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New York Farm Bureau

New York Farm Bureau Photograph Collection
1915-1916
5 images (0.1 linear feet)
Call no.: PH 053
Image of Ilion, N.Y. detail)
Ilion, N.Y. detail)

Founded as a non-governmental, volunteer organization in 1911, the New York Farm Bureau offers resources to support and enrich rural life and encourages farmers to work collaboratively for better marketing and production.

This small collection of photographs documents inspection tours conducted by the New York Farm Bureau of farms, apparently in the Mohawk River Valley, in 1915-1916. The intent, as the caption of one photograph suggests, was to bring “science into the field.”

Subjects
  • Automobiles--Photographs
  • Fort Plain (N.Y.)--Photographs
  • Ilion (N.Y.)--Photographs
  • Street-railroads--New York (State)--Photographs
Types of material
  • Photographs

Newland, Jacob and John E.

Jacob and John E. Newland Account Book
1798-1849
1 vol. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 197 bd

Jacob Newland and his son John Everit Newland were farmers in Mansfield, Mass., during the earlynational period. A Revolutionary War veteran, Jacob died in 1823, leaving much of his operation to John, his second son.

The account book kept by Jacob Newland and later John E. Newland of Mansfield, Massachusetts, details much about the work of these farmers and their interaction with neighbors in eastern Mansfield during the early nineteenth century. The customers, most of whom seem to have been fellow farmers, made frequent use of the Newlands’ animals and animal-drawn vehicles (carriage, “waggon,” “slay”) for riding and work, in addition to purchasing products, using the Newlands’ labor, and leasing pasture land. The book also served as a leaf press and scrapbook for newspaper items bearing upon the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, mention of social events and anniversaries, children’s sayings, short romantic fiction, and as a copybook for poetry.

Acquired from Charles Apfelbaum, 1987
Subjects
  • Farmers--Massachusetts--Mansfield
Contributors
  • Newland, John E. (John Everit)
Types of material
  • Account books

Newton, Levi

Levi Newton Diary
1889-1890
1 vol. (0.1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 998 bd

A farmer living in the Quabbin region, Levi Newton spent most of his life within a few miles of the adjoining towns of North Dana and New Salem. Born in 1830, Newton was married three times and raised two sons and a daughter. He died in New Salem in 1919.

Written at a time when his son Willie was living at home and his wife Persis was struggling with her health, Levi Newton’s pocket diary is a terse record of the daily life of a farmer in the great Quabbin region. Little more than a sentence or two in length, each entry makes quick note of the weather, travel, and Levi’s and Willie’s activities for the day, but there are relatively frequent references to the ailments and ultimate death of Persis and occasional notes on the anniversaries of the death of family members. The Newtons raised wheat, potatoes, cattle, hay, and oats on their farm and occasionally record hauling logs and other miscellaneous work.

Subjects
  • Farmers--Massachusetts--North Dana
  • Newton family
  • Newton, Persis Pratt
  • North Dana (Mass.)--History
  • Wives--Death--Massachusetts--North Dana
Types of material
  • Diaries

Nopper, John

John Nopper Photograph Collection
2012-2013
25 photographs (0.1 linear feet)
Call no.: PH 078
Howard Prussack in a field at High Meadows Farm in Putney, VT
Howard Prussack at High Meadows Farm in Putney, VT

A farmer for over thirty years along the Connecticut River in Vermont, John Nopper came to photography later in life. Drawn to the challenge of capturing individuals and environments in his and surrounding communities, Nopper focuses on portraits and landscapes, and specializes in 11”x17” or larger printing, emphasizing the depth of tone in his black and white photography. His photograph projects often focus on the instruments and individuals of a specific industry or place, and frequently document subjects and vocations he feels warrant increased attention, either due to their methods, like his work documenting traditional maple sugaring and printing practices, or due to current events, such as a more recent project as an embedded photographer within a Vermont city police department.

The John Nopper Photograph Collection currently consists of twenty-five, 11”x17”, black and white prints from the exhibit “Vermont’s Organic Pioneers,” along with the descriptions from the project. In a collaborative effort with interviewer and writer Susan J. Harlow, Nopper photographed the subjects of Harlow’s interviews for an exhibit featuring interview summaries and quotations alongside photographs from six farms and their farmers, all pioneers in the history of organic farm production, marketing, and distribution in Vermont. The collection also includes digital photographs not printed, as well as digital versions of most of the prints.

Gift of John Noper, July 2017
Subjects
  • Northeast Organic Farming Association
  • Organic farmers--Vermont
  • Organic farming--Standards
  • Organic farming--Vermont
  • Sustainable agriculture
Types of material
  • Photographs

Rural American Women’s Conference

Rural American Women Conference Records
1978-1981
5 boxes (2.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 146

Feeling the frustrations of millions of women and girls in rural America who lacked the support or resources necessary to combat unemployment, inadequate medical care, and domestic violence, Jane Threatt along with several other women decided to form a non-profit organization that would unite these women and give them a national voice. Established in 1978, Rural American Women (RAW) was organized to promote the interests of rural women in the areas of equal rights, employment, education, family life, and freedom of all forms of discrimination.

In 1981 RAW held a series of five regional conferences throughout the country, and the bulk of this collection consists of records relating to the New England meeting. The records also include some materials documenting the group’s activities at their national headquarters in D.C., such as minutes, correspondence, newsletters, and pamphlets.

Subjects
  • Rural women
Contributors
  • Rural American Women

Smith, Gilbert, b. 1801

Gilbert Smith and Gilbert Smith, Jr. Account Books
1798-1846
2 vols. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 205 bd

Gilbert Smith was a shoemaker and doctor from New Marlborough, Massachusetts, and his son Gilbert Jr. was a prosperous farmer from Sheffield, Massachusetts. Includes merchandise sales, labor accounts, lists of boarders, and documentation of the sale of homemade butter and cheese to local merchants, as well as trade with the substantial rural black community of the region.

Subjects
  • African Americans--Massachusetts--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Agricultural laborers--Massachusetts--History--19th century
  • Agricultural wages--Massachusetts--History--19th century
  • Dairy products--Massachusetts--Marketing--History--19th century
  • Family--Economic aspects--Massachusetts--History--19th century
  • Farmers--Massachusetts--Sheffield--History--19th century
  • New Marlborough (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Sheffield (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
Contributors
  • Smith, Gilbert, 1801-
  • Smith, Gilbert, d. 1804
Types of material
  • Account books

Sommer, Mark

Mark Sommer Papers
1966-2017
21 boxes (32 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 973

Mark Sommer, with Zetta, the first newborn goat at the Sommer homestead in northern CA, May 1985

Mark Sommer is an explorer, storyteller, and award-winning public radio and print journalist focused on advocacy and narratives of social, political, and environmental change and positive action. In Washington, D.C., Sommer found himself on hand for some of the 1960s pivotal moments, where he was involved with the Liberation News Service and the New Left think tank, the Institute for Policy Studies. Sommer moved to California in 1969 to explore the counterculture, spending several years journeying – spiritually, psychedelically, and physically between communes, farms, and wilderness homesteads along the western coast – before he and his wife built a self-reliant organic homestead in the deep woods of northern CA, where they lived from the 1970s to the 1990s. The resilience of nature deeply impacted Sommer’s outlook and work as a writer and journalist, driving his interest in the human capacity for overcoming adversity. Sommer founded and directed the Mainstream Media Project, a nonprofit media placement service scheduling leading edge thinkers and social innovators for extensive radio interviews, and Sommer served as host and executive producer of the internationally syndicated and award winning, one-hour weekly radio program, A World of Possibilities. Sommer is the author of three books (Beyond the Bomb, The Conquest of War, and Living in Freedom), and hundreds of op-eds in major newspapers worldwide. Current projects include short and movie length videos crafted from his photographs, films, interviews, and experiences.

Chronicling over five decades of creative and journalistic output of a life-long explorer and progressive advocate, the Mark Sommer Papers are an extensive collection, covering Sommer’s entire career and personal life from the late 1960s to the present. Writings include personal and multiple travel journals (including a unique trip to North Vietnam in 1968), correspondence, student essays, op-eds, articles, project and grant plans, memoirs, and book manuscripts. Additional journals exist in audio format, along with radio interviews where Sommer served as a guest. Slides, photographs, and movies cover Sommer’s family and home life to his wide-ranging travels and interests. Some main topics of coverage include foreign policy and international politics, progressivism, peace and conflict studies, the anti-nuclear and disarmament movements, wilderness and back-to-the-land experiences, and later in life fatherhood. Materials from Mainstream Media Project have been separated into the Mainstream Media Project Records.

Gift of Mark Sommer, May 2017
Subjects
  • Antinuclear movement
  • Counterculture--United States
  • Institute for Policy Studies
  • Journalists--California
  • Nuclear disarmament
  • Peace--research
  • Peaceful change (International relations)
  • Political activists
  • Reconciliation
  • Self-reliant living--California
  • Sustainable living
  • Travel writing
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975
Types of material
  • Articles
  • Correspondence
  • Diaries
  • Memoirs
  • Photographs
  • Sound recordings
  • Video recordings

Towle, Gifford H.

Gifford H. and Marjorie B. Towle Papers
1970-1987 (Bulk: 1945-1980)
24 boxes (33 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 881
Image of Gifford and Marjorie Towle, 1957
Gifford and Marjorie Towle, 1957

As a student at Mount Hermon School in the late 1920s, Gifford Hoag Towle met Marjorie Ripley Blossom, a young woman at the Northfield School for Girls. When Giff went on to the Massachusetts Agricultural College (BS 1932) and Marjorie to a midwestern Bible College for a year (before being called home due to a family crisis), they remained connected and after Giff’s graduation in 1932, they married. By the time that Giff graduated from Hartford Seminary, he had left his Quaker upbringing to enter the Congregationalist ministry, and he and Marjorie filled three pulpits near Pelham, Mass. In 1939, however, they were called by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions to serve as missionaries in the American Marathi Mission in Maharashtra State, central India. Following two years of intensive study of the Marathi language in Ahmednagar, they settled in Vadala, a rural village on the semi-arid plains, where they worked for thirty-four years, counting furloughs. In 1946 on furlough in the U.S., Giff earned a master’s degree in agricultural engineering from Cornell while pastoring a small church in the suburbs of Ithaca. In his agricultural work in India, Giff used the mission farm to demonstrate crop diversity and farm animal improvement; created co-operatives to enable poor farmers to use appropriate modern tools and machinery for pennies; taught good irrigation and soil conservation; and later built a Mechanical Unit and trained local Indians as mechanics to repair machinery and drill wells. Giff also invented a pump for which he never filed a patent, wanting instead to make it as widely available as possible. He built networks with relatives, churches, and non-profits to fund these efforts and get supplies.

The Towle Collection contains a wealth of information for research in three distinct areas: missions and religious matters; agriculture in “developing” countries; and the cultural and socio-economic context of social change in rural India. The Towles’ voluminous correspondence and reports offer a particularly rich view into mission life in India, including American participation through churches, relations between Hindus and Christians or between Christians, and the viability of these efforts. Marjorie’s letters are particularly vivid, adding significantly to our understanding of mission lives and experiences. The collection is equally rich in revealing the impact of the Towles’ agricultural work and for study of the efficacy of government agencies and non-profits seeking to understand cross-cultural issues.

Gift of Jean Reed, 2015
Subjects
  • Agriculture--India
  • India--Description and travel
  • Maharasthra (India)--Economic conditions
  • Missionaries--India
Contributors
  • Towle, Marjorie Blossom, 1907-1994
Types of material
  • Photographs

Wilder, Robert W.

Robert W. Wilder Papers
1888-2013
2 boxes (2 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 884

Born in the Quabbin town of Enfield, Mass., Bob Wilder (1933-2015) rose from a life of poverty to a successful career in the Marine Corps and the aerospace industry. Becoming an avid local historian in his retirement, he drew upon his rural childhood while working later as an interpreter at Old Sturbridge Village and became a popular lecturer on topics in regional history.

This small collection consists of materials relating to Wilder’s family and his research into the history of the Swift River Valley and the Quabbin Reservoir. In addition to some Wilder family photographs, the collection includes hand-drawn maps, newspaper clippings, town reports, magazine articles, oral histories, and poems about the towns of the Swift River Valley. Of particular note are several video recordings of Wilder’s lectures and an extensive series of oral histories with Wilder recorded by Marc Peloquin.

Gift of Robert W. Wilder, Nov. 2015
Subjects
  • Enfield (Mass.)--History
  • Quabbin Reservoir (Mass.)--History
  • Swift River Valley (Mass.)--History
Contributors
  • Peloquin, Marc
Types of material
  • Diaries
  • Oral histories
  • Photographs

Woodward, John

John Woodward Account book
1838-1868
1 vol. (0.1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 063 bd

John Woodward was a farmer in Groton, Mass., during the middle decades of the nineteenth century. Although little is known of his life, it appears that Woodward was born in nearby Tyngsboro on March 7, 1813, and that he married twice: first to Rebecca Sawtelle of Groton in 1823 and second to Mary Jane Nutting — almost 30 years his junior — in Dec. 1866. With Mary Jane, at least, he was highly reproductive, fathering his first son, a seventh child, at the age of 66. Woodward died in Groton on Apr. 20, 1895, and was buried in his family’s ancestral home of Dunstable.

John Woodward’s accounts document the financial transactions of fairly typical farmer in Groton over the period of three decades. Raising an array of produce, from cranberries and chestnuts, to squash, barley, apples, and turnips, Woodward also raised poultry and a variety of livestock. The ledger documents the day to day exchanges of food and labor that comprised the core of the local economy. Noteworthy among his customers are locally prominent families such as Blood and Swett and at least two Nuttings.

Subjects
  • Farmers--Massachusetts--Groton
  • Groton (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
Types of material
  • Account books
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