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Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA)

Northeast Organic Farming Association Records, 1977-2007
12 boxes (6.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 461

The Northeast Organic Farming Association began as the vision of a New York City plumbing supplies salesman and has grown into a large association supporting information-sharing, education, collaboration, and certification. Increasingly influential non-profit organization with chapters in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont, NOFA has “nearly 4,000 farmers, gardeners and consumers working to promote healthy food, organic farming practices and a cleaner environment.”

The NOFA collection includes records, publications, ephemera, photographs, and other materials from NOFA chapters in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont, along with material from the Interstate Council. The collection includes information on NOFA’s conferences and programs, educational work, lobbying, and their initiatives in organic certification and organic land care.

Subjects
  • Agriculture--Massachusetts
  • Organic farming
  • Organic gardening
  • Sustainable agriculture
Contributors
  • NOFA Massachusetts

Norwich (Conn.) Ironmonger

Norwich (Conn.) Ironmonger's Account book, 1844-1847
1 vol., 270p. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 540 bd

Straddling three rivers with easy access to Long Island Sound and the Atlantic, Norwich, Conn., was an important center during the mid-nineteenth century for the shipment of goods manufactured throughout eastern Connecticut.

Despite covering a limited period of time, primarily 1844 and 1845, the account book of an unidentified iron monger from Norwich (Conn.) provides insight into the activities of a highly active purveyor of domestic metal goods. The unidentified business carried a heavy trade in the sale or repair of iron goods, as well as items manufactured from tin, copper, and zinc, including stoves of several sorts (e.g., cooking, bricking, coal), ovens, pipes, kettles and coffee pots, ice cream freezers, lamps and lamp stands, reflectors, and more. The firm did business with individual clients as well as mercantile firms, corporations such as the Mill Furnace Co., organizations such as the Methodist Society, the city of Norwich and County of New London, and with local hotels.

Subjects
  • Hardware industry--Connecticut
  • Iron industry and trade--Connecticut
  • Norwich (Conn.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Stoves
Types of material
  • Account books

Obear, Clark H.

Clark Hopkins Obear Diaries, 1845-1888
4 vols. (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 601

A resident of New Ipswich, N.H., Clark Obear was an ardent supporter of the temperance and antislavery movements, and was deeply involved in the affairs of his church and community. A teacher in Hillsborough County schools, Obear also worked as a farmer and insurance agent, and served in public office as a deputy sheriff, a Lieutenant Colonel in the militia, a fence viewer and pound keeper, and for several years he was superintendent of schools. Obear and his wife Lydia Ann (Swasey) had two children, Annabel and Francis.

The four diaries in this collection contain brief, but regular entries documenting Clark Obear’s daily life in New Ipswich, N.H. during the middle years of the nineteenth century. Despite their brevity, the diaries form a continuous coverage of many years and offer details that provide a compelling sense of the rhythms of life in a small New Hampshire village. Of particular note, Obear carefully notes the various lectures he attends in town and the organizations of which he is part, including reform movements like temperance and antislavery.

Acquired from Benjamin Katz, Apr. 2009
Subjects
  • Abolitionists--New Hampshire
  • Antislavery movements--New Hampshire
  • New Ipswich (N.H.)--History
  • Temperance--New Hampshire
Contributors
  • Obear, Clark H.
Types of material
  • Diaries

Oldham Camp

Oldham Camp Records, 1876-1927
1 vol., 27p. (0.1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 569bd

The abundant waterfowl at Oldham Pond, Plymouth County, Mass., has long been a lure for hunters. During the nineteenth century, both hunting and recreational shooting of geese and ducks grew in scope throughout the Commonwealth, with the development of at least two formal hunting camps at Oldham.

The Oldham Camp records contains a detailed tally of waterfowl shot at Oldham Pond, along with an “Ancient history of Oldham Pond” by Otis Foster, 1906, chronicling changes in hunting practices and the advent of blinds and decoys. These records include annual summaries of geese taken at the camp (1876-1895) and summaries of both geese and ducks (1896-1919). More valuable are detailed records of “daily bags,” 1905-1915, providing daily kill totals for each species (primarily ducks). An addendum by Edgar Jocelyn, 1927, provides additional historical detail on the hunting stands at Oldham Pond and changes in methods of attracting ducks. There are, as well, narrative annual summaries of the hunting seasons, 1905-1908 and 1912. Tipped into the front of the volume is a typed letter from the renowned Cope Cod decoy maker A. Elmer Crowell (1852-1951), July 2, 1926, reminiscing about hunting at Wenham Lake and promising to begin work on the decoys.

Subjects
  • Decoys (Hunting)--Massachusetts
  • Ducks--Massachusetts
  • Furnace Pond (Mass.)
  • Geese--Massachusetts
  • Hunting--Massachusetts
  • Oldham Pond (Mass.)
Contributors
  • Crowell, A. Elmer
  • Foster, Otis
  • Jocelyn, Edgar

Oral history

Class of 1889 in front of Durfee Greenhouse

Oral historian at the First National Women’s Conference in Houston, Texas, 1977. Photo by Diana Mara Henry

No matter how rich our archival collections may be, there are always parts of the historical record that never make it onto the page. Memories, emotions, and attitudes are notoriously difficult to document, and there a variety of all-too human reasons that people choose not to write down every detail of their lives. As a result, the Department of Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) has been actively engaged in recording oral histories as a way of capturing a more complete record of the many voices and diverse experiences that comprise .

SCUA first ventured into oral historical work in the mid-1970s with efforts to document the history of the university prior to the massive expansion of the previous decade, and the department has subsequently engaged in oral historical projects to document the university’s 125th and 150th anniversaries. In the past decade, SCUA has extended its work to documenting the histories of persons represented in its collections and to a broader array of projects documenting the history and experience of social change and the people and cultures on New England. Furthermore, SCUA is the repository for hundreds of oral histories recorded by other people, ranging in scope from interviews with Franco-Americans in the 1980s, 20th century Argentine political figures, and former residents of the Quabbin towns in Western Massachusetts.

Many of SCUA’s oral histories are available online through our digital repository Credo. These include audio and video recordings and, in a few cases, they may be fully transcribed.

Supporting material

For donors of oral histories:

SCUA is happy to accept donations of oral histories that fit within its collection policy.

SCUA accepts materials in most audio and video formats — cassette, reel to reel, RDAT, VHS, Betacam, or digital — but in every case, we prefer to receive the interview in the format in which it was recorded and in the highest quality available. When possible, we prefer digital files that are uncompressed, however we appreciate receiving a compressed derivative (e.g., mp3 for audio, mp4 for video). When available, transcripts in print and electronic form are a very valuable addition.

Learn more:

Parker, George A.

George A. Parker Class of 1876 Photograph Album, 1876
1 vol., 90 images (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: RG 130 P37
George A. Parker Class of 1876 Photograph Album image
The Giant Squash

A prominent member of the Massachusetts Agricultural College Class of 1876, George A. Parker (1853-1926) began a career in landscape gardening and the development of parks shortly after graduation. Shortly after the turn of the century, he was appointed Superintendent of Parks in Hartford, Conn., helping to develop Colt Park and a number of smaller properties that turned the city into one of the models for New England. He resigned from his post in January 1926 and died later that year from heart disease.

The Parker Album is a more extensive version of the standard class album for 1876, featuring not only albumen portraits mounted on thick stock of the faculty and students, but almost fifty views of campus. Among these are uncommon images of the major academic buildings, the chapel, and hash house, but also interior and exterior shots of buildings on campus, such as the Botanic Museum and the Durfee greenhouses, and images of the students in military drill. All photographs were taken by John L. Lovell of Amherst.

Subjects
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College--Photographs
Contributors
  • Lovell, John L., 1825-1903
  • Parker, George A
Types of material
  • Albumen prints
  • Photographs

Patagonia

Patagonian Rebellion Collection, 1921-1965
1 box (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 353

In 1921-1922, Chilean workers on sheep ranches in Patagonia rebelled violently against their conditions, egged on by anarchist agitators. Under pressure from Conservatives to act decisively, the Radical government in Buenos Aires ordered the 10th Cavalry Regiment under Hector Benigno Varela to quell the disturbance, which they did with a heavy hand.

The Patagonian Rebellion Collection consists of typescripts and photocopies of materials relating to the suppression of the workers’ revolt of 1921-1922. The most significant items include the official diaries and reports of cavalry officers sent to quell the uprising, but the collection also includes correspondence after the fact, news clippings documenting public reaction, and photocopies of photographs depicting the principle individuals involved and the damage wrought. .

Gift of Robert Potash, 1988
Language(s): Spanish
Subjects
  • Argentina--History
  • Argentina--History--Revolution
  • Varela, Hector B
Contributors
  • Anello, Alfredo
  • Campos, Pedro E
  • Ibarra, Pedro Vinas
Types of material
  • Diaries

Perske, Robert

Robert and Martha Perske Papers, 1964-2005
13 boxes (19.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 772
Robert and Martha Perske Papers image
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.

Gift of Robert and Martha Perske, 2013
Subjects
  • Mental retardation--Social aspects
  • People with disabilities--Deinstitutionalization
  • People with disabilities--Legal status, laws, etc.
Contributors
  • Perske, Martha
  • Williams, Robert R.
Types of material
  • Photographs

Peters, Charles A.

Charles A. Peters Papers, 1853-1971 (Bulk: 1894-1920)
6 boxes (3 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 066
Charles A. Peters Papers image
Charles A. Peters

Born in Worcester, Mass., in 1875, Charles A. Peters studied chemistry under Charles Goessmann at Massachusetts Agricultural College, graduating with the class of 1897. After receiving his doctorate at Yale in 1901, he joined the faculty at the University of Idaho for several years before completing his education with two years of post-doctoral work in Berlin (1908-1910). Offered the chance to return to his alma mater in 1912, Peters became a cornerstone of instruction in chemistry, teaching courses for many years in quantitative analysis, inorganic chemistry, and analytical chemistry, and serving as chair of the department. Although he retired when he reached the mandatory age in 1945, Peters remained in Amherst. In 1970, he was presented a gold cane by the Amherst selectmen as the town’s oldest man. He died on Oct. 4, 1973, at the age of 99.

A small, but diverse collection, the Peters Papers include an interesting assortment of materials from the early years of Charles Peters’ association with the Massachusetts Agricultural College. In addition to an assortment of correspondence, primarily from the turn of the 20th century, the collection includes a series of notes taken during undergraduate classes in economic botany, horticulture, chemistry, agriculture, and organic chemistry, some teaching materials, and personal photographs.

Subjects
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Chemistry
Contributors
  • Peters, Charles A
Types of material
  • Photographs

Pictou, Louis, collector

Louis Pictou Mi'kmaq Manuscript, Prior to 1903
1 vol., 140 p. (0.1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 342 bd

The Pictou family were prominent members of the Bear River Band of the Mi’kmaq nation in Nova Scotia during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Notably, Chief Benjamin Pictou (1830-1931) lived for over a century, witnessing the evolution of the Mi’kmaq economy from hunting, fishing, and trapping to include guiding and attempts at agriculture, and was listed by the anthropologist Frank G. Speck in 1922 as having a hunting allocation near Sporting Lake, southwest of the Bear River.

An extensive, unidentified manuscript written in Mi’kmaq (Micmac) language, using the “hieroglyphic” (pictographic) writing system. At one time, the manuscript was apparently in the possession of Louis Pictou, an “Indian guide” on the Bear River, who stating that the manuscript was written by his “ancestors.”

Language(s): Mi'kmaq
Subjects
  • Indians of North America--Nova Scotia
  • Micmac Indians--Manuscripts
Contributors
  • Pictou, Louis
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