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New England Yearly Meeting of Friends Quaker History Collection, 1783-1950

1 box (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 926

During the early twentieth century, the library at the Moses Brown School (formerly the Friends Boarding School) became an informal repository for Quaker manuscripts reflecting the history and work of the Society of Friends. Most of these materials were later transferred for custody to the school’s governing body, the New England Yearly Meeting of Friends.

This miscellaneous assortment of letters was apparently set aside by the staff at the Moses Brown School due to their historical content and preserved in the “vault.” Many of the letters appear to have been retained as good examples of Quaker expression of family and friendly bonds or as documentation about significant periods in Quaker history, particularly the Gurneyite-Wilburite controversy of the 1840s, and several touch on Quaker involvement in the antislavery and peace movements. Of special note are four interesting letters from the Quaker minister and social reformer, Elizabeth Comstock, written during and just after the Civil War; a series of nine lengthy letters from a visiting English minister Isaac Stephenson, traveling through New England meetings; a substantial series of letters from prominent Friend Samuel Boyd Tobey; and three letters from Harriet Beecher Stowe to Sarah F. Tobey regarding attempts to connect Stowe with Alexander T. Stewart in hopes of raising funds for her plans for the education of women.

  • Antislavery movements--United States
  • Gurney, James Joseph
  • Society of Friends--History
  • Wilbur, John,
  • Comstock, Elizabeth L.
  • Stewart, Alexander Turney, 1803-1876
  • Stowe, Harriet Beecher, 1811-1896
  • Tobey, Samuel Boyd, 1805-1867

Rural Massachusetts Imprints Collection, 1797-1897

48 items (3 linear feet)
Call no.: RB 012
Rural Massachusetts Imprints Collection image
John Metcalf

Although printing requires a substantial capital investment in equipment before any hope of profitability can be entertained, there have been numerous attempts over the years to set up printing houses in communities with astonishingly small population bases. In even the most remote Massachusetts towns, people like John Metcalf (Wendell), Ezekiel Terry (Palmer), and John and Solomon Howe (Enfield and Greenwich) operated as printers during the nineteenth century, specializing in a quotidian array of broadsides, song sheets, almanacs, toy books, and printed forms, hoping to supplement, or provide, a decent living.

This small, but growing collection consists of materials printed prior to the twentieth century in small Massachusetts towns, defined as towns with populations less than about 2,500. Although few of these houses survived for long, they were important sources for rural communities. Typically simple in typography, design, and binding, even crude, the output of such printers provides an important gauge of the interests and tastes of New England’s smallest and often poorest communities.

  • Children's books--Massachusetts
  • Printers--Massachusetts
  • Howe, John, 1783-1845
  • Howe, Solomon, 1750-1835
  • Metcalf, John, 1788-1864
  • Terry, Ezekiel, 1775-1829
Types of material
  • Almanacs
  • Broadsides

J.M. Van Dusen Ledgers, 1865-1910

5 vols. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 188 bd

Tinsmith and plumber from Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Mentions items he repaired and cleaned (stoves, furnaces, pots, pans, tinware, glassware, and crockery), goods sold (lamps, wash basins, kitchen utensils, shovels, fuel, and furnaces), occasional mention of payment with goods, lists of suppliers, and lists of customers, many of whom were prominent people in the community.

  • Business enterprises--Massachusetts--Stockbridge--History--19th century
  • Heating--Equipment and supplies--History
  • House furnishings--Massachusetts--Stockbridge--History
  • Plumbers--Massachusetts--Stockbridge--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Plumbing--Equipment and supplies--History
  • Stockbridge (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Tinsmiths--Massachusetts--Stockbridge--Economic conditions--19th century
  • J.M. Van Dusen Plumbing and Heating Co.
  • Van Dusen, J. M.
Types of material
  • Account books

Westhampton Town Records, 1779-1900

10 boxes (5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 799
Westhampton Town Records image
Close-up of records from 1779

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.

  • Churches--Massachusetts--Westhampton
  • Poor--Massachusetts--Westhampton
  • Roads--Massachusetts--Westhampton
  • Town meetings--Massachusetts--Westhampton

Juan Mauricio Rugendas Letters, 1835-1845

1 box (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 271

Born in Germany as Johann Moritz Rugendas, Juan Rugendas was a painter who spent much of his adult life working and traveling in South America. The collection includes a total of 4 poems and 192 personal letters received by Rugendas from four friends during the years 1835 to 1845. Rugendas received the bulk of these letters while living in Valparaíso, Chile, where he found political asylum, and in Lima, Peru from 1842 to 1844.

  • Argentina--Description and travel
  • Argentina--Social life and customs--19th century
  • Painters--South America
  • Bustamante, José Javier y Tomás
  • Espinosa, Juan, 1804-1871
  • Godoy, Juan Gualberto, 1793-1864
  • Oro, Domingo de, 1800-1879
  • Rugendas, Johann Moritz, 1802-1858
Types of material
  • Letters (Correspondence)
  • Poems

Benjamin Akin Daybook and Ledger, 1737-1764

1 vol. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 204 bd

A tanner, currier, and shoemaker, Benjamin Akin was born into a prominent Bristol County family in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, on May 18, 1715. With a prolific and well-connected family and successful in his own business endeavors, Akin attained some stature in Dartmouth. First appointed town clerk in 1745, he filled that office from 1754-1770 and again from 1776-1780, adding the title “Esq.” to his name by the 1760s. During the Revolutionary years, he served on the town’s public safety committee. He died on April 10, 1802.

The Akin ledger offers insight into the fortunes of an 18th-century artisan during the most productive years of his life, as well as into the structure of a local community in southeastern Massachusetts. The ledger includes accounts of with customers for tanning and currying of calf and sheepskin, day-book entries, and accounts with the Town of Dartmouth for services performed at Town Clerk.

  • Artisans--Massachusetts
  • Dartmouth (Mass.)--History--18th century
  • Earthquakes--Massachusetts
  • Shoemaking--Massachusetts
  • Tanning--Massachusetts
  • Akin, Benjamin, 1715-1802
  • Akin, Eunice Taber, 1711-1762
Types of material
  • Account books
  • Daybooks

Antislavery Pamphlet Collection, 1725-1911

(7.5 linear feet)
Call no.: RB 003

The Antislavery Collection contains several hundred printed pamphlets and books pertaining to slavery and antislavery in New England, 1725-1911. The holdings include speeches, sermons, proceedings and other publications of organizations such as the American Anti-Slavery Society and the American Colonization Society, and a small number of pro-slavery tracts.

  • Abolitionists--Massachusetts
  • Antislavery movements--United States
  • Slavery--United States
  • American Anti-Slavery Society
  • American Colonization Society

Association for Gravestone Studies Book Collection, 1812-2005

269 items (14 linear feet)
Call no.: RB 004

Founded in 1977, the Association for Gravestone Studies (AGS) is an international organization dedicated to furthering the study and preservation of gravestones. Based in Greenfield, Mass., the Association promotes the study of gravestones from historical and artistic perspectives. To raise public awareness about the significance of historic gravemarkers and the issues surrounding their preservation, the AGS sponsors conferences and workshops, publishes both a quarterly newsletter and annual journal, Markers, and has built an archive of collections documenting gravestones and the memorial industry.

The AGS Books Collection contains scarce, out of print, and rare printed works on cemeteries and graveyards, epitaphs and inscriptions, and gravemarkers, with an emphasis on North America. The AGS Books Collection also includes the AGS publication, Markers. The collection is divided into three series: Series 1 (Monographs and Offprints), Series 2 (Theses and Dissertations), and Series 3 (Markers).

  • Cemeteries
  • Epitaphs
  • Gravestones
  • Association for Gravestone Studies

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.

  • 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
  • Thornton, Elisha, 1748-1816
  • Wilbur, John 1774-1856
Types of material
  • Correspondence
  • Minutes (Administrative records)

Felice Beato Photograph Collection, ca.1863-1871

(1.5 linear feet)
Call no.: PH 004
Felice Beato Photograph Collection image
Kaisando temple

A pioneer in war and documentary photography, the Anglo-Greek photographer Felice Beato was an important chronicler of late-Edo and early-Meiji era Japan. Between 1863 and 1877, Beato took a stunning array of views, portraits, ethnographic images, and genre scenes and helped train the first generation of Japanese photographers.

The Beato Collection includes ten images taken by Felice Beato in Japan between 1863 and 1871, including his famous view of Daibutsu, the Great Buddha at Kotokuin Temple, Kamakura; his view of one of the residences of the Shimabara clan; two very scarce views of a farmhouse and agricultural laborers, probably taken along the Tokaido Road; two views of Yokohama; and a fine view of a naval fleet at Nagasaki.

  • Japan--Photographs
  • Japan--Social life and customs
  • Nagasaki (Japan)--Photographs
  • Temples--Japan--Photographs
  • Yokohama (Japan)--Photographs
  • Beato, Felice, b. ca. 1825
Types of material
  • Albumen prints
  • Photographs
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