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North Hadley Farmers Club

North Hadley Farmers Club Records

1856-1863
1 vol. 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 616 bd

At a December 1856 meeting, the farmers of North Hadley, Mass., approved the proposal that “the interest of Agriculture would be materially promoted by the formation of a farmers club.” Drafting a constitution, they elected Lewis Fish President, Joseph H. Shattuck Vice President, and Levi Stockbridge (a key figure in the early history of the Massachusetts Agricultural College) Secretary, and for several years thereafter, they met regularly to pursue their mission of elevating farming through education and the application of scientific principals to agriculture. The club appears to have folded during the later years of the Civil War.

The minute book contains a relatively detailed record of the meetings of a typical late-antebellum farmers’ society in New England. Typically held during the slower seasons, the meetings centered around discussions of new methods for improving the profitability of farming, from proper plowing to manuring, breeding, marketing, and the various “experiments they have tried” on their farms, but some discussions ran into debates over the morality of tobacco farming or general ideas for improving the social image and status of farming. The minute book includes relatively detailed synopses of each meeting, with the entries prior to 1861 tending to be a bit more extensive.

Subjects
  • Farming--Massachusetts--North Hadley
  • North Hadley (Mass.)--History
  • Tobacco
Contributors
  • North Hadley Farmers Club
  • Stockbridge, Levi, 1820-1904
Types of material
  • Minute books

Northampton Cutlery Company

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.

Subjects
  • Cutlery trade--Massachusetts
  • Northampton (Mass.)--History
Contributors
  • Northampton Cutlery Company

Norwegian Information Service

Norwegian Information Service Photographs of Sami (Lapp) People

1 envelope 0.1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 297
Image of Sami girls
Sami girls

During the Second World War, the Nazi occupation and subsequent liberation of the arctic regions of northern Norway resulted in the near total devastation of the existing infrastructure and the displacement of most of the population, including the native Sami (Lapps). The end of the war did not signal an end to hardship: the challenges of post-war resettlement was accompanied by a sustained effort by the Norwegian government to modernize and assimilate the Sami, largely through the systematic suppression of Sami culture. The language was banned from use in schools until 1958 and other forms of suppression persisted longer, and it was decades more before the rights of the Sami as an indigenous people were codified into law.

The dozen photographs that comprise this collection document Sami life in northern Norway during the period just after the end of the Second World War when Sami people were returning home after years as refugees. Taken by the Norwegian Information Service and presumably associated with the Norwegian modernization program, the collection includes images of traditional Sami sod dwellings, men at work on construction of sled and boat, and portraits of women and children.

Subjects
  • Dwellings--Norway--Photographs
  • General stores--Norway--Photographs
  • Sami (European people)--Photographs
  • Sleds--Norway--Photographs
  • Sod houses--Norway--Photographs
  • Tents--Norway--Photographs
Contributors
  • Norwegian Information Service
Types of material
  • Photographs

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

Olver, John

John Olver Papers

ca.1990-2012
57 boxes 85.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 748
Image of John Olver, April 2012
John Olver, April 2012

John Olver served as representive from the 1st Congressional District in Massachusetts for over two decades. Born in Honesdale, Pa., on Sept. 3, 1936, Olver began an academic career at UMass Amherst shortly after earning his doctorate in chemistry at MIT in 1961. In 1969, however, he resigned his position to pursue a career in politics. Winning election to the Massachusetts House in 1969 as a Democratic representative from Hampshire County, Olver went on to the state Senate in 1973, and finally to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1991, where he followed 17-term Republican Congessman Silvio O. Conte. Olver was a progressive voice for a district stretching from the Berkshire Hills through northern Worcester and Middlesex Counties, enjoying consistently strong support from his constituents for his support for issues ranging from national health care to immigration reform, regional economic development, human rights, and opposition to the wars in Iraq. A member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, he held seats on the Appropriations Committee and subcommittees on Transportation and Housing and Urban Development, Energy and Water Development, and Homeland Security. With the redistricting process in Massachusetts in 2011, Olver announced that he would not seek reelection in 2012.

The Olver papers contain thorough documentation of the congressman’s career in Washington, including records of his policy positions, committee work, communications with the public, and the initiatives he supported in transportation, economic development, the environment, energy policy, and human rights. Material in the collection was drawn from each of Olver’s three district offices (Holyoke, Pittsfield, and Fitchburg), as well his central office in Washington.

Gift of John Olver, 2012
Subjects
  • Massachusetts--Politics and government--1951-
  • United States--Politics and government--1989-
  • United States--Politics and government--2001-2009
  • United States. Congress. House
Contributors
  • Olver, John

Opportunities

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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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

However 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.

Although SCUA accepts materials in most audio and video formats — cassette, reel to reel, RDAT, VHS, Betacam, or digital — we typically prefer to receive interviews in the format in which they were recorded and in the highest quality available. When possible, we prefer uncompressed digital files, 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.

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Parker, Alfred A.

Alfred A. Parker Daybooks

1877-1889
4 vols. 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 235

In the years following the Civil War, Alfred A. Parker operated a stove and tinware shop in Orange, Mass., trading with individuals and business in the nearby towns of New Salem and Erving. A native of New Hampshire and resident of Missouri in the years prior to the war, Parker had four children with his wife Frances (Whipple), two of whom survived him at his death in 1907.

Alfred Parker’s daybooks document his business transactions with local residents and firms, including the Gold Medal Sewing Machine Co., the Orange Manufacturing Co., and the Rodney Hunt Machine Co. The entries note charges for labor (especially soldering), the cost of stoves, pipe, kettles of various sorts, roofing material, and information about shipping costs.

Subjects
  • Freight and freightage--Rates--Massachusetts--19th century
  • Gold Medal Sewing Machine Company
  • Kettles--Prices--Massachusetts--Orange--19th century
  • New Salem (Mass.)--History
  • Orange (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Orange Manufacturing Company (Orange, Mass.)
  • Pipe--Prices--Massachusetts--Orange--19th century
  • Rodney Hunt Machine Company
  • Roofing--Prices--Massachusetts--Orange--19th century
  • Solder and soldering--Costs--19th century
  • Stove industry and trade--Massachusetts--Orange--19th century
  • Stoves--Prices--Massachusetts--Orange--19th century
  • Tinsmithing--Massachusetts--Orange--19th century
  • Tinsmiths--Massachusetts--Orange--Economic conditions--19th century
Contributors
  • Parker, Alfred A.
Types of material
  • Account books
  • Daybooks

Passin, Herbert

Herbert Passin Collection

1944-1955
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 565

A distinguished scholar of contemporary Japan, Herbert Passin was born in Chicago on Dec. 16, 1916. After completing a doctorate in anthropology in 1941, Passin was inducted into the Army and sent to the Army’s Japanese language school in Ann Arbor, Michigan, for training. Assigned to duty in Tokyo in December 1945, he became chief of the Public Opinion and Sociological Research Division under Gen. Douglas MacArthur. During his tour of duty, Passin coordinated a series of sociological studies of Japanese village life to help guide U.S. Occupation policy, particularly as it dealt with land and labor reform.

The Passin Collection contains reports and notes of sociological surveys of two Japanese villages, Yuzurihara and Yawatano, conducted by U.S. Occupation authorities in 1946 and 1947, along with a wartime report by Arthur Meadow of “Japanese character structure based on Japanese film plots and thematic apperception tests on Japanese Americans,” and a post-war letter from the novelist Takami Jun.

Gift of James and Sibylle Fraser, Oct. 2007
Subjects
  • Japan--History--Allied occupation, 1945-1952
  • Japan--Sociology--Occupation
Contributors
  • Passin, Herbert
Types of material
  • Letters (Correspondence)

Peckham, Alford S.

Alford S. Peckham Collection

1940s-1990s
6 boxes 9 linear feet
Call no.: MS 707
Image of New England agricultural event
New England agricultural event

Born in Newport, Rhode Island in 1919, Alford S. Peckham attended Rhode Island College, graduating in 1941, before serving in the U.S. Army 1st Division until receiving a medical discharge. For twenty-one years he worked as the manager of public relations for the United Farmers of New England, a cooperative of dairy farmers. His interest and expertise in agricultural history continued even after he left the cooperative for the Federal Reserve Bank in Boston; he was appointed the Massachusetts state agricultural historian in July 1989 and amassed his own collection of historical resources in the hopes of developing a Massachusetts Agricultural History Society. Peckham died on December 20, 2005 in Newport, Rhode Island, his home since his retirement in 1984.

Consisting chiefly of subject files, the Alford S. Peckham Collection covers topics ranging from agricultural history and fairs to dairy farmers and animal rights. Also included are photographs of agricultural events around New England, such as the Massachusetts Dairy Festival (1958), the American Dairy Princess (1961), and the Big E (1950s).

Gift of Sean M. Fisher, DCR Archives, June 2011
Subjects
  • Agriculture--Massachusetts--History
  • Agriculture--New England--History
  • Dairy farms--Massachusetts--History
  • Farms--New England--History