Results for: “African Americans--New York (State)--Biography” (529 collections)SCUA

Van Meter, Ralph Albert, 1893-

Ralph Van Meter Papers, 1919-1958.

2 boxes (1 linear feet).
Call no.: RG 003/1 V36
Ralph Van Meter
Ralph Van Meter

Ralph Van Meter, the first president of the University of Massachusetts after it changed its name from Massachusetts State College in 1947, spent nearly 40 years learning, teaching, and leading on the Amherst campus. A graduate of Ohio State University (B.S., 1917), he came to the Massachusetts Agricultural College as a specialist in Food Conservation in 1917, serving in the Pomology Department first as a professor, and then as the head from 1936 to 1948. The Board of Trustees appointed Van Meter as Acting President in 1947 and President in 1948. He was responsible for a number of innovations, including the creation of the position of Provost (first held by John Paul Mather) and the establishment of new schools of business administration and engineering.

Correspondence, memos, reports, clippings, and other papers, relating to matters at issue during Van Meter’s presidency of University of Massachusetts including the building program, World War II veterans, accreditation, and the university seal; together with published writings, biographical material, military records, and material from Van Meter’s inauguration as university president.


  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. President


  • Van Meter, Ralph Albert, 1893-

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Enfield (Quabbin) dancers
How they danced in Enfield, a Quabbin town

Special Collections and University Archives is open at no cost to researchers, regardless of affiliation, during normal business hours. SCUA staff are happy to assist in planning or conducting research and welcome inquiries from students interested in internships in archival and library studies.

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Classes are welcome to visit SCUA to make use of our collections and to learn about archival and historical research. Our staff are available to provide introductions to archival research, overviews of specific areas of historical interest, information about the collections, and discussions of the history of UMass Amherst. In recent years, the staff have hosted classes from history and American culture, African American studies, English and comparative literature, art history, education, anthropology, politics, business, and library and information science, among other disciplines.

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Volbach, Walther R. (Walther Richard), 1897-

Walther R. Volbach Papers, 1897-1996.

2 boxes (1 linear feet).
Call no.: FS 087
Walther R. Volbach
Walther R. Volbach

Born in Mainz, Germany on December 24, 1897, the theater historian and stage director Walther R. Volbach began directing operas and plays at the age of 17. After his immigration to the United States in 1936, he worked for several colleges, coming to the University of Massachusetts Amherst for five years as a visiting professor following his retirement in 1965. Noted as a director of operas and plays and for his set design, Volbach was author of three books: The Problems of Opera Production (1953), Adolphe Appia : The Prophet of The Modern Theatre (1968), and Memoirs of Max Reinhardt’s Theaters (1972).

The Volbach collection includes personal and professional correspondence in English and German, mostly from Volbach’s later years, regarding family, publishing, lectures, and employment. The collection also includes photographs of set designs, an image of Volbach teaching a class, publications, and lecture and research notes on theater history.


  • Appia, Adolphe, 1862-1928
  • Drama--Study and teaching
  • Set designers
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Theater


  • Volbach, Walther R. (Walther Richard), 1897-

Ward, Dana F.

Dana F. Ward Diaries, 1897-1982 (Bulk: 1904-1951).

(2 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 577

Born in Chelsea, Mass., in 1874, and a long-time resident of Somerville, Dana F. Ward enjoyed a prominent career in the fisheries industry in Massachusetts. Entering the wholesale fish business in 1900 when he organized the firm of Whitman, Ward, and Lee, Ward became Director and Advertising Manager of the Boston Fish Market Corporation (builder and operator of the Fish Pier) and an investor. Before the U.S. entry into the First World War, Ward was employed by the state to lecture on the benefits of frozen fish as a food source. An active member in both the Congregational Church and local Masonic lodge, he married Katherine B. Symonds (d. 1948) in Leominster in October 1899.

Personal in nature, the Ward diaries provide a chronicle of the daily life of a relatively well to do fish wholesaler from 1897 through 1951, with some gaps. Generally small in size, the diaries are densely written and are laid in with letters, various sorts of documents, stamps, newsclippings, and other ephemera that help define the contours of Ward’s life. The collection is particularly rich for the years during the Second World War and it includes three diaries (1967, 1977, 1982) from later family members.


  • Fisheries--Massachusetts
  • Somerville (Mass.)--History


  • Ward, Dana F

Types of material

  • Diaries

Watchmaker (Springfield, Mass.)

Watchmaker's Account Book, 1882-1883.

1 vol. (0.1 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 623 bd

The mid-century success of the Waltham Watch Company set the stage for a period of innovation and corporate ferment in the manufacture and distribution of watches in the United States. As watchmakers and technologies spread and new companies sprouted and split at a rapid pace, Springfield emerged as a center for the production of high quality, mass produced watches. Perhaps best known among the large local corporations, the Hampden Watch Company was established in 1877 from the New York Watch Company and was bought out in turn by the Dueber Watch Company and relocated a decade later.

The unidentified owner of this slender account book maintained itemized records of income and expenses for a relatively small watchmaking concern in Springfield between May 1882 and September 1883. Most of the trade consisted of sales of accoutrements and repair work.


  • Springfield (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Watchmakers--Massachusetts--Springfield

Types of material

  • Account books

Wells, William, 1767-1848

William Wells Papers, 1796-1863.

1 box (0.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 347

A prominent figure in the rural town of Shelburne, Mass., during the early nineteenth century, William Wells served for many years as a town selectman, representative in the state legislature, and captain of the militia. He died in Shelburne in July 1848, leaving behind his wife Prudence (May) and their nine children.

This tightly focused body of documents from William Wells represents a cross-section of public life in the town of Shelburne during the early decades of the nineteenth century, touching on the town’s finances, care for the church, school, highways, roads, and the local militia.


  • Shelburne (Mass.)--History


  • Wells, William

Western Massachusetts Bridge Association

Western Massachusetts Bridge Association Records, 1957-2007.

12 boxes (16 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 801

Established in 1957, the Western Massachusetts Bridge Association (WMBA) Unit 196 was created by founding members of the Springfield Bridge Club eager to share their love for the game with the wider western Massachusetts area. The unit played a prominent role in teaching interested individuals to learn to play contract bridge by reaching out to colleges, clubs, and churches. Over the years, WMBA has remained an active unit in the New England Bridge Conference District 25, one of the largest districts of the American Contract Bridge Association.

Records of the WMBA and District 25 document the growth of contract bridge in New England. From the earliest days of the unit, members drafted by-laws, oversaw membership services, organized tournaments, and tracked finances. Materials in the collection shed light on every aspect of these activities.


  • Contract bridge

Western Massachusetts Library Club

Western Massachusetts Library Club Records, 1898-2006.

7 boxes (3.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 492
Deerfield Public Library
Deerfield Public Library

Situated in a region known for its progressive spirit, the Western Massachusetts Library Club was established in 1898 to respond to the unique needs of librarians overseeing small or rural libraries, and to foster camaraderie among local colleagues. Almost immediately, however, the club expanded its focus, taking positions on issues ranging from modern library practices to national legislation and leading the way in the expansion of services for public libraries, all while maintaining its identity as an advocate for local libraries and librarians.

The collection is richest in records that document the early history of the club including detailed meeting minutes, news clippings, programs, and circulars. Beginning in the late 1960s, the club’s activities are captured primarily through membership lists and meeting notices and programs. Taken together, the records trace the growth of the WMLC for more than a century from its establishment to the present.


  • Cutter, Charles A. (Charles Ammi), 1937-1903
  • Libraries--Massachusetts--History


  • Western Massachusetts Library Club

Whitaker, Elizabeth W.

Association for Gravestone Studies Collection

Elizabeth W. Whitaker Collection, 1802-1989.

1 box (0.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 682
Gravestone, No. Guilford, Conn.
Gravestone, No. Guilford, Conn.

A physical education teacher from Rome, New York, Elizabeth W. Whitaker became an avid recorder of gravestone inscriptions in the 1940s. She died in 1992 at the age of 93.

The core of the Whitaker collection consists of 25 receipts and accounts relating to the early marble industry in western Massachusetts. The key figures in this series are Rufus Willson and his father-in-law, John Burghardt, who quarried stone near West Stockbridge, Mass., conveying it to Hudson, N.Y. The collection also includes a selection of photographs and postcards of gravestones, mostly in New England and New York; two folders of typed transcriptions and newspaper clippings of epitaphs from the same region, ranging in date from the early colonial period to the mid-19th century; and a price list of Barre granite from Wetmore and Morse Granite Co., 1934.


  • Marble industry and trade--Massachusetts
  • Sepulchral monuments--Massachusetts


  • Association for Gravestone Studies
  • Burghardt, John
  • Whitaker, Elizabeth W
  • Willson, Rufus

Types of material

  • Photographs
  • Receipts (Financial records)

Whitmore, Martha R.

Martha R. Whitmore Diaries, 1937-1962.

6 vols. (0.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 807
Philip F. Whitmore and grandchildren, July 1962
Philip F. Whitmore and grandchildren, July 1962

Shortly after graduating from college in 1920, Martha Richardson married Philip F. Whitmore, a market gardener from Sunderland, Mass., and 1915 graduate of Massachusetts Agricultural College. As a housewife and mother of three, Martha supported Philip, who became a Trustee of his alma mater and a representative in the State House (1950-1962). Philip Whitmore died in 1962, with Martha following nineteenth years later.

This small collection includes six scattered diaries of Martha Whitmore, kept somewhat irregularly during the years 1937, 1947, 1950, 1953, 1957, and 1962. Largely personal in nature, they are centered on home and family life, husband and children, and Martha’s love of nature, but they include occasional references to Philip Whitmore’s political activities and the University of Massachusetts.


  • Sunderland (Mass.)--History
  • University of Massachusetts at Amherst--Trustees
  • Whitmore, Philip F.

Types of material

  • Diaries
  • Photographs
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