Who can use the collections?
How they danced in Enfield, a Quabbin town
Special Collections and University Archives is open at no cost to researchers, regardless of affiliation, during normal business hours. SCUA staff are happy to assist in planning or conducting research and welcome inquiries from students interested in internships in archival and library studies.
Although research appointments are not required, advance notice will help our staff to locate and retrieve research materials. First-time researchers will be asked to register and to provide name, institutional affiliation (when applicable), and current address. At registration, researchers must present a valid form of identification, including a photograph.
In the reading room
- Please sign in at the front desk each visit
- Only pencils and laptop computers may be used for taking notes. Please do not use pens.
- Smoking, food, and drink are not permitted
- Cell phones should be switched off or set to silent mode; calls may be taken in the adjacent elevator lobby
- Care and handling of materials
- Please use care in handling manuscripts and books to prevent damage
- Use only a single box of manuscript or archival material at a time; take care to preserve the existing arrangement of files
- Photographs for research purposes are permitted; check with a staff member first
- Scans and photocopies are made by staff members in keeping with our copying policies
- Upon leaving for the day, please notify the staff whether you are finished with your material or wish to place it on hold for a return visit
Instruction in SCUA
Classes are welcome to visit SCUA to make use of our collections and to learn about archival and historical research. Our staff are available to provide introductions to archival research, overviews of specific areas of historical interest, information about the collections, and discussions of the history of UMass Amherst. In recent years, the staff have hosted classes from history and American culture, African American studies, English and comparative literature, art history, education, anthropology, politics, business, and library and information science, among other disciplines.
To avoid scheduling conflicts, class visits should be arranged ahead of time. Please include the following information when contacting SCUA:
- Name of instructor or contact
- Date(s) requested, with start and finish time
- Number of students
- Subject area and research interests
- Special requests (for collections)
Learn more about:
Western Massachusetts Bridge Association Records, 1957-2007.
12 boxes (16 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 801
Established in 1957, the Western Massachusetts Bridge Association (WMBA) Unit 196 was created by founding members of the Springfield Bridge Club eager to share their love for the game with the wider western Massachusetts area. The unit played a prominent role in teaching interested individuals to learn to play contract bridge by reaching out to colleges, clubs, and churches. Over the years, WMBA has remained an active unit in the New England Bridge Conference District 25, one of the largest districts of the American Contract Bridge Association.
Records of the WMBA and District 25 document the growth of contract bridge in New England. From the earliest days of the unit, members drafted by-laws, oversaw membership services, organized tournaments, and tracked finances. Materials in the collection shed light on every aspect of these activities.
Western Massachusetts Library Club Records, 1898-2006.
7 boxes (3.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 492
Situated in a region known for its progressive spirit, the Western Massachusetts Library Club was established in 1898 to respond to the unique needs of librarians overseeing small or rural libraries, and to foster camaraderie among local colleagues. Almost immediately, however, the club expanded its focus, taking positions on issues ranging from modern library practices to national legislation and leading the way in the expansion of services for public libraries, all while maintaining its identity as an advocate for local libraries and librarians.
The collection is richest in records that document the early history of the club including detailed meeting minutes, news clippings, programs, and circulars. Beginning in the late 1960s, the club’s activities are captured primarily through membership lists and meeting notices and programs. Taken together, the records trace the growth of the WMLC for more than a century from its establishment to the present.
- Cutter, Charles A. (Charles Ammi), 1937-1903
- Western Massachusetts Library Club
Western Massachusetts Regional Library System Records, 1957-2010.
2 boxes, oversized (3 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 671
The Western Massachusetts Regional Library System was formed in 1962 as the Western Regional Public Library System, one of two organizations that provided professional support for the public librarians of the Commonwealth. Through the years, the two regions increased to three and then six, with the west consistently serving as a voice for the many small libraries that comprise its membership. Supported by funds from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, WMRLS provided a range of services, including continuing education for librarians; bookmobiles, delivery services, and interlibrary loan; reference support; catalog support and online databases; and youth services; as well as a purchasing cooperative. Following the national economic crisis in 2008-2009, WMRLS was consolidated with the other five regional library systems in Massachusetts and in June 2010, merged into the Massachusetts Library System.
The WMRLS collection contains a complete run of its newsletter from 1962 to 2010, copies of newsletters for continuing education and youth services, and a small assortment of administrative documents relating to its history and the services it provided.
- Public libraries--Massachusetts
- Western Massachusetts Regional Library System
Westhampton Town Records, 1779-1900.
10 boxes (5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 799
Originally settled by Europeans in 1762, the town of Westhampton, Massachusetts, was separated from adjacent Northampton and incorporated in September 1778. Situated in the western reaches of Hampshire County, it was principally an agricultural town until the later twentieth century, producing apples, other fruit, and maple sugar, with only minor industry. The town still retains its rural character: a century after incorporation, the population had grown to just over 500, and nearly 1,500 by 2000.
The Westhampton collection provides an extensive record of public life and local governance in a typical small Hampshire County town. Spanning from 1779, just after the date of incorporation, through the turn of the twentieth century, the collection includes extensive records of town meetings, including warrants, agendas, and summaries; records of the Overseers of Poor, the schools, militia service, and parish; materials on roads and highways; and a large quantity of financial records.
- Town meetings--Massachusetts--Westhampton
Truman Wheeler, Jr., Account Book, 1813-1833.
1 vol. (0.1 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 036 bd
Truman Wheeler, Jr., of Great Barrington, Mass., is considerably more obscure than his father, a prominent merchant, but in the two decades after the War of 1812, he made his living raising and selling rye, oats, and corn, tending sheep, and operating a substantial cider mill.
Wheeler Jr.’s account book records an array of fairly typical transactions in a non-cash economy, in which goods (grain, cider, barrels, food) or services (rental of the cider mill, lodging, labor) of one sort were exchanged for another. The frequency and scale of his cidering operation, and his rental of his cider mill when not used, is a distinguishing feature of his account book, which includes accounts with members of the Burghardt, Ives, Tucker, Warner, Wheeler, Willcox, and other families, as well as with Jack Negro, to whom Wheeler sold grain, pork, and brandy in exchange for assistance in haying.
- Cider industry--Massachusetts--Great Barrington
- Farmers--Massachusetts--Great Barrington
- Great Barrington (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
Types of material
Amos Whittemore Daybook, 1817-1819.
1 vol. (0.1 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 153 bd
Wagonwright and celebrated inventor of a machine that made cotton and wool cards from West Cambridge (now Arlington), Massachusetts. Includes records of services provided, such as repairing, cleaning, painting and varnishing chaises; providing wheels, springs, waterhooks, whippletrees, bellybands, and carpet; and mending reins and harnesses. Also contains lists of customers (including many prominent families from the town) and records of cash transactions.
- Arlington (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
- Arlington (Mass.)--History--19th century
- Carriage and wagon making--Massachusetts--Arlington--History--19th century
- Carriage manufacturers and dealers--Massachusetts --Arlington--History--19th century
- Harness making and trade--Massachusetts--Arlington--History--19th century
- Whittemore, Amos, 1759-1828
Types of material