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Brookfield (Mass.). Selectmen

Brookfield (Mass.) Records

1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 595

Settled in 1660 and incorporated in 1718, the town of Brookfield (Worcester County) straddles the Boston Post Road, one of the major arteries during the colonial period connecting Boston with the towns of the Connecticut River Valley and New York.

This assemblage of documents from the town of Brookfield consists primarily of warrants for town meetings, many with agendas, issued through the local constable. Concentrated in the 1770s, these warrants provide relatively detailed information on matters of local importance, including town finances, tax assessments, contributions to the poor house, roadways, and property disputes. During the Revolutionary and post-Revolutionary years, however, issues of interest to the town were often wrapped up in regional or national political issues. Town freeholders, for example, were called to consider requests to “come into any Vote or Resolve Respecting the East India Company Tea,” the encouragement of manufacture of firearms, smallpox inoculation, and pay for the town’s Minute Men.

  • Brookfield (Mass.)--History--18th century
  • Smallpox
  • United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783
  • Forster, Jedediah
Types of material
  • Warrants

Brooks, Burt V.

Burt V. Brooks Photograph Collection

3 boxes 1.5 linear feet
Call no.: PH 060
Image of

The artist Burt Vernon Brooks was one of the outstanding chroniclers of daily life in the Swift River Valley before it was inundated to create the Quabbin Reservoir. Born in Brimfield, Mass., in 1849 and raised in Monson, Brooks moved to Greenwich with his family in the 1870s, where he worked on the family farm. At some unclear point before he turned 40, Brooks became active as an artist, painting local homes and scenery and taking photographs of the landscape, residents, and daily life in the Quabbin region. A prolific photographer, he was, in the words of historian Donald W. Howe, “hardly ever seen without his camera strapped to his back,” remaining active for decades. Three years after following his second wife to the west, Brooks died in Los Angeles in 1934.

The great majority of the 92 photographs in this collection are 5×7″ dry plate glass negatives taken by Brooks in the earliest years of the twentieth century, documenting the houses and people of Greenwich. Brooks’ work includes landscapes, houses, and a significant series of images of the Hillside School, but some of his best works are studio portraits, images of people at home or with their carriages, and posed scenes of children at play or at work. The collection also includes eight images by Brooks at Enfield, Greenwich, and Dana that are the property of the Swift River Valley Historical Society, and six images taken by Chetwynd and Pike in the Quabbin region to document properties slated for removal.

Gift of Friends of Quabbin through Gene Theroux, Paul Godfrey, and Les Campbell, June 2014
  • Agriculture--Massachusetts--Greenwich--Photographs
  • Carriages and carts--Massachusetts--Greenwich--Photographs
  • Children--Massachusetts--Greenwich--Photographs
  • Dana (Mass.)--Photographs
  • Dwellings--Massachusetts--Greenwich--Photographs
  • Enfield (Mass.)--Photographs
  • Greenwich (Mass.)--Photographs
  • Hillside School (Marlborough, Mass.)
  • Horses--Massachusetts--Greenwich--Photographs
  • New Salem (Mass.)--Photographs
  • Plowing--Massachusetts--Greenwich--Photographs
  • Prescott (Mass.)--Photographs
Types of material
  • Dry plate gelatin negatives
  • Gelatin silver negatives
  • Photographs

Canning, Josiah D. (Josiah Dean), 1816-1892

Josiah D. Canning, The Shad-Fishers Manuscript

1 vol. 0.1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1009 bd

The “Peasant Bard” of Gill, Mass., Josiah D. Canning, published five books of poetry between 1838 and 1892 extolling the spiritual virtues of nature and the agrarian life. The son of a minister, Canning worked as a printer for several years before settling down to farming life, churning out poetry that reflected his reverence for the land.

This small collection consists of a printed copy of Josiah Canning’s fourth book, The Shad-Fishers, published by R.C. Graves in Greenfield, Mass., in 1854, along with a manuscript copy of the same work bound in workmanlike leather over boards. Although it is not possible to determine with certainty, the manuscript may be Canning’s own.

Acquired from Eugene Povirk, Jan. 2018
  • Poetry--Massachusetts--Gill
Types of material
  • Manuscripts (Documents)

Clark family

Clark Family Papers

1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 654

The Clark family played a prominent role in the colonial and early national history of Newton, Massachusetts. John Clark and his wife Elizabeth Norman settled in Cambridge Village (now Newton), Massachusetts, in about 1681, and played an active role in the public life of the town. His son William, grandson Norman, and great-grandson Norman followed in John’s footsteps, serving as Selectmen and, in the case of Norman, Jr., as the Collector of taxes during and after the Revolutionary War.

This small collection traces the early history of Newton, Mass., through the lives and activities of four generations of the family of John Clark. While the majority of the collection consists of deeds or related legal documents pertaining to properties in Newton (or in one case, Connecticut), a few items provide glimpses into other Clark family activities. As tax collector for Newton during and after the Revolution, Norman Clark, Jr., left an interesting documentary trail that touches on financial priorities in town, including the collection of taxes for support of the church, Revolutionary War soldiers, and road building.

  • Clark Family
  • Newton (Mass.)--History--18th century
  • Real property--Massachusetts--Newton
  • Taxation--Massachusetts
  • United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783
  • Clark, John
  • Clark, Norman
  • Clark, William
Types of material
  • Deeds
  • Maps
  • Wills

Clement Company (Northampton, Mass.)

Clement Company Records

61 boxes, 103 ledgers 43 linear feet
Call no.: MS 099

In mid-nineteenth century, the Connecticut River Valley in Massachusetts emerged as a center of cutlery manufacture in the United States. In 1866, a group of manufacturers in Northampton including William Clement, previously a foreman at Lamson and Goodnow, founded Clement, Hawke, and Co. in Florence to produce both hardware and cutlery, and after several reorganizations, the firm spawned both the Northampton Cutlery Co. (1871) and the Clement Manufacturing Co. (1882, formerly International Screw). Clement produced high quality table cutlery and was an early adopter of stainless steel. The company ceased operations in about 1970.

The Clement Company’s records include extensive correspondence files (1881-1934), along with journals and ledgers, payroll accounts, employee information, and other records. The records provide excellent documentation of wages, working conditions, the labor forces, and technological change in the industry, as well as the efforts of local workers to unionize.

  • Cutlery trade--Massachusetts
  • Clement Company (Northampton, Mass.)

Coffin, Robert L.

Robert L. Coffin Ornithological Journal

1 vol. 0.1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 593 bd

Robert L. Coffin (1889-1976) began a long association with the Massachusetts Agricultural College when he arrived on campus in 1912 to begin work as an assistant photographer for the East Experiment Station. His skill as a technical photographer and his artistic eye, however, soon made him a valuable commodity on campus and within a few years of his arrival, Coffin had branched out to work for a wide range of departments across campus and, in the late 1920s, for the US Department of Agriculture in Pennsylvania and New Jersey as well. An avid birder and naturalist, Coffin was particularly known for his nature photography, using a battery of different cameras to capture everything from scenic vistas to photomicrographs. Although he established a commercial photographic studio in Amherst in 1931, Coffin continued to accept a wide range of assignments at UMass, earning recognition as the unofficial campus photographer. He remained active almost to the time of his death in 1976 at the age of 86.

Containing the meticulously detailed records of an avid birder, the Coffin journal contains records of sightings and first and last occurrences of birds observed in the years 1912 and 1917-1922. The records in the journal reflect Coffin’s many birding trips in western Massachusetts, mostly in the Connecticut River Valley, however the journal also contains records from the Swift River Valley, the Harvard Forest, the Boston area, and the Connecticut coast. In a few cases, Coffin recorded the numbers of birds observed.

  • Bird watching--Massachusetts
  • Birds--Massachusetts
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Coffin, Robert L
Types of material
  • Field notes

Conte, Silvio O. (Silvio Oltavio), 1921-1991

Silvio O. Conte Papers

389 boxes 583.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 371

Massachusetts State Senator for the Berkshire District, 1950-1958, and representative for Massachusetts’s First District in the United States Congress for 17 terms, 1959-1991, where he made significant contributions in the areas of health and human services, the environment, education, energy, transportation, and small business.

Spanning four decades and eight presidents, the papers offer an extraordinary perspective on the major social, economic, and cultural changes experienced by the American people. Includes correspondence, speeches, press releases, bill files, his voting record, committee files, scrapbooks, travel files, audio-visual materials and over 5,000 photographs and slides.

  • Massachusetts--Politics and government--1951-
  • Massachusetts. Senate
  • United States--Politics and government--20th century
  • United States. Congress. House
  • Conte, Silvio O. (Silvio Oltavio), 1921-1991
Types of material
  • Photographs
  • Scrapbooks
  • Sound recordings

Drinkwater, Robert W.

Robert W. Drinkwater Collection

6 boxes 5 linear feet
Call no.: PH 067
Wildwood Cemetery, Amherst, Non. 2004
Wildwood Cemetery, Amherst, Non. 2004

An historical archaeologist with an MA in Anthropology from UMass Amherst, Bob Drinkwater has recorded, photographed, and reported on the eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century gravestones and stonecutters of western Massachusetts for over four decades, and he has identified a number of Connecticut River Valley carvers. A charter member of the Association for Gravestone Studies, he has been active in nearly every aspect of the organization, contributing scholarly articles to its journals, organizing and presenting at its conferences, and serving terms as President and Trustee. He offers a workshop, “Gravestone Studies 101: A Survey of Gravestone Art in the Pioneer Valley”, at Greenfield Community College.

Focused on Bob Drinkwater’s research on western Massachusetts, the collection contains several hundred images recording early gravestones in the cemeteries of Amherst and Hadley, photo documentation of the stonecutters of Berkshire County and the Quabbin region, and two longer works written by Drinkwater: “From quarry to graveyard: a schematic reconstruction of early New England gravestone-carving technology” (his honor’s thesis, ca.1975) and “Notes on Methods of Collection, Classification, Recording, and Analysis of Data for Stylistic and Demographic Studies of Early New England Gravestones.”

  • Gravestones--Massachusetts--Amherst
  • Gravestones--Massachusetts--Hadley
  • Stone carving--Massachusetts
  • McArdle, Alan
Types of material
  • Photographs

Duesing, Bill

Bill Duesing Collection

14 items 1.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 760
Image of 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

George H. Gilbert & Company

George H. Gilbert Co. Records

26 boxes, 126 vols. 36 linear feet
Call no.: MS 096

In 1841, George H. Gilbert and Charles A. Stevens formed a partnership to manufacture broadcloth and cloaking in Ware, Massachusetts. Ten years later, the partnership dissolved and each partner carried a part of the business into separate establishments. The newly formed George H. Gilbert Company continued making high-grade woolen flannels, for which it developed a national reputation, until 1930.

Records, consisting of correspondence, financial records and cash books, construction contracts, sales lists, production records, and sample books, document the operation of Gilbert and Stevens and later the Gilbert Company for almost a century. The labor accounts (1851-1930), document the phases of the varying ethnic composition of the workforce — Irish, French-Canadian, and eventually Polish — well as the family orientation of the mills.

  • Textile industry--Massachusetts
  • Ware (Mass.)--History
  • George H. Gilbert and Co
Types of material
  • Account books