Western Massachusetts Ice Storm Photograph Collection, 1942.
1 envelope (0.15 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 354
Approximately every twenty years, western New England suffers from devastating ice storms, leaving heavy ice coating on trees and buildings and hazardous conditions. Major storms struck in 1921, 1942, 1961, 1983, 1998, and 2008, with the storm of December 29-30, 1942, disrupting power and closing roads throughout a broad swath of the northeast. In northern New York state, ice depths reached six inches.
The collection includes twenty six of an original thirty eight photographs depicting ice storm damage to power lines in the Pittsfield District (Windsor, Middlefield, Washington Mountain to Becket) resulting from the storm in December 1942. The collection also includes a cover letter pertaining to photos (not included) documenting a similar situation in Northampton, affecting the New England Power Service Co.
- Electric lines--Massachusetts--Photographs
- Electric power systems--Natural disaster effects --Massachusetts--Photographs
- Ice storms--Massachusetts--Photographs
- New England Power Service Company
Types of material
Northampton Cutlery Company Records, 1869-1987.
113 boxes (55.75 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 058
The Northampton Cutlery Company was among the major firms in a region known for high quality cutlery manufacture. Incorporated in 1871 with Judge Samuel L. Hinckley, its largest stockholder, as its first President, the company was located along the Mill River in Northampton, Massachusetts, where operations continued until its closing in 1987.
Records document company operations and technology used in the cutlery manufacturing process, as well as details about employment of immigrant and working class families in the region. Includes administrative, legal, and financial records; correspondence; personnel and labor relations files; and production schedules and specifications.
- Cutlery trade--Massachusetts
- Northampton (Mass.)--History
- Northampton Cutlery Company
Otis Company Records, 1846-1847.
2 folders (0.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 310
The Otis Company of Ware, Massachusetts, was founded in 1839 and became a major producer of textiles, including checks, denims, and cotton underwear. At the height of their operations, the company operated three mills with a workforce of over 1,300.
The collection contains correspondence between Otis agent Henry Lyon and the firms of Parks, Wright & Co. (1846-47) and Wright, Whitman & Co. (1847), both of Boston. It includes bills, invoices, letters, and memos, covering orders for such goods as lamp glasses, patent starch, whale oil, gas pipes, bales of cotton, pot and pearl ashes, fish glue, sour flour, fire buckets, potato starch, tar, sheet copper, and indigo.
- Mills and milling--Massachusetts--Ware
- Textile industry--Massachusetts
- Ware (Mass.)--History
Rodney Hunt Company Records, ca.1850-1987 (Bulk: 1862-1943).
316 boxes, 150 vols. (158 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 105
The Rodney Hunt Company Records document the operation of one of the region’s major producers of textile machinery, water wheels, turbines, and other specialty industrial products. Founded in Orange, Massachusetts, in 1840, the company was incorporated in 1873. Still an active concern, it continues to sell its products in international markets.
Due to a fire in 1882, and several floods, relatively few early records of the Rodney Hunt Company survive, but from the time of its incorporation in 1873, documentation improves, with nearly complete coverage from the period 1883–1914. The collection provides an excellent introduction to the history of technology and industry in 19th- and 20th-century Massachusetts. Of particular note is the incoming correspondence from 1876 to 1903, which is nearly complete. Other materials include company histories, correspondence, board minutes, blueprints, installation drawings, sketchbook drawings, patents, payroll ledgers, account books, price lists, sales books, brochures, catalogs, newsletters, subject files and photographs.
- Orange (Mass.)--Economic conditions
- Textile industry--Massachusetts
- Turbines--Design and construction
Types of material
Smith & Wesson Records, 1920-1973.
30 boxes (15 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 267
World famous handgun and handcuff-manufacturing company founded in Springfield, Massachusetts in the 1850s.
The Smith and Wesson records are comprised of incoming sales and service correspondence with some outgoing correspondence and administrative and financial/legal subject files, including categories such as ads and advertising, American Railway Express, audits, counselors at law, debtors, insurance, legal actions, newsletters, patents and trademarks, personnel, photos, sample parts, sideline ventures, stocks and bonds awards, and Western Union Telegrams. Includes correspondence with the National Rifle Association, Small Arms Industry Advisory Committee, and the United States Revolver Association.
- Pistols--Design and construction
- National Rifle Association
- Small Arms Industry Advisory Committee
- Smith and Wesson
- United States Revolver Association
Charles Taylor Collection, 1731-1904.
(5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 104
Collection of historical documents compiled by Charles Taylor, author of the 1882 town history of Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Includes Court of Common Pleas cases, deeds, estate papers, indentures, land surveys, sheriff’s writs, town history reference documents, Samuel Rossiter’s financial papers, and genealogical research papers for over 40 families.
- Debt--Massachusetts--Great Barrington
- Farm tenancy--Massachusetts--Great Barrington
- Great Barrington (Mass.)--Economic conditions--18th century
- Great Barrington (Mass.)--Genealogy
- Great Barrington (Mass.)--History
- Great Barrington (Mass.)--Politics and government
- Great Barrington (Mass.)--Social conditions
- Land use--Massachusetts--Great Barrington
- Ives, Thomas
- Kellogg, Ezra
- Pynchon, George
- Pynchon, Walter
- Root, Hewitt
- Rossiter, Samuel
- Taylor, Charles J. (Charles James), 1824-1904
Types of material
- Land surveys
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.
- Massachusetts--Economic conditions
- Peace movements--Massachusetts
- Social justice--Massachusetts
- American Friends Service Committee. Western Massachusetts
Communist Party of Massachusetts Collection, 1942-1954.
1 box (0.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 538
Documenting Communist Party activities in Massachusetts during the 1940s-1950s, this small collection consists of pamphlets, broadsides, and election materials, which cover issues such as housing, freedom of speech, McCarthyism, and the war in Korea.
- Communism--United States--History
- Communist Party of Massachusetts
Esleeck Manufacturing Company Records, 1898-1987.
3 boxes (4.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 505
A manufacturing firm specializing in the production of onion skin paper, the Esleeck Manufacturing Company was established in 1898 as the Monadnock Paper Co. The principal owners, Augustine W. Esleeck and Alfred T. Judd, had worked together with the Valley Paper Mills of Holyoke, Mass., but when striking out on their own, moved to Turners Falls, believing the town to be the ideal location for a mil. Changing their name to Esleeck Manufacturing Co. in 1901, the firm sought to be a good neighbor, using local labor and products from local firms in their manufacturing. After more than 100 years of continuous operation, the company was purchased by Southworth Co. in 2006.
The collection consists chiefly of financial records, but also includes three minute books from 1898-1961 that capture the the company’s early history, as well as a memorial history of the company written by a long-term employee in 1954.
- Paper industry--Massachusetts
- Turners Falls (Mass.)--History
- Esleeck Manufacturing Company
George Cooley & Co. Ledger, 1843-1851.
1 vol. (0.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 111
Ledger, begun by George Cooley in 1843 to record the accounts of his soapmaking business in the Cabotville section of Chicopee, continued by Titus Chapin, an ardent abolitionist, and Mordecai Cough who managed the business following Cooley’s death (or departure) in 1848. The 1843 date coincides with the coming of many small businesses to Cabotville in connection with the growth of industries there at the time.
Cooley accepted goods, services and cash as payment. The most frequently accepted goods had relatively obvious value to a soap maker: grease and ashes, tallow, pork, scraps and skins, and candles. Some of the services bartered were repairing wagon, shoeing horse, fixing wippletree, making 30 boxes, and covering umbrella. The business sold gallons, bars, and cakes of soap. Mount Holyoke Seminary bought 28 “fancy soaps”. Also listed were shaving soap and hard or hand soap. In addition, sales sometimes included candles, butter, mop handles, molasses, apples and potatoes, squashes, satinet, cheese, cord wood, paint, and rosin. Some of the listings were annotated with regard to the customer’s character: Ashad Bartlett was seen as “bad and poor and fights with his wife”‘ Norris Starkwether was “an honest man”; and Miss L.B. Hunt “eloped with a man”.
- Chicopee (Mass.)--History
- Soap trade--Massachusetts
- George Cooley and Company