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Boarding House Register, 1850

1 vol. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 098

Twenty-four page register kept by unnamed person, possibly from a Quabbin town, listing boarders by name, payment received, and employee accounts. Payments noted in detail from February to October, 1850. Boarders included several doctors and L.S. Hills, possibly Leonard S. Hills of the Amherst, Massachusetts hat factory. Employee accounts list many women with Irish surnames, including Ellen O’Leary, Ellen Callahan, and Margaret Murphy.


  • Boardinghouses--Massachusetts--19th century
  • Irish American women--History--19th century

Types of material

  • Account books

Brookfield (Mass.) Records, 1736-1795

1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 595

Settled in 1660 and incorporated in 1718, the town of Brookfield (Worcester County) straddles the Boston Post Road, one of the major arteries during the colonial period connecting Boston with the towns of the Connecticut River Valley and New York.

This assemblage of documents from the town of Brookfield consists primarily of warrants for town meetings, many with agendas, issued through the local constable. Concentrated in the 1770s, these warrants provide relatively detailed information on matters of local importance, including town finances, tax assessments, contributions to the poor house, roadways, and property disputes. During the Revolutionary and post-Revolutionary years, however, issues of interest to the town were often wrapped up in regional or national political issues. Town freeholders, for example, were called to consider requests to “come into any Vote or Resolve Respecting the East India Company Tea,” the encouragement of manufacture of firearms, smallpox inoculation, and pay for the town’s Minute Men.


  • Brookfield (Mass.)--History--18th century
  • Smallpox
  • United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783


  • Forster, Jedediah

Types of material

  • Warrants

Burt V. Brooks Photograph Collection, 1889-1934

3 boxes (1.5 linear feet)
Call no.: PH 060

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.


  • 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

Robert E. Brown Southbridge (Mass.) Collection, 1973-1977

1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 029

During the mid-1970s, Robert Brown worked as a fifth grade teacher at the West Street School, Southbridge, Mass., while pursuing a graduate degree in anthropology at UMass Amherst under Joel Halpern. Part of Brown’s research involved conducting oral histories with Southbridge families identified as “ethnic,” including Albanian, Greek, Polish, Portuguese, Italian, and Puerto Rican, as well as the only African American family in town at the time. Brown published his work in local newspapers and ultimately in the book, The New New Englanders (Worcester, Mass.: Commonwealth Press, 1980).

The Brown collection includes copies of his newspaper articles, profiles of the families he studied, and apparently complete transcripts of two oral history interviews. Also included are copies of two papers by Brown on Southbridge, possibly for an anthropology class, analyzing the education of Puerto Rican students and the lives of Rumanian Americans.


  • African Americans--Massachusetts--Southbridge
  • Greek Americans--Massachusetts--Southbridge
  • Immigrants--Massachusetts
  • Italian Americans--Massachusetts--Southbridge
  • Rumanian Americans--Massachusetts--Southbridge
  • Southbridge (Mass.)--History


  • Brown, Robert E

Types of material

  • Oral histories

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.


  • Chickering family

Dana (Mass.) Collection, 1801-1938

21 vols. (1.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 012

Situated in the northeastern reaches of the Swift River Valley in western Massachusetts, Dana was one of four towns inundated in the 1930s to create the Quabbin Reservoir. Rural and relatively sparsely populated, Dana’s economy centered on agriculture, leavened with manufacturing wood products and soapstone quarrying.

The Dana Collections include a comprehensive records of town meetings from incorporation through disincorporation (1801-1938), plus rich records for the Congregational Church and its affiliate organizations, the Ladies Aid Society, the Orthodox Congregational Society, and the Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavor. Most of the materials listed in this finding aid are held at the Swift River Valley Historical Society in New Salem, Mass., and were part of a cooperative digitization project centered on the records of the Quabbin towns.


  • Congregational churches--Massachusetts--Dana--History
  • Dana (Mass.)--History
  • Dana (Mass.)--Politics and government
  • Dana (Mass.)--Religious life and customs
  • Dana (Mass.)--Social life and customs
  • Poor-Massachusetts--Dana
  • Quabbin Reservoir Region (Mass.)--History
  • Quabbin Reservoir Region (Mass.)--Social life and customs
  • Women--Massachusetts--Dana
  • Women--Societies and clubs


  • Dana (Mass. : Town)
  • Dana (Mass. : Town). Overseers of the Poor
  • First Universalist Church (North Dana, Mass.)
  • Ladies' Aid Society (Dana, Mass.)
  • Orthodox Congregational Church (Dana, Mass.)
  • Young Peoples Society of Christian Endeavor

Types of material

  • Church records

Luke Drury Papers, 1746-1831

4 boxes (3 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 258

Soldier in Revolutionary War and Shays Rebellion, later a state legislator and local politician from Grafton and Marlboro, Massachusetts. Drury’s papers contain family and business (farm and mill) correspondence, notes of hand, bills, receipts, and legal papers as well as records pertaining to the town of Grafton. Collection also includes papers of Timothy Darling and the Goulding, Place, and Sherman families.


  • Grafton (Mass.)--History
  • Massachusetts--History
  • Shays' Rebellion, 1786-1787


  • Darling, Timothy
  • Drury, Luke, 1737-1811
  • Goulding, Israel
  • Sherman, Thankful Temple

Types of material

  • Deeds

Audrey R. Duckert Quabbin Valley Oral History Collection, 1966-1980

53 items
Call no.: MS 756

The linguist Audrey R. Duckert was a pioneer in the study of American regional English. Born in Cottage Grove, Wisconsin, Duckert studied dialect at the University of Wisconsin, and after completing her doctorate at Radcliffe College in 1959, she joined the faculty at UMass Amherst. During her forty year career at UMass, Duckert became a founding member of the Dictionary of American Regional English (1965) and she was the first UMass woman admitted to Phi Beta Kappa. In addition to her linguistic work, she developed an avid interest in local history and was involved with several local historical societies, including the Swift River Valley Historical Society in New Salem.

The Duckert oral history collection consists of a series of 53 audiocassette recordings containing interviews with persons displaced when the Swift River Valley was flooded to create the Quabbin Reservoir in 1939. The histories include rich recollections of life in the towns of Greenwich, Enfield, Dana, and Prescott, with village life, education, family, and the changes that accompanied the inundation of the region. The original audiocassettes are in the possession of the Swift River Valley Historical Society.


  • Dana (Mass.)--History
  • Enfield (Mass.)--History
  • Greenwich (Mass.)--History
  • Prescott (Mass.)--History
  • Quabbin Reservoir (Mass.)
  • Swift River Valley (Mass.)--History


  • Duckert, Audrey R.

Types of material

  • Oral histories

Benjamin W. Dunham Papers, ca.1897-1907

1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 573

Situated on a hill overlooking Quabbin Lake, the Quabbin Inn was a well known resort near Greenwich, Mass. During its peak years during the turn of the twentieth century, the Inn was owned by Otis Dunham, but it figured prominently in the lives of the entire Dunham family.

The Dunham papers contain family correspondence addressed to Benjamin W. Dunham during his service as a machinist with the U.S. Navy. In addition to discussions of the business of the Quabbin Inn, the collection includes news and gossip from the town of Greenwich, the attempted suicide and subsequent hospitalization of Benjamin’s brother Asa, and the migration west of another brother, Herbert.


  • Greenwich (Mass.)--Social life and customs
  • Quabbin Inn (Greenwich, Mass.)
  • Quabbin Reservoir Region (Mass.)--History


  • Dunham, Benjamin W

Marcus A. Emmons Papers, 1858-1864

1 folder (0.1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 034

A 21 year-old farmer from Hardwick, Mass., Marcus A. Emmons enlisted in the 21st Massachusetts Infantry in August 1861, and saw active service in North Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Having survived many of the great battles of the eastern theatre, Emmons was killed in action at Bethesda Church on June 2, 1864.

The letters and journals that comprise this collection document Emmons’ tragically brief experience in the Civil War. Both letters date from April 1864, while the 21st Massachusetts was stationed in Annapolis, Md., prior to the campaigns of that summer. One journal includes some miscellaneous pre-war accounts, a complete list of the Civil War volunteers from Hardwick and their regiments (some with notation of fate in service); a list of conscripts added to Co. K, 21st Mass., in 1863; a list of Civil War battles; military accounts; recruits added to the regiment in 1862, listing place of residence; and a roster of Co. K, 21st Mass. Infantry, with place of residence and fate in the service. The other journal begins as a spelling exercise book and includes diary entries for Mar.-Sept., 1862, discussing farm work.


  • Farmers--Massachusetts--Hardwick
  • Hardwick (Mass.)--History
  • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
  • United States. Army. Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, 21st (1861-1864)


  • Emmons, Marcus A.

Types of material

  • Account books
  • Diaries

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