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Friends genealogy

Genealogists are the largest single group of researchers using the Friends records, but they often meet with frustration. One common misconception is that these records are neatly organized and indexed. While William W. Hinshaw’s Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy provided thorough indexes for the records of many yearly meetings, including New York, Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania and North Carolina, the New England records have never been completely indexed. In most cases, the only access to information on New England Friends is usually a search of the records, either on microfilm or in the original. Here are some important points to remember for typical genealogical problems.

  1. It is important to know both place and time. If an individual moved around New England, it will be very helpful to sketch out a chronology of their travels.
  2. All vital records are recorded by the Monthly Meeting. You will need to determine which monthly meeting(s) your ancestor belonged to. If there is no monthly meeting named after their town, look it up in the index in the back of this book. Some towns held smaller meetings that were part of a larger nearby monthly meeting.
  3. If your ancestor’s town is not indexed, examine the maps on pages 12 to 14 of this guide. Were there any meetings nearby? Until the age of automobile travel, it is unlikely that many practicing Friends lived more than a few miles away from at least a worship group. Even if they did maintain the “Discipline” of Friends in a distant town, their vital records would probably not be recorded by a Monthly Meeting.
  4. If you are able to determine a probable Monthly Meeting, look at that meeting’s entry in the monthly meeting section. Check for vital records in the listing at the bottom of this entry. Are there any birth, death, marriage or membership records? Removals and denials are also useful (see glossary). Minutes are less useful for genealogy, but sometimes include marriage information, and occasionally memorials to the deceased.
  5. If the records that you want have been microfilmed, this will be indicated in the last column: “Film#”. This is the microfilm number at the Rhode Island Historical Society Library. An asterisk indicates that it can also be found at the Maine Historical Society Library, and a plus sign indicates that it can be ordered from the Family History Centers operated by the Latter-Day Saints (Mormons). An @ symbol indicates that the film is available through the Nantucket Historical Association.
  6. If the records have not been microfilmed, you will need to consult the originals, most of which are at UMass Amherst. The location of originals is given in the “Loc.” column. Please note that a complete set of microfilm is available for consultation at the Rhode Island Historical Society.
  7. If you are researching early Friends (pre-Revolutionary), it is likely that you will not discover anything new in the vital records. Friends records have always been a major resource for colonial genealogy, and have been consulted for most of the major reference works that you have already looked at. It is, however, possible to find new information in meeting minutes, to verify membership or residence in a location.

For further information, Our Quaker Ancestors: Finding Them in Quaker Records by Ellen Thomas Berry and David Allen Berry (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1987) is a book-length treatment of general approaches to Quaker genealogy.

Gates, John Edward

John Edward Gates Papers

1982-1991
2 boxes 3 linear feet
Call no.: MS 518

Lexicographer and former English faculty at Indiana State University, John Edward Gates is the author of numerous scholarly articles on idiomatic phrases and the principles and practice of dictionary making, as well as the co-editor of the Dictionary of Idioms for the Deaf. Reflecting his work as a lexicographer, this collection consists of research notes and proofs of articles and book reviews.

Subjects

  • Lexicography
  • Linguistics

Contributors

  • Gates, John Edward
George & Kent

George and Kent Records

1887-1890
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 888

Late in the nineteenth century, George and Kent was one among many firms in Barre, Vt., specializing in the supply of granite for grave markers and monuments. Under senior partner William L. George, the firm was located on Seminary Street in the 1880s, supplying a clientele that reached as far away as Iowa. Although the firm was listed in city directories from at least 1883 to 1890, further details are scant.

This small collection consists of receipts and correspondence relating to George and Kent’s trade in granite memorials. Concentrated in a narrow window, mostly 1887-1888, the collection includes three sketches for memorials to be produced by the firm.

Subjects

  • Granite industry and trade--Vermont
  • Gravestones--Vermont

Contributors

  • George, William L.

Types of material

  • Design drawings
Gwin, Lucy

Lucy Gwin Papers

1982-2005
8 boxes 12 linear feet
Call no.: MS 822

Born in Indiana, the writer Lucy Gwin (1943-2014) lived “a lot of lives,” in her own words, working in advertising, as a dairy farmer, civil rights activist, and deckhand on ships servicing oil rigs, all before the age of 40. While living in Rochester, N.Y., in 1989, however, her life took a sudden turn. After a head-on collision with a drunk driver left her with traumatic brain injury, Gwin was remanded for care to the New Medico Brain Rehabilitation Center, where she witnessed a world of isolation, patient abuse, and powerlessness. Never one to shrink from a challenge, she escaped from the Center and used her skills as an organizer and writer to expose conditions at New Medico and shut the facility down. Through her experiences, Gwin emerged as a powerful, often acerbic voice in all-disability rights advocacy, becoming the founder, designer, and editor of the influential Mouth Magazine in 1990.

Lucy Gwin’s papers document the advocacy of an important figure in the disability rights movement. The rich documentation for Mouth Magazine includes comprehensive editorial files arranged issue by issue, some correspondence with authors and supporters, and copies of the published issue. The balance of the collection contains Gwin’s other work as a writer, personal correspondence, and materials relating to her experiences with and campaign against New Medico.

Subjects

  • Disabled--Civil rights
  • Mouth Magazine
Hapgood, Beth

Beth Hapgood Papers

1789-2005
67 boxes 35 linear feet
Call no.: MS 434
Image of Beth Hapgood and members of the Brotherhood, ca.1969
Beth Hapgood and members of the Brotherhood, ca.1969

Daughter of a writer and diplomat, and graduate of Wellesley College, Beth Hapgood has been a spiritual seeker for much of her life. Her interests have led her to become an expert in graphology, a student in the Arcane School, an instructor at Greenfield Community College, and a lecturer on a variety of topics in spiritual growth. Beginning in the mid-1960s, Hapgood befriended Michael Metelica, the central figure in the Brotherhood of the Spirit (the largest commune in the eastern states during the early 1970s) as well as Elwood Babbitt, a trance medium, and remained close to both until their deaths.

The Hapgood Papers contain a wealth of material relating to the Brotherhood of the Spirit and the Renaissance Community, Metelica, Babbitt, and other of Hapgood’s varied interests, as well as 4.25 linear feet of material relating to the Hapgood family.

Subjects

  • Brotherhood of the Spirit
  • Channeling (Spiritualism)
  • Communal living--Massachusetts
  • Graphology
  • Hapgood family--Correspondence
  • Massachusetts--Social life and customs--20th century
  • Mediums--Massachusetts
  • Nineteen sixties--Social aspects
  • Occultism--Social aspects
  • Popular culture--History--20th century
  • Renaissance Community
  • Rock music--1971-1980
  • Warwick (Mass.)--History

Contributors

  • Babbitt, Elwood, 1922-
  • Boyce, Neith, 1872-1951
  • Hapgood, Beth--Correspondence
  • Hapgood, Charles H
  • Hapgood, Elizabeth Reynolds
  • Hapgood, Hutchins, 1869-1944
  • Hapgood, Norman, 1868-1937
  • Metelica, Michael
Howland family

Howland Family Papers

1727-1886 Bulk: 1771-1844
2 boxes 0.75 linear feet
Call no.: MS 923

The Howland family of East Greenwich, R.I., figured prominently in New England Quakerism during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and contributed to the state’s public affairs. Brothers Daniel (1754-1834), an approved minister, and Thomas Howland (1764-1845), an educator, were active members of the Society during the tumultuous years between the 1780s and 1840s, caught up in the moral demands for a response to slavery and other social issues and in the divisions wrought by evangelical influences.

Centered largely on the lives of Thomas Howland, his brother Daniel, and Daniel’s son Daniel, the Howland collection is an important record of Quaker life in Rhode Island during trying times. As meeting elders, the Howlands monitored and contributed to the era’s major controversies, and the collection is particularly rich in discussions of the impact of slavery and the passionate struggle between Friends influenced by the evangelically-inclined Joseph John Gurney and the orthodox John Wilbur. Thomas’ complex response to his commitment to the antislavery cause and his fear of disrupting meeting unity is particularly revealing. Also of note is a series of responses from monthly meetings to queries on compliance with Quaker doctrine, obtained during the decade after the American Revolution.

Subjects

  • Antislavery movements--Rhode Island
  • East Greenwich (R.I.)--History
  • Peace movements--Rhode Island
  • Temperance--Rhode Island

Contributors

  • Bassett, William, 1803-1871
  • Brown, Moses, 1738-1836
  • Friends' Boarding School (Providence, R.I.)
  • Gurney, Joseph John, 1788-1847
  • Howland, Daniel
  • Howland, Daniel, 1754-1834
  • Howland, Thomas, 1764-1845
  • Moses Brown School
  • New England Yearly Meeting of Friends
  • Shearman, Abraham, 1777-1847
  • Society of Friends--Controversial literature
  • Society of Friends--History
  • Tobey, Samuel Boyd, 1805-1867
  • Wilbur, John, 1774-1856
Hudson Family

Hudson family Papers

1780-1955 Bulk: 1825-1848
6 boxes 3 linear feet
Call no.: MS 332
Image of Three generations: including Erasmus Darwin Hudson Sr. and Jr.
Three generations: including Erasmus Darwin Hudson Sr. and Jr.

Born in Torringford, Connecticut in 1806, and educated at the Torringford Academy and Berkshire Medical College (MD 1827), Erasmus Darwin Hudson became well known as a radical reformer. While establishing his medical practice in Bloomfield, Conn., and later in Springfield, Mass., and New York City, Hudson emerged as a force in the antislavery struggle, hewing to the non-resistant line. Touring the northeastern states as a lecturing agent for the Connecticut Anti-Slavery Society and general agent of the American Anti-Slavery Society, he regularly contributing articles to an antislavery periodicals and befriended many of the movement’s leaders. In his professional life as an orthopedic surgeon, Hudson earned acclaim for his contributions to the development of modern prosthetics. During the carnage of the Civil War, he introduced remarkable improvements in artificial limb technology and innovations in the treatment of amputations and battle trauma, winning awards for his contributions at international expositions in Paris (1867) and Philadelphia (1876). Hudson died of pneumonia on Dec. 31, 1880.

Spanning five generations of a family of physicians and social reformers, the Hudson Family Papers include particularly significant content for Erasmus Darwin Hudson documenting his activities with the Connecticut and American Anti-Slavery societies. Hudson’s journals and writings are accompanied by a rich run of correspondence with antislavery figures such as Abby Kelley, Wendell Phillips, Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, Isaac Hopper, and Samuel May and a unique antislavery campaign map of New York state and surrounding areas (1841). Hudson’s medical career and that of his son Erasmus Darwin Hudson, Jr. (1843-1887), a thoracic physician, is equally well documented through correspondence, medical notes, and handwritten drafts of lectures, with other material ranging from family records and writings of and other family members to genealogies of the Hudson, Shaw, Clarke, Fowler, and Cooke families, and printed material, memorabilia, clipping and photographs.

Subjects

  • Abolitionists
  • African Americans--History
  • American Anti-slavery Society
  • Antislavery movements--Massachusetts
  • Connecticut Anti-slavery Society
  • Connecticut--History--19th century
  • Massachusetts--History--19th century
  • Physicians--New York
  • United States--History--1783–1865

Contributors

  • Douglass, Frederick, 1818-1895
  • Foster, Abby Kelley, 1810-1887
  • Garrison, William Lloyd, 1805-1879
  • Gay, Sydney Howard, 1814-1888
  • Hopper, Isaac T. (Isaac Tatem), 1771-1852
  • Hudson Family
  • Hudson, Daniel Coe, 1774–1840
  • Hudson, Erasmus Darwin, 1806–1880
  • Hudson, Erasmus Darwin, 1843–1887
  • Phillips, Wendell, 1811-1884
  • Smith, Gerrit, 1797-1874
  • Stone, Lucy, 1818-1893
  • Weld, Theodore Dwight, 1803-1895
  • Wright, Henry Clarke, 1797-1870

Types of material

  • Diaries
  • Letters (Correspondence)
Inglis, David R.

David R. Inglis Papers

1929-2003 Bulk: 1946-1980
12 boxes 5.75 linear feet
Call no.: FS 033
Image of David R. Inglis at Argonne N.L., ca.1953
David R. Inglis at Argonne N.L., ca.1953

David R. Inglis enjoyed a distinguished career in nuclear physics that ranged from theoretical work on the structure of the nucleus in the 1930s to the development of the atomic bomb in the 1940s and work on renewable energy in the 1960s and 1970s. A Professor of Physics at UMass from 1969-1975, Inglis was a founding member of the Federation of American Scientists and from the mid-1940s on, he dedicated himself to informing public policy on the dangers of nuclear technologies.

The Inglis Papers offer a perspective on the life and career of a theoretical physicist who grew from an early involvement in the Manhattan Project to becoming a committed critic of nuclear weaponry and nuclear power. Although the collection is relatively sparse in unpublished scientific work, it includes valuable correspondence relating to Inglis’s efforts with the Federation of American Scientists and other organizations to influence public policy on issues relating to disarmament and nuclear power.

Subjects

  • Allegiance--United States
  • Argonne National Laboratories
  • Condon, Edward Uhler, 1902-1974
  • Federation of American Scientists
  • Los Alamos National Laboratory
  • Nuclear disarmament
  • Nuclear energy
  • Nuclear warfare
  • Oppenheimer, J. Robert, 1904-1967
  • Physics--Massachusetts
  • United States--History--1945-1953
  • United States--History--1953-1961
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Physics
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Institute for Man and His Environment
  • World Association of World Federalists
  • World Federation of Scientific Workers

Contributors

  • Bohr, Aage
  • Inglis, David Rittenhouse, 1905-
  • Teller, Edward, 1908-2003
  • Wigner, Eugene Paul, 1902-1995

Types of material

  • Laboratory notes
  • Oral histories
  • Photographs
International Women’s Year Conference

International Women's Year Conference Collection

1977
6 boxes 2.75 linear feet
Call no.: MS 510
Image of

After 1975 was designated as the first International Women’s Year by the United Nations, later extended to a decade, President Carter created a National Commission on the Observance of International Women’s Year. A national women’s conference was proposed and funded by the U.S.Congress, the first and only time the federal government funded a nationwide women’s conference. A series of state meetings were held throughout 1977 to elect delegates to the national conference and to identify goals for improving the status of women over the next decade.

This collection consists of state reports prepared and submitted to the National Commission for the Observance of International Women’s Year. Reports include details about the election of national delegates, topics of workshops held at the meetings, and resolutions adopted by individual states.

Subjects

  • Feminism--United States
  • International Women's Year Conference
  • Women's rights--United States
Killgrove, Ethel A.

Ethel A. Killgrove Papers

1948-1962 Bulk: 1949-1951
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 866
Image of Ethel A. Killgrove and Mr. Braden, Addis Ababa, 1950
Ethel A. Killgrove and Mr. Braden, Addis Ababa, 1950

Between 1948 and 1951, Chicagoan Ethel A. Killgrove worked as a missionary with the Sudan Interior Mission. A graduate of the St. Paul Bible Institute, Killgrove was based in Aden, Yemen, and worked spreading the gospel and in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. After returning home in 1951, Killgrove studied education at Wheaton College (Bed, 1959) and Roosevelt (MEd., 1963), teaching in elementary schools in Illinois and Chester County, Pa. She died in Lancaster, Pa., in 2002.

The 142 letters that Killgrove wrote home to her parents and brother Tom include fascinating information on life as a missionary in British-controlled Aden and Ethiopia during the transitional years following the end of World War II. From her perspective on the southern rim of the Middle East, Killgore was witness to the of the impact of the formation of the state of Israel and the growing hostility toward colonial domination in the Arab world and Africa. The collection includes an excellent photograph album with 55 images of her time in mission, along with 65 other images.

Acquired from Michael Brown, May 2015

Subjects

  • Aden (Yemen)--Description and travel
  • Ethiopia--Description and travel
  • Missionaries--Africa
  • Missionaries--Ethiopia
  • Missionaries--Yemen

Contributors

  • Sudan Interior Mission

Types of material

  • Photographs