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Barbara Parker History of the Book Collection, 1508-1905

75 items (12 linear feet)
Call no.: RB 007

A long-time librarian at UMass Amherst and Brown University, Barbara Parker became an avid collector of rare books. Interested in the history of printing, binding, and book design, and herself a bookbinder, Parker collected widely, from early printing to the Victorian book artists of the Chiswick Press.

The Parker Collection contains an eclectic mix of books to illustrate various aspects of the history of the book through 1900. The collection includes eight volumes printed prior to 1600, a fine leaf from the Nuremberg Chronicles, and a strong collection of the work of Charles Whittingham and the Chiswick Press. In addition to fine examples of binding and illustration, the collection includes works printed by Elsevier, Gregorium de Gregoris, and Domenico Farri, five by Joseph Barbou, and two each by the Aldine Press, Simon Colin, and John Baskerville.


  • Books--History
  • Printing--History


  • Parker, Barbara

Harrison Parker's History of Hawley Collection, ca.1970-1995

7 boxes (10.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 532

Named for Joseph Hawley, a local leader in the American Revolution, the town was first settled in 1760 by residents of Hatfield, Massachusetts. Situated in Franklin County, Hawley was officially incorporated as a town in 1792. Today the town is host to a few small businesses, farms, and less than 500 residents.

The collection consists of copies of manuscripts, publications, and genealogical notes all related to the history of Hawley collected by researcher Harrison Parker.


  • Hawley (Mass.)--History


  • Parker, Harrison

Alida Perreault Papers, 1906-1957 (Bulk: 1928-1933)

2 boxes (1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 808

Alida Capistrant was the eleventh of twelve children in a large French-Canadian family in South Hadley, Massachusetts born on July 24,1914. Her parents both immigrated from Quebec in 1885. On September 30, 1895 they were married in South Hadley. The Capistrant family rented their home until 1912 when they purchased their first house in South Hadley. Alida had an active social life as a teenager and considered attending college or university, but did not pursue any further education until about 1943, when she studied at the Providence Hospital School of Nursing in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Two years later she married James Perreault and the couple had two children, a daughter, Marcia (Perreault) Matthieu and a son, David James Perreault. They lived in South Hadley until 2003, when they moved to Chandler, Arizona to be near their daughter. Alida Perreault died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease on April 7, 2006, and James died in 2008. Both are buried in Saint Rose Cemetery in South Hadley next to Alida’s family.

Alida’s correspondence during her high school years (1928-1932) reveal a young woman with a substantial network of friends and family. The bulk of the collection consists of letters from several friends, including two potential romantic interests. Letters document daily activities, family happenings, and later Alida’s interest in a career as a nurse and her leadership role in the South Hadley Women’s Club.


  • Capistrant family--Correspondence
  • Family--Massachusetts--History
  • High school students--Massachusetts
  • South Hadley (Mass.)--History
  • Williston Northampton School (Easthampton, Mass.)


  • Fogg, Esther
  • McEwan, William
  • Mitkiewitcz, Freddie A.

Types of material

  • Correspondence
  • Greeting cards
  • Invitations

Robert and Martha Perske Papers, 1964-2005

13 boxes (19.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 772
Bob and Martha Perske with their dog, Wolfie, 2004
Bob and Martha Perske with their dog, Wolfie, 2004

While serving with the U.S. Navy in the Philippines during World War II, the teenaged Bob Perske became aware of the vulnerable and disabled in society and turned his life toward advocacy on their behalf. Studying for the ministry after returning to civilian life, Perske was appointed chaplain at the Kansas Neurological Institute, serving children with intellectual disabilities for 11 years, after which he became a full-time street, court, and prison worker — a citizen advocate — laboring in the cause of deinstitutionalization and civil rights of persons with disabilities, particularly those caught in the legal system. After Bob married his wife Martha in 1971, the two became partners in work, with Martha often illustrating Bob’s numerous books and articles. In 2002, Perske was recognized by the American Bar Association as the only non-lawyer to ever receive the Paul Hearne Award for Services to Persons with Disabilities.

The Perske Papers contains a fifty year record of published and unpublished writings by Bob Perske on issues surrounding persons with disabilities, along with correspondence, photographs, and other materials relating to the Perskes’ activism. The correspondence includes a particularly rich set of letters with a fellow advocate for persons with disabilities, Robert R. Williams.


  • Mental retardation--Social aspects
  • People with disabilities--Deinstitutionalization
  • People with disabilities--Legal status, laws, etc.


  • Perske, Martha
  • Williams, Robert R.

Types of material

  • Photographs

Louis Pictou Mi'kmaq Manuscript, Prior to 1903

1 vol., 140 p. (0.1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 342 bd

The Pictou family were prominent members of the Bear River Band of the Mi’kmaq nation in Nova Scotia during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Notably, Chief Benjamin Pictou (1830-1931) lived for over a century, witnessing the evolution of the Mi’kmaq economy from hunting, fishing, and trapping to include guiding and attempts at agriculture, and was listed by the anthropologist Frank G. Speck in 1922 as having a hunting allocation near Sporting Lake, southwest of the Bear River.

An extensive, unidentified manuscript written in Mi’kmaq (Micmac) language, using the “hieroglyphic” (pictographic) writing system. At one time, the manuscript was apparently in the possession of Louis Pictou, an “Indian guide” on the Bear River, who stating that the manuscript was written by his “ancestors.”


  • Indians of North America--Nova Scotia
  • Micmac Indians--Manuscripts


  • Pictou, Louis

Polish Jubilee Catalogs and Souvenirs, 1906-1988

5 boxes (2.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 057

Includes booklets containing parish and community histories, photographs, and local advertisements celebrating Jubilee, other anniversaries, and events in over twenty Massachusetts Polish American parishes; booklets furnishing histories and names associated with Polish American groups (such as the Brotherly Aid Society and Polish American Veterans); an historical paper on the Chicopee Polish Community; a pamphlet including songs and recipes; photographs; a booklet; and two books.


  • Chicopee (Mass.)--History
  • Polish Americans--Massachusetts

Polish Women's Club of Three Rivers Records, 1924-1994

3 boxes (1.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 391

Polish-American women’s club located near Palmer, Massachusetts, that aims to encourage Polish women to become United States citizens and provide them with classes in the English language; to take an active part in local, state and federal politics; to support local Polish-owned businesses; to preserve and integrate Polish culture with those of other ethnicities present in the United States; to encourage higher education in the Polish-American community.

Includes meeting minutes (primarily in Polish), histories, anniversary programs, town and state citations, and government publications, documenting the activities, membership, and national recognition of the club over a period of seventy years.


  • Americanization--History--20th century
  • Palmer (Mass.)--Ethnic relations--20th century
  • Palmer (Mass.)--Social conditions--20th century
  • Poles--Cultural assimilation--Massachusetts--History--20th century
  • Polish American friendly societies--Massachusetts--Palmer--History
  • Polish Americans--Ethnic identity--History--20th century
  • Polish Americans--Massachusetts--Palmer
  • Polish Americans--Political activity--History--20th century


  • Massachusetts Federation of Polish Women's Clubs
  • Polish American Women Citizens Political Club of Three Rivers and Thorndike (Palmer, Mass.)
  • Polish Women's Club of Three Rivers (Palmer, Mass.)

Types of material

  • Programs

Politella Family Papers, 1915-2004 (Bulk: 1938-1956)

2 boxes (3 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 885
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.


  • Buddhism--Study and teaching
  • Hinduism--Study and teaching
  • Massachusetts State College--History
  • Massachusetts State College--Students
  • Mysticism
  • Theosophy
  • World War, 1939-1945


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

Types of material

  • Photograph albums
  • Photographs
  • Scrapbooks

Ebenezer Pope Ledger, 1810-1821

1 vol. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 167 bd

Blacksmith who was prominent in the town affairs of Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Includes debit and credit entries, the method and form of customer payment (cash, services, labor, and goods such as corn, potatoes, wheat, cider brandy, hog, veal, sheep, lambs, and an ox), and an entry noting the building of the Great Barrington and Alford Turnpike in 1812. Also includes documentation of seamstress activity and of African American customers.


  • African Americans--Massachusetts--Great Barrington--History--19th century
  • Barter--Massachusetts--Great Barrington--History--19th century
  • Blacksmiths--Massachusetts--Great Barrington--Economic conditions--19th century
  • George, Negro
  • Great Barrington (Mass.)--History--19th century
  • Great Barrington and Alford Turnpike (Mass.)--History
  • Palmer, Anna M
  • Toll roads--Massachusetts--History--19th century
  • Wages--Men--Massachusetts--Great Barrington--History--19th century
  • Wages--Women--Massachusetts--Great Barrington--History--19th century
  • Wages-in-kind--Massachusetts--Great Barrington--History--19th century


  • Pope, Ebenezer

Types of material

  • Account books

Port of Dennis Enrollment Bonds Collection, 1889-1894

1 vol. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 290 bd

Bonds entered in application for a Certificate of Enrollment for commerce vessels at the port of Dennis in Barnstable, Massachusetts. Volume contains 200 bonds (80 of which are completed), that provide names of the managing owner(s), the name and weight of the vessel, the sum of the bond, and the master of the vessel, and document the commercial activities of some residents in the towns of Dennis, Yarmouth, and Harwich.


  • Barnstable County (Mass.)--Commerce--History--19th century
  • Barnstable County (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Dennis (Mass. : Town)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Dennis (Mass.)--Commerce--History--19th century
  • Enrollments
  • Harwich (Mass.)--Commerce--History--19th century
  • Harwich (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Ship registers--Massachusetts--Barnstable County--History
  • Shipping--Massachusetts--Barnstable County--History--19th century
  • Yarmouth (Mass.)--Commerce--History--19th century
  • Yarmouth (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
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