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Agriculture

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.

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Akin, Ebenezer, Jr.

Ebenezer Akin Account Book

1842-1869
1 vol. 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 220 bd

A merchant, town clerk, part-owner of many ships, and involved citizen, Ebenezer Akin lived nearly all of his 87 years in the town of Fairhaven, Mass.

This miscellaneous personal ledger includes documentation of Ebenezer Akin’s work as town clerk and includes accounts for ships he may have owned, entries made as an estate executor, accounts of expenditures for clothing and incidentals, and accounts of lot purchases and loans. The volume also contains genealogical information about the Blossom family of Bridgewater and the family of Benjamin and Eunice Akin, Ebenezer’s great-grandfather.

Acquired from Charles Apfelbaum, 1987

Subjects

  • Akin, Benjamin, 1715-1802
  • Akin, Eunice
  • Blossom family
  • Clothing and dress--Prices--Massachusetts--Fairhaven
  • Fairhaven (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Fairhaven (Mass.)--Politics and government--19th century
  • Hesper (Bark)
  • Merchants--Massachusetts--Fairhaven
  • Napoleon (Ship)
  • Shipowners--Massachusetts--Fairhaven
  • Shipping--Massachusetts--Fairhaven
  • William Rotch (Ship)
  • Winthrop (Bark)

Contributors

  • Akin, Ebenezer, 1816-

Types of material

  • Account books
  • Genealogies
  • Inventories of decedents estates
Allis Family

Allis Family Collection

1956-1958
1 vol. 0.15 linear feet
Call no.: MS 269 bd

The Allis family began farming in Whately, Mass., in 1716, when John Allis came into possession of a property that would be the home to nine generations of his descendants. A typically diverse operation, the farm centered on cattle and dairying and crops such as hay and potatoes, supplemented throughout the year by sugaring, the manufacture of lye soap, bee culture, and opportunistic work ranging from slating to the construction of water systems for farms. It was sold out of the family in 1957.

This small collection contains two closely-related memoirs about the Allis family and their farm in Whately, Mass., focusing on the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Written by Lucius Howes Allis, the last Allis to own the farm, when he was 72 years old, “The Allis farm and its families” contains a lengthy genealogy, transcriptions of a handful of family deeds and documents, and brief stories about Lucius’ father Irving during his trip to Kansas and on the farm. “Up on the hill” is a lively memoir written by William R. Phinney, an alumnus of Massachusetts Agricultural College and apparently a friend of the Allis family. Phinney’s account contains excellent accounts of the lives of Elliot, Irving, and Lucius Allis, about farm life in the late nineteenth century, dairying, beekeeping, and other topics.

Subjects

  • Agriculture--Massachusetts--Whately
  • Allis family--Massachusetts
  • Bees--Massachusetts--Whately
  • Cattle--Massachusetts--Whately
  • Dairy farmers--Massachusetts--Whately
  • Farms--Massachusetts--Whately
  • Fires--Massachusetts--Whately
  • Hatfield (Mass.)--History
  • Indian Territory--Description and travel
  • Kansas--Description and travel
  • Maple sugar industry--Massachusetts--Whately
  • Whately (Mass.)--History

Contributors

  • Allis, Lucius Howes, 1886-1963
  • Phinney, William R.

Types of material

  • Genealogies (Histories)
  • Memoirs
American Express Company. Florence (Mass.) Office

American Express Company Florence Office Records

1867-1890
3 boxes 3 linear feet
Call no.: MS 298

Records of express agent Watson L. Wilcox of Simsbury, Connecticut, and Florence, Massachusetts, documenting Wilcox’s work for the American Express Company and the evolution of the company from a small shipping business to a delivery organization whose services contributed to the growth of the local and regional economy. Records consist of agent books, receipt books, and waybills listing accounts of local companies and residents for the sending, receiving, and delivery of freight, telegraph messages, express cash, goods, and packages.

Subjects

  • American Merchant's Union Express Company
  • Express service--Massachusetts--Florence--History
  • Florence (Mass.)--Economic conditions
  • Florence Manufacturing Company
  • Florence Sewing Machine Company
  • Hill, Samuel L
  • Industries--Massachusetts--Florence--History
  • New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railroad Company
  • Nonotuck Silk Company
  • Parsons, I. S
  • Simsbury (Conn.)--Economic conditions
  • Williston, A. L

Contributors

  • American Express Company (Florence, Mass.)
  • Wilcox, Watson L., 1832 or 3-1896
American Morgan Horse Association

American Morgan Horse Association Registry Records

1911-1981
119 boxes 150 linear feet
Call no.: MS 781
Image of Morgan horses at MAC
Morgan horses at MAC

In 1789, Vermont native Justin Morgan acquired a bay colt in Springfield, Mass., that became the progenitor of a distinctly American breed of general purpose horse. Noted for its stamina, strength, disposition, and beauty, the Morgan became widely popular in western Massachusetts and Vermont, eventually spreading nationally and internationally. To support the breed, the Morgan Horse Club (later the American Morgan Horse Association) was founded in 1909 and today maintains the breed registry, publishes The Morgan Horse magazine, and offers a wide range of public information and educational services.

The Registry records of the AMHA are a product of concern during the late 19th century for documenting and preserving the integrity of the Morgan breed and a means for breeders to certify pedigrees for their stock. In 1894, Joseph Battell published the first volume of the Morgan Horse and Register containing nearly 1,000 pages of pedigrees for “any meritorious stallion, mare, or gelding tracing in direct male line to Justin Morgan and having at least 1/64 of his blood,” and although standards have been modified since, the registry remains the primary source for documenting the history of the breed. The records in this collection include approved applications for the AMHA registry, including pedigrees and supporting materials.

Subjects

  • Horses--Breeding
  • Morgan horse
Artwork

Artwork Collection

ca.1645-2003
ca.100 items
Call no.: MS 597
Image of Ernst Toller, portrait by Lydia Gibson Minor
Ernst Toller, portrait by Lydia Gibson Minor

Over the years, SCUA has become home to both two-dimensional and three-dimensional works of art pertaining to three of its key thematic collecting areas: the University of Massachusetts Amherst, New England, and social change.

The Artwork Collection is comprised of miscellaneous works visual art, realia, and decorative arts, relating primarily to figures in UMass or to leftist or proletarian artists. Among the artists represented are Michael Russo, Cook Glassgold, Lydia Gibson Minor, Laura Wheeler Waring, Daniel Chester French, and Laurence Bradshaw. For reference purposes, we have cross-listed paintings belonging to other SCUA collections.

Subjects

  • Portraits

Types of material

  • Oil paintings
  • Prints (Visual works)
  • Sculpture (Visual works)
Bailey, Ebenezer

Ebenezer Bailey Papers

1852-1882
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 448

Ebenezer Bailey was a wholesale shoe purchaser and distributor from Massachusetts. The collection comprises just over 100 items, the bulk of which are receipts for the purchase and sale of shoes and slippers, covering the period from 1852 to 1882.

Acquired from Peter Masi, Mar. 2005

Subjects

  • Business records--Massachusetts
  • Dearborn, J. J
  • Lynn (Mass.)--History
  • Shoe industry--Massachusetts--Lynn
  • Shoe industry--New England--History--19th century

Contributors

  • Bailey, Ebenezer

Types of material

  • Receipts (Financial records)
Bates Family

Marcia Grover Church Bates Family Papers

1712-1999
11 boxes 5.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 424

Generations of the Bates and Church families based in North Amherst and Ashfield, Massachusetts. Papers include deeds, a will, correspondence, account books (recording day-to-day expenditures on food, clothing, postage, housekeeping supplies, and laborer’s wages), diaries, an oral history, photographs, genealogical notes, and memorabilia related to the family.

Subjects

  • Ashfield (Mass.)--History
  • Bates family
  • Church family
  • Farmers--Massachusetts--Ashfield
  • Hotelkeepers--Massachusetts--North Amherst
  • Libraries--Massachusetts--Boston
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College--Alumni and alumnae
  • Merchants--Massachusetts--North Amherst
  • North Amherst (Mass.)--History
  • Prescott (Mass.)--History
  • Public librarians--Massachusetts
  • Street-railroads--Massachusetts--Employees
  • Weather--Massachusetts--Ashfield
  • Women--Massachusetts--History
  • Worcester (Mass.)--History

Contributors

  • Bates, Marcia Church, 1908-2000
  • Church, Cornelia, 1906-1978
  • Church, Lucia Grover, 1877-1943

Types of material

  • Account books
  • Deeds
  • Diaries
  • Geneaologies
  • Photographs
  • Wills
Beach, Samuel

Samuel and Harriett Beach Papers

1829-1903
2 boxes 0.75 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1032
Image of Business card for J.S. Stannard Oysters, ca.1885
Business card for J.S. Stannard Oysters, ca.1885

Spread out across the early national landscape, the Beach and Cooke families were bound by the ties of family, friendship, and business. The brothers-in-law Samuel Beach, from Branford, Conn., and Samuel G. Cooke, from Mendon, Illinois, both served in the Civil War. As a corporal in the 27th Connecticut Infantry, Beach saw action at the battles of Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, while Cooke served in the west with the 50th Illinois before taking a captain’s commission in the 44th U.S. Colored Troops. Farmers and fruit growers, the two settled in Branford after the war, with Beach establishing Pawson Park, a day resort and picnic grounds that prospered in the 1880s.

The paper of Samuel and Harriett Beach contain family correspondence from two generations of Connecticut family in the mid-nineteenth century. Of particular note are 31 war-date letters and a post-war memoir of the battle of Fredericksburg from Samuel Beach, and three war-date letters from Samuel G. Cooke. The collection also includes an interesting, though scattered series of letters relating to the creation and operation of the day resort, Pawson Park.

Acquired from William Reese, April 2018
Bleyman, Lea K.

Lea K. Bleyman Papers

1958-2004
2 boxes 3 linear feet
Call no.: MS 548

The protistologist Lea Bleyman has conducted research into the genetics, mating systems, and life cycles of ciliates. A former student of Tracy Sonneborn, Bleyman has served as past Secretary and President (2001-2002) of the Society of Protozoologists, and spent many years on the faculty of the Department of Natural Sciences at Baruch College.

The Bleyman Papers contain lab and research notes, abstracts of talks and conference materials, along with some correspondence and annual progress reports from Baruch College. The earliest materials in the collection relate to her years as a student in Sonneborn’s lab; other Bleyman material is located in the records of the International Society of Protistologists at the University of Maryland Baltimore County Library.

Subjects

  • Baruch College--Faculty
  • Paramecium--Genetics
  • Protozoans--Composition
  • Protozoans--Genetics
  • Protozoology--Conference
  • Society of Protozoologists
  • Tetrahymena--Genetics

Contributors

  • Bleyman, Lea K
  • Nanney, David Ledbetter, 1925-
  • Sonneborn, Tracy Morton, 1905-1981

Types of material

  • Laboratory notes