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Ray Ethan Torrey Papers, 1832-1983

13 boxes (5.5 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 121
Ray Ethan Torrey. Photo by Frank A. Waugh
Ray Ethan Torrey. Photo by Frank A. Waugh

A plant morphologist and member of the Botany Department at Massachusetts Agricultural College, Ray Ethan Torrey was among the college’s most charismatic faculty members during the early twentieth century. Born in Leverett, Mass., and educated in the local public schools, Torrey graduated from MAC with the class of 1912, earning his PhD at Harvard six years later. After serving on the faculty of Grove City College and Wesleyan, he returned to his alma mater in 1919, where he remained for more than 36 years. A specialist in plant morphology and author or two widely used textbooks and numerous articles, Torrey’s introductory course in botany was among the most popular in the college. He was best known, however, for taking a broader, philosophical approach to science that encouraged students to explore the connections between philosophy, science, religion, and the humanities. Torrey died of leukemia in Boston on Jan. 16, 1956.

Correspondence, chiefly with former students and colleagues at other institutions; lecture notes and outlines; 27 pen and ink drawings; published writings and drawings; biographical material; class and laboratory notes taken by students; family and educational records (1832-1956); photographs, and other papers.


  • Botany--Study and teaching
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Botany Department


  • Torrey, Ray Ethan, 1887-

Types of material

  • Pen and ink drawings

Ruth J. Totman Papers, ca. 1914-1999

6 boxes (3 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 097
Ruth Totman and Jean Lewis, ca.1935
Ruth Totman and Jean Lewis, ca.1935

Trained as a teacher of physical education at the Sargent School in Boston, Ruth J. Totman enjoyed a career at state normal schools and teachers colleges in New York and Pennsylvania before joining the faculty at Massachusetts State College in 1943, building the program in women’s physical education almost from scratch and culminating in 1958 with the opening of a new Women’s Physical Education Building, which was one of the largest and finest of its kind in the nation. Totman retired at the mandatory age of 70 in 1964, and twenty years later, the women’s PE building was rededicated in her honor. Totman died in November 1989, three days after her 95th birthday.

The Totman Papers are composed mostly of personal materials pertaining to her residence in Amherst, correspondence, and Totman family materials. The sparse material in this collection relating to Totman’s professional career touches lightly on her retirement in 1964 and the dedication of the Ruth J. Totman Physical Education Building at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Supplementing the documents is a sizeable quantity of photographs and 8mm films, with the former spanning nearly her entire 95 years. The 8mm films, though fragile, provide an interesting, though soundless view into Totman’s activities from the 1940s through the 1960s, including a cross-country trip with Gertrude “Jean” Lewis, women’s Physical Education events at the New Jersey College for Women, and trips to Japan to visit her nephew, Conrad Totman..


  • College buildings--Massachusetts--Amherst--History--Sources
  • Conway (Mass.)--Genealogy
  • Dairy farms--Massachusetts
  • Family farms--United States
  • Farm life--United States
  • Physical Education for women
  • Totman family
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--History
  • Women physical education teachers


  • Drew, Raymond Totman, 1923-1981
  • Lewis, Gertrude Minnie, 1896-
  • Totman, Conrad D
  • Totman, Ruth J

Types of material

  • Genealogies

Trent Family Papers, 1850-1996

3 boxes (1.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 373

Five generations of an African-American family that achieved commercial success and wealth through the restaurant and catering business as well as extensive real estate investments at the turn of the 20th century in New York City, Brooklyn, and Sea Cliff, Long Island, New York. Includes letters, public and church records, news clippings, ephemera, a videotape, and 87 photographs.


  • African American capitalists and financiers--New York (State)--Biography
  • African American families--New York (State)--History
  • African Americans--Genealogy--Handbooks, manuals, etc
  • African Americans--New York (State)--Biography
  • African Americans--New York (State)--Social life and customs
  • Burleigh, H. T. (Harry Thacker), 1866-1949
  • Capitalists and financiers--New York (State)--Biography
  • Fuller, Meta Warrick, 1877-1968
  • Landowners--New York (State)--Biography
  • Restauranteurs--New York (State)--Biography
  • Smith family
  • Smith, William H. (William Henry), 1836-1923
  • Trent family

Types of material

  • Baptismal certificates
  • Deeds
  • Genealogies
  • Photographs
  • Vital statistics records
  • Wills

Ralph L. Tucker Collection, 1951-ca.2000

14 boxes (6 linear feet)
Call no.: PH 041
Erased stone, Salem, Mass.
Erased stone, Salem, Mass.

Known for his extensive research into Boston and Merrimac Valley area gravestone carvers, particularly Joseph Lamson and John Hartshorne, Ralph Tucker received the AGS Forbes Award in 1992 for his excellence in carver research. One of the attendees at the inaugural Dublin Seminar, and the first President of the Association for Gravestone Studies, Tucker served as editor of a column, “17th and 18th Century Gravestones and Carvers,” in the AGS Newletter from 1993-1999. Born on May 29, 1921 in Winthrop, Mass., Tucker attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tufts University, and Episcopal Theological School. He married Mildred R. Moore in 1946 and was ordained an Episcopal priest in 1947. Tucker spent two years as a missionary in China, returning to serve parishes in Utah, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. In addition to extending his ministry to hospitals and prisons, he participated in 1960s Civil Rights protests in Alabama and Boston. In 1985 he went to Zimbabwe as a missionary, retiring to Maine soon thereafter where he acted as interim pastor of Grace Episcopal Church in Bath. Tucker died March 28, 2010, and was survived by his wife, four sons — Ralph, Jr., Richard R., Roger W., and Paul M. Tucker, several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

The Tucker collection includes research notes and copies of published works stemming from Ralph Tucker’s decades of research on stone carvers and other gravestone-related topics, along with hundreds of images documenting carvers and stones in Massachusetts.


  • Cemeteries--Massachusetts
  • Gravestones--Massachusetts
  • Stone carving--Massachusetts


  • Tucker, Ralph L.

Types of material

  • Photographs

Phileman L. Tyler Daybooks, 1841-1852

2 vols. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 236 bd

The shoemaker, Philemon L. Tyler, was born in Massachusetts in 1812. He and his wife Tersilla, also a native of Massachusetts, settled in New York some time before the birth of their first child in 1838. By 1850, after at least a decade in the village of Springville in the agricultural town of Concord, New York, Tyler had three children, and real estate valued at $4,400.

Daybooks include a record of the prices of boots and shoes, and the method and form of payment (rarely cash, sometimes labor, but often apples, potatoes, chicken, wheat, mutton, pork, beef, hay, and other farm products such as cow hides and calf skins).


  • Barter--New York--Erie County--History--19th century
  • Boots--Prices--New York--Erie County--History--19th century
  • Debtor and creditor--New York--Erie County--History--19th century
  • Erie County (N.Y.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Erie County (N.Y.)--Rural conditions--19th century
  • Hides and skins--New York--Erie County--History--19th century
  • Shoemakers--New York--Erie County--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Shoes--Prices--New York--Erie County--History--19th century
  • Springville (Erie County, N.Y.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Springville (Erie County, N.Y.)--Rural conditions--19th century


  • Tyler, Phileman L., 1812-

Types of material

  • Daybooks

U.S. Interstate Commerce Commission, Bureau of Valuation, Engineering Report upon the Boston and Maine Railroad Company, 1931

1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 641

Chartered in 1835, the Boston and Maine Railroad was one of the largest and most successful railroad operations in northern New England for over a century, hauling both freight and passengers. The Railway began a slow decline as early as the 1930s with the decline in manufacturing in the region and later with the decline of passenger service. It came through a bankruptcy in 1970 and continues as a non-operating ward of Pan Am Railways.

This collection consists of blueprint valuations of the assets of the Boston and Maine Railroad, compiled by the Bureau of Valuation of the U.S. Interstate Commerce Commission in 1931.


  • Boston and Maine Railroad
  • Railroads--New England

Undertaker's Daybook, 1855-1884

1 vol. (0.1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 904 bd

A small town situated on the Southegan River in the southern tier of New Hampshire, Wilton had a population of over 1,300 in 1860. Fed by an influx of Irish and Canadian immigrants, the economy at the time was based on a mix of agriculture and small-scale manufacturing, including woolen and yarn mills and factories for furniture and shoes and boots.

Although the identity of the undertaker who kept this volume is nowhere recorded, research into the names of his clients strongly suggests that he operated in or near Wilton (Hillsborough County), New Hampshire. The entries are invariably brief but informative, noting the name of the deceased, date of death and age, notes on the services provided (coffin plate, handles, “sexton service,” “grave”), and the cost of those services. On rare occasions, there are notes on the cause of death, including a cluster of deaths by consumption in the winter of 1858-1859.


  • Undertakers and undertaking--New Hampshire--Wilton
  • Wilton (N.H.)--History

Types of material

  • Daybooks

UAW District 65 Collection, ca.1985

1 folder (0.2 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 320

The decision of clerical and technical workers at Boston University to organize with District 65 of the UAW was as rooted in the labor movement as it was in the womens movement. By the early 1970s, office workers at B.U. were dissatsified with working conditions that included — among other grievances — sexual harassment and a classification system that did not value “women’s work.” In 1979 after an intense struggle with the administration, B.U. finally recognized the union and signed their first contract.

The collection includes a printed history and videotape documenting unionization activities at Boston University’s Medical Campus.


  • Boston University. Medical Campus
  • Collective bargaining--Professions--Massachusetts--Boston
  • Collective labor agreements--Medical personnel --Massachusetts--Boston--History
  • Labor unions--Massachusetts


  • United Automobile, Aircraft, and Vehicle Workers of America. District 65

Types of material

  • Videotapes

UBCJA Springfield District Council Records, 1885-1973

40 boxes (23 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 110

The first local of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners to be founded in western Massachusetts was chartered in 1885 as Springfield Local 96, followed in quick order by locals in Holyoke (390) and Chicopee (685). With the pace of unionization picking up at the turn of the century, the Springfield District Council was established in 1906 and played an immediate role in coordinating collective bargaining, apprenticeship, and work rules in the local construction industry. Although Holyoke carpenters formed their own District Council soon thereafter, the logic of consolidation and a unified voice eventually prevailed. The Springfield locals consolidated as Local 32 in 1968, which in turn merged with the Holyoke District Council in 1973 to form Local 108.

The records of the Springfield District Council of the UBCJA includes strong documentation of the rise of unionization among carpenters in the Connecticut River Valley from the 1880s through 1980s. The collection includes by-laws, correspondence, and subject files of the Springfield District Council along with minutes, membership records, financial records, contracts, agreements and trials, and some correspondence for Locals 96 (Springfield), 685 (Chicopee), 177 (Springfield), 222 (Westfield), and 32 (Springfield).


  • Carpenters--Labor unions
  • Labor unions--Massachusetts


  • United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America

United Congregational Church of Holyoke (Holyoke, Mass.) Records, ca.1830-1990

9 boxes (13.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 787
First Congregational Church, ca.1910
First Congregational Church, ca.1910

The present day United Congregational Church of Holyoke is the product of complex history of growth and consolidation of five separate churches responding to the changing demographics and spiritual needs of the city. Established in 1799, the First Congregational Church in Holyoke was initially a small congregation perched above the floodplain south of the center of town, sharing preachers with the equally sparse population of Baptists until the establishment of the First Baptist Church in 1826. The First Congregational Church was finally erected in 1838, and ten years later, the Second Church was established in to serve the needs of the growing Protestant population in the city center, building their own church in 1853 as the mill economy was booming. Reaching out to the millworkers, members of the Second Church opened the Grace Mission in 1870, which spun off into its own church in 1896. Skinner Chapel was founded in 1909 as an addition to the Second Congregational Church, dedicated to the prominent Skinner family. Finally, the German Reformed Church was organized in 1892, though meetings were held years earlier. In the latter part of the twentieth century, however, declining memberships in each of these churches led to a series of mergers, beginning in 1961 when the German Reformed Church united with the First Congregational to become the First United Congregational Church. Grace Church and the First UCC merged in 1973 to become Grace United, and in 1996, Grace joined with the Second Congregational Church to become the present UCC of Holyoke.

The records of the UCC of Holyoke document over 200 years of the ecclesiatical history of an industrial city. In addition to records of membership, baptisms, marriages, and church governance, the collection includes valuable records of the women’s missionary society, the German Maenner Bund, and a long run of church newsletters that offer insight into the weekly course of events in the religious community. Materials relating to Skinner Chapel are part of the collections of Wistariahurst Museum.


  • Congregational churches--Massachusetts--Holyoke
  • Holyoke (Mass.)--Religious life and customs
  • Missionaries--Massachusetts


  • First Congregational Church (Holyoke, Mass.)
  • German Reformed Church (Holyoke, Mass.)
  • Grace Church (Holyoke, Mass.)
  • Second Congregational Church (Holyoke, Mass.)

Types of material

  • Newsletters
  • Photographs

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