As a place for self-education, discovery, and intensive research, SCUA is steward to a robust record of our diverse pasts that we share with generations yet to come. As part of a community dedicated to the values of diversity, social equity, and positive social change, SCUA acts through its collections, programs, and exhibitions to keep alive the memory of human endeavor and experience. As a collaborator in fulfilling the university’s role as a center of knowledge for the people of Massachusetts, SCUA uses the highest standards and practices and best technologies available to provide free and unfettered access to its holdings.
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. As the official record of the activities of the university’s administrators and faculty and a reflection of the life of its students, this 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 initiative to assemble the College archives coincided roughly with the Library’s first efforts to build a collection of rare books to support its educational mission. Although the College had no separate library until 1885, its administrators nevertheless accepted several significant gifts of books, beginning with the 1868 donation of twenty scarce volumes on bee culture from the apiculturist and state Adjutant General Henry K. Oliver. By the time the library published its first catalog in 1875, rare books formed a small, but notable part of the collections, focused on the primary academic interests of the early college: agriculture, horticulture and botany, and the natural sciences. 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. All remain part of the collections today.
From these beginnings, the collections of rare books and manuscripts have evolved in concert with the evolution of the university and its academic programs. With the acquisition of the records of the Valley Peace Center and the papers of ethnographer Jozef Obrebski in 1973, the Library began to acquire collections of personal papers and organizational records of historical significance, 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 combined administratively 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, but by 2007, 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, thanks to generous support from the Verizon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Historic Publications and Records Commission. The papers of W.E.B. Du Bois led SCUA’s way into the digital realm, followed by the papers of Horace Mann Bond, and then dozens of of other collections.
Holland Montague Diary, 1857-1877.
Call no.: MS 257 bd
A lifelong diarist, Granby farmer Holland Montague wrote chiefly about life on the farm where he made a comfortable living supplying produce to surrounding towns. While most of his entries are bland accounts of the weather and agricultural duties, Montague occasionally offers a glimpse into his personal life, especially on the diary’s endpapers, where he records medicinal remedies for humans and livestock, purchases made and payments received, as well as a valuation of his property in 1872. Very few references are made to political events of the day, including the Civil War, although he does note on April 16, 1865 that President Lincoln is dead.
Laid into the volume is a manuscript copy of the 1826 document listing depositions to be taken from individuals in the petition of the town of Granby against the town of South Hadley relating to a dispute over the boundary line between the two towns.
- Granby (Mass.)--History
- Montague, Holland
Types of material
William Morris, The friendship of Amis and Amile, ca.1894.
Call no.: MS 362 bd
A leader in the English Arts and Crafts movement, William Morris translated the ancient French romance, Amis and Amile, in 1894, one of a number of romances he published in his literary efforts to restore the middle ages.
This holograph copy of Morris’s short story was prepared for the Kelmscott Press in 1894 and printed in a run of 500. The first American edition appeared later that year, published by Thomas Bird Mosher.
- Kelmscott Press
- Morris, William, 1834-1896
Types of material
- Holographs (Autographs)
Ken Mosakowski Papers, 1970s-2006.
Call no.: MS 560
As a student at the University of Massachusetts in the late 1960s, Ken Mosakowski first became a political activist when he protested the Vietnam War. Seeking an outlet to spread his message of peace and justice, he reached out to the student radio station WMUA, and started a weekly talk show Focus. For 38 years Mosakowski hosted the radio program every Sunday afternoon discussing topics of both local and national significance. Deeply involved in Amherst politics, he ran for the Amherst Select Board and lost; the loss, however, did not diminish his passion for serving the town and community he loved. Vocal on many issues, Mosakowski was known for being an activist in electoral politics and more recently an advocate for the homeless in Amherst, urging the creation of the Emergency Homelessness Task Force created in April 2006.
The Ken Mosakowski Papers document more than thirty years of his political activism. Saving everything from flyers and newspaper clippings to campaign buttons and posters, the collection documents a wide array of local and national issues. More importanly, it sheds light on issues of personal importance to Mosakowski, and as such chronicles his contributions as a lifelong activist.
The Mosakowski collection has temporarily been moved offsite. Please allow two business days for retrieval.
- Amherst (Mass.)--History
- Amherst (Mass.)--Politics and government
- Political activists--Massachusetts
- Social action--Massachusetts--History
- Mosakowski, Ken
Charles N. Murdock Ledger, 1866-1869.
Call no.: MS 251
Grocer from Stow, Massachusetts who catered principally to farmers. Includes mention of products sold (groceries and other items) and payment (lard, eggs, fruit, butter, potatoes, cigars, beans, cash, and labor).
- Barter--Massachusetts--Stow--History--19th century
- Derby, Reuben
- Grocers--Massachusetts--Stow--Economic conditions--19th century
- Grocery trade--Massachusetts--Stow--History--19th century
- Stow (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
- Stow (Mass.)--Rural conditions--19th century
- Temple, Rufus
- Wages-in-kind--Massachusetts--Stow--History--19th century
- Murdock, Charles N., 1836-
Types of material
- Account books
National Arts Policy Archive and Library, 1965-2013.
Call no.: NAPAAL
The National Arts Policy Archive and Library is a collaborative project initiated by SCUA, the UMass Amherst Arts Extension Service, and several partners in arts agencies intended to document the history of arts administration in America. Collecting the records of state-level and national arts agencies, NAPAAL will provide a foundation for research into the evolution of arts policy, strategies for supporting the arts, and the economic and cultural impact of the arts on our communities.
Constituent collections include:
- Art and state
- Government aid to the arts
- Americans for the Arts
- National Asssembly of State Arts Agencies
- National Endowment for the Arts
New England Research Council on Marketing and Food Supply Records, 1922-1955.
Call no.: MS 028
The New England Research Council on Marketing and Food Supply was established after a 1922 meeting in which Lloyd Tenny of the Agricultural Economics Bureau disclosed that federal money was available for research in marketing. He requested that an advisory council be organized to prevent the duplication of research. The group’s charge was to stimulate and coordinate the studies of economic problems connected with the supply of foods and other agricultural products of New England. Membership of the council was comprised of representatives from institutions and agencies actively involved in prosecuting such economic studies. A number of faculty at the Massachusetts Agricultural College helped to shape the council in its early years, including Kenyon Butterfield and Alexander Cance. The council dissolved in 1955, and the New England Agricultural Economics Council was formed in its place.
The collection contains the records of the NERC from its formation in 1922 until its dissolution in 1955. Included are the council’s constitution adopted in 1922 and unaltered throughout the life of the organization, proceedings of annual meetings, publications, and reports on such topics as milk marketing and fruit and vegetable marketing.
- Agricultural economics--New England
- Dairy products--Marketing--New England
- Food industry and trade--New England
- Food--Marketing--New England
- Butterfield, Kenyon L. (Kenyon Leech), 1868-1935
- Cance, Alexander E
- New England Research Council on Marketing and Food Supply
Western Massachusetts Ice Storm Photograph Collection, 1942.
Call no.: MS 354
Approximately every twenty years, western New England suffers from devastating ice storms, leaving heavy ice coating on trees and buildings and hazardous conditions. Major storms struck in 1921, 1942, 1961, 1983, 1998, and 2008, with the storm of December 29-30, 1942, disrupting power and closing roads throughout a broad swath of the northeast. In northern New York state, ice depths reached six inches.
The collection includes twenty six of an original thirty eight photographs depicting ice storm damage to power lines in the Pittsfield District (Windsor, Middlefield, Washington Mountain to Becket) resulting from the storm in December 1942. The collection also includes a cover letter pertaining to photos (not included) documenting a similar situation in Northampton, affecting the New England Power Service Co.
- Electric lines--Massachusetts--Photographs
- Electric power systems--Natural disaster effects --Massachusetts--Photographs
- Ice storms--Massachusetts--Photographs
- New England Power Service Company
Types of material
New Victoria Publishers Records, 1974-2009.
Call no.: MS 883
Founded in 1975 in Lebanon, NH by Beth Dingman, Claudia McKay (Lamperti), Katie Cahill, Nina Swaim, and Shelby Grantham, New Victoria Printers became one of two all-female print shops in New England at the time. Believing strongly that, “the power of the press belongs to those who own it,” they began to solicit work from non-profit and politically-oriented groups. Like its namesake Victoria Press, an 1860s women run print shop in London owned by Emily Faithful, an early advocate of women’s rights, New Victoria was also committed to feminist principles. The shop offered work and training in printing, machine work, and other traditionally male dominated fields; initially focused on printing materials from the women’s movement; and was organized as a collectively owned and democratically run organization. Additionally, the shop functioned as a defacto women’s center and lesbian hub for Lebanon and the surrounding area, a place of education, community, creativity, and activism, and soon publishing opportunities, as the group founded New Victoria Publishers in 1976 to publish works from their community. The print shop closed in 1985, with Dingman and McKay taking over the running of the non-profit publishing company out of their home in Norwich, VT, with an emphasis on lesbian fiction in addition to other women-focused works. An early bestseller, Stoner McTavish by Sarah Dreher, put them on the map, with the company publishing over a hundred books by and about lesbians, winning three Lambda Literary Awards and several other honors.
The New Victoria Publishers Records consist of photographs, newsletters and cards put out by the collective, materials printed by the press, marketing and promotional materials, author correspondence, graphics and cover art, book reviews, financial and legal records, histories of the organization, news clippings, and an almost full run of the books published by the company. The collection is particularly rich in documenting the work and production of a women owned business within the feminist press movement as well as the lesbian publishing industry.
- Collective labor agreements – Printing industry
- Feminist literature – Publishing
- Lesbian authors
- Lesbians' writings -- Publishing
- Women printers – New England
- Women publishers – New England
- Beth Dingman
- Claudia McKay
- New Victoria Printers
- New Victoria Publishers
Types of material
New York Farm Bureau Photograph Collection, 1915-1916.
Call no.: PH 053
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.”
- Fort Plain (N.Y.)--Photographs
- Ilion (N.Y.)--Photographs
- Street-railroads--New York (State)--Photographs
Types of material