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Brinley Family Papers, 1643-1950

(4.75 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 161
Deborah Brinley and infant son Francis, 1729<br />Copy by Charles U. Bond (1830)<br />after John Smibert
Deborah Brinley and infant son Francis, 1729
Copy by Charles U. Bond (1830)
after John Smibert

A prosperous family of merchants and landowners, the Brinleys were well ensconced among the social and political elite of colonial New England. Connected by marriage to other elite families in Rhode Island and Massachusetts — the Auchmutys, Craddocks, and Tyngs among them — the Brinleys were refined, highly educated, public spirited, and most often business-minded. Although many members of the family remained loyal to the British cause during the Revolution, the family retained their high social standing in the years following.

The Brinley collection includes business letters, legal and business records, wills, a fragment of a diary, documents relating to slaves, newspaper clippings, and a small number of paintings and artifacts. A descendent, Nancy Brinley, contributed a quantity of genealogical research notes and photocopies of Brinley family documents from other repositories. Of particular note in the collection is a fine nineteenth century copy of a John Smibert portrait of Deborah Brinley (1719), an elegant silver tray passed through the generations, and is a 1713 list of the library of Francis Brinley, which offers a foreshadowing of the remarkable book collection put together in the later nineteenth century by his descendant George Brinley.


  • American loyalists--Massachusetts
  • Book collectors--United States--History--19th century
  • Brinley family
  • Brinley, George, 1817-1875--Library
  • Businessmen--Massachusetts--History
  • Businessmen--Rhode Island--History
  • Craddock family
  • Landowners--Massachusetts--History
  • Landowners--Rhode Island--History
  • Libraries--Rhode Island--18th century
  • Massachusetts--Economic conditions--18th century
  • Massachusetts--Politics and government--19th century
  • Rhode Island--Economic conditions--18th century
  • Rhode Island--Genealogy
  • Rhode Island--Politics and government--19th century
  • Slavery--United States--History
  • Tyng family
  • United Empire Loyalists

Types of material

  • Deeds
  • Realia

Broadside Press Collection, 1965-1984

1 box, 110 vols. (3.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 571
Broadside 6
Broadside 6

A significant African American poet of the generation of the 1960s, Dudley Randall was an even more significant publisher of emerging African American poets and writers. Publishing works by important writers from Gwendolyn Brooks to Haki Madhubuti, Alice Walker, Etheridge Knight, Audre Lorde, Amiri Baraka, Nikki Giovanni, and Sonia Sanchez, his Broadside Press in Detroit became an important contributor to the Black Arts Movement.

The Broadside Press Collection includes approximately 200 titles published by Randall’s press during its first decade of operation, the period of its most profound cultural influence. The printed works are divided into five series, Broadside poets (including chapbooks, books of poetry, and posters), anthologies, children’s books, the Broadside Critics Series (works of literary criticism by African American authors), and the Broadsides Series. . The collection also includes a selection of items used in promoting Broadside Press publications, including a broken run of the irregularly published Broadside News, press releases, catalogs, and fliers and advertising cards.


  • African American poets
  • African American writers
  • Black Arts Movement
  • Poetry


  • Broadside Press
  • Brooks, Gwendolyn, 1917-2000
  • Emanuel, James A
  • Giovanni, Nikki
  • Knight, Etheridge
  • Madhubuti, Haki R., 1942-
  • Randall, Dudley, 1914-
  • Sanchez, Sonia, 1934-

Types of material

  • Broadsides
  • Ephemera
  • Posters

John Brown Research Collection, 1826-1942

10 reels of microfilm (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 308 mf

Microfilm containing documents drawn from various repositories including John Brown’s correspondence with family, friends, and others; court records and testimony; transcripts of interviews and other personal reminiscences; drafts of narratives; memorandum book; drafts of speeches; church records; minutes of Anti-slavery Society of Lawrence, Kansas; financial and legal records; broadsides and circulars; newspaper clippings; other miscellaneous records.


  • Abolitionists--United States--History
  • Slavery--United States--History
  • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Causes


  • Brown, John, 1800-1859

Henry James Clark Papers, 1865-1872

1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 048
Trichodina pediculus
Trichodina pediculus

The first professor of Natural History at the Massachusetts Agricultural College, Henry James Clark, had one of the briefest and most tragic tenures of any member of the faculty during the nineteenth century. Having studied under Asa Gray and Louis Agassiz at Harvard, Clark became an expert microscopist and student of the structure and development of flagellate protozoans and sponges. Barely a year after joining the faculty at Massachusetts Agricultural College at its first professor of Natural History, Clark died of tuberculosis on July 1, 1873.

A small remnant of a brief, but important career in the natural sciences, the Henry James Clark Papers consist largely of obituary notices and a fraction of his published works. The three manuscript items include two letters from Clark’s widow to his obituarist and fellow naturalist, Alpheus Hyatt (one including some minor personal memories), and a contract to build a house on Pleasant Street in Amherst.


  • Developmental biology
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College--Faculty
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College. Department of Veterinary Science
  • Protozoans


  • Clark, Henry James, 1826-1873
  • Clark, Mary Young Holbrook
  • Hyatt, Alpheus, 1838-1902

Types of material

  • Contracts
  • Letters (Correspondence)

Andrew Coburn Papers, ca.1950-2015

16 boxes (24 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 936

In taut and haunting prose, Andrew Coburn left a memorable impression as both novelist and journalist. Born in Exeter, N.H., on May 1, 1932, Coburn became serious about writing while fulfilling his military duty in Germany and earning a degree at Suffolk University. After landing a position with the local newspaper, the Lawrence Eagle, he put his talents to good use. Building his career as a journalist covering organized crime during the day, he managed to spend nearly every night writing fiction until dawn. His successes on the beat earned him steady promotions all the way to editor, and he eventually founded two newspapers of his own, though fiction would be his future. Winning a Eugene Saxton Fellowship in 1965, Coburn drew upon his experiences on the streets of Lawrence to publish his first novel, The Trespassers in 1974, followed by The Babysitter in 1979, and eventually eleven other novels, a novella, and a host of short stories and essays. A master at language and dialog grounded in a strong sense of place, Coburn won both a wide readership and praise from other writers. His work has garnered nominations for the Edgar Allan Poe Award and Pushcart Prize, has been translated into 14 languages, and three of his novels have been made into films. He is married to Bernadine Casey Coburn, a former journalist and public relations expert, with whom he has one son and four daughters.

The Coburn Papers contain working drafts of Andrew Coburn’s novels and short stories, along with selected correspondence, and dozens of journals, scrapbooks, and notebooks used in his fiction. In many cases, the completeness of the collection makes it possible to follow a work from its earliest inception, often recorded as a sketch (literal or in prose), through its final iteration.


  • Journalists--Massachusetts
  • Novelists--Massachusetts

Types of material

  • Journals
  • Photographs
  • Scrapbooks

Democratic Socialist Conference Collection, 1984-1991

2 boxes (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 325

Includes transcripts of papers delivered at conferences (1985-1990) on democratic socialism, and correspondence (1984-1991) between Stephen Siteman, former Executive Secretary of the Socialist Party of America, and Frank Zeidler, former Mayor of Milwaukee, Socialist Party candidate for President of the United States, and national chairperson of the Socialist Party USA.


  • Socialism--Africa
  • Socialist Party of the United States of America
  • United States--Politics and government--1981-1989
  • United States--Politics and government--1989-1993


  • Siteman, Stephen
  • Zeidler, Frank P

Bill Duesing Collection, 1995-2000

14 items (1.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 760
Bill and Suzanne Duesing
Bill and Suzanne Duesing

A pioneer in organic agriculture in New England, Bill Duesing has been as an environmental educator, writer, artist, and lecturer over for four decades. After graduating from Yale University (1964), Duesing worked as a Cooperative Extension agent before turning to organic principles in the early 1970s. Emphasizing sustainability and greater local food sufficiency, he has been instrumental in developing organic standards for gardening and land care and he has served as both founding president and later executive director of the Northeast Organic Farming Association Connecticut and president of the NOFA Interstate Council. During the 1990s, Duesing produced two radio shows, “Living on the Earth” (WSHU) and “The Politics of Food” (WPKN), and he is author of Living on the Earth: Eclectic Essays for a Sustainable and Joyful Future (1993).

The Duesing collection consists of transcripts of his radio show, “Living on the Earth” (1990-2000) and fourteen recordings of “The Politics of Food,” which was broadcast monthly over WPKN (89.5 FM) in Bridgeport in 1997-1998. Each half hour segment of “Politics” included news, a fifteen minute interview, recipes, and tips, with interviewees including Mel Bristol, Jac Smit, Vincent Kay, John Wargo, Hugh Joseph, Joseph Kiefer, Julie Rawson, Michael Sligh, Kathy Lawrence, Lee Warren, and Elizabeth Henderson.


  • Cookery, Health aspects
  • Living on the Earth
  • Natural foods--Certification
  • Organic farming
  • Organic farming--Law and legislation
  • Politics of food
  • Sustainable agriculture


  • Henderson, Elizabeth, 1943-
  • Rawson, Julie

Types of material

  • Audiotapes

Charles H. Fernald Papers, 1869-1963

8 boxes (3.75 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 059
Charles H. Fernald
Charles H. Fernald

During a long and productive career in natural history, Charles Fernald conducted important research in economic entomology and performed equally important work as a member of the faculty and administration at Massachusetts Agricultural College. Arriving at MAC in 1886 as a professor of zoology, Fernald served as acting President of the College (1891-1892) and as the first Director of the Graduate School (1908-1912), and perhaps most importantly, he helped for many years to nurture the Hatch Experiment Station.

Correspondence, published writings, publication notes, newspaper clippings, Massachusetts Board of Agriculture Reports, and biographical material including personal recollections of former student and colleague Charles A. Peters.


  • Agriculture--Study and teaching
  • Entomology
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College--Faculty
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College. Department of Zoology
  • Zoology--Study and teaching


  • Fernald, Charles H.

Roy Finestone Photograph Collection, 1969-1990

239 images
Call no.: PH 005
Nina, Smoky, Chuck, Janis (Smoky and Nina on bikes)
Nina, Smoky, Chuck, Janis (Smoky and Nina on bikes)

A wave of experimentation in communal living in New England reached a peak in the late 1960s and early 1970s, with dozens of communities spread across the landscape of western Massachusetts and Vermont. Nina Finestone joined the Johnson Pastures in Guilford , Vermont, in 1969, however after the main house there went up in flames on April 16, 1970, killing four people, she joined a number of its residents who moved to the nearby Montague Farm in Montague, Massachusetts. Nina married a fellow Montague farmer, Daniel Keller, and the couple moved to Wendell in 1980.

Providing exceptional visual documentation of life at Johnson Pasture, the Montague Farm, and Wendell Farm between 1969 and 1990, the Finestone collection is centered on the lives and family of Daniel and Nina Keller. All images were taken by Roy Finestone, Nina’s father, with a medium format camera using color transparency film.


  • Communal living--Massachusetts
  • Communal living--Vermont
  • Johnson Pasture Community (Vt.)
  • Keller, Daniel
  • Keller, Nina
  • Montague Farm Community (Mass.)
  • Wendell Farm Community (Mass.)


  • Finestone, Roy

Robert Francis Papers, 1891-1988

17 boxes (8.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 403
Robert Francis, by Frank A. Waugh,<br />Nov. 1939
Robert Francis, by Frank A. Waugh,
Nov. 1939

The poet and essayist Robert Francis settled in Amherst, Mass., in 1926, three years after his graduation from Harvard, and created a literary life that stretched for the better part of half a century. An associate of Robert Frost and friend of many other writers, Francis occasionally worked as a teacher or lecturer, including a brief stint on the faculty at Mount Holyoke College, but he sustained himself largely through his writing, living simply in “Fort Juniper,” a cottage he built on Market Hill Road in North Amherst. A recipient of the Shelley Award (1939) and the Academy of American Poets award for distinguished poetic achievement (1984), Francis was a poet in residence at both Tufts (1955) and Harvard (1960) Universities. He died in Amherst in July 1987.

The Francis Papers contains both manuscript and printed materials, drafts and finished words, documenting the illustrious career of the poet. Of particular note is Francis’s correspondence with other writers, publishing houses, and readers, notably Paul Theroux. Also contains personal photographs and Francis family records and a small number of audio recordings of Francis reading his poetry. Letters from Francis to Regina Codey, 1936-1978, can be found in MS 314 along with two typescript poems by Francis.

Connect to another siteListen to interviews with Francis on Poems to a Listener", 1977-1978


  • Amherst (Mass.)--History
  • Poetry--Publishing
  • Poets--Massachusetts
  • University of Massachusetts Press


  • Brown, Rosellen
  • Ciardi, John, 1916-
  • De Vries, Peter
  • Fitts, Dudley, 1903-
  • Francis, Robert, 1901-1987
  • Hall, Donald, 1928-
  • Humphries, Rolfe
  • Moore, Marianne, 1887-1972
  • Moss, Howard, 1922-
  • Shawn, Ted, 1891-1972
  • Theroux, Paul
  • Wilbur, Richard, 1921-

Types of material

  • Audiotapes
  • Phonograph records
  • Photographs
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