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Alternative Energy Coalition, ca.1975-1985

9 boxes (13.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 586

A product of the vibrant and progressive political culture of western Massachusetts during the early 1970s, the Alternative Energy Coalition played a key role in the growth of antinuclear activism. In 1974, the AEC helped mobilize support for Sam Lovejoy after he sabotaged a weather tower erected by Northeast Utilities in Montague, Mass., in preparation for a proposed nuclear power plant, and they helped organize the drive for a referendum opposing not only the proposed plant in Montague, but existing plants in Rowe, Mass., and Vernon, Vt. Forming extensive connections with other antinuclear organizations, the AEC also became one of the organizations that united in 1976 to form the Clamshell Alliance, which made an art of mass civil disobedience.

The AEC Records provide insight into grassroots activism of the 1970s and 1980s, galvanized by the seemingly unrestrained growth of the nuclear power industry. The records, emanating from the Hampshire County branch, contain both research materials used by the AEC and organizational and promotional materials produced by them, including publications, minutes of meetings, correspondence, and materials used during protests. Of particular interest are a thick suite of organizational and other information pertaining to the occupation of the Seabrook (N.H.) nuclear power plant in 1979 and minutes, notes, and other materials relating to the founding and early days of the Clamshell Alliance. The collection is closely related to the Antinuclear Collection (MS 547).


  • Antinuclear movement--Massachusetts
  • Hampshire County (Mass.)--History
  • Nonviolence--Massachusetts
  • Nuclear energy--Massachusetts
  • Pacifists--Massachusetts
  • Political activists--Massachusetts
  • Renewable energy source
  • Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant (N.H.)
  • Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station


  • Alternative Energy Coalition
  • Clamshell Alliance

Types of material

  • Realia

Association for Gravestone Studies Collection, 1975-2008

Founded in 1977, the Association for Gravestone Studies (AGS) is an international organization dedicated to the study and preservation of gravestones of all periods and styles. Based in Greenfield, Mass., the AGS sponsors conferences, workshops and exhibits, and publishes an annual journal, Markers, and quarterly bulletin. Their mission is to promote the study of gravestones from historical and artistic perspectives, expand public awareness of the significance of historic grave markers, and encourage individuals and groups to record and preserve gravestones.

The AGS Collection consists of the central records of the organization plus a growing number of photographic archives of gravestone art donated by members and associates. Offering critical documentation of gravestones, tombs, and cemeteries throughout the country, but especially New England.

Collections include:

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Connect to another siteSee also the AGS Newsletter online:
Vol. 1-13 (1977-1989)
Vol. 14-22 (1989-1998)
Vol. 23-34 (1999-2010)


  • Sepulchral monuments
  • Stone carving


  • Association for Gravestone Studies

Robert August Collection, 1968-1981

3 boxes (4.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 473

This collection consists chiefly of published booklets and reports documenting land use and preservation in Massachusetts and across New England. As a member of the Rural Development Committee (RDC), Bob August was involved in improving the effectiveness of public and private rural development efforts. Correspondence, reports, and minutes for other groups, such as the Lower Pioneer Valley Reginal Planning Commission and the Committee on Development of Western Massachusetts, are also part of the collection.


  • Land use--Massachusetts
  • Rural development--Massachusetts


  • August, Robert

Alton H. Blackington Photograph Collection, 1898-1943

15 boxes (4 linear feet)
Call no.: PH 061
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 Blackington’s 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.


  • 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

Boston & Albany Railroad Engineering Department Map Collection, 1833-1920

19 v.
Call no.: MS 130

The Boston and Albany Railroad was formed between 1867 and 1870 from the merger of three existing lines, the Boston and Worcester (chartered 1831), the Western (1833), and the Castleton and West Stockbridge (1834). The corporation was a primary east-west transit through the Commonwealth, with branches connecting towns including Athol, Ware, North Adams, and Hudson, N.Y.

The nineteen atlases comprising this collection include detailed plans documenting the location and ownership of rights of way, land-takings, and other land transfers to or from the railroad company. Dating from the early years of operation for the corporation to just after the turn of the century, the atlases include maps of predecessor lines (Boston and Worcester Railroad Corporation and Western Rail-Road), as well as the Grand Junction Railway Company (Charlestown, Somerville, Everett, and Chelsea), the Ware River Railroad, and the Chester and Becket Railroad.


  • Boston and Albany Railroad Co.--Maps
  • Boston and Worcester Railroad Corporation--Maps
  • Chester and Becket Railroad--Maps
  • Grand Junction Railway Company--Maps
  • Railroads--Massachusetts--Maps
  • Real property--Massachusetts--Maps
  • Ware River Railroad--Maps
  • Western Rail-Road Corporation--Maps


  • Boston & Albany Railroad Company. Engineering Department

Types of material

  • Maps

Boston and Maine Railroad Fitchburg Division Records, 1918-1958

1 box (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 475

Chartered in June 1835, the Boston and Maine Railroad was the dominant railroad of northern New England for nearly one hundred years. This collection consists of records from the Engineering Department of the Fitchburg Division relating to the maintenance of bridges in Massachusetts, including correspondence, accident reports, financial records and progress reports on work recommended by bridge inspectors.


  • Railroad companies--United States--History--20th century


  • Boston and Maine Railroad. Fitchburg Division

Boston Jazz Society Records, ca. 1973-2014

6 boxes (10 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 880

Founded in 1973, the Boston Jazz Society grew from a small group of enthusiasts listening to music in living rooms to a thriving organization that “kept Jazz alive” in New England. As Jazz’s popularity began to fade in the late 1960s, local Jazz societies formed to provide support to artists and give them the means and venues to continue to perform on the road. The Boston Jazz Society was originally inspired by one of the earliest, the Left Bank Jazz Society of Baltimore. Like the Left Bank, BJS produced concerts in clubs, theaters, and hotels but expanded their efforts to include exhibits, television and radio shows, and a Jazz education program for grade school students. The longest running BJS activities, however, were the annual Jazz Barbecues and starting in 1975, the BJS Scholarships. The scholarship program raised funds for young Jazz musicians to attend the New England Conservatory of Music’s Jazz Department and the Berklee School Of Music and began the musical careers of many important musicians, composers, and teachers. BJS was also deeply connected to the local music scene, celebrating Roxbury, Mass. natives Alan Dawson and Roy Haynes, whose brother Vincent was a long-time board member, among many others. After 42 years of promoting Jazz music in Boston, the Boston Jazz Society, Inc. dissolved in 2015.

The Boston Jazz Society Records extensively document BJS’s meetings, events, business dealings, and scholarship administration through meeting minutes, posters, correspondence, photographs, recordings, videos, and BJS’s own propaganda and publications. The majority of the BJS records came from the collection of founding member and longtime president Aureldon Edward Henderson and also represents his involvement in promoting Jazz in the Boston area.


  • Jazz musicians--Massachusetts--Boston
  • Jazz--Massachusetts--Boston


  • Berklee School of Music
  • Haynes, Roy
  • Henderson, Aureldon Edward
  • New England Conservatory of Music

Lyman Clapp Diary, 1825 August 8-25

When Lyman Clapp and Lucia Cowls agreed to marry in 1825, they took a celebratory tour of western Massachusetts and northern Connecticut. Over nine days, they traveled from Mt. Pleasant, Mass. (possibly in Worcester County) through Brimfield to Stafford, Tolland, Vernon, Hartford, and Litchfield, Connecticut, before returning home by way of Springfield and Northampton. The Clapp’s party consisted of the engaged couple chaperoned by Lucia’s parents, and they were joined by a relative, Edward, near Hartford.

Filled with interesting vignettes of travel in western New England during the 1820s, Clapp’s diary includes fine descriptions of the various taverns and inns they visited en route and the range of natural and cultural sites, from rolling hills to modern milling technology. Among other sights that caught Clapp’s eye were the the Charter Oak, a hermit living in the hills near Avon, the Walcott Factories at Torrington, Northampton, and the extraordinary view from the top of Mount Holyoke.


  • African Americans--Connecticut
  • Brookfield (Mass.)--Description and travel--19th century
  • Connecticut--Description and travel--19th century
  • Ferries--Massachusetts
  • Hartford (Conn.)--Description and travel--19th century
  • Hermits--Connecticut
  • Litchfield (Conn.)--Description and travel--19th century
  • Massachusetts--Description and travel--19th century
  • Mount Holyoke (Mass.)--Description and travel--19th century
  • Northampton (Mass.)--Description and travel--19th century
  • Springfield (Mass.)--Description and travel--19th century
  • Stafford (Conn.)--Description and travel--19th century
  • Taverns (Inns)--Connecticut
  • Vernon (Conn.)--Description and travel--19th century


  • Clapp, Lyman

Types of material

  • Diaries

Connecticut Valley Breeders Association Records, 1908-1947 (Bulk: 1908-1930)

1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 425

Established in Northampton, Mass., in May 1908, the Connecticut Valley Breeders Association was part of the burgeoning Progressive-era movement to apply scientific principles to improve agriculture. In its charter, the CVBA announced the ambitious goal of promoting “the live stock development of the Connecticut Valley and as far as possible the entire New England states in every way as affecting its educational, economic, legislative, health or other influences.” Led by Oren C. Burt of Easthampton, and George E. Taylor of Shelburne (its first President), it sponsored lectures and other information sessions that attracted as many as 500 attendees at its peak of popularity. Although the organization appears to have waned in the period of the First World War, it was revived in 1925 and four years later, the new Hampshire Herd Improvement Association assumed many of its functions.

This slender ledger records the minutes of the Connecticut Valley Breeders Association from its founding in 1908 through about 1930. In addition to the constitution and by-laws of both the CVBA and HHIA, the ledger includes minutes of the organizations’ meetings from 1908-1930, with a gap from 1916-1925. The collection is accompanied by a U.S. Department of Agriculture pamphlet, Cow Testers Handbook (1924).


  • Cattle--Breeding


  • Burt, Oren C.
  • Connecticut Valley Breeders Association
  • Hampshire Herd Improvement Association
  • Taylor, George E.

Types of material

  • Minute books

Alexandra Dawson Papers

20 boxes (30 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 905

An attorney from Hadley, Mass., Alexandra D. Dawson was known throughout New England for her work in conservation law and environmental activism. Born in Maryland in 1931, Dawson married shortly after graduating from Barnard College and after raising a family of three, she resumed her education, earning a law degree from Harvard in 1966. Early in her legal career, she took up the cause of protecting “wildlife, wetlands, and woodlands.” She was among the earliest employees of the Conservation Law Foundation and later served as general counsel for the Metropolitan Area Planning Council. The author of a string of influential works in environmental law, including (1978), (1982), and the (1978-2006), she was also an educator, teaching at Antioch College (where she launched the environmental studies program), Tufts, the Kennedy School of Government, and Rhode Island School of Design. Among other commitments, Dawson was a key figure in the Kestrel Trust and served long stints on the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions (MACC) and the Hadley Conservation Commission. Dawson died of complication from emphysema on Dec. 30, 2011.

The product of a forty year commitment to conservationism, Dawson’s papers provide valuable documentation of land preservation efforts in New England, with a focus on the evolution of the legal context. Dawson was a formidable figure in efforts to protect wetlands, agricultural land, and open space, and her papers offer insight into land use planning, her teaching, writing, and speaking.


  • Conservationists--Massachusetts
  • Environmentalists--Massachusetts
  • Land use--Law and legislation--Massachusetts
  • Wetlands--Law and legislation--Massachusetts


  • Kestrel Trust
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