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Founded under the Morrill Land Grant Act of 1862 as the Massachusetts Agricultural College, UMass Amherst has long been dedicated to the study and teaching of agriculture and the natural sciences. One of two land grant institutions in the Commonwealth (along with MIT), the university has played an important role in the development of scientific agriculture in New England and has been a major factor in agricultural instruction through its classes and extension service.

SCUA’s collections contain a wealth of information on the history of agriculture and related fields, including horticulture, botany, entomology, animal husbandry, gardening, and landscape design. The strength of the collection lies in documenting the development of American agricultural sciences with an emphasis upon the northeastern states, but it is supplemented with numerous works on British, French, and German agriculture. Adding additional depth are the records of the several departments at UMass Amherst charged with instruction in the agricultural sciences and the papers of individual agricultural educators.

Currently, SCUA is particularly interested in documenting the growth of organic agriculture, heritage breeds, and the practices of sustainable living.

Notable collecting areas (view all)

  • Agricultural education
    • Papers of faculty members at Massachusetts Agricultural College and UMass Amherst, as well as educational organizations dedicated to instruction in the agricultural sciences. Among the individuals represented are the agricultural educator, Kenyon Butterfield; Levi Stockbridge, the first farm manager and long-time instructor at MAC; and William Smith Clark, William Penn Brooks, and William Wheeler, who were instrumental in the 1870s in establishing the agricultural college in Hokkaido, Japan.
    • Also printed works through the late nineteenth century on agriculture in America, Britain, and Europe, including those by John Fitzherbert, Thomas Hale, Arthur Young, “Columella,” John Smith, Gervase Markham, et al.
  • Animal husbandry
    • Books on sheep culture in the United States (Robert R. Livingston, Samuel Bard) and England (Lord Somerville, John Lawrence); dairy and beef cattle, horses, poultry science.
  • Farming and rural life
    • Correspondence, farm accounts, and other records of farming and rural life, primarily in New England, as well as materials relating to the sociology of rural life.
  • Beekeeping and entomology
    • Among the earliest rare books acquired by the Massachusetts Agricultural Library were a collections of rare books in beekeeping, including key works by Thomas Hill, John Keys, Daniel Wildman, Henry Eddy, from the late 17th through late 19th centuries. Works by Maria Sibylla Merian, John Curtis, Dru Drury, Johann Jakob Romer, Jacob l’Admiral
  • Botany, horticulture, pomology, etc.
    • Collections relating to the scientific study of botany, horticulture, forestry, and related sciences.
    • Important printed works on American botany by Frederick Pursh, Thomas Nuttall, Humphry Marshall’s Arbustrum Americanum, François André Michaux, early editions of Linnaeus, William Prince, William Coxe, William Chorlton, et al.
  • Landscape and gardening
    • The papers and photographs of the landscape designer Frank Waugh, Julius Fabos, Erwin Zube, and other collections.
    • Among many printed works on gardens and landscapes are three editions of Bernard M’Mahon’s seminal American Gardener’s Calendar, William Cobbett, Alexander Jackson Davis, Humphry Repton, and others.
  • Organic and sustainable agriculture
    • Records of the Northeast Organic Farmers Association and others involved in organic agriculture, alternate energy, and sustainability.
  • Other natural sciences
    • Including entomology and geology.

Learn more:

University of Massachusetts Amherst. Academic Affairs, 1864-2007

(160.75 linear feet)
Call no.: RG 006

Responsibility for academic affairs at Massachusetts Agricultural College initially fell to the college President, however in 1906, the Board of Trustees created the office of Dean of the College to oversee issues relating to student attendance, scholarship standing, the enforcement of faculty rules, and general student discipline. In 1953, the office of Provost was created to provide leadership in all areas of academic activity, and in 1970, the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost became the chief academic officer of the campus, responsible for advising the Chancellor on the whole of the University’s academic program.

The bulk of the record group consists of the files of individual Deans of the College, Provosts, and Vice Chancellors for Academic Affairs, as well as the University Year for Action (1971-1976). Also included are the records of the interim and special appointees that report to the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost, and the special programs, committees, institutes, and centers that were initiated by or developed from those offices.


  • College students--Massachusetts


  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Office of Academic Affairs
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Office of Information Technology
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Office of International Programs

Arts Extension Service Records, 1973-2005

7 boxes (9.5 linear feet)
Call no.: RE 007/5

The Arts Extension Service (AES), a national arts service organization located at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, is the nation’s leading provider of professional arts management education, serving the arts through education, research, and publications. The AES distinguished itself as the first program in the nation to offer a bachelor’s degree in Arts Administration and it has subsequently added a range of training programs for state, regional and local arts agencies, including Peer Advising and Artist-in-Business, research services, and two online Certificates in Arts Management.

The records of the Arts Extension Service (AES) are divided into three series: Administration; Programs; and Publications. Series one dates from 1973-2004 and contains correspondence, consulting logs, contracts, course catalogs, organizational plans, press releases, books, booklets, forms and documents. Series two dates from 1977-2005 and contains correspondence, handouts, flyers, news clippings, brochures, pamphlets, reports, proposals, registration forms, grants, evaluation forms, schedules, and planning documents. Series three is composed of news manuals, catalogs, news clippings, newspapers, books, booklets, advertisements, correspondence, entry forms and handbooks that date from 1974-1999.


  • Arts--Education
  • Arts--Management

University of Massachusetts Amherst. College of Engineering, 1938-2007

(17 linear feet)
Call no.: RG 014

As early as 1867, Massachusetts Agricultural College offered engineering courses in surveying and the construction of roads and bridges — practical skills that would be valuable to farmers. After the establishment of a separate Department of Agricultural Engineering in 1914, and merger with the Department of Mathematics and Civil Engineering in 1938, UMass began to offer broader education in engineering. The Division of Engineering was created in 1945 to coordinate the expected post-war expansion. Since 1985, the College of Engineering has been organized in four academic departments: Chemical Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Mechanical and Industrial Engineering.

This record group documents the varied efforts to provide an applied technical education to students at UMass and its predecessors. In addition to the College’s annual reports and records of the Executive Council and Engineering Research Council; curriculum and program materials; reports and publications; the record group includes materials from the first four deans of the College of Engineering.


  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. College of Engineering

University of Massachusetts Amherst. Public Affairs, 1866-2007

(73.75 linear feet)
Call no.: RG 005

Public relations efforts at UMass have shifted over the years from an early emphasis on education in agriculture and home economics to contemporary efforts to manage the torrent of information generated by a research university. The first news editor at UMass was not appointed until 1948, and as late as 1961, the entire central Public Relations staff consisted only of a news and publications editor, although the College of Agriculture hosted a separate staff of five. Since the 1960s, however, the public relations efforts have expanded as rapidly as the University as a whole. The position of Vice Chancellor for University Relations and Development was created in 1983, (called Vice Chancellor for University Advancement after 1993) to oversee public affairs, alumni relations, and development activities.

This record group consists of materials from the several offices concerned with the production of University publications and publicity. The records include press releases, brochures, guidebooks, newsclippings, newsletters, bulletins, weekly newspapers, semi-monthly feature publications, special publications and photographic negatives. Also included in this group are the following publications: Chancellor’s Monthly Press Briefings, Chancellor’s Annual Review of NewsClips, Commonwealth Research Reports, Campus Guidebooks, University Newsletter, Weekly Bulletin, Executive Bulletin, University Bulletin, brochures, Contact, UMass, Science Journal, University Notebook, Tips, News Summary, and the Commonwealth Journal.


  • Public relations--Massachusetts


  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Office of Public Affairs

University of Massachusetts Amherst. School of Health Science, 1953-2007

(5 linear feet)
Call no.: RG 012

In response to an epidemic of scarlet fever at Massachusetts Agricultural College in 1912 and the death of four students, the Massachusetts Legislature finally appropriated funds to construct an infirmary. Staffed initially by a nurse, and later (1930) by a physician, the infirmary had grown sufficiently by the 1940s to require the creation of a separate department of Student Health. Formal instruction in public health began in 1939 and the first public health department, Bacteriology, was created one year later, followed by Nursing and other departments. In 1973, the School of Health Sciences was formed, comprised of the Division of Nursing, the Division of Public Health, and (after 1975), the Department of Communication Disorders. The School of Health Sciences split into the School of Public Health and the School of Nursing in 1989. In 1993, the School was renamed the School of Public Health and Health Sciences, which provides education for graduate and undergraduate students, as well as health professionals.

Record group consists of annual reports; department histories; accreditation reports; correspondence and memoranda; proposals; technical reports; faculty lists; course descriptions, course of study guides and syllabi; training handbooks and laboratory exercises; brochures and fliers; newsclippings, newsletters and articles; surveys; conference materials; and related materials.


  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. School of Nursing
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. School of Public Health and Health Sciences

University of Massachusetts Amherst. Student Body, 1867-2007

(155 linear feet)
Call no.: RG 045

Since the arrival of the first class of students at Massachusetts Agricultural College in 1867, the student body at UMass has grown to over 20,500 undergraduates and nearly 6,000 graduate students.

Record Group 45 includes the collected records of student activities at UMass Amherst, from student publications and organizations (fraternities and sororities, unions, and honorary societies) to records of student government, student protests, and religious and social groups. Also included are class notes and correspondence of some individual students while enrolled in the University.

Connect to another siteA number of student publications have been digitized and are indexed in YouMass.


  • Aggie Life
  • Bay State Ruralist
  • College Signal
  • College students--Massachusetts
  • Greek letter societies--Massachusetts
  • Student newspapers and periodicals--Massachusetts
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Students

University of Massachusetts Amherst Student Publications Collection, 1869-2011

Collegian editorial staff, 1921-1922
Collegian editorial staff, 1921-1922

Since almost the time of first arrival of students at Massachusetts Agricultural College in 1867, the college’s students have taken an active role in publishing items for their own consumption. Beginning with the appearance of the first yearbook, put together by the pioneer class during their junior year in 1870 and followed by publication of the first, short-lived newspaper, The College Monthly in 1887, students have been responsible for dozens of publications from literature to humor to a range of politically- and socially-oriented periodicals.

This series consists of the collected student publications from Massachusetts Agricultural College, Massachusetts State College, and UMass Amherst, including student newspapers, magazines, newsletters, inserts, yearbooks, and songbooks. Publications range from official publications emanating from the student body to unofficial works by student interest groups or academic departments. Links to digitized versions of the periodicals are supplied when available.


  • Massachusetts Agricultural College--Students
  • Massachusetts State College--Students
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Students

Types of material

  • Magazines
  • Newspapers

American Friends Service Committee Records, 1975-2005

24 boxes (36 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 459

Established in 1968 in response to the war in Vietnam, the AFSC office in western Massachusetts did not limit its focus to draft and military counseling, instead the organization broadened its focus over time to include educational and outreach programs for a variety of peace and socal justice issues. Today the chapter focuses on economic justice, campaigns against U.S. military intervention, and actions to combat racism and classism. With an emphasis on serving the community of western Massachusetts, the program is equally committed to calling attention to issues of both national and local importance. Recent campaigns range from ending the war in Iraq and supporting peace in Columbia to preventing the construction of a new jail in Chicopee.

The collection consists chiefly of subject files that together provide a picture of the various issues in which the western Massachusetts AFSC was involved. Topics range from the organization’s earliest focus, the Vietnam War, to the first Gulf War, landlord/tenant relations, immigration, and landmines. The collection also includes materials relating to public figures, some of whom traveled to the region to speak.


  • Activists--Massachusetts
  • Massachusetts--Economic conditions
  • Peace movements--Massachusetts
  • Social justice--Massachusetts


  • American Friends Service Committee. Western Massachusetts

Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts Hampshire-Franklin County Chapter Records, 1947-1973

2 boxes (1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 303

Minutes and correspondence of the Executive Committee, correspondence and general files of chairmen Philip Eddy, David E. Matz, and Donn Kesselheim, as well as correspondence, briefs, and clippings related to legal cases and inquiries undertaken by the chapter.


  • Civil rights--Massachusetts


  • Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts. Hampshire-Franklin County Chapter
  • Eddy, Philip
  • Kesselheim, Donn
  • Matz, David E
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