Collecting area: Religion Page 5 of 7
Obadiah Brown’s Benevolent Fund

Obadiah Brown's Benevolent Fund Records

1814-2015
3 boxes, 7 vols. 5.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 956

Upon his death in 1822, Obadiah Brown bequeathed $100,000 from his sizable estate to support the Friends Boarding School in Providence, R.I., with much of the rest endowing a charitable fund that bears his name. A committed Quaker and philanthropist like his father Moses, Obadiah stipulated that the annual income from his benevolent fund be directed “principally for the benefit of our religious society” and assist in spreading “our Religious Principles where they are little known.” Independent of the New England Yearly Meeting of Friends and administered by twelve trustees, the Fund over the years has supported Quaker education, the publication and distribution of religious literature, and other projects that provide “benefits to the Religious Society,” including work in peace and social justice. The Trustees also administer a separate fund with similar purpose established by 1914 bequest from Sarah J. Swift.

Beginning with records documenting the establishment of the Benevolent Fund, the collection documents nearly two centuries of philanthropic support for Quaker causes. In addition to copies of Brown’s will and the incorporating documents and by-laws, the collection includes a nearly comprehensive set of Trustees’ minutes and treasurer’s reports, with some supporting documents.

Gift of the Obadiah Brown Benevolent Fund, Mar. 2017

Subjects

  • Charities--New England
  • Society of Friends--Charities
Panus, Mary Lou

Mary Lou Panus Polish American Collection

1895-1997
3 boxes 1.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 378

Mary Lou Panus documented Polish American life in Massachusetts by collecting newspaper clippings, business cards, programs, and Polish language prayer books and prayer cards.

The Panus collection includes photographs of Polish churches in Massachusetts, reflecting the important role religion played in the culture and in various communities. The collection also includes a doll dressed as a nun.

Subjects

  • Polish Americans--Massachusetts

Contributors

  • Panus, Mary Lou
Peck Family

Peck-Sisson-White Family Papers

1772-1975 Bulk: 1830-1875
2 boxes 0.75 linear feet
Call no.: MS 933

Perez Peck (1786-1876) and Asa Sisson (1815-1893) of the village of Anthony (Coventry), R.I., were innovative machinists and manufacturers of cotton looms. Active members of the Society of Friends, they were supporters of the antislavery struggle and sent their children to the Friends Boarding School in Providence, R.I.

Although the Peck-Sisson-White family collection spans three families and three generations, the bulk of material is concentrated on the lives of Asa Sisson and his wife Mary Ann (Peck) and their daughter Emily, who married Willis H. White, with an emphasis on their poetry and their time at the Friends Boarding School in Providence, R.I. The family also copied verse from other writers, including works from George Miller (not otherwise identified) extracting Anthony Benezet and “Remarks on encouraging slavery” and a “lamentation over New England” which touches on the execution of early Quakers in Massachusetts Bay.

Gift of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, 2016

Subjects

  • Antislavery movements--Rhode Island
  • Death--Poetry
  • Friends Boarding School (Providence, R.I.)
  • Quakers--Rhode Island

Contributors

  • Peck, Perez, 1786-1876
  • Sisson, Asa, 1815-1893
  • Sisson, Mary Ann, 1816-1882
  • White, Emily Sisson, 1856-1945

Types of material

  • Diaries
  • Poetry
Pelczynski, Walter, 1916-2000

Walter Pelczynski Papers

1983
1 envelope 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 148 bd

Walter Pelczynski was a native of Adams, Massachusetts and the second native-born American to be ordained by the Congregation of Marians, which has its roots in Poland. He served as head of the Marians at Eden Hill in Stockbridge, Massachusetts for many years.

Included in this small collection is a photocopy of Pelczynski’s typewritten memoirs, written in 1983, that cover the years 1934 to 1983.

Father Walter Pelczynski, via Rev. Charles Jan Di Mascola and Stanley Radosh, 1987

Subjects

  • Catholic Church--Massachusetts--Stockbridge--History
  • Marian Fathers. St. Stanislaus Kostka Province
  • Polish Americans--Massachusetts--Stockbridge
  • Stockbridge (Mass.)--Biography
  • Superiors, Religious--Massachusetts--Stockbridge--Biography

Contributors

  • Pelczynski, Walter, 1916-2000

Types of material

  • Autobiographies
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, and mental hospitals. Living in Petersham with his wife Edith, Perry served as director of the camps from June 1941 until they were discontinued in October 1942.

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.

Subjects

  • American Friends Service Committee. Civilian Public Service
  • Peace movements--Massachusetts
  • World War, 1939-1945--Conscientious objectors

Types of material

  • Newsletters
Politella Family

Politella Family Papers

1915-2004 Bulk: 1938-1956
2 boxes 3 linear feet
Call no.: MS 885
Image 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 teaching
  • Hinduism--Study and teaching
  • Massachusetts State College--History
  • Massachusetts State College--Students
  • Mysticism
  • Theosophy
  • World War, 1939-1945

Contributors

  • Politella, Dario
  • Politella, Joseph
  • Politella, V. Lillian
  • Torrey, Ray Ethan, 1887-1956

Types of material

  • Photograph albums
  • Photographs
  • Scrapbooks
Providence Society for Abolishing the Slave-Trade

Providence Society for Abolishing the Slave-Trade Minute Book

1789-1827
1 vol. 0.2 linear feet
Call no.: MS 935

Founded in 1789, the Providence Society for Abolishing the Slave Trade was an early antislavery organization forged in the unique political and social climate of post-Revolutionary Rhode Island. An interdenominational organization with a membership comprised largely of Quakers, the Society served as a self-appointed watchdog for violations of the act abolishing the slave trade and they provided funds to prosecute violators and to support African Americans fighting for their rights in state courts. The Society lay essentially dormant from 1793 to 1824 , when it was revived as an all-purpose antislavery organization, and it appears to have ceased operations in 1827.

The minute book of the Providence Society for Abolishing the Slave Trade are an essentially complete record of the organization’s formal meetings. The volume begins by laying out the organization’s constitution and includes listings of officers and members and summary records of their activities.

Gift of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, 2016

Subjects

  • African Americans--Rhode Island
  • Antislavery movements--Rhode Island
  • Providence (R.I.)--History
  • Quakers--Rhode Island

Contributors

  • Brown, Moses, 1738-1832
  • Howell, David, 1747-1824

Types of material

  • Minute books
Robinson, Frank B. (Frank Bruce), b. 1886

Psychiana Collection

1932
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 502

Moved by a vision in which he saw himself as the head of a new religion, Frank Bruce Robinson established Psychiana soon after moving to Moscow, Idaho, in 1928-1929. Once established, word about the religion spread quickly, primarily through advertisements Robinson placed in newspapers and magazines. Within the first year more than 600,000 students in 67 countries were receiving his printed lessons. Robinson’s launching of Psychiana could not have been better timed. The Great Depression provided a ready-made audience eager to grasp onto his message of “health, wealth, and prosperity” achieved by positive affirmations and self help.

This collection consists of 16 lessons in the Psychiana Advanced Course printed in 1932.

Acquired from Stephen Resnick, Apr. 2006

Subjects

  • Psychiana movement

Contributors

  • Robinson, Frank B. (Frank Bruce), b. 1886
Rowe Camp and Conference Center

Rowe Camp and Conference Center Collection

1982-2007
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 536

Founded as a Unitarian camp in 1924 for high school students and later adding a junior high component in 1947, the Rowe Camp and Conference Center now offers retreat programs in a variety of areas, including health care, exploration of rituals and dreams, astronomy, and workshops for families, couples, men and women.

This collection consists of newspaper clippings and the Rowe Conference Center and camp annual bulletin.

Subjects

  • Religion--Massachusetts

Contributors

  • Rowe Camp and Conference Center
  • Spiritual healing
  • Spiritual life
  • Spiritual retreats--Christianity
Sanders, Paul Samuel

Paul Samuel Sanders Papers

1937-1972
9 linear feet
Call no.: FS 084

Methodist Clergyman; literary and religious scholar.

Correspondence, drafts of writings, notes for lectures and sermons, book reviews, course materials, class notes taken as a student, biographical material, and other papers, relating chiefly to Sander’s studies of English and religious literature, his teaching career at several colleges (including the University of Massachusetts) and church-related activities. Includes draft of an unpublished book on the Bible as literature; correspondence and organized material from his participation in Laymen’s Academy for Oecumenical Studies, Amherst Massachusetts (LAOS); and notebook of funeral records (1940-1957).

Subjects

  • Layman's Academy for Oecumenical Studies
  • Methodist Church--Clergy
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of English

Contributors

  • Sanders, Paul Samuel

Types of material

  • Sermons