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Chalfen family

Chalfen Family Papers
ca.1890-2011
51 boxes (76.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 770

Born into a Jewish family in Khotyn, Bessarabia (now Ukraine), in 1888, Benjamin Chalfen emigrated to United States as a young man, arriving in New York City in 1910 before making his way to Boston. Taking work as a clerk with the Roxbury Crossing Steamship Agency, he married a fellow Russian immigrant, Annie Berg in 1914 and, after their divorce a few years later, married a second time. Benjamin and Annie’s son, Melvin (1918-2007), studied Forestry at Massachusetts State College (BA 1940) and Yale (MF 1942) before enlisting in the Army Air Corps in Aug. 1942. Moved to active duty in 1943 as a communications specialist, he rose to the rank of Lieutenant. After he returned home, Mel met and married a recent Smith College graduate, Judith Resnick (1925-2011), with whom he raised three sons. The couple settled into a comfortable life in the Boston suburbs, where Mel carved out a successful career as a home inspector and educator while Judith became well known as a supporter of the arts and as one of the founders of Action For Children’s Television (1968), an important force in promoting quality television programing for children.

A massive archive documenting three generations of a Jewish family from Boston, the Chalfen family papers contain a rich body of photographs and letters, centered largely on the lives of Melvin and Judith Chalfen. The Chalfens were prolific correspondents and the collection includes hundreds of letters written home while Mal and Judy were in college and while Mel was serving in the Army Air Corps during the Second World War — most of these in Yiddish. The thousands of photographs cover a broader span of family history, beginning prior to emigration from Bessarabia into the 1960s. Among many other items of note are rough drafts of a New Deal sociological study of juvenile delinquency and the impact of boys’ clubs in the late 1930s prepared by Abraham Resnick (a Socialist community organizer and Judith’s father); materials from the progressive Everyman’s Theater (early 1960s); and nearly three feet of material documenting Judy Chalfen’s work with Action for Children’s Television.

Gift of the Chalfen family, 2011.
Language(s): Yiddish
Subjects
  • Action for Children's Television
  • Jews--Massachusetts--Boston
  • Massachusetts State College--Students
  • Smith College--Students
  • World War, 1939-1945
Contributors
  • Chalfen, Benjamin
  • Chalfen, Judith, 1925-2011
  • Chalfen, Melvin H. (Melvin Howard), 1918-2007
Types of material
  • Photographs

Champion Family

Champion and Stebbins Family Account Books
1753-1865
8 vols. (2 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 228

Account books from the Champion and Stebbins families of Saybrook, Connecticut and West Springfield, Massachusetts, who were involved in various businesses and professional activities. Includes lists of accounts by surname, services rendered, methods of payment, entries for treatments and remedies, lists of patients, and lists of banking activities. Volumes were kept by Reuben Champion (1720-1777), Jere Stebbins (1757-1817), and Reuben Champion, M.D. (1784-1865).

Subjects
  • African Americans--Massachusetts--West Springfield--History
  • Agriculture--Economic aspects--Massachusetts--History
  • Atwood, Elijah
  • Barter--Massachusetts--West Springfield
  • Champion family
  • Connecticut River Valley--Economic conditions--18th century
  • Farmers--Massachusetts--History
  • General stores--Massachusetts
  • Homeopathic physicians--Massachusetts
  • Homeopathy--Materia medica and therapeutics
  • Medicine--Practice--Massachusetts--History
  • Physicians--Massachusetts
  • Pottery industry--Massachusetts--History
  • Saybrook (Conn.)--History
  • Shipping--New England--History
  • Stebbins family
  • West Springfield (Mass.)--Economic conditions
  • West Springfield (Mass.)--History
  • West Springfield (Mass.)--Social conditions
  • Women--Massachusetts--History
Contributors
  • Champion, Reuben, 1727-1777
  • Champion, Reuben, 1784-1865
  • Stebbins, Jere, 1757-1817
Types of material
  • Account books
  • Daybooks

Chickering Family

Chickering Family Papers
1813-1873
2 folders (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 095

Nathaniel Chickering came to Enfield, Massachusetts, in 1800 with his son Otis and operated a grist mill for twenty years. One of Otis’ children, Bertrand, operated the Enfield telephone system in the Howe family store and lived with the Edwin H. Howe family.

Includes land and pew deeds of Nathaniel Chickering and Mrs. Otis Chickering’s account booklet with C.F. Wood and Co.

Subjects
  • Chickering family

Children’s Aid and Family Services of Hampshire County Inc.

Children's Aid and Family Service Records
1910-ca. 2001
10 boxes (8 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 008

Agency providing traditional child and family service and extensive mental health services that worked closely with the SPCC, was a member in the Child Welfare League of America, and was the Northampton representative for the National Association of Travelers Aid Societies. Includes 10 versions of the constitution, typed personal recollections from the 25th anniversary, annual reports, minutes, and the correspondence of President Miriam Chrisman (1952-1957). Of special note, Mrs. Calvin Coolidge was the Chair of the Home Finding Committee of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children which helped to found the CAFS.

Subjects
  • Child mental health services--Massachusetts--Hampshire County--History
  • Child welfare--Massachusetts--Hampshire County--History
  • Children--Institutional care--Massachusetts--Hampshire County--History
  • Coolidge, Grace Goodhue, 1879-1957
  • Floods--Massachusetts
  • Foster home care--Massachusetts--Hampshire County--History
  • Franklin County (Mass.)--Social conditions
  • Hampshire County (Mass.)--Social conditions
  • Homeless children--Massachusetts--Franklin County--History
  • Homeless children--Massachusetts--Hampshire County--History
  • Hurricanes--Massachusetts
  • Northampton (Mass.)--Intellectual life--History
  • Northampton (Mass.)--Social conditions
  • Social service--Massachusetts--Hampshire County--History
  • Voluntarism--Massachusetts--History
Contributors
  • Children's Aid Association (Hampshire County, Mass.)
  • Children's Aid and Family Service of Hampshire County (Hampshire County, Mass.)
  • Children's Home Association (Franklin County, Mass. and Hampshire County, Mass.)
  • Chrisman, Miriam Usher
  • Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Home Finding Committee

Clark family

Clark Family Papers
1679-1814
1 box (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 654

The Clark family played a prominent role in the colonial and early national history of Newton, Massachusetts. John Clark and his wife Elizabeth Norman settled in Cambridge Village (now Newton), Massachusetts, in about 1681, and played an active role in the public life of the town. His son William, grandson Norman, and great-grandson Norman followed in John’s footsteps, serving as Selectmen and, in the case of Norman, Jr., as the Collector of taxes during and after the Revolutionary War.

This small collection traces the early history of Newton, Mass., through the lives and activities of four generations of the family of John Clark. While the majority of the collection consists of deeds or related legal documents pertaining to properties in Newton (or in one case, Connecticut), a few items provide glimpses into other Clark family activities. As tax collector for Newton during and after the Revolution, Norman Clark, Jr., left an interesting documentary trail that touches on financial priorities in town, including the collection of taxes for support of the church, Revolutionary War soldiers, and road building.

Subjects
  • Clark Family
  • Newton (Mass.)--History--18th century
  • Real property--Massachusetts--Newton
  • Taxation--Massachusetts
  • United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783
Contributors
  • Clark, John
  • Clark, Norman
  • Clark, William
Types of material
  • Deeds
  • Maps
  • Wills

Howland family

Howland Family Papers
1727-1886 (Bulk: 1771-1844)
2 boxes (0.75 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 923

The Howland family of East Greenwich, R.I., figured prominently in New England Quakerism during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and contributed to the state’s public affairs. Brothers Daniel (1754-1834), an approved minister, and Thomas Howland (1764-1845), an educator, were active members of the Society during the tumultuous years between the 1780s and 1840s, caught up in the moral demands for a response to slavery and other social issues and in the divisions wrought by evangelical influences.

Centered largely on the lives of Thomas Howland, his brother Daniel, and Daniel’s son Daniel, the Howland collection is an important record of Quaker life in Rhode Island during trying times. As meeting elders, the Howlands monitored and contributed to the era’s major controversies, and the collection is particularly rich in discussions of the impact of slavery and the passionate struggle between Friends influenced by the evangelically-inclined Joseph John Gurney and the orthodox John Wilbur. Thomas’ complex response to his commitment to the antislavery cause and his fear of disrupting meeting unity is particularly revealing. Also of note is a series of responses from monthly meetings to queries on compliance with Quaker doctrine, obtained during the decade after the American Revolution.

Subjects
  • Antislavery movements--Rhode Island
  • East Greenwich (R.I.)--History
  • Peace movements--Rhode Island
  • Temperance--Rhode Island
Contributors
  • Bassett, William, 1803-1871
  • Brown, Moses, 1738-1836
  • Friends' Boarding School (Providence, R.I.)
  • Gurney, Joseph John, 1788-1847
  • Howland, Daniel
  • Howland, Daniel, 1754-1834
  • Howland, Thomas, 1764-1845
  • Moses Brown School
  • New England Yearly Meeting of Friends
  • Shearman, Abraham, 1777-1847
  • Society of Friends--Controversial literature
  • Society of Friends--History
  • Tobey, Samuel Boyd, 1805-1867
  • Wilbur, John, 1774-1856

Lipski family

Lipski Family Collection
1927-1990
1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 357
Image of Stanley Lipski on the Finnish front, 1940
Stanley Lipski on the Finnish front, 1940

Antoni Lipski emigrated from Grodno, now Belarus, in 1907, and settled in the Oxbow neighborhood of Northampton, Mass. An employee of the Mount Tom Sulphite Pulp Company, he and his wife Marta had a family of twelve, ten of who survived to adulthood. Their oldest child Stanley Walter Lipski graduated from the US Naval Academy in 1935 and was killed in action aboard the USS Indianapolis in July 1945.

The slender record of two generations of a Polish immigrant family from Northampton, Mass., the Lipski collection includes two documents relating to Antoni Lipski and four photographs, two letters, and news clippings relating to his eldest son, Stanley Walter Lipski, a naval officer who was killed in action aboard the USS Indianapolis during the Second World War.

Gift of Anthony Lipski, Oct. 1991
Subjects
  • Polish Americans--Massachusetts
  • United States. Navy
  • World War, 1939-1945
Contributors
  • Lipski, Antoni, 1882-1953
  • Lipski, Stanley Walter, 1911-1945
Types of material
  • Photograph albums
  • Photographs

Parents & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (Pioneer Valley, Mass.)

PFLAG Pioneer Valley Records
1987-1995
1 box (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 397

The Pioneer Valley chapter of Parents & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) was established in 1986 by Jean and James Genasci, parents of a gay son and advocates of civil rights for gays and lesbians. As the group’s local coordinators, the Genascis conducted workshops on homosexuality and homophobia, and offered support to gays and lesbians and their families.

The collection consists chiefly of newspaper clippings containing articles about the work of PFLAG as well as announcements for upcoming meetings and events. Bulletins and newsletters issued by PFLAG document their activities, in particular their support of the 1989 Massachusetts gay rights bill, as do photographs featuring demonstrations and exhibits.

Subjects
  • Gay rights
  • Gays--Family relationships
  • Lesbians--Family relationships
  • Parents of gays--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • Parents & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (Pioneer Valley, Mass.)

Peck Family

Peck-Sisson-White Family Papers
1772-1975 (Bulk: 1830-1875)
2 boxes (0.75 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 933

Perez Peck (1786-1876) and Asa Sisson (1815-1893) of the village of Anthony (Coventry), R.I., were innovative machinists and manufacturers of cotton looms. Active members of the Society of Friends, they were supporters of the antislavery struggle and sent their children to the Friends Boarding School in Providence, R.I.

Although the Peck-Sisson-White family collection spans three families and three generations, the bulk of material is concentrated on the lives of Asa Sisson and his wife Mary Ann (Peck) and their daughter Emily, who married Willis H. White, with an emphasis on their poetry and their time at the Friends Boarding School in Providence, R.I. The family also copied verse from other writers, including works from George Miller (not otherwise identified) extracting Anthony Benezet and “Remarks on encouraging slavery” and a “lamentation over New England” which touches on the execution of early Quakers in Massachusetts Bay.

Gift of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, 2016
Subjects
  • Antislavery movements--Rhode Island
  • Death--Poetry
  • Friends Boarding School (Providence, R.I.)
  • Quakers--Rhode Island
Contributors
  • Peck, Perez, 1786-1876
  • Sisson, Asa, 1815-1893
  • Sisson, Mary Ann, 1816-1882
  • White, Emily Sisson, 1856-1945
Types of material
  • Diaries
  • Poetry

Politella Family

Politella Family Papers
1915-2004 (Bulk: 1938-1956)
2 boxes (3 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 885
Image of Dario, Antonio, Lillian, and Joseph Politella in Amherst, ca.1930
Dario, Antonio, Lillian, and Joseph Politella in Amherst, ca.1930

When Antonio Politella emigrated from Italy to Lawrence, Mass., in 1910, he joined an older half-brother Walter Pollano, but left behind his wife and infant son. Working as a pharmacist under Pollano, Politella was successful enough to reunite his family in 1919, and eventually raised a family of three, all of whom went on to earn undergraduate degrees at Massachusetts State College and dedicate their lives to education. The eldest child, Joseph (’33), served in the Army Air Corps during the Second World War, earned a PhD in philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania, and taught in eastern religions at Kent State University. Lillian (’42) became a French teacher, while Dario (’47), an aviator during the war, earned his doctorate at Syracuse and taught journalism at UMass Amherst for many years.

The Politella family collection contains correspondence received primarily by Lillian Politella (’42), the bulk of which reflects the impact on the war on both her family and college. Among the letters are dozens written by her brothers Joseph (’33) and Dario (’47) and friend Donald W. Cadigan (’39) while in the service, which are joined by an evocative series from their teacher and mentor, Ray Ethan Torrey. Torrey’s letters in particular offer insight into Mass. State College during and after the war and are replete with news about acquaintances and complaints about liberals and current events.

Gift of Norma E. Parras, Nov. 2015
Subjects
  • Buddhism--Study and teaching
  • Hinduism--Study and teaching
  • Massachusetts State College--History
  • Massachusetts State College--Students
  • Mysticism
  • Theosophy
  • World War, 1939-1945
Contributors
  • Politella, Dario
  • Politella, Joseph
  • Politella, V. Lillian
  • Torrey, Ray Ethan, 1887-1956
Types of material
  • Photograph albums
  • Photographs
  • Scrapbooks
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