Famous Long Ago Collection, ca.1960-2005.
Ray Mungo’s Famous Long Ago (1970) and Steve Diamond’s What the Trees Said (1971) are classic visions of late 1960s counterculture and of life in New England communes. The communes on which Mungo and Diamond settled, Packer Corner and the Montague Farm, became the center of what might be considered a single extended community, embracing the Wendell Farm and Johnson Pasture and Tree Frog Farm in Vermont. The Farmers themselves were, and remain, a diverse group, including photographers, novelists, and poets, artists, actors, and activists.
An umbrella collection, the Famous Long Ago Archive contains a growing number of collections relating to the communes at Montague Farm, Packer Corners, Johnson Pasture, Wendell Farm, and Tree Frog Farm. These range from the papers of Steve Diamond, Raymond Mungo, and Jonathan Maslow to Randy Kehler and Betsy Corner (the latter of whom lived at Montague Farm), the records of the Liberation News Service, the Alternative Energy Coalition, and Musicians United for Safe Energy, to the photographic collections of Roy Finestone and Stephen Josephs. View all the Famous Long Ago Collections.
- Antinuclear movement--Massachusetts
- Communal living--Massachusetts
- Communal living--Vermont
- Johnson Pasture Community (Vt.)
- Montague Farm Community (Mass.)
- Packer Corners Community (Vt.)
- Political activists--Massachusetts
Fifth Massachusetts Turnpike Company Records, 1799.
1 vol. (0.15 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 088
Authorized in March 1799, the Fifth Massachusetts Turnpike Company constructed a toll road through miles of rough terrain and sparse settlements, connecting Leominster, Athol, Greenfield, and Northfield. Having opened areas to land travel that had previously been accessible only over rivers, the Fifth Massachusetts Turnpike ceased operations in 1833 after years of declining revenues.
The collection consists primarily of one volume of records of the directors of the Fifth Massachusetts Turnpike, including minutes of meetings, accounts of tolls collected, and drafts of letters.
- Toll roads--Massachusetts
- Fifth Massachusetts Turnpike Company
Fitchburg Railroad Company Account Book, 1884-1887.
1 vol. (0.15 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 181 bd
Incorporated in 1842 and running from Boston to Fitchburg, the Fitchburg Railroad Company built a railroad line across northern Massachusetts leading to and through the Hoosac Tunnel, and later into Vermont and New York. The railroad was leased to Boston and Maine in 1900, and the two companies merged in 1919.
- Railroad companies--United States--History--19th century
- Fitchburg Railroad Company
Florence Manufacturing Company Histories, 1916, 1974.
1 folder (0.15 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 380
Photocopies of two typescript company histories for the Florence Manufacturing Company: “50 Years of Brush Making (1866-1916)” and “50 More Years of Brush Making, 1916-1974.”
- Broom and brush industry--Massachusetts--History
- Florence Manufacturing Company
Merrick Gay Account Books, 1844-1849.
1 box (0.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 242
Owner of a general store and a woolen factory, postmaster, town clerk, and state senator from Gaysville in Stockbridge, Vermont. Daybooks document accounts and transactions with individuals, businesses, Town of Stockbridge, and Narrows School District, method and form of payment (cash and goods), and Gay’s purchases, including labor costs for hauling his freight.
- Barter--Vermont--Gaysville--History--19th century
- Blanchard, Solomon, b. ca. 1816
- Books--Prices--Vermont--History--19th century
- Claremont Manufacturing Company--History
- Freight and freightage--Rates--Vermont--History--19th century
- Gaysville (Vt.)--Economic conditions--19th century
- Gaysville (Vt.)--Rural conditions--19th century
- Gaysville Forge Company--History
- Gaysville Manufacturing Company--History
- General stores--Vermont--Gaysville
- Narrows School District--History
- Stockbridge (Vt.)--Economic conditions--19th century
- Waller, Israel
Types of material
George Cooley & Co. Ledger, 1843-1851.
1 vol. (0.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 111
Ledger, begun by George Cooley in 1843 to record the accounts of his soapmaking business in the Cabotville section of Chicopee, continued by Titus Chapin, an ardent abolitionist, and Mordecai Cough who managed the business following Cooley’s death (or departure) in 1848. The 1843 date coincides with the coming of many small businesses to Cabotville in connection with the growth of industries there at the time.
Cooley accepted goods, services and cash as payment. The most frequently accepted goods had relatively obvious value to a soap maker: grease and ashes, tallow, pork, scraps and skins, and candles. Some of the services bartered were repairing wagon, shoeing horse, fixing wippletree, making 30 boxes, and covering umbrella. The business sold gallons, bars, and cakes of soap. Mount Holyoke Seminary bought 28 “fancy soaps”. Also listed were shaving soap and hard or hand soap. In addition, sales sometimes included candles, butter, mop handles, molasses, apples and potatoes, squashes, satinet, cheese, cord wood, paint, and rosin. Some of the listings were annotated with regard to the customer’s character: Ashad Bartlett was seen as “bad and poor and fights with his wife”‘ Norris Starkwether was “an honest man”; and Miss L.B. Hunt “eloped with a man”.
- Chicopee (Mass.)--History
- Soap trade--Massachusetts
- George Cooley and Company
George H. Gilbert Co. Records, 1842-1931.
26 boxes, 126 vols. (36 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 096
In 1841, George H. Gilbert and Charles A. Stevens formed a partnership to manufacture broadcloth and cloaking in Ware, Massachusetts. Ten years later, the partnership dissolved and each partner carried a part of the business into separate establishments. The newly formed George H. Gilbert Company continued making high-grade woolen flannels, for which it developed a national reputation, until 1930.
Records, consisting of correspondence, financial records and cash books, construction contracts, sales lists, production records, and sample books, document the operation of Gilbert and Stevens and later the Gilbert Company for almost a century. The labor accounts (1851-1930), document the phases of the varying ethnic composition of the workforce — Irish, French-Canadian, and eventually Polish — well as the family orientation of the mills.
- Textile industry--Massachusetts
- Ware (Mass.)--History
Types of material
Chauncey S. Gillett Daybook, 1841-1845.
1 vol. (0.2 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 417 bd
Although poorly known, Chauncey S. Gillett (1815-1846) appears to have carried on a relatively small custom at a general store in Southwick, Massachusetts, during the early 1840s. The son of Almon and Cinthia Gillett, Gillett traded in the typical range of groceries, dry goods, and other commodities, including buttons, cloth, paper, tobacco and tea, molasses, and candles, but also in liquors of various sorts (rum, gin, and brandy cider). Gillett died at the age of 30 on January 4, 1846, and is buried in Southwick.
Kept by the young Chauncey Gillett, this daybook records a chronological series of transactions at a general stores in Southwick, Mass., between 1841 and 1845. Among Gillett’s customers were several relatives, including Almon, Rhodolphus, and Levi Gillett, all of whom are also buried in the Southwick cemetery.
- General stores--Massachusetts--Southwick
- Southwick (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
Types of material
Granville Brothers Aircraft Company Collection, 1978-1980.
Call no.: MS 911
Between 1929 and 1934, the Granville Brothers Aircraft Company manufactured their distinctive Gee Bee aircraft at the airport in Springfield, Mass., using a hangar converted from a former dance hall as their plant. Originally from New Hampshire, the five brothers drew upon their self-taught mechanical ingenuity in the years after the First World War to transform an automobile and aircraft repair business into aircraft design and production. The brothers flew their first craft in Boston in May 1929, a biplane they advertised as “the fastest and most maneuverable licensed airplane for its horsepower in the United States,” moving operations to Springfield later that year. Although only about two dozen Gee Bees were ever manufactured, the planes gained a wide reputation for their innovative aerodynamic designs, raw power, and extraordinary success on the air racing circuit. Gee Bees claimed speed records and numerous prizes, including the coveted Thompson Trophy in 1931 and 1932 won by pilots Lowell Bayles and Jimmy Doolitte, but the death of the eldest brother in a flying accident and the impact of the Great Depression caused the company to shutter in 1934.
Aviation historian Tom Nallen conducted a series of interviews with former employees of the Granville Airplane Co. beginning in the late 1970s, recording memories of the company and its workers, the Gee Bee planes, and their performance during the golden age of air racing.
- Airplanes--Design and construction
- Gee-Bee (Racing plane)
- Granville, Robert
- Nallen, Thomas E.
- Roberts, Paul
Types of material
- Oral histories
- Sound recordings
Great Barrington and Alford Turnpike Corporation Records, 1833-1846.
In June 1811, the Great Barrington and Alford Turnpike Corporation was incorporated with the aim of constructing a road at the northern end of the Fifteenth Massachusetts Turnpike, stretching from Great Barrington, Mass., through Alford and North Egremont before crossing the state line and ending in Hudson, New York. Under the direction of Josiah Milland and Jacob and John Van Deusen (who lived near the road), the corporation was apparently not exceptionally profitable. A leg of the turnpike through Great Barrington was made free in 1831, and in 1846, having failed in their petition to receive compensation for loss of privileges, the corporation transferred the road into public management.
Although only a slender 21 pages in length, this record book is nearly the only documentation of the finances for a small, but typical turnpike company in antebellum Massachusetts. The book includes somewhat sparse records of receipts from the toll booths and expenditures for maintenance, extending from 1833 until the corporation was dissolved in 1846. At the end of the book are wo pages of personal expenses associated with a trip to Ohio.
- Great Barrington (Mass.)--History
- Toll roads--Massachusetts
- Milland, Josiah
- Van Deusen, Jacob H.
- Van Deusen, John