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George H. Gilbert & Company

George H. Gilbert Co. Records
1842-1931
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.

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

Jones, Richard, 1937-1991

Richard Jones Papers
ca.1970-1991
2 boxes (1 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 006

Over the course of his esteemed dance career, Richard Jones performed with Eleo Pomare Company, the Miguel Godreau Dance Company, and the Xochipillian Dance Group. Jones was appointed to the staff of the University of Massachusetts on September 1, 1973, and remained with the department until his death in 1991. While at the University, Jones was the founding artistic director of the Amdans Theater, and was the artistic director of the University Dancers from 1979 to 1991.

The Jones Papers are a collection of photographs and reviews of Jones’s choreography during the 1970s and 1980s. A copy of Jones’s original essay, “Costuming for Three Styles of Dance,” (circa 1975) appears in the collection, as do photographs, playbills, posters, Amdans Theatre and University Dancers reviews. The Papers also contain letters to Jones from the Boston Ballet and the American College Dance Festival, as well as reviews of Jones’s choreography for professional companies outside the University.

Subjects
  • Admans Theatre
  • Dance
  • University Dancers (University of Massachusetts Amherst)
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Music and Dance
Contributors
  • Jones, Richard
Types of material
  • Photographs

Miscellaneous Manuscripts

Miscellaneous Manuscripts
1717-2003
6 boxes (3 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 719

Miscellaneous Manuscripts is an artificial collection that brings together single items and small groups of related materials. Although the collection reflects the general collecting emphases in SCUA, particularly the history of New England, the content ranges widely in theme and format.

Subjects
  • Massachusetts--Economic conditions--18th century
  • Massachusetts--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Massachusetts--History
  • Massachusetts--Politics and government
  • Massachusetts--Social conditions--18th century
  • Massachusetts--Social conditions--19th century
  • Massachusetts--Social conditions--20th century
Types of material
  • Account books
  • Correspondence
  • Photographs

Mission and history

Mission

Cattle judging at Mass. Agricultural College
Judging cattle at Mass. Agricultural College

SCUA inspires discovery through the collection and curation of cultural heritage materials for the people of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and beyond, contributing to the vital conversation between past and future. As part of a community dedicated to the values of diversity, social equity, and positive social change, SCUA acts through its collections, services, programs, and exhibitions to promote free inquiry; the production, exchange, and preservation of knowledge; and joy in learning.

Department history

African dancers
African dancers
From the Horace Mann Bond Papers

In 1931, nearly half a century after Librarian Henry Hill Goodell first authorized the permanent retention of the official records of Massachusetts Agricultural College, the Library established a College History Collection. Containing official records of the university’s administrators and faculty and reflecting the life of its students, the College History Collection grew steadily until in 1953, the Library dedicated a room named in honor of Dean William L. Machmer to serve as the first true home of the University Archives.

Goodell’s foresight in assembling the College archives coincided roughly with the university’s first efforts to build a collection of rare books to support its educational mission. As early as 1868 — just one year after the arrival of the first students — the college accepted the donation of twenty scarce volumes on bee culture from the apiculturist (and state Adjutant General) Henry K. Oliver. By the time the college issued its first library catalog in 1875, rare books were a small, but notable part of the collections, closely focused on the primary academic interests of the early college: agriculture, horticulture and botany, and the natural sciences. Included among the Library’s earliest acquisitions were the first London edition of William Bartram’s Travels Through North and South Carolina (1792), François Augier de Marigny’s The History of the Arabians (London, 1758), and early bee manuals by John Keys, The Practical Bee-Master (London, 1780) and The Antient Bee-Master’s Farewell (London, 1796) — both courtesy of Oliver. Each of these volumes remains part of the collections today.

David Axelrod, Class of 1965
David B. Axelrod, ca.1980, Class of 1965, poet, author of The Man who Fell in Love with His Chicken (1980)

From these beginnings, the collection of rare books and manuscripts has co-evolved with the university and its academic programs. In 1973, the acquisition of the records of the Valley Peace Center and the papers of ethnographer Jozef Obrebski marked an expansion of scope beyond into personal papers and organizational records of historical significance beyond the narrow confines of the university, and the arrival of the papers on W.E.B. Du Bois in that same year marked a turning point. The rare book and manuscript collections were merged with the University Archives in the early 1990s to form the current Department of Special Collections and University Archives.

SCUA’s initial foray online came with a simple page on the library’s website in 1997, and by 2007, it had evolved into the UMarmot project, one of the earliest efforts to use freely-available software to create a comprehensive online archival catalog. SCUA launched its online digital repository, Credo in 2011, with the generous support of the Verizon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Historic Publications and Records Commission. Available free to all researchers, Credo is now a robust and heavily used presence on the internet, containing hundreds of thousands of pages of content and dozens of complete collections, including every item in the papers of W.E.B. Du Bois and Horace Mann Bond.

Mile markers

Each of the library’s million-volume milestones has been celebrated by the addition of a special volume to SCUA’s collections:

One millionth volume:
Jonathan Edwards, A careful and strict enquiry into the modern prevailing notions of that freedom of will; which is supposed to be essential to moral agency, vertue and vice, reward and punishment, praise and blame. Boston: S. Kneeland, 1754.
SCUA’s copy of this classic theological work on Free Will from the New Light minister from Northampton belonged to Rev. John Cleaveland of Ipswich, Mass., one of the subscribers. It is signed and dated by Cleaveland in several locations.
Two millionth volume:
Phillis Wheatley, Poems on various subjects, religious and moral. London: A. Bell, 1773.
A classic of American literature written by a young woman enslaved in Boston, and the first book published by an African-American woman. Gift of Randolph W. Bromery.
Three millionth volume:
James Baldwin, Gypsy and other poems, with etched portraits by Leonard Baskin. Northampton, Mass.: Gehenna Press, 1989.
When Baldwin, a former faculty member at UMass Amherst, died unexpectedly, he was working with the great printer Leonard Baskin on a special volume of unpublished poems. Celebrating SCUA’s strengths in African American history literature and reflecting the fine-printing heritage in Massachusetts, SCUA’s copy includes a signed portfolio of etchings of Baldwin by Baskin, each signed. It is one of fifty copies bound specially by Daniel Gehnrich in leather and paste paper, made by Babette Gehnrich, over boards, and laid into a cloth traycase. Also laid in are Baskin’s proof, 1989, and touched proof, 1989, of two of the portraits. Gift of Lisa Baskin.
Four millionth volume:
The proclamation of emancipation of the President of the United States, to take effect January 1st, 1863. Boston: John Murray Forbes, 1862.
The first separate printing of the Emancipation Proclamation, this volume was printed in miniature so that Union army troops in the south could more easily distribute it.

Learn more:

Topol, Sidney

Sidney Topol Papers
1944-1997
52 boxes (78 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 374
Image of Sidney Topol
Sidney Topol

An innovator and entrepreneur, Sidney Topol was a contributor to several key developments in the telecommunications industries in the latter half of the twentieth century. A graduate of the University of Massachusetts (1947) and an engineer and executive at Raytheon and later Scientific-Atlanta, Topol’s expertise in microwave systems led to the development of the first effective portable television relay links, allowing broadcasts from even remote areas, and his foray into satellite technologies in the 1960s provided the foundation for building the emerging cable television industry, permitting the transmission of transoceanic television broadcasts. Since retiring in the early 1990s, Topol has been engaged in philanthropic work, contributing to the educational and cultural life in Boston and Atlanta.

The product of a pioneer in the telecommunications and satellite industries and philanthropist, this collection contains a rich body of correspondence and speeches, engineering notebooks, reports, product brochures, and photographs documenting Sidney Topol’s forty year career as an engineer and executive. The collection offers a valuable record of Topol’s role in the growth of both corporations, augmented by a suite of materials stemming from Topol’s tenure as Chair of the Electronic Industries Association Advanced Television Committee (ATV) in the 1980s and his service as Co-Chair of a major conference on Competitiveness held by the Carter Center in 1988.

Subjects
  • Boston (Mass.)--Social conditions--20th century
  • Cable television
  • Electronic Industries Association
  • Raytheon Company
  • Scientific-Atlanta
Contributors
  • Topol, Sidney

Bajgier Family

Bajgier Family Papers
1925-1986
2 boxes (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 400
Image of Joseph and Martha Bajgier at Bell Market, Chicopee, 1937
Joseph and Martha Bajgier at Bell Market, Chicopee, 1937

On March 13, 1903, Joseph Michael Bajgier was born in Odrzykon, Poland, the youngest of three sons in a farming family. Schooled only through the third grade, Joseph served as a young man in the First Air Division of the Polish Army before following his older brother in emigrating to the United States in 1927. Settling in Chicopee, Mass., with its large and active Polish community, Bajgier began work as a slaughterer of pigs for a meat processing company, but within a few years, he had saved enough money to purchase a small grocery store in Longmeadow. In about 1935, he returned to Chicopee, purchasing a grocery and deli, Bell Market, that his family ran for 36 years. Bajgier was deeply involved in the local Polish community as a member of the Polish National Alliance, the Holy Name Society of St. Stanislaus Parish, and an organization of Polish veterans in exile (Stowarzyszenie Polskich Kombatantow). He and his wife Martha (Misiaszek) had two sons, Casimir and Edward

The Bajgier collection documents the lives of a Polish family in Chicopee, Mass., from the time of immigration through the 1970s. The core of the collection surrounds the life of Joseph Bajgier, and includes a number of documents and a diary from the time of his emigration in 1927, a fascinating series of letters from relatives in Turaszowka, Poland before and after the Second World War, and several photographs of the family and their business in Chicopee.

Subjects
  • Chicopee (Mass.)--Social life and customs
  • Polish Americans--Massachusetts
  • World War, 1939-1945
Contributors
  • Bajgier, Joseph M
Types of material
  • Photographs

Borkowski, Edward A.

Edward A. Borkowski Autobiography
ca.1980
1 folder (0.1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 124 bd

124-page handwritten autobiographical account written in Polish by 100 year-old Edward A. Borkowski of Turner Falls, Massachusetts.

Subjects
  • Polish Americans--Massachusetts--Turners Falls
  • Turners Falls (Mass.)--Social conditions
Contributors
  • Borkowski, Edward A
Types of material
  • Autobiographies

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

Kislo, Michael Z., 1896-1978

Michael Z. Kislo Notebooks
1954-1974
3 boxes (1.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 246

After emigrating from Dzieciekowo, Poland, Michael Kislo found work in a Northampton basket shop and later as a machinist at International Silver Company. He was a resident of Florence, Mass.

The Kislo collection contains nine volumes of Kislo’s writing (mostly in Polish and thematically religious, patriotic, personal, and autobiographical) and artwork (drawings and paintings with religious allusions, Polish costumes, weapons, imaginary animals and fanciful landscapes).

Acquired from Susan Kislo via Stanley Radosh, 1989
Language(s): Polish
Subjects
  • Art, Polish--Massachusetts--20th century
  • Florence (Mass.)--Biography
  • Immigrants--Massachusetts--Florence
  • Polish American artists--Massachusetts--Florence
  • Polish Americans--Massachusetts--Florence
  • United States. Federal Bureau of Investigation
Contributors
  • Kislo, Michael Z., 1896-1978
Types of material
  • Diaries
  • Notebooks
  • Watercolors (Paintings)

Kopiecki, Sophie D. Zmijewski

Sophie D. Zmijewski Kopiecki Papers
ca. 1950-1990
8 boxes (12 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 553

An active member of a number of women’s Polish American clubs in Massachusetts, including the Massachusetts Federation of Polish Women’s Clubs, Sophie Kopiecki was a schoolteacher and mother in the eastern part of the state. Documenting her contributions to the various clubs of which she was a member as well as her activities as a teacher, this collection includes publications, programs, memorabilia, and student assignments.

Gift of Barbara Kopiecki Stathis, Apr. 2008
Subjects
  • Polish American friendly societies--Massachusetts
  • Polish Americans--Ethnic identity--History--20th century
  • Polish Americans--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • Kopiecki, Sophie D. Zmijewski
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