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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.

Learn more:

Allen, Frances and Mary

Frances and Mary Allen Collection of Deerfield Photographs

1 vol. 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: PH 001
Image of Deerfield, Mass.
Deerfield, Mass.

Influenced by the arts and crafts movement, Frances and Mary Allen began taking photographs of their native Deerfield, Mass., in the mid-1880s. Displaying a finely honed pictorialist aesthetic, the sisters specialized in views of Deerfield and surrounding towns, posed genre scenes of life in colonial times, and the local scenery, earning a reputation as among the best women photographers of the period.

The Allen sisters photograph album contains ten gelatin developing out prints of street scenes in Deerfield, ca.1900-1910. Among these are two shots of the house they inherited from their aunt Kate in 1895, which thereafter became their home and studio.

  • Deerfield (Mass.)--Photographs
  • Women photographers--Massachusetts
  • Allen, Frances
  • Allen, Mary E. (Mary Electa), 1858-1941
Types of material
  • Photographs

Alumnus Magazine

Alumnus Magazine Photograph Collection

ca. 1974-1989
12 linear feet
Call no.: RG 147
Image of Julius Erving during basketball workshop at UMass, 1980
Julius Erving during basketball workshop at UMass, 1980

The once active photo morgue of the Alumnus Magazine, the Alumnus Magazine Photograph Collection captures diverse aspects of campus life during the 1970s and 1980s, including portraits of campus officials, sports events, commencements, a visit to campus by Julius Erving, and assorted campus buildings and scenery.

  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Alumni
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Students
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst
Types of material
  • Photographs


Antislavery Pamphlet Collection

7.5 linear feet
Call no.: RB 003

The Antislavery Collection contains several hundred printed pamphlets and books pertaining to slavery and antislavery in New England, 1725-1911. The holdings include speeches, sermons, proceedings and other publications of organizations such as the American Anti-Slavery Society and the American Colonization Society, and a small number of pro-slavery tracts.

  • Abolitionists--Massachusetts
  • Antislavery movements--United States
  • Slavery--United States
  • American Anti-Slavery Society
  • American Colonization Society
Restrictions: Collection currently unavailable due to renovations in SCUA

Aronson, James

James Aronson Collection of W.E.B. Du Bois

2 boxes 1.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 292

Materials written by or pertaining to W.E.B. Du Bois, collected by James Aronson, who was executive editor of the “National Guardian” from 1948 to 1967. Includes correspondence, speeches by Du Bois in published form, articles by Du Bois, biographical sketches and tribute articles about Du Bois, photographs, and newspaper clippings.

  • African Americans--Civil rights
  • African Americans--History--1877-1964
  • Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963--Death and burial
  • Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963--Views on Pan-Africanism
  • Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963--Views on democracy
  • Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963--Views on pacifism
  • Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963--Views on socialism
  • National Guardian
  • Socialism--Africa
  • Du Bois, Shirley Graham, 1896-1977
  • Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963
Types of material
  • Photographs
  • Speeches


Artwork Collection

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.

  • Portraits
Types of material
  • Oil paintings
  • Prints (Visual works)
  • Sculpture (Visual works)

Barton, Thomas

Thomas Barton Papers

1947-1977 Bulk: 1960-1974
4 boxes 2 linear feet
Call no.: MS 539
Image of YPSL logo
YPSL logo

In the early 1960s, Tom Barton (b. 1935) emerged as a leader in the Left-wing of the Young People’s Socialist League, the national youth affiliate of the Socialist Party. Deeply committed to the civil rights and antiwar struggles and to revolutionary organizing, Barton operated in Philadelphia, Chicago, and New York and was a delegate and National Secretary at the 1964 convention in which tensions within YPSL led to its dissolution.

A small, but rich collection, the Barton Papers provide a glimpse into the career of a long-time Socialist and activist. From Barton’s entry into the Young People’s Socialist League in the latest 1950s through his work with the Wildcat group in the early 1970s, the collection contains outstanding content on the civil rights and antiwar movements and the strategies for radical organizing. The collection is particularly rich on two periods of Barton’s career — his time in the YPSL and Student Peace Union (1960-1964) and in the Wildcat group (1968-1971) — and particularly for the events surrounding the dissolution of YPSL in 1964, following a heated debate over whether to support Lyndon Johnson for president. The collection includes correspondence with other young radicals such as Martin Oppenheimer, Lyndon Henry, Juan McIver, and Joe Weiner.

  • Antiwar movements
  • Civil rights movements
  • Communists
  • Revolutionaries
  • Socialist Party of the United States of America
  • Socialists--United States
  • Student Peace Union
  • Students for a Democratic Society (U.S.)
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements
  • Wildcat
  • Young People's Socialist League
  • Barton, Thomas
  • Gilbert, Carl
  • Henry, Lyndon
  • MacFadyen, Gavin
  • McIver, Juan
  • Oppenheimer, Martin
  • Shatkin, Joan
  • Shatkin, Norm
  • Verret, Joe
  • Weiner, Joe

Baschard, David

David Baschard Account Book

1 vol. 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 142

David Baschard (sometimes spelled Bichaud) was an innkeeper and merchant in Nantucket during the middle decades of the eighteenth century. Althouth little is known about the specifics of his life, when he died at the age of 50 on Feb. 9, 1770, he left a substantial estate valued at £1000. He left a legacy to his sister Mary and the remainder, including a “negro slave girl” and a pew in the Congregational Meeting House, to his wife Elizabeth (Hussey).

A standard two-column account book, David Baschard’s ledger records the day to day transactions of a Nantucket merchant of the 1760s. Trading actively in a range of sundries and domestic goods such as cloth, apparel, sugar, tea, and tobacco, Baschard also sold liquors of various sorts, including punch, grog, wine, and rum. In addition to his local Nantucket clientele (members of the Starbuck, Coffin, Rotch, and Folger families among them), he traded in towns along the Cape Cod and elsewhere in southeastern Massachusetts, including Harwich, Rochester, Dartmouth, Falmouth, and Martha’s Vineyard. Accounts were settled both in cash and in kind.

  • Hotelkeepers--Massachusetts--Nantucket Island
  • Merchants--Massachusetts--Nantucket Island
  • Nantucket Island (Mass.)--Economic conditions
  • Nantucket Island (Mass.)--History
Types of material
  • Account books

Bates Family

Marcia Grover Church Bates Family Papers

11 boxes 5.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 424

Generations of the Bates and Church families based in North Amherst and Ashfield, Massachusetts. Papers include deeds, a will, correspondence, account books (recording day-to-day expenditures on food, clothing, postage, housekeeping supplies, and laborer’s wages), diaries, an oral history, photographs, genealogical notes, and memorabilia related to the family.

  • Ashfield (Mass.)--History
  • Bates family
  • Church family
  • Farmers--Massachusetts--Ashfield
  • Hotelkeepers--Massachusetts--North Amherst
  • Libraries--Massachusetts--Boston
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College--Alumni and alumnae
  • Merchants--Massachusetts--North Amherst
  • North Amherst (Mass.)--History
  • Prescott (Mass.)--History
  • Public librarians--Massachusetts
  • Street-railroads--Massachusetts--Employees
  • Weather--Massachusetts--Ashfield
  • Women--Massachusetts--History
  • Worcester (Mass.)--History
  • Bates, Marcia Church, 1908-2000
  • Church, Cornelia, 1906-1978
  • Church, Lucia Grover, 1877-1943
Types of material
  • Account books
  • Deeds
  • Diaries
  • Geneaologies
  • Photographs
  • Wills

Berke, David M.

David M. Berke Collection of Nuremberg Trials Depositions

1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 804

During the latter months of the Second World War, Edmund F. Franz served with the U.S. Army’s War Crimes Branch in Wiesbaden, Germany. Part of the team involved in war crimes investigation, Franz processed hundreds of pages of first-hand accounts by perpetrators, eye witnesses, concentration camp survivors, political prisoners, and prisoners of war that ultimately served the prosecution during the Nuremberg trials. At the war’s end, he returned home to Aurora, Ohio, eventually bequeathing a collection of depositions from his wartime work to a friend, David M. Berke.

The Berke Collection contains copies of approximately 300 pages of material gathered by U.S. Army investigators in preparation for the Nuremberg trials. The depositions, affidavits, and reports that comprise the collection are varied in scope, but most center on German maltreatment of prisoners — both political prisoners and prisoners of war — with a handful of items relating to larger issues in intelligence and counter intelligence. Gathered originally by the Office of Strategic Services, the Counter Intelligence Corps, and other Army units, the materials offer chilling insight into the brutality of the concentration camp system, “labor reform” prisons, and police prisons, and the sheer scale of wartime inhumanity.

Gift of Cathy Abrams
  • Buchenwald (Concentration camp)
  • Dachau(Concentration camp)
  • Flossenburg (Concentration camp)
  • Innsbruck-Reichenau (Labor reform camp)
  • Ravensbruck (Concentration camp)
  • Sachsenhausen (Concentration camp)
  • World War, 1939-1945--Atrocities
  • World War, 1939-1945--Prisoners and prisons
  • Franz, Edmund F.
  • United States. Army. Counter Intelligence Corps
  • United States. Army. Office of Special Services
Types of material
  • Depositions