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New England history

Two girls in carriage, Quabbin region, ca.1910

Two girls in carriage, Quabbin region, ca.1910

SCUA is dedicated to documenting New England history, including primary materials relating to the political, cultural, economic, and intellectual life of our region, and the lives and experiences of its residents.

The collections in SCUA touch on many aspects of the history of the region with developing depth in immigration, labor, work, and industry, social change and movements for social change, and literature and the arts. Of particular note are two exceptionally large and rich collections: the records of the Hampshire Council of Governments, which contains over 325 years of county-level governance in western Massachusetts, and the records of the New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, which contains 350 years of Quaker history.

The recent political history of the region is documented through the papers of congressmen Silvio O. Conte and his successor John Olver, Governor Jane Swift, state Senator Stanley Rosenberg, state representatives John G. Clark, Maurice Donahue, Whiting Griswold, and John Haigis, and other figures involved in the political life of the Commonwealth.

In addition to holding material relating to many individual towns and communities in western Massachusetts, SCUA maintains a special interest in the history of the towns of the Quabbin watershed.

Significant collections

  • Business and industry
    • In addition to collections relating to organized labor and the labor movement, SCUA attempts to document the experience of work and the business community to provide a rounded understanding of work life in New England. For a more complete listing, see our guide for Labor, Work, and Industry.
  • Civic organizations and charities
    • Collections ranging from the records of charitable organizations that provide social services to groups that foster civic engagement and social justice, benevolent and ethnic self-help societies, to organizations that support social and professional communities.
  • Family history
    • SCUA has a strong interest in “family collections,” typically collections that include correspondence, photograph albums, family and farm accounts, and other materials that reveal the every day lives of New Englanders. Researchers on family life and genealogy should note that many collections indexed under other subjects contain personal and family information of some importance. Our printed materials collections include many local and county histories, genealogies, and other resources which may be useful for understanding family life.
  • Immigration, demography, and ethnicity
  • Medical history
    • Collections include daybooks and medical accounts of physicians, primarily from the nineteenth century, personal papers of physicians, and some materials on public health policy.
  • Military history
    • Although SCUA has scattered holdings relating to earlier wars, the department houses interesting materials relating to World War II and the War in Vietnam, with the latter concentrated on the antiwar movement.
  • Political life and culture
    • The distinctive political culture of Massachusetts and formal and informal political activity in the Commonwealth. Although the collections extend back into the nineteenth century, our focus is primarily on the post-World War II period.
  • Printing in rural Massachusetts
    • SCUA collects books, broadsides, and other materials printed in rural New England prior to 1900. The collections include a growing collection for the printers in the Quabbin region, Solomon and John Howes, but also includes works printed in small towns throughout Berkshire, Hampshire, Hamden, and Franklin Counties.
  • Quabbin Regional collections
    • Collections relating to all aspects of life and the legacy of the four towns inundated by the Quabbin Reservoir: Dana, Greenwich, Enfield, and Prescott, as well as surrounding communities such as New Salem, Petersham, and Wendell. In our rare books holdings, we have a number of works printed in Enfield or Greenwich, mostly by Solomon and John Howe.
  • Religious life
    • Our efforts to document the spiritual lives and religious commitments of New Englanders has resulted in a number of manuscript and archival collections. Our social change holdings include a number of collections on spiritually-motivated social reform, and our rare book holdings include hundreds of published sermons and other printed materials relating to religious life in the region.
  • New England regional history

Learn more:

People for Economic Survival

People for Economic Survival Records, 1974-1977
3 boxes (1.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 535

Established in October 1974, People for Economic Survival (PES) was a Socialist group based in Northampton, Massachusetts, first organized with the short-term goal of pressuring local banks to sell food stamps. The group’s vision for the longer term, however, was to stimulate change that would result in the replacement of an economy based on corporate profit with one based on people’s needs. After two and half years of community activity, including working for lower utility rates and against cutbacks in welfare, human services, and unemployment benefits, PES disbanded.

The PES collection consists of flyers, meeting minutes, and a full run of Take It, the group’s newsletter.

Gift of Jan Nettler, 2007
Subjects
  • Food stamps--Massachusetts
  • Northampton (Mass.)--Economic conditions
  • Northampton (Mass.)--History
  • Public welfare--Law and legislation--Massachusetts
  • Socialism--Massachusetts
  • Unemployment--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • People for Economic Survival

Hanke, Lewis

Lewis Hanke Papers, 1939-1992
30 boxes (23.5 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 014
Image of Lewis Hanke
Lewis Hanke

Lewis Hanke, the Clarence and Helen Haring Professor of History from 1969 to 1975, was a scholar of Latin American history, served as the president of the American Historical Association, worked extensively as an editor, and was best known for his research on Bartolome de Las Casas. Hanke was born in 1905 in Oregon City, Oregon, and received his B.S. and M.A. in history from Northwestern University. After earning his Ph.D from Harvard in 1936, the great depression barred his way to professorial appointment, allowing Hanke to work outside of academia as the director of the Hispanic Foundation until 1951. After teaching at the University of Texas and Columbia University, Hanke eventually became a professor at the University of Massachusetts in 1969 until his retirement in 1975. During his tenure at the University, Hanke edited the Guide to the Study of US History Outside the US, 1945-1980, and the year before his retirement, he served as the president of the American Historical Association, where he oversaw the re-writing of the AHA’s charter. Hanke died in March, 1993.

Lewis Hanke’s papers document his historical research and his prolific scholarly output. The largest portion of the collection are notes, correspondence and administrative records relating to his editorship of the Guide to the Study of US History Outside the US, 1945-1980, as well as a collection of his published and unpublished papers from 1939. The collection also includes notes, correspondence, and image reproductions for Hanke’s book Spanish Viceroys. The remainder of the collection is professional correspondence, documents from Hanke’s tenure as AHA president, and materials from his many research projects.

Subjects
  • Guide to the Study of US History Outside the US, 1945-1980
  • Spain--History
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of History
Contributors
  • Hanke, Lewis

Potash, Robert A., 1921-

Robert A. Potash Papers, 1930-1991
(27.75 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 020

Professor of history, University of Massachusetts (1950-1986), Haring Professor Emeritus (1986-); internationally-recognized scholar of Argentine military history and politics.

Includes correspondence, audiotapes and transcriptions of interviews, 1961-90, with Argentine military and political figures (interviews restricted until 2010); documents obtained from private Argentine sources relating to politics and the military, 1943-90; photocopies of U.S. State Department records, 1940s and 1962-73, regarding Argentina; selected materials from the papers of General Alejandro A. Lanusse, 1962-73; Argentine political ephemera, 1930-74; photocopies of Argentine official documents pertaining to various presidencies and regimes, as well as materials, including newsclippings, regarding petroleum, political parties, and trade unions; papers from externally funded projects and programs pertaining to Latin America in which the University participated.

Gift of Robert Potash, 2005-2014
Language(s): EnglishSpanish
Subjects
  • Argentina--History
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of History
Contributors
  • Potash, Robert A., 1921-

Rausch, Jane M., 1940-

Jane M. Rausch Papers, 1968-2009
6 boxes (9 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 146

A long-time historian at UMass Amherst, Jane Meyer Rausch was widely recognized for her work on the frontier history of Colombia. A graduate of DePauw University (1962), Rausch joined a growing program in Latin American studies at UMass in 1969, shortly after receiving her doctorate in comparative tropical history from the University of Wisconsin Madison. The recipient of a Fulbright Award in 1987, she taught widely in the history of Latin America and the Caribbean, and wrote four major monographs on the Colombian frontier in the colonial and national periods: A Tropical Plains Frontier : the Llanos of Colombia, 1531-1831 (1984); The Llanos Frontier in Colombian history, 1830-1930 (1993); Colombia : Territorial Rule and the Llanos Frontier (1999); and From Frontier Town to Metropolis: A History of Villavicencio, Colombia, Since 1842 (2007).

Centered on the research and teaching, this collection documents the career of Jane Rausch from her days as a graduate student in the late 1960s through her retirement. In addition to a range of professional correspondence, unpublished works, teaching materials, and student notes, the collection includes several hundred 35mm slides taken by Rausch while traveling in Colombia.

Gift of Jane Rausch, 2010-2013
Subjects
  • Colombia--History
  • Latin America--History
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of History
Contributors
  • Rausch, Jane M., 1940-

Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP)

Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP) Records, 1992-2016
4 boxes (4.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 868
Image of

Originating in 1991, the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP) was established “to create a global network for book historians working in a broad range of scholarly disciplines.” With more than 1,000 members, research interests include the composition and reception of books as well as their survival and transformation over time.

Records cover the earliest days of the organization’s development, including founding documents, and document a variety of their activities from hosting conferences and publishing a newsletter to promoting scholarship.

Subjects
  • Authors and readers
  • Authorship
  • Books--History
  • Publishers and publishing

Antislavery

Antislavery Pamphlet Collection, 1725-1911
(7.5 linear feet)
Call no.: RB 003

The Antislavery Collection contains several hundred printed pamphlets and books pertaining to slavery and antislavery in New England, 1725-1911. The holdings include speeches, sermons, proceedings and other publications of organizations such as the American Anti-Slavery Society and the American Colonization Society, and a small number of pro-slavery tracts.

Subjects
  • Abolitionists--Massachusetts
  • Antislavery movements--United States
  • Slavery--United States
Contributors
  • American Anti-Slavery Society
  • American Colonization Society
Restrictions: Collection currently unavailable due to renovations in SCUA

Barghoorn, Elso S. (Elso Sterrenberg), 1915-1984

Elso S. Barghoorn Journals, 1944-1984
2 boxes (1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 820
Image of Hoba West meterorite, Nov. 1971, 12 miles west of Grootfontein, South West Africa
Hoba West meterorite, Nov. 1971, 12 miles west of Grootfontein, South West Africa

The paleobotanist Elso Barghoorn exerted an enormous influence on the scientific understanding of the early evolution of life on earth. After receiving his doctorate at Harvard in 1941, Barghoorn taught briefly at Amherst College before returning to Havard five years later, eventually becoming the Richard A. Fisher Professor of Natural History. A pioneer in paleopalynology, he he and two colleagues announced the startling discovery of a well-preserved Archaean fossil flora in 1954, including the first solid record of fossil bacteria and cyanobacteria from the Gunflint chert of Ontario. Culminating in a landmark 1965 publication (with Stanley Tyler), his work demonstrated conclusively the existence of unicellular fossils and helped to revolutionize study of deep evolutionary time.

The Barghoorn collection consists of seven bound journals containing notes from trips to Panama (1944), Europe (1957-58); Ghana, South Africa, and Tonga (1971-1972); Europe (1972); Hawaii, the South Pacific, and Africa (1975); Greenland (1977); South Africa and Australia (1978); and Australia and the South Pacific (1981). Comprehensive typescripts are available for each journal.

Subjects
  • Harvard University--Faculty
  • Paleobotany
  • Palynology
  • Panama--Description and travel
Contributors
  • Margulis, Lynn, 1938-2011
Types of material
  • Diaries
  • Photographs

Brinley Family

Brinley Family Papers, 1643-1950
(4.75 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 161
Image of Deborah Brinley and infant son Francis, 1729<br />Copy by Charles U. Bond (1830)<br />after John Smibert
Deborah Brinley and infant son Francis, 1729
Copy by Charles U. Bond (1830)
after John Smibert

A prosperous family of merchants and landowners, the Brinleys were well ensconced among the social and political elite of colonial New England. Connected by marriage to other elite families in Rhode Island and Massachusetts — the Auchmutys, Craddocks, and Tyngs among them — the Brinleys were refined, highly educated, public spirited, and most often business-minded. Although many members of the family remained loyal to the British cause during the Revolution, the family retained their high social standing in the years following.

The Brinley collection includes business letters, legal and business records, wills, a fragment of a diary, documents relating to slaves, newspaper clippings, and a small number of paintings and artifacts. A descendent, Nancy Brinley, contributed a quantity of genealogical research notes and photocopies of Brinley family documents from other repositories. Of particular note in the collection is a fine nineteenth century copy of a John Smibert portrait of Deborah Brinley (1719), an elegant silver tray passed through the generations, and is a 1713 list of the library of Francis Brinley, which offers a foreshadowing of the remarkable book collection put together in the later nineteenth century by his descendant George Brinley.

Subjects
  • American loyalists--Massachusetts
  • Book collectors--United States--History--19th century
  • Brinley family
  • Brinley, George, 1817-1875--Library
  • Businessmen--Massachusetts--History
  • Businessmen--Rhode Island--History
  • Craddock family
  • Landowners--Massachusetts--History
  • Landowners--Rhode Island--History
  • Libraries--Rhode Island--18th century
  • Massachusetts--Economic conditions--18th century
  • Massachusetts--Politics and government--19th century
  • Rhode Island--Economic conditions--18th century
  • Rhode Island--Genealogy
  • Rhode Island--Politics and government--19th century
  • Slavery--United States--History
  • Tyng family
  • United Empire Loyalists
Types of material
  • Deeds
  • Realia

Brooks, Burt V.

Burt V. Brooks Photograph Collection, 1889-1934
3 boxes (1.5 linear feet)
Call no.: PH 060
Image of

The artist Burt Vernon Brooks was one of the outstanding chroniclers of daily life in the Swift River Valley before it was inundated to create the Quabbin Reservoir. Born in Brimfield, Mass., in 1849 and raised in Monson, Brooks moved to Greenwich with his family in the 1870s, where he worked on the family farm. At some unclear point before he turned 40, Brooks became active as an artist, painting local homes and scenery and taking photographs of the landscape, residents, and daily life in the Quabbin region. A prolific photographer, he was, in the words of historian Donald W. Howe, “hardly ever seen without his camera strapped to his back,” remaining active for decades. Three years after following his second wife to the west, Brooks died in Los Angeles in 1934.

The great majority of the 92 photographs in this collection are 5×7″ dry plate glass negatives taken by Brooks in the earliest years of the twentieth century, documenting the houses and people of Greenwich. Brooks’ work includes landscapes, houses, and a significant series of images of the Hillside School, but some of his best works are studio portraits, images of people at home or with their carriages, and posed scenes of children at play or at work. The collection also includes eight images by Brooks at Enfield, Greenwich, and Dana that are the property of the Swift River Valley Historical Society, and six images taken by Chetwynd and Pike in the Quabbin region to document properties slated for removal.

Gift of Friends of Quabbin through Gene Theroux, Paul Godfrey, and Les Campbell, June 2014
Subjects
  • Agriculture--Massachusetts--Greenwich--Photographs
  • Carriages and carts--Massachusetts--Greenwich--Photographs
  • Children--Massachusetts--Greenwich--Photographs
  • Dana (Mass.)--Photographs
  • Dwellings--Massachusetts--Greenwich--Photographs
  • Enfield (Mass.)--Photographs
  • Greenwich (Mass.)--Photographs
  • Hillside School (Marlborough, Mass.)
  • Horses--Massachusetts--Greenwich--Photographs
  • New Salem (Mass.)--Photographs
  • Plowing--Massachusetts--Greenwich--Photographs
  • Prescott (Mass.)--Photographs
Types of material
  • Dry plate gelatin negatives
  • Gelatin silver negatives
  • Photographs
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