Special Collections and University Archives
UMass Amherst Libraries

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Valley Peace Center Records, 1965-1973

28 boxes (13.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 301

In the summer of 1967, members of University of Massachusetts Amherst campus groups, such as the Faculty Group on War and Peace and the Students for Political Action, joined with individuals from other area colleges and from the community at large to form the Valley Peace Center of Amherst for the purposes of opposing the Vietnam War, providing draft counseling, eliciting pledges from the government to avoid first use of nuclear and biological weapons, and reduction of the power of the “military-industrial complex”. The Center was active for more than five and a half years, drawing its financial support largely from the community and its human resources from student and community volunteers.

Correspondence, minutes, volunteer and membership lists, financial records, newsletters, questionnaires, notes, petitions, clippings, posters, circulars, pamphlets, periodicals, other printed matter, and memorabilia. Includes material relating to alternative service, boycotts, war tax resistance, prison reform, environmental quality, and political candidates.

  • Amherst (Mass.)--Social conditions--20th century
  • Draft--United States--History
  • Pacifists--Massachusetts
  • Peace movements--Massachusetts--Amherst
  • Social movements--Massachusetts--Amherst
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements--Massachusetts--Amherst
  • Westover Air Force Base (Mass.)--History--20th century
  • Valley Peace Center (Amherst, Mass.)
Types of material
  • Ephemera
  • Pamphlets

William Gould Vinal Papers, 1931-1963

3 boxes (1.25 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 138
William Gould Vinal Papers image
Cap'n Bill Vinal

William “Cap’n Bill” Vinal was the first instructor in nature education at Massachusetts State College and a pioneer in the field. A graduate of Bridgewater State (1904), Harvard (MA 1907) and Brown (PhD, 1922), Vinal worked for several years as a camp director on his native Cape Cod and held a variety of university appointments in nature education before joining the faculty at Massachusetts State College as Professor of Nature Education in the Nature Guide School in 1937. Spontaneous in the classroom and field, enthusiastic, and highly popular with his students, Vinal taught courses in conservation, outdoor leadership, outdoor recreation, and nature guiding, and was an important figure in the Massachusetts Audubon Society, the American Camping Association, the Camp Directors Association, and several conservation groups. After retiring from UMass in 1951, Vinal returned to his home in Norwell, Mass., remaining active as a nature writer and teacher until his death in 1973.

A valuable glimpse into the early growth of nature and conservation education, the Vinal collection includes dozens of scarce publications by the exceptionally prolific Cap’n Bill, along with a small quantity of correspondence, talks, and reports. As a collection, these document the origin and growth of the Nature Guide School and the program in nature recreation at MSC and UMass, and more generally the growth of nature, recreation, and conservation education in New England. Of local interest is an extensive report for the town of Amherst Recreation Survey Committee (1948) regarding recreational opportunities for youth. Nearly half of the collection consists of an extensive run of Vinal’s quirky, self-published Nature Guide Newsletter (1935-1951).

  • Amherst (Mass.)--Social life and customs
  • Conservation of natural resources--Study and teaching
  • Nature Guide Newsletter
  • Outdoor education--Massachusetts
  • Recreation--Massachusetts--Amherst
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Nature Guide School
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Program in Nature Recreation
  • Vinal, William Gould, 1881-

Marshall P. Wilder Collection, 1848-1929

3 boxes (1.5 linear feet)
Call no.: RG 002/3 W55
Marshall P. Wilder Collection image
Marshall P. Wilder

A merchant and amateur horticulturalist from Dorchester, Mass., Marshall P. Wilder (1798-1886) was a key figure in American pomology during the mid-nineteenth century and a major supporter of agricultural education. A supreme organizer and institution builder, he was a founder and president of the American Pomological Society and United States Agricultural Society, and president of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society and New England Historic Genealogical Society. His 1849 address before the Norfolk Agricultural Society is often credited as an important catalyst for the creation of the Massachusetts Agricultural College, and he served as trustee of the College from its opening in 1867 until his death in 1886.

The Wilder Collection consists primarily of printed works written or collected by Marshall P. Wilder, including materials pertaining to early meetings of the American Pomological Society and the United States Agricultural Society, his 1849 address to the Norfolk Agricultural Society, and his address to the first graduating class at MAC. Among the handful of manuscripts are a draft proposal to hold a national meeting of fruit growers (the inaugural meeting of the American Pomological Society), two letters regarding his donation of a large number of books to the MAC library, and a bound set of 22 beautiful watercolors of pear varieties painted by Louis B. Berckmans.

  • Agricultural exhibitions
  • American Pomological Society
  • Horticulture--Massachusetts
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College. Trustees
  • New-England Historic Genealogical Society
  • Pomology--Massachusetts
  • United States Agricultural Society
  • Wilder, Marshall P. (Marshall Pinckney), 1798-1886
Types of material
  • Letters (Correspondence)

Charles F. Clagg Photograph Collection, 1930 June-July

1 folder (0.1 linear feet)
Call no.: PH 016
Charles F. Clagg Photograph Collection image
Three Manobo girls

The entomologist Charles F. Clagg was born in Barnstable, Mass., in 1904 and received his bachelor of science degree from the Massachusetts Agricultural College in 1927. Although never able to complete his graduate degree, Clagg enjoyed a long and productive career in entomology. Listed as a graduate student at MAC in 1929-1930, Clagg took part in an extensive collecting trip to the Philippines in 1930 and 1931. Beginning in June 1930 near Calian in Davao del Sur (Mindanao), Clagg spent several months collecting flies in and around the active Mount Apo volcano, in the Lawa and Calian river valleys, and in the Lalun mountains, traveling to the eastern peninsula of Davao early in 1931. He remained in the Pacific region later in his career, working as an entomologist for the U.S. Navy.

The twenty photographs taken by Charles F. Clagg in 1930 document his entomological collecting trip to Davao, Mindanao, in the Philippines. Primarily personal in nature, rather than professional, they were taken on Clagg’s visit to a coconut plantation run by American expatriates Henry and George Pahl and illustrate the local sights in Davao, including work in harvesting coconuts and the production of copra, the production of Manilla hemp, a horse fight at Calian, and Manobos who came to the plantation trade. Also included are three photographs of Clagg’s quarters while collecting high in the Lalun Mountains. The captions provided by Clagg on the back of each photograph have been transcribed verbatim.

  • Copra industry--Philippines--Photographs
  • Davao (Philippines)--Photographs
  • Manobos (Philippine people)--Photographs
  • Pahl, George
  • Pahl, George Austin
  • Pahl, Henry
  • Palms--Photographs
  • Philippines--Photographs
  • Plantations--Philippines--Photographs
  • Clagg, Charles F.
Types of material
  • Photographs

Henry James Clark Papers, 1865-1872

1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 048
Henry James Clark Papers image
Trichodina pediculus

The first professor of Natural History at the Massachusetts Agricultural College, Henry James Clark, had one of the briefest and most tragic tenures of any member of the faculty during the nineteenth century. Having studied under Asa Gray and Louis Agassiz at Harvard, Clark became an expert microscopist and student of the structure and development of flagellate protozoans and sponges. Barely a year after joining the faculty at Massachusetts Agricultural College at its first professor of Natural History, Clark died of tuberculosis on July 1, 1873.

A small remnant of a brief, but important career in the natural sciences, the Henry James Clark Papers consist largely of obituary notices and a fraction of his published works. The three manuscript items include two letters from Clark’s widow to his obituarist and fellow naturalist, Alpheus Hyatt (one including some minor personal memories), and a contract to build a house on Pleasant Street in Amherst.

  • Developmental biology
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College--Faculty
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College. Department of Veterinary Science
  • Protozoans
  • Clark, Henry James, 1826-1873
  • Clark, Mary Young Holbrook
  • Hyatt, Alpheus, 1838-1902
Types of material
  • Contracts
  • Letters (Correspondence)

Walter Mason Dickinson Papers, 1858-1900

1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 173
Walter Mason Dickinson Papers image
Walter Mason Dickinson, ca.1880

Originally a member of the Massachusetts Agricultural College Class of 1876, Walter Mason Dickinson left after his junior year to enter the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. During his military career, Dickinson saw service in the southwest and as a military instructor at MAC (1891-1896). As a Captain and Quartermaster in the 17th Infantry, he was called to active duty during the Spanish-American War and was killed in action at the Battle of El Caney. He was the first man associated with MAC to die in military service.

This small collection of photographs and letters centers on the death and family of Walter M. Dickinson, the first person associated with Massachusetts Agricultural College to die in combat. In addition to two of the last letters he wrote as he was heading off to war in Cuba, the collection contains three formal portraits of Dickinson at different points in his military career, images of his wife and family, and two images of the scene of his death at El Caney and one of his temporary grave.

  • Dickinson, Asa Williams--Photographs
  • Dickinson, Charles--Photographs
  • Dickinson, Marquis F. (Marquis Fayette), 1814-1901--Photographs
  • Dickinson, Marquis F. (Marquis Fayette), 1840-19215--Photographs
  • Dickinson, Martha E.--Photographs
  • Dickinson, Walter Mason, 1856-1898--Photographs
  • Dwellings--Massachusetts--Amherst--Photographs
  • El Caney (Cuba)--Photographs
  • Farms--Massachusetts--Amherst--Photographs
  • Soldiers' bodies, Disposition of--Cuba--Photographs
  • Soldiers--United States--Photographs
  • Spanish-American War, 1898
Types of material
  • Ambrotypes
  • Correspondence
  • Photographs

Lorian P. Jefferson Papers, 1913-1929

1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 072
Lorian P. Jefferson Papers image
Lorian Jefferson, photo by Frank Waugh

An historian of economics specializing in American agriculture, Lorian Pamela Jefferson was one of the first women in the field and became an expert on New England agricultural industry. Born in 1871 near Necedah, Wisconsin, Jefferson earned her B.L. from Lawrence University in 1892 and her M.A. from the University of Wisconsin in 1907, continuing on to study towards her PhD though she never finished her research. Jefferson began working at the University in 1912 as an expert in the Division of Rural Social Science and became a professor of Agricultural Economics in 1915. Known as “Miss J”, Jefferson was a dedicated teacher and published extensively on various aspects of agricultural industry and marketing, including the McIntosh apple market and the agricultural labor movement. Illness forced Jefferson’s retirement from the University in 1935 and she died shortly thereafter.

Industry reports, farm and community market assessments, and many of her published articles make up the majority of the collection. There is also a bound volume of correspondence and pamphlets by Jefferson from 1914 titled “Letters Relating to economic Entomology in the United States.” Among the published work is a copy of the magazine Farm and Garden from April, 1924.

  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Agricultural Economics
  • Jefferson, Lorian P

Gerald Denison Jones Papers, 1897-1968 (Bulk: 1897-1926)

2 boxes (1 linear feet)
Call no.: RG 050 J6647
Gerald Denison Jones Papers image
Chet Whitaker, Bill Munson, Chick Lewis (football players)

Known among his peers for his wit, “Gerry” Jones was an active presence on campus as Secretary and Treasurer for the class of 1903, and as a member of the QTV Fraternity, the staff of the Index, and the class football and baseball teams. Jones went on to become a well-respected figure in the Amherst community, serving on the board of investment for the Amherst Savings Bank during the mid-1930s and as a representative to the General Court from Hampshire County.

The papers of Gerry Jones contain a mix of ephemera dating from his days as one an active member of the MAC Class of 1903. Beginning with a fine record book documenting meetings of the class from their freshman year through graduation, the collection includes menus, programs, and dance cards related to class events. Of particular interest is a menu from the first football banquet in 1902, celebrating one of the most successful teams of the MAC era, the one-loss team of 1901.

  • Demonstrations--Massachusetts--Amherst--Photographs
  • Football--Photographs
  • Lewis, Chick
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College--Alumni
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College--Students
  • Munson, Bill
  • Whitaker, Chet
  • Jones, Gerald Denison
Types of material
  • Banners
  • Menus
  • Photographs
  • Programs

Robert James McFall Papers, 1918-1926

1 box (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 133
Robert James McFall Papers image
Robert J. McFall
Photo by Frank A. Waugh, 1927

A specialist in agricultural marketing, Robert J. McFall arrived at the Massachusetts Agricultural College in January 1920 to take up work with the Extension Service. A graduate of Geneva College and Phd from Columbia University (1915), McFall had worked with the Canadian Bureau of Statistics for two years before his arrival in Amherst.

The McFall collection includes a suite of published and unpublished works in agricultural economics, including an incomplete run of Economic Reports from MAC on business conditions (1921-1925), and papers on agricultural cooperation in Massachusetts, municipal abattoirs, business regulation in Canada, agriculture and population increase, and the New England dairy market. Of particular note is a monograph-length work co-authored by McFall and Alexander Cance, entitled “The Massachusetts Agricultural College in its Relations to the Food Supply Program of the Commonwealth.”

  • Agricultural economics
  • Cance, Alexander E. (Alexander Edmond), 1874-
  • Dairy products industry--Massachusetts
  • Food supply--Massachusetts
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College--Faculty
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College. Department of Agricultural Economics
  • McFall, Robert James, 1887-1963


Cattle judging at Mass. Agricultural College
Judging cattle at Mass. Agricultural College

A steward of the past for generations to come, SCUA inspires discovery and advances scholarship through astute curation of cultural heritage materials. As part of a community dedicated to the values of diversity, social equity, and positive social change, SCUA acts through its collections, programs, and exhibitions to promote free inquiry, the production of knowledge, and joy in learning.

Department history

African dancers
African dancers
From the Horace Mann Bond Papers

In 1931, nearly half a century after Librarian Henry Hill Goodell first authorized the permanent retention of the official records of Massachusetts Agricultural College, the Library established a College History Collection. As the official record of the activities of the university’s administrators and faculty and a reflection of the life of its students, this collection grew steadily, until in 1953, the Library dedicated a room named in honor of Dean William L. Machmer to serve as the first true home of the University Archives.

Goodell’s initiative to assemble the College archives coincided roughly with the Library’s first efforts to build a collection of rare books to support its educational mission. Although the College had no separate library until 1885, its administrators nevertheless accepted several significant gifts of books, beginning with the 1868 donation of twenty scarce volumes on bee culture from the apiculturist and state Adjutant General Henry K. Oliver. By the time the library published its first catalog in 1875, rare books formed a small, but notable part of the collections, focused on the primary academic interests of the early college: agriculture, horticulture and botany, and the natural sciences. Among the Library’s earliest acquisitions were the first London edition of William Bartram’s Travels Through North and South Carolina (1792), François Augier de Marigny’s The History of the Arabians (London, 1758), and early bee manuals by John Keys, The Practical Bee-Master (London, 1780) and The Antient Bee-Master’s Farewell (London, 1796) — both courtesy of Oliver. All remain part of the collections today.

David Axelrod, Class of 1965
David B. Axelrod, ca.1980, Class of 1965, poet, author of The Man who Fell in Love with His Chicken (1980)

From these beginnings, the collections of rare books and manuscripts have evolved in concert with the evolution of the university and its academic programs. With the acquisition of the records of the Valley Peace Center and the papers of ethnographer Jozef Obrebski in 1973, the Library began to acquire collections of personal papers and organizational records of historical significance, and the arrival of the papers on W.E.B. Du Bois in that same year marked a turning point. The rare book and manuscript collections were combined administratively with the University Archives in the early 1990s to form the current Department of Special Collections and University Archives.

SCUA’s initial foray online came with a simple page on the library’s website in 1997, but by 2007, evolved into the UMarmot project, one of the earliest efforts to use freely-available software to create a comprehensive online archival catalog. SCUA launched its online digital repository, Credo in 2011, thanks to generous support from the Verizon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Historic Publications and Records Commission. The papers of W.E.B. Du Bois led SCUA’s way into the digital realm, followed by the papers of Horace Mann Bond, and then dozens of of other collections.

Mile markers

Each of the library’s million-volume milestones has been celebrated by the addition of a special volume to SCUA’s collections:

One millionth volume:
Jonathan Edwards, A careful and strict enquiry into the modern prevailing notions of that freedom of will; which is supposed to be essential to moral agency, vertue and vice, reward and punishment, praise and blame. Boston: S. Kneeland, 1754.
SCUA’s copy of this classic theological work on Free Will from the New Light minister from Northampton belonged to Rev. John Cleaveland of Ipswich, Mass., one of the subscribers. It is signed and dated by Cleaveland in several locations.
Two millionth volume:
Phillis Wheatley, Poems on various subjects, religious and moral. London: A. Bell, 1773.
A classic of American literature written by a young woman enslaved in Boston, and the first book published by an African-American woman. Gift of Randolph W. Bromery.
Three millionth volume:
James Baldwin, Gypsy and other poems, with etched portraits by Leonard Baskin. Northampton, Mass.: Gehenna Press, 1989.
When Baldwin, a former faculty member at UMass Amherst, died unexpectedly, he was working with the great printer Leonard Baskin on a special volume of unpublished poems. Celebrating SCUA’s strengths in African American history literature and reflecting the fine-printing heritage in Massachusetts, SCUA’s copy includes a signed portfolio of etchings of Baldwin by Baskin, each signed. It is one of fifty copies bound specially by Daniel Gehnrich in leather and paste paper, made by Babette Gehnrich, over boards, and laid into a cloth traycase. Also laid in are Baskin’s proof, 1989, and touched proof, 1989, of two of the portraits. Gift of Lisa Baskin.
Four millionth volume:
The proclamation of emancipation of the President of the United States, to take effect January 1st, 1863. Boston: John Murray Forbes, 1862.
The first separate printing of the Emancipation Proclamation, this volume was printed in miniature so that Union army troops in the south could more easily distribute it.

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