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Blackington, Alton H.

Alton H. Blackington Photograph Collection

1898-1943
15 boxes 4 linear feet
Call no.: PH 061
Image of Fortune teller, ca.1930
Fortune teller, ca.1930

A native of Rockland, Maine, Alton H. “Blackie” Blackington (1893-1963) was a writer, photojournalist, and radio personality associated with New England “lore and legend.” After returning from naval service in the First World War, Blackington joined the staff of the Boston Herald, covering a range of current events, but becoming well known for his human interest features on New England people and customs. He was successful enough by the mid-1920s to establish his own photo service, and although his work remained centered on New England and was based in Boston, he photographed and handled images from across the country. Capitalizing on the trove of New England stories he accumulated as a photojournalist, Blackington became a popular lecturer and from 1933-1953, a radio and later television host on the NBC network, Yankee Yarns, which yielded the books Yankee Yarns (1954) and More Yankee Yarns (1956).

This collection of glass plate negatives was purchased by Robb Sagendorf of Yankee Publishing around the time of Blackington’s death. Reflecting Blackington’s photojournalistic interests, the collection covers a terrain stretching from news of public officials and civic events to local personalities, but the heart of the collection is the dozens of images of typically eccentric New England characters and human interest stories. Most of the images were taken by Blackington on 4×5″ dry plate negatives, however many of the later images are made on flexible acetate stock and the collection includes several images by other (unidentified) photographers distributed by the Blackington News Service.

Gift of Yankee Publishing, Mar. 2012

Subjects

  • Coolidge, Calvin, 1872-1933--Photographs
  • Earhart, Amelia, 1897-1937--Photographs
  • Maine--Social life and customs--Photographs
  • Massachusetts--Social life and customs--Photographs
  • New England--Social life and customs--Photographs
  • New Hampshire--Social life and customs--Photographs
  • Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945--Photographs
  • Sacco-Vanzetti Trial, Dedham, Mass., 1921--Photographs

Types of material

  • Photographs
Boarding House (Swift River Valley, Mass.?)

Boarding House Register

1850
1 vol. 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 098

Twenty-four page register kept by unnamed person, possibly from a Quabbin town, listing boarders by name, payment received, and employee accounts. Payments noted in detail from February to October, 1850. Boarders included several doctors and L.S. Hills, possibly Leonard S. Hills of the Amherst, Massachusetts hat factory. Employee accounts list many women with Irish surnames, including Ellen O’Leary, Ellen Callahan, and Margaret Murphy.

Subjects

  • Boardinghouses--Massachusetts--19th century
  • Irish American women--History--19th century

Types of material

  • Account books
Brackett and Shuff

Brackett and Shuff Ledger

1844-1846
1 vol., 270p. 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 487 bd

The firm of Brackett and Shuff manufactured moldings, doors, and sashes in Lowell, Massachusetts, during the 1840s.

This slender ledger includes sparse accounts (fewer than 30p.) of millwork done by Brackett and Shuff, documenting the manufacture of moldings, doors, and sashes. Crudely kept and only partly filled out, it includes some records of setting up machinery, including tempering plane irons and truing shoulder saws.

Subjects

  • Lowell (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Millwork (Woodwork)--Massachusetts

Contributors

  • Brackett and Shuff
  • Brackett, John B
  • Shuff, Allison S

Types of material

  • Ledgers
Brooks, William Penn, 1851-

William Penn Brooks Papers

1863-1939
3 boxes 1.5 linear feet
Call no.: RG 003/1 B76
Image of Sapporo Ag. College students, 1881
Sapporo Ag. College students, 1881

Two years after graduating from Massachusetts Agricultural College in 1875, William Penn Brooks accepted an invitation from the Japanese government — and his mentor, William Smith Clark — to help establish the Sapporo Agricultural School. Spending over a decade in Hokkaido, Brooks helped to introduce western scientific agricultural practices and the outlines of a program in agricultural education, and he built a solid foundation for the School. After his return to the states in 1888, he earned a doctorate at the University of Halle, Germany, and then accepted a position at his alma mater, becoming a leading figure at the Massachusetts Experiment Station until his retirement in 1921.

Brooks’ papers consist of correspondence, photographs, newspaper clippings, an account book, and translations which provide rich detail on Brooks’ life in Japan, the development of Sapporo Agricultural College (now Hokkaido University), and practical agricultural education in the post-Civil War years.

Subjects

  • Agricultural colleges--Japan--History
  • Clark, William Smith, 1826-1886
  • Hokkaido (Japan)--History
  • Hokkaid¯o Daigaku
  • Japan--Description and travel--19th century
  • Japan--History--1868-
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College--History
  • Massachusetts State Agricultural Experiment Station
  • Sapporo N¯ogakk¯o--History
  • Sapporo-shi (Japan)--History

Contributors

  • Brooks, William Penn, 1851-

Types of material

  • Letters (Correspondence)
Buffington, Elisha L.

Elisha L. Buffington Diaries

1894 July-Dec.
2 vols. 0.1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 711 bd

A twenty year-old from Swansea, Mass., Elisha L. Buffington took a grand tour of Asia with his uncle Elisha D. Buffington and aunt Charlotte in 1894. Spending two months in Japan, the Buffingtons traveled through China and the Subcontinent, visiting the usual cultural and historic sites as well as more unusual voyages to the Himalayas.

Meticulously kept in two volumes (ca.381p.), Elisha L. Buffington’s diaries record the impressions of a twenty year-old from Swansea, Mass., during his first voyage to Asia. Although the diaries do not cover the entire trip, they record details of two months spent in Japan, including an eyewitness account of the Meiji earthquake in Tokyo, and interesting visits to Shanghai and Hong Kong, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and India. The diary ends on December 27, 1894, when the Buffingtons were at Delhi.

Subjects

  • Buffington, Charlotte Walker
  • Buffington, Elisha D
  • Canada--Description and travel
  • China--Description and travel
  • India--Description and travel
  • Japan--Description and travel
  • Japan--Social life and customs--1868-1912
  • Singapore--Description and travel
  • Sri Lanka--Description and travel

Contributors

  • Buffington, Elisha L

Types of material

  • Diaries
Charren, Stanley

Stanley Charren Papers

1973-2000
6 boxes 9 linear feet
Call no.: MS 900

Called “the Howard Hughes of the wind business,” Stanley Charren played a crucial role in the development of the modern wind power industry. A native of Providence, R.I., and an engineering graduate of Brown University (BS 1945) and Harvard (MS 1946). After marrying Peggy Walzer in 1951, who later became famous as founder of Action for Children’s Television, Charren embarked on a career that merged a penchant for innovation with an entrepreneurial streak, working with Pratt and Whitney, Fairchild, and Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton before becoming CEO of Pandel-Bradford (later Compo). Although he successfully developed products such as the swim spa and carpet squares, Charren is best remembered for his role in commercializing wind power. Taking an interest in wind during the Nixon-era energy crisis, he and his partner Russell Wolfe founded US Windpower in 1974, working on the idea of linking arrays of intermediate-sized windmills into a single power plant tied to the grid. US Wind built the world’s first wind farm in 1978, consisting of 20 units at Crotched Mountain, N.H., and after relocating to northern California in 1980 and changing name to Kenetech in 1988, the company emerged as the largest wind energy firm in the world. However the collapse of oil prices in the 1980s and federal regulatory hostility to alternative energy seriously impinged upon the company’s growth, ultimately contributing to its bankruptcy in May 1996. Charren retired from Kenetech in 1995.

The Charren Papers include scattered but valuable materials on the founding and operations of US Windpower and Kenetech, including early business plans, correspondence, technical reports, and informational brochures, along with materials documenting some of the legal challenges they faced in the 1980s and 1990s. The collection also contains ephemera relating to some of Charren’s work outside of the windpower industry.

Gift of Debbie Charren, 2016, 2017

Subjects

  • Kenetech
  • U.S. Windpower
  • Windpower industry
Clement Company (Northampton, Mass.)

Clement Company Records

1881-1934
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.

Subjects

  • Cutlery trade--Massachusetts

Contributors

  • Clement Company (Northampton, Mass.)
Cook Borden & Co.

Cook Borden and Co. Account Books

1863-1914
3 vols. 1.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 288 bd

Cook Borden (a great uncle of Lizzie Borden) and his sons were prosperous lumber dealers from Fall River, Massachusetts who supplied large mills and transportation companies in the region. Three volumes include lists of customers and building contractors, company and personal profits and losses, accounts for expenses, horses, harnesses, lumber, and the planing mill, as well as accounts indicating the cost of rent, labor (with the “teamers”), insurance, interest, and other items.

Subjects

  • Callahan, Daley & Co
  • Construction industry--Massachusetts--History
  • Contractors--Massachusetts--History
  • Crates
  • Lumber
  • Lumber trade--Massachusetts--Fall River--Accounting--History
  • Textile factories--Massachusetts--History
  • Textile industry--Massachusetts
  • Transportation--Massachusetts--History
  • Wages--Manufacturing industries--Massachusetts

Contributors

  • Borden, Cook, 1810-
  • Borden, Jerome
  • Borden, Philip H
  • Borden, Theodore W
  • Cook Borden & Co

Types of material

  • Account books
Cushing, David F., 1814-1899

David F. Cushing Records

1851-1862
2 vols. 0.2 linear feet
Call no.: MS 248 bd

Born in Newfane, Vermont in 1814, David F. Cushing journeyed to West Medway, Massachusetts, at the age of sixteen to learn the tailor’s trade. There he met and married Polly Adams (b. 1821), who gave birth to their son, Winfield, in 1843, the first of at least nine children. Shortly after starting his family, Cushing returned home to Vermont, establishing a general store in the village of Cambridgeport, situated on the border of Grafton and Rockingham. He enjoyed considerable success in his work, rising from being listed as a “retail dealer” in the early years to a merchant; by 1860, Cushing owned real estate valued at $4,000 and personal property worth $7,000. A deacon of the Congregational church, his frequent appointment as a postmaster hints at a degree of political connection within the community to accompany his financial and personal success. He remained active in his store for 56 years until his death in 1899.

Cushing’s daybook (1860) includes lists of stock, how he acquired his goods, and the method and form of payment (cash or exchange of goods and services). The receipt book, comprised of printed forms, records freight hauling activities, with records of the freight (usually hay or oxen), weight, and date.

Subjects

  • Barter--Vermnont--Cambridgeport--19th century
  • Cambridgeport (Vt.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Freight and freightage--Rates--Vermont--19th century
  • General stores--Vermont--Cambridgeport

Contributors

  • Cushing, David F., 1814-1899

Types of material

  • Account books
  • Daybooks
Czaja, Mrs. Joseph

Josephine Czaja Papers

1936-1987
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 189

Born in Poland, Josephine Latosinski emigrated with her parents to the United States as an infant in 1905. After study at the Booth and Bayliss Commercial College in Waterbury, Connecticut, she worked briefly as a secretary for a Waterbury firm, however in 1926, she married an electrical engineer, Joseph Czaja, and moved to Springfield, Mass. An active member of the Polish community and a talented musician, Czaja sang in the St. Cecilia Choir of Our Lady of the Rosary Church, was an officer in the church’s Ladies Guild, and she became a key member of the local Polish Women’s Club.

The collection consists of photocopies of news clippings, probably compiled into scrapbooks by Josephine Czaja, depicting her activities, her family, the Polish community of Springfield more generally, particularly the Polish Women’s Club.

Language(s): PolishEnglish`

Subjects

  • Polish Americans--Massachusetts--Springfield
  • Polish Women's Club
  • Springfield (Mass.)--Social conditions

Types of material

  • News clippings