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Agriculture

Founded under the Morrill Land Grant Act of 1862 as the Massachusetts Agricultural College, UMass Amherst has long been dedicated to the study and teaching of agriculture and the natural sciences. One of two land grant institutions in the Commonwealth (along with MIT), the university has played an important role in the development of scientific agriculture in New England and has been a major factor in agricultural instruction through its classes and extension service.

SCUA’s collections contain a wealth of information on the history of agriculture and related fields, including horticulture, botany, entomology, animal husbandry, gardening, and landscape design. The strength of the collection lies in documenting the development of American agricultural sciences with an emphasis upon the northeastern states, but it is supplemented with numerous works on British, French, and German agriculture. Adding additional depth are the records of the several departments at UMass Amherst charged with instruction in the agricultural sciences and the papers of individual agricultural educators.

Currently, SCUA is particularly interested in documenting the growth of organic agriculture, heritage breeds, and the practices of sustainable living.

Notable collecting areas (view all)

  • Agricultural education
    • Papers of faculty members at Massachusetts Agricultural College and UMass Amherst, as well as educational organizations dedicated to instruction in the agricultural sciences. Among the individuals represented are the agricultural educator, Kenyon Butterfield; Levi Stockbridge, the first farm manager and long-time instructor at MAC; and William Smith Clark, William Penn Brooks, and William Wheeler, who were instrumental in the 1870s in establishing the agricultural college in Hokkaido, Japan.
    • Also printed works through the late nineteenth century on agriculture in America, Britain, and Europe, including those by John Fitzherbert, Thomas Hale, Arthur Young, “Columella,” John Smith, Gervase Markham, et al.
  • Animal husbandry
    • Books on sheep culture in the United States (Robert R. Livingston, Samuel Bard) and England (Lord Somerville, John Lawrence); dairy and beef cattle, horses, poultry science.
  • Farming and rural life
    • Correspondence, farm accounts, and other records of farming and rural life, primarily in New England, as well as materials relating to the sociology of rural life.
  • Beekeeping and entomology
    • Among the earliest rare books acquired by the Massachusetts Agricultural Library were a collections of rare books in beekeeping, including key works by Thomas Hill, John Keys, Daniel Wildman, Henry Eddy, from the late 17th through late 19th centuries. Works by Maria Sibylla Merian, John Curtis, Dru Drury, Johann Jakob Romer, Jacob l’Admiral
  • Botany, horticulture, pomology, etc.
    • Collections relating to the scientific study of botany, horticulture, forestry, and related sciences.
    • Important printed works on American botany by Frederick Pursh, Thomas Nuttall, Humphry Marshall’s Arbustrum Americanum, François André Michaux, early editions of Linnaeus, William Prince, William Coxe, William Chorlton, et al.
  • Landscape and gardening
    • The papers and photographs of the landscape designer Frank Waugh, Julius Fabos, Erwin Zube, and other collections.
    • Among many printed works on gardens and landscapes are three editions of Bernard M’Mahon’s seminal American Gardener’s Calendar, William Cobbett, Alexander Jackson Davis, Humphry Repton, and others.
  • Organic and sustainable agriculture
    • Records of the Northeast Organic Farmers Association and others involved in organic agriculture, alternate energy, and sustainability.
  • Other natural sciences
    • Including entomology and geology.

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Akin, Ebenezer, Jr.

Ebenezer Akin Account Book

1842-1869
1 vol. 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 220 bd

A merchant, town clerk, part-owner of many ships, and involved citizen, Ebenezer Akin lived nearly all of his 87 years in the town of Fairhaven, Mass.

This miscellaneous personal ledger includes documentation of Ebenezer Akin’s work as town clerk and includes accounts for ships he may have owned, entries made as an estate executor, accounts of expenditures for clothing and incidentals, and accounts of lot purchases and loans. The volume also contains genealogical information about the Blossom family of Bridgewater and the family of Benjamin and Eunice Akin, Ebenezer’s great-grandfather.

Acquired from Charles Apfelbaum, 1987

Subjects

  • Akin, Benjamin, 1715-1802
  • Akin, Eunice
  • Blossom family
  • Clothing and dress--Prices--Massachusetts--Fairhaven
  • Fairhaven (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Fairhaven (Mass.)--Politics and government--19th century
  • Hesper (Bark)
  • Merchants--Massachusetts--Fairhaven
  • Napoleon (Ship)
  • Shipowners--Massachusetts--Fairhaven
  • Shipping--Massachusetts--Fairhaven
  • William Rotch (Ship)
  • Winthrop (Bark)

Contributors

  • Akin, Ebenezer, 1816-

Types of material

  • Account books
  • Genealogies
  • Inventories of decedents estates
American Morgan Horse Association

American Morgan Horse Association Registry Records

1911-1981
119 boxes 150 linear feet
Call no.: MS 781
Image of Morgan horses at MAC
Morgan horses at MAC

In 1789, Vermont native Justin Morgan acquired a bay colt in Springfield, Mass., that became the progenitor of a distinctly American breed of general purpose horse. Noted for its stamina, strength, disposition, and beauty, the Morgan became widely popular in western Massachusetts and Vermont, eventually spreading nationally and internationally. To support the breed, the Morgan Horse Club (later the American Morgan Horse Association) was founded in 1909 and today maintains the breed registry, publishes The Morgan Horse magazine, and offers a wide range of public information and educational services.

The Registry records of the AMHA are a product of concern during the late 19th century for documenting and preserving the integrity of the Morgan breed and a means for breeders to certify pedigrees for their stock. In 1894, Joseph Battell published the first volume of the Morgan Horse and Register containing nearly 1,000 pages of pedigrees for “any meritorious stallion, mare, or gelding tracing in direct male line to Justin Morgan and having at least 1/64 of his blood,” and although standards have been modified since, the registry remains the primary source for documenting the history of the breed. The records in this collection include approved applications for the AMHA registry, including pedigrees and supporting materials.

Subjects

  • Horses--Breeding
  • Morgan horse
Artwork

Artwork Collection

ca.1645-2003
ca.100 items
Call no.: MS 597
Image of Ernst Toller, portrait by Lydia Gibson Minor
Ernst Toller, portrait by Lydia Gibson Minor

Over the years, SCUA has become home to both two-dimensional and three-dimensional works of art pertaining to three of its key thematic collecting areas: the University of Massachusetts Amherst, New England, and social change.

The Artwork Collection is comprised of miscellaneous works visual art, realia, and decorative arts, relating primarily to figures in UMass or to leftist or proletarian artists. Among the artists represented are Michael Russo, Cook Glassgold, Lydia Gibson Minor, Laura Wheeler Waring, Daniel Chester French, and Laurence Bradshaw. For reference purposes, we have cross-listed paintings belonging to other SCUA collections.

Subjects

  • Portraits

Types of material

  • Oil paintings
  • Prints (Visual works)
  • Sculpture (Visual works)
Bailey, Ebenezer

Ebenezer Bailey Papers

1852-1882
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 448

Ebenezer Bailey was a wholesale shoe purchaser and distributor from Massachusetts. The collection comprises just over 100 items, the bulk of which are receipts for the purchase and sale of shoes and slippers, covering the period from 1852 to 1882.

Acquired from Peter Masi, Mar. 2005

Subjects

  • Business records--Massachusetts
  • Dearborn, J. J
  • Lynn (Mass.)--History
  • Shoe industry--Massachusetts--Lynn
  • Shoe industry--New England--History--19th century

Contributors

  • Bailey, Ebenezer

Types of material

  • Receipts (Financial records)
Brinley Family

Brinley Family Papers

1643-1950
4.75 linear feet
Call no.: MS 161
Image of Deborah Brinley and infant son Francis, 1729<br />Copy by Charles U. Bond (1830)<br />after John Smibert
Deborah Brinley and infant son Francis, 1729
Copy by Charles U. Bond (1830)
after John Smibert

A prosperous family of merchants and landowners, the Brinleys were well ensconced among the social and political elite of colonial New England. Connected by marriage to other elite families in Rhode Island and Massachusetts — the Auchmutys, Craddocks, and Tyngs among them — the Brinleys were refined, highly educated, public spirited, and most often business-minded. Although many members of the family remained loyal to the British cause during the Revolution, the family retained their high social standing in the years following.

The Brinley collection includes business letters, legal and business records, wills, a fragment of a diary, documents relating to slaves, newspaper clippings, and a small number of paintings and artifacts. A descendent, Nancy Brinley, contributed a quantity of genealogical research notes and photocopies of Brinley family documents from other repositories. Of particular note in the collection is a fine nineteenth century copy of a John Smibert portrait of Deborah Brinley (1719), an elegant silver tray passed through the generations, and is a 1713 list of the library of Francis Brinley, which offers a foreshadowing of the remarkable book collection put together in the later nineteenth century by his descendant George Brinley.

Subjects

  • American loyalists--Massachusetts
  • Book collectors--United States--History--19th century
  • Brinley family
  • Brinley, George, 1817-1875--Library
  • Businessmen--Massachusetts--History
  • Businessmen--Rhode Island--History
  • Craddock family
  • Landowners--Massachusetts--History
  • Landowners--Rhode Island--History
  • Libraries--Rhode Island--18th century
  • Massachusetts--Economic conditions--18th century
  • Massachusetts--Politics and government--19th century
  • Rhode Island--Economic conditions--18th century
  • Rhode Island--Genealogy
  • Rhode Island--Politics and government--19th century
  • Slavery--United States--History
  • Tyng family
  • United Empire Loyalists

Types of material

  • Deeds
  • Realia
Canning, Josiah D. (Josiah Dean), 1816-1892

Josiah D. Canning, The Shad-Fishers Manuscript

1854
1 vol. 0.1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1009 bd

The “Peasant Bard” of Gill, Mass., Josiah D. Canning, published five books of poetry between 1838 and 1892 extolling the spiritual virtues of nature and the agrarian life. The son of a minister, Canning worked as a printer for several years before settling down to farming life, churning out poetry that reflected his reverence for the land.

This small collection consists of a printed copy of Josiah Canning’s fourth book, The Shad-Fishers, published by R.C. Graves in Greenfield, Mass., in 1854, along with a manuscript copy of the same work bound in workmanlike leather over boards. Although it is not possible to determine with certainty, the manuscript may be Canning’s own.

Acquired from Eugene Povirk, Jan. 2018

Subjects

  • Poetry--Massachusetts--Gill

Types of material

  • Manuscripts (Documents)
Colman, William, 1768-1820

William Colman Account Book

1802-1822
1 vol. 0.2 linear feet
Call no.: MS 212 bd

Merchant and shoemaker from the Byfield Parish of Newbury, Massachusetts and Boscawen, New Hampshire.

Includes accounts of the prices paid for shoemaking and agricultural labor, accounts of the men and women who worked for his father’s shoe store and factory, notes of who lived in the younger Colman’s home, a page mentioning his move to New Hampshire, and accounts of agricultural produce sales and exchange of farm labor.

Subjects

  • Agricultural wages--New Hampshire--History--19th century
  • Boscawen (N.H.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Boscawen (N.H.)--Rural conditions--19th century
  • Households--Massachusetts--Newbury--History--19th century
  • Merchants--Massachusetts--Newbury--History--19th century
  • Newbury (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Shoemakers--Massachusetts--Newbury--History--19th century
  • Shoes--Prices--Massachusetts--History--19th century

Contributors

  • Colman, William, 1768-1820

Types of material

  • Account books
Conor, V.

V. Conor Account Book

1887-1891
1 vol. 0.1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 620 bd

Little is known about V. Conor, other than he traveled on unspecified business up and down the Connecticut River Valley during the last quarter of the nineteenth century.

From the sketchy details surrounding this book of personal accounts, it appears that the author, identified tentatively by a name written on the front fly leaf, was based in Hartford, Conn., and traveled throughout western New England, often to Greenfield and Millers Falls, Mass. Dated between August 1887 and May 1891, the accounts are surprisingly detailed, recording the record keeper’s fondness for doughnuts, seasonal fruits, and the Opera House and Allyn Hall, and they record the range of foods and incidentals, daily trips, subscription to the Hartford Journal, piano rental, and visits to the Knights of Pythias and Red Men (presumably the Independent Order of Red Men or similar organization).

Subjects

  • Finance, Personal--Connecticut
  • Hartford (Conn.)--Economic conditions--19th century

Contributors

  • Conor, V

Types of material

  • Account books
Currier, William A.

W.A. Currier Daybooks

1865-1869
2 vols. 0.2 linear feet
Call no.: MS 213

Located at 14 and 16 Main Street in Haverhill, Mass., W.A. Currier dealt in kitchen goods, home furnishings, and stoves around the time of the Civil War. His trade seems to have been diverse and dynamic: in the Haverhill city directory for 1865, he is recorded variously as a furniture seller, junk dealer, and carriage maker, while two years later, he is listed at the same address under stoves and tinware.

Covering the immediate post-Civil War years, Currier’s daybooks document customers, items purchased, prices paid, and transactions relating to the trade in home goods, stoves, and rags.

Acquired from Charles Apfelbaum, 1987

Subjects

  • Adams, George
  • Daniels, W. F
  • Gildea, Peter
  • Griffin, Samuel
  • Haverhill (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Kimball, O
  • O'Brine, J. W
  • Rags--Prices--Massachusetts--Haverhill--19th century
  • Stacy, W. P
  • Stove industry and trade--Massachusetts--Haverhill--19th century
  • Stoves--Repairing--Massachusetts--Haverhill--19th century
  • Tinsmiths--Massachusetts--Haverhill--19th century

Contributors

  • Currier, William A

Types of material

  • Account books
  • Daybooks