1830-1886
  • Religion--United States
  • Theosophy
Contributors
  • Clark, Clarence Carroll

Dana (Mass.)

Dana (Mass.) Collection, 1801-1938
21 vols. (1.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 012

Situated in the northeastern reaches of the Swift River Valley in western Massachusetts, Dana was one of four towns inundated in the 1930s to create the Quabbin Reservoir. Rural and relatively sparsely populated, Dana’s economy centered on agriculture, leavened with manufacturing wood products and soapstone quarrying.

The Dana Collections include a comprehensive records of town meetings from incorporation through disincorporation (1801-1938), plus rich records for the Congregational Church and its affiliate organizations, the Ladies Aid Society, the Orthodox Congregational Society, and the Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavor. Most of the materials listed in this finding aid are held at the Swift River Valley Historical Society in New Salem, Mass., and were part of a cooperative digitization project centered on the records of the Quabbin towns.

Gift of Donald Howe, 1960
Subjects
  • Congregational churches--Massachusetts--Dana--History
  • Dana (Mass.)--History
  • Dana (Mass.)--Politics and government
  • Dana (Mass.)--Religious life and customs
  • Dana (Mass.)--Social life and customs
  • Poor-Massachusetts--Dana
  • Quabbin Reservoir Region (Mass.)--History
  • Quabbin Reservoir Region (Mass.)--Social life and customs
  • Women--Massachusetts--Dana
  • Women--Societies and clubs
Contributors
  • Dana (Mass. : Town)
  • Dana (Mass. : Town). Overseers of the Poor
  • First Universalist Church (North Dana, Mass.)
  • Ladies' Aid Society (Dana, Mass.)
  • Orthodox Congregational Church (Dana, Mass.)
  • Young Peoples Society of Christian Endeavor
Types of material
  • Church records
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