Special Collections and University Archives
UMass Amherst Libraries

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Thomas Nye Cashbook, 1830-1842

1 vol. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 227 bd

Agent or part-owner of a firm, who may have been a ship’s chandler, from Fairhaven and New Bedford, Massachusetts. Includes personal expenses and business accounts (large bills for firms and small bills for labor, repairs, food, blacksmithing, and other items and services). Cash book is made up of six smaller cash books bound together; also contains lists of deaths in the family and notations of the lading of several ships.


  • Fairhaven (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Merchants--Massachusetts--New Bedford--Economic conditions--19th century
  • New Bedford (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Nye family


  • Nye, Thomas, 1768-1842
  • T. and A.R. Nye (Firm)

Types of material

  • Account books

Jobs in SCUA

Child and dog, by Burt Brooks, ca.1910
Child and dog, by Burt V. Brooks, ca.1910

Every fall, SCUA offers a limited number of paid positions for undergraduates who wish to work in an active Special Collections or Library environment. Students should have an interest in writing and research, a passion for history and cultural heritage, a comfort with digital technologies, and a willingness to work collaboratively and collegially in an active and sometimes challenging setting.

In addition to these positions, SCUA regularly sponsors internships for either undergraduate or graduate students, from UMass Amherst and elsewhere. Taken for credit (and thus unpaid), these internships are designed to expose aspiring members of the profession to our daily work. As appropriate, internships can be adapted to the interests and needs of the individual student.

Because of the demand, hiring for SCUA positions usually takes place in the spring for students who wish to start in the fall, however positions occasionally open up mid-year. Please contact SCUA for more information.

Archival Training Program Student Assistanceships

Are you interested in exploring a future in history, cultural heritage, archives, libraries, or the information profession? The Library’s Department of Special Collections and University Archives, home to the papers of W.E.B. Du Bois, has openings for two Special Collections Archival Training Program Assistanceships to work with our team of professional archivists and graduate and undergraduate peers.

Two positions are available to undergraduate students from underrepresented populations in the archival profession (African American, Asian and Pacific Islander, Latino/a, and Native American). The students selected for these positions will have an opportunity to gain hands-on professional experience in the information field. Along with working with historical documents, audiovisual materials, and digital technologies, students in the Archival Training Program will assist researchers with their projects and will be responsible for their own research and writing projects.

Students will work a regular schedule of ten hours a week during the academic term.

For more information see the job posting at http://www.library.umass.edu/about-the-libraries/jobs/.

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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


  • Otis Company

Mary Lou Panus Polish American Collection, 1895-1997

3 boxes (1.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 378

Mary Lou Panus documented Polish American life in Massachusetts by collecting newspaper clippings, business cards, programs, and Polish language prayer books and prayer cards.

The Panus collection includes photographs of Polish churches in Massachusetts, reflecting the important role religion played in the culture and in various communities. The collection also includes a doll dressed as a nun.


  • Polish Americans--Massachusetts


  • Panus, Mary Lou

Alfred A. Parker Daybooks, 1877-1889

4 vols. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 235

Stove and tinware dealer from Orange, Massachusetts, who also did business in the nearby towns of New Salem and Erving.

Alfred A. Parker’s account books include customers (local residents and Orange businesses such as the Gold Medal Sewing Machine Co., the Orange Manufacturing Co., and the Rodney Hunt Machine Co.), charges for labor (especially soldering), the cost of stoves, pipe, kettles of various sorts, roofing material, and information about shipping costs.


  • Freight and freightage--Rates--Massachusetts--History--19th century
  • Gold Medal Sewing Machine Company
  • Kettles--Prices--Massachusetts--Orange--History--19th century
  • New Salem (Mass.)--History
  • Orange (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Orange Manufacturing Company (Orange, Mass.)
  • Pipe--Prices--Massachusetts--Orange--History--19th century
  • Rodney Hunt Machine Company
  • Roofing--Prices--Massachusetts--Orange--History--19th century
  • Solder and soldering--Costs--History--19th century
  • Stove industry and trade--Massachusetts--Orange--History--19th century
  • Stoves--Prices--Massachusetts--Orange--History--19th century
  • Tinsmithing--Massachusetts--Orange--History--19th century
  • Tinsmiths--Massachusetts--Orange--Economic conditions--19th century


  • Parker, Alfred A., b. 1822

Types of material

  • Account books
  • Daybooks

Charles H. Patterson Papers, 1930-1958

2 boxes (1 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 089
Charles H. Patterson.<br />Photo by Frank A. Waugh, 1926
Charles H. Patterson.
Photo by Frank A. Waugh, 1926

For many years, Charles H. Patterson served as head of the Department of Language and Literature at Massachusetts Agricultural College. Born in Smithsonville, Ont., in 1863, Patterson received both a BA (1887) and MA (1893) from Tufts University before launching his teaching career. He joined the faculty at MAC as an assistant professor of English, in 1916, after 13 years at West Virginia University. A former professional actor, he taught courses in modern literature, with a particular interest in drama, and served as department chair for nearly a decade before his sudden death in 1933.

The Patterson Papers contain a small selection of correspondence and notes on English composition and literature as taught at Massachusetts Agricultural College. Most noteworthy, perhaps, is a draft of Patterson’s unpublished book, The Amazing Boucicault.


  • Boucicault, Dion, 1820-1890
  • Drama--Study and teaching
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College--Faculty
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College. Department of English


  • Patterson, Charles H

Frank Waugh image of woman standing in a field

General inquiries scua@library.umass.edu 413.545.2780
Cox, Robert (Head of Special Collections) rscox@library.umass.edu 413.545.2780
Kay, Kirstin (Mark H. McCormack Sport Innovation Archivist) kay@library.umass.edu 413.545.6843
Kovacs, Danielle (Curator of Collections) dkovacs@library.umass.edu 413.545.2784
Moore, Anne L. (Special Collections Librarian) amoore@library.umass.edu 413.545.6888
Robinson, Steve (Special Collections Assistant) stever@library.umass.edu 413.545.0274
Rubinstein, Aaron (University and Digital Archivist) arubinst@library.umass.edu 413.545.7963
Spitz, Blake (Archivist) bspitz@library.umass.edu 413.545.6898
White, Caroline (Archivist) cjwhite@library.umass.edu 413.545.9637

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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

Edward Phinney Papers, ca.1957-1996

2 boxes (3 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 102

Classics professor Edward Phinney spent his formative years in Columbia, South America. Although technically a product of America’s Great Depression, Phinney hailed from a middle-class Texan family that placed a high value on education. After receiving his PhD from the University of California Berkeley (1963), he joined the Classics department at UMass in 1969, where he became an important advocate for educational technology and distance learning. At various times, he served as the faculty director of the Foreign Language Resource Center and as chair of the Department of Classics (1981-1992). A popular lecturer who was considered “extraordinarily generous with his time,” Phinney’s Greek mythology course typically drew 500-600 students. He remained devoted to the Classics – -even participating in skits in Pompeii — until his death in 1996.

The Phinney collection includes a copy of Phinney’s dissertation, “Apollonius Rhodius,” his diplomas and numerous awards, and selected notes for teaching and research, particularly for his very popular course on mythology. Also included are two books of poetry translated by Phinney as well as his translations of Modern Greek poetry written by family friend George Samuel.


  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Classics


  • Phinney, Edward
Jack Dixon and camera
Jack Dixon and camera, 1929
Alton Blackington Collection

SCUA is a significant source for visual content, and thousands of digitized images are available for viewing online in our digital repository, Credo. Credo contains thousands of scanned images from our manuscript and photographic collections, representing photographers such as Jeff Albertson, James Baker, Alton Blackington, Burt V. Brooks, Lionel Delevingne, Roy Finestone, and Diana Mara Henry, as well as over 13,000 photographs documenting the history of the University of Massachusetts Amherst community. Although new content is being added to Credo daily, tens of thousands of other photographs are described through manuscript finding aids and have yet to be digitized. All can be viewed on site.

Digital copies of images from SCUA collections are available for a modest fee and modest publication fees may also apply for either commercial or scholarly use. Additional information about our collections can be obtained by contacting our reference staff.

Inventory of unscanned negatives

The Negatives Collection represents over 21,000 photo shoots (perhaps 500,000 images) undertaken by Campus Creative Services between 1954 and 2004. Each negative number represents a single photographic session and may include anywhere from a single image to thirty or more. Please note that the terms used in the inventory were supplied by Photo Services staff over many years and are not always accurate, and furthermore, not all images listed in these inventories were transferred to SCUA. You are always welcome to contact our archivists if you have any questions. Please use the reference number when requesting negatives.

Other UMass photo collections:

While the University Photograph Collection and Photo Center Negatives represent the largest collections of University-related photographs, there are several other smaller collections that visually document UMass.

Contact SCUA for more information about viewing the photographs in these collections.

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