Aurin F. Hill Papers, 1885-1929.
8 boxes (6 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 579
The self-styled “insane architect” Aurin F. Hill (b. 1853) was a free thinking carpenter and architect in Boston who waged a concerted campaign for his vision of social reform at the turn of the twentieth century. A Spiritualist, social radical, and union man, Hill carried the torch for issues ranging from the nationalization of railroads and corporations to civil rights and women’s rights, and joined in opposition to vaccination, Comstockery and censorship, capital punishment, and lynching. A writing medium, married to the Spiritual evangelist Izetta Sears-Hill, he became President of the National Spiritual Alliance in 1915, a Spiritualist organization based in Lake Pleasant, Mass.
Esoteric, rambling, and often difficult to follow, the Hill papers provide profound insight into the eclectic mind of an important Boston Spiritualist and labor activist at the turn of the twentieth century. Whether written as a diary or scattered notes, a scrapbook, essays, or letters to the editor, Hill’s writings cover a wide range of topics, from spirit influence to labor law, from his confinements for insanity to police strikes, hypnotism, reincarnation, and housing. More than just a reflection of one man’s psychology, the collection reveals much about broader social attitudes toward gender and race, sexuality, urban life, politics, and religion, and the collection is a particularly important resource for the history of the American Spiritualist movement between 1890 and 1920.
- Boston (Mass.)--History
- Carpenters--Labor unions
- Labor unions--Massachusetts
- Lake Pleasant (Mass.)--History
- Montague (Mass.)--History
- National Spiritual Alliance
- United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America
- Hill, Aurin F.
- Sears-Hill, Izetta B.
Types of material
Interfaith Pilgrimage of the Middle Passage Records, 1998-1999.
8 boxes (12 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 758
Organized at the New England Peace Pagoda in Leverett, Mass., the Interfaith Pilgrimage of the Middle Passage was a twelve-month walk through the eastern United States, the Caribbean, Brazil, West Africa, and South Africa in 1998-1999, reversing the direction of the Middle Passage symbolically and geographically. A “living prayer of the heart, mind, and body for the sons and daughters of the African Diaspora,” the Pilgrimage was intended by the participants to contribute to a process of healing the wounds inflicted by hundreds of years of slavery and racial oppression. Along the way, participants visited sites associated with the history of slavery, from slaves quarters in Virginia to stations on the Underground Railroad and villages that had been raided in Africa, offering prayers for those who had suffered under slavery and commemorating the dignity of those held in bondage and those who resisted.
Chronicling the course of the Interfaith Pilgrimage of the Middle Passage from conception to conclusion, this collection contains a rich textual and visual record of a spiritual approach to addressing the legacy of slavery in the Americas. The collection includes the range of materials collected by participants during the Pilgrimage, including lists of reading materials, information on the sites visited, a handful of mementoes and souvenirs, some correspondence, and notes and photographs taken along the way.
- Pilgrims and pilgrimages
Types of material
Stephen Josephs Photograph Collection, 1972-1978.
Call no.: PH 013
The Guru Ram Das Ashram was founded in Montague, Massachusetts, in 1972 by Steve Josephs under the inspiration of Yogi Bhajan. Affiliated with the 3HO (Healthy Happy Holy Organization) and the Sikh Dharma Brotherhood, the ashram provided instruction in Kundalini Yoga and Tantric meditation, and at one point, there were as many as 21 residents of the house. Yogi Bhajan married Josephs and his wife Alice in an arranged marriage in 1972, and the couple (then called Gurushabd Singh and Gurushabd Kaur) left the ashram in 1983.
The Josephs Collection includes 13 digital images depicting the Montague ashram and its residents. The collection includes images of Yogi Bhajan and the Josephs.
- Guru Ramdas Ashram (Montague, Mass.)
- Josephs, Stephen
- Montague (Mass.)--Photographs
Types of material
Laymen's Academy for Oecumenical Studies Records, 1956-1976.
22 boxes (11.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 020
An oecumenical ministry based in Amherst, Massachusetts, that sought to inspire local citizens to act upon their religious faith in their daily lives and occupations, and to reinvigorate religious dialogue between denominations.
Includes by-laws, minutes, membership records, news clippings, press releases, treasurer’s reports, letters to and from David S. King, correspondence between religious leaders and local administrators, and printed materials documenting programs and organizations in which the Laymen’s Academy for Oecumenical Studies (L.A.O.S.) participated or initiated, especially Faith and Life Meetings. Also contains questionnaires, announcements, bulletins, and photographs.
- Christian union--Massachusetts--History
- Interdenominational cooperation--Massachusetts--History
- King, David S., 1927-
- Laymen's Academy for Oecumenical Studies (Amherst, Mass.)
Types of material
New England Yearly Meeting of Friends Records, 1654-2016.
(384.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 902
In 1661, less than a decade after the first Friends arrived in British North America, the precursor to the New England Yearly Meeting was organized as the Rhode Island Yearly Meeting. As one of approximately two dozen yearly meetings in the United States, the NEYM currently comprises eight quarterly meetings and approximately 85 monthlies, which are the basic unit of organization for the Society. Like many Yearly meetings, the NEYM has been diverse in spiritual practice, reflected in a history of separations and reunions. Most famously, Orthodox Friends in New England divided in the 1840s into the increasingly evangelically-oriented Gurneyites, who went by the name Yearly Meeting of Friends for New England (joining Friends United Meeting in 1902), and the Wilburites, sometimes called Conservative Friends. In 1945, the disparate branches formally reunited.
Consolidated beginning in the 1960s, the NEYM collection contains the official records of the New England Yearly Meeting from its founding in the seventeenth century to the present, along with records of most of its constituent Quarterly, Monthly, and Preparative Meetings and records of Quaker schools and trusts. As varied as the Quaker practice they document, these records include minutes of meetings for business; committee records; newsletters, financial records; some personal papers; printed books and serials; and an assortment of photographs, audiovisual materials, microfilm, and electronic records. Of particular note are the vital statistics recorded by the Monthly Meetings, including general information on births, deaths, marriages, membership, and obituaries, and specifically-Quaker information on removals (formal letters written as members moved from one meeting to another), denials, testimonies (beliefs and convictions), and sufferings (penalties Quakers suffered for following testimonies). The Archives Committee of the NEYM is a partner in records management and on-going documentation of the Meeting and its constituent bodies. The collection also includes several thousand Quaker books and pamphlets, including the libraries of Moses and Obadiah Brown and several individual monthly meetings. The records of most monthly meetings in Maine are held at the Maine Historical Society, while important bodies of records are held at the Newport Historical Society (some Nantucket and Rhode Island Meetings) or at individual Monthly Meetings.
- Quakers--New England
- Society of Friends--New England--History
Digital (+)Finding aid
New England Yearly Meeting Quaker History Collection, 1783-1950.
1 box (0.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 926
During the early twentieth century, the library at the Moses Brown School (formerly the Friends Boarding School) became an informal repository for Quaker manuscripts reflecting the history and work of the Society of Friends. Most of these materials were later transferred for custody to the school’s governing body, the New England Yearly Meeting of Friends.
This miscellaneous assortment of letters was apparently set aside by the staff at the Moses Brown School due to their historical content and preserved in the “vault.” Many of the letters appear to have been retained as good examples of Quaker expression of family and friendly bonds or as documentation about significant periods in Quaker history, particularly the Gurneyite-Wilburite controversy of the 1840s, and several touch on Quaker involvement in the antislavery and peace movements. Of special note are four interesting letters from the Quaker minister and social reformer, Elizabeth Comstock, written during and just after the Civil War; a series of nine lengthy letters from a visiting English minister Isaac Stephenson, traveling through New England meetings; a substantial series of letters from prominent Friend Samuel Boyd Tobey; and three letters from Harriet Beecher Stowe to Sarah F. Tobey regarding attempts to connect Stowe with Alexander T. Stewart in hopes of raising funds for her plans for the education of women.
- Antislavery movements--United States
- Gurney, James Joseph
- Society of Friends--History
- Wilbur, John,
- Comstock, Elizabeth L.
- Stewart, Alexander Turney, 1803-1876
- Stowe, Harriet Beecher, 1811-1896
- Tobey, Samuel Boyd, 1805-1867
Abode of the Message Collection, 1975-2012.
1 box (1.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 780
Founded in 1975 by Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan, The Abode of the Message is the headquarters for members of the Sufi Order International. Sitting on 430 acres, formerly the site of a Shaker Village in New Lebanon, New York, the Abode was settled by 75 adults and 20 children coming from all over the United States. The Sufi Order initiates spent the first several months preparing for the arrival of winter, a task that required much effort since buildings were in need of repair, there was no central heating system or updated electrical wiring, and few bathrooms. Within a year, the community prospered with the establishment of woodworking, stained glass, and sewing shops, a bakery, and a small school. Today, the community is smaller in number, but their mission remains the same: to collectively embody spiritual awakening.
The collection consists chiefly of publications produced by the Abode, including two newsletters Connections and The Messenger dating from the 1970s to the present. Also represented are other Sufi Order publications, such as Heart & Wing and Mureed’s Newsletter.
Traprock Peace Center Records, 1979-2008.
ca.50 boxes (75 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 080
The Traprock Peace Center is a grassroots organization based in Deerfield, Massachusetts, that trains and educates people locally and globally in matters relating to disarmament and nonviolence. In 1980, the Center organized the first successful attempt in the United States to get a nuclear weapons moratorium referendum on the ballot, and the Center has served as a focal point for organizing on a wide array of issues in peace and social and environmental justice.
The records of Traprock Peace Center include correspondence, campaign materials (resolutions, organizing committee records, legislative packets), program reports, newsletters, newsclippings, and posters relating to the nuclear freeze campaign and many subsequent initiatives. Recent additions to the collection document the group’s work to end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; these later additions are open for research, but are not processed.
- Antinuclear movement--Massachusetts
- Deerfield (Mass.)--Social conditions--Sources
- Nuclear disarmament--History--Sources
- Political activists--Massachusetts
: unprocessed materials in this collection have been temporarily moved offsite; these boxes are closed to research. Contact SCUA for more information.
Abel Turner, The Life and Travels of Abel Turner, 1839.
451p. (0.2 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 708 bd
As a young man in Foxcroft, Maine, Abel Turner was caught up in the evangelical revivals and converted to Free Will Baptism, becoming a minister by the age of 21. Beginning in the backwoods settlements, Turner spent the better part of a decade attempting to “convert sinners” in Piscataquis and Penobscot Counties and the in the Burned-Over District of New York state, from Utica to Penn Yan and Cattaraugus County.
Written for his wife, Abel Turner’s long and detailed autobiography is a remarkable record of a young Free Will Baptist minister’s labors during the Second Great Awakening. Beginning with his childhood in Maine and his conversion experience, the manuscript provides insight into Turner’s experiences preaching in the rough-hewn interior settlements of Maine and the Burned-Over District of New York from roughly 1821 through 1839. In addition to some wonderful commentary on evangelical religion in the heart of the Awakening and on Turner’s own spiritual development, the memoir includes fascinating descriptions of the towns and people he met along the way.
- Free Will Baptists (1727-1935)--Clergy
- Maine--History--19th century
- New York (State)--History--19th century
- Second Great Awakening--Maine--History
- Second Great Awakening--New York (State)--History
Types of material
Deerfield Valley Lodge No. 150 Records, 1895-1920.
1 box (0.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 453
The Ancient Order of United Workmen, a fraternal benefit society, was originally founded in Pennsylvania in 1868. The Massachusetts lodge was founded in 1879 with the Deerfield Valley Lodge incorporated in 1880.
The collection consists of records dating from 1895–1920, including financial documents, membership information, and correspondence.
- Fraternal Aid Association
- Fraternal organizations--Massachusetts
- Shelburne Falls (Mass.)--History
- Ancient Order of United Workmen. Deerfield Valley Lodge No. 150
Types of material
- Letters (Correspondence)
- Receipts (Financial records)