To spark researchers’ imaginations and to celebrate the legacy of innovation and the activist spirit, SCUA pursues an ambitious program of collecting materials of enduring historical value and offers strong support for research and learning. Through its collections, programs, public events, and exhibitions, SCUA promotes meaningful engagement with the broad record of social change in America, innovation and entrepreneurship, and the varied histories of the people of New England and the UMass Amherst community. We embrace the university’s historic role as a center of knowledge for the people of the Commonwealth and are committed to providing free and unfettered access to our holdings for all who wish to use them, using the highest professional standards and practices and the best technologies available.
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. Documenting the activities of the administration and faculty and 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.
The timing of Goodell’s proposal to preserve the College archives coincided roughly with the Library’s first efforts to assemble a collection of rare books to support its educational mission. Although the campus had no separate library building until 1885, the College accepted several significant gifts of books, beginning as early as 1868, when the apiarist and state Adjutant General Henry K. Oliver donated twenty scarce volumes on bee culture, followed by other donations of important works in agriculture, history, and science. By the time the library published its first catalogue in 1875, rare books were a small, but distinctive part of the collections. 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 two 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.
From its initial focus on agriculture, horticulture, and the natural sciences, the Library soon extended its collections to encompass the history and culture of New England. 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. 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. Today, SCUA oversees a growing research collection of primary materials that includes rare books and manuscripts, historic maps, photographs, prints, and the official records of the campus at UMass Amherst.
Flora A. M. Holden Cookbook, ca.1870-1896.
Call no.: MS 488 bd
Born in Marlboro, Mass., on July 28, 1849, Flora Ann Martin Ellithorp married Frank B. Holden of the adjacent town of Hudson on Nov. 22, 1871. The couple had three children: Marion Carlton, Fred Tracy, and Beatrice Spurr. Flora was just 35 when she died of liver cancer on May 24, 1885.
Holden’s manuscript receipt book includes recipes for a variety of baked goods and desserts, but primarily cakes and custards. Although some of the recipes may be original to her or her family, others are clearly attributed to other writers and some may have been derived from published cookbooks. Among the recipes are some of the most popular dishes of the era, including Parker House rolls, Washington pie, and Graham bread.
- Cooking, American--Massachusetts--Hudson
- Lockey, Marion Carlton
Types of material
Ashley Hubbard Memorandum Book, 1826-1860.
Call no.: MS 032
Born in 1792, Ashley Hubbard was raised on a farm in Sunderland, Mass., and spent a life invested in agriculture. Prospering in both work and family, Hubbard owned one hundred acres of land at the height of his operations and had a successful, though relatively small scale run of livestock, including horses, oxen, milk cows, and sheep.
In this slender volume, a combination daybook and memorandum book, Hubbard maintained a careful record of breeding and maintaining his livestock. Succinctly, the memos make note of the dates and places on which he serviced horses, took heifers or cows to bulls, or pastured his stock, and there are occasional notices on sheep.
- Sunderland (Mass.)--History
Types of material
- Memorandum books
Justice for Woody Records, 1998-2005.
Call no.: MS 444
The organization Justice for Woody (JFW) was formed in December of 2001 in the weeks immediately following the death of Robert “Woody” Woodward, a political and environmental activist, social worker, teacher, and mountaineer. JFW seeks not only to honor Woody’s legacy, but also to advocate for a fair an independent investigation. The collection consists primarily of newspaper articles from various New England papers as well as Attorney General Sorrell’s Report and an independent analysis of it.
- Brattleboro (Vt.). Police
- Law enforcemnet--Vermont
- Police brutality--Vermont
- Police discretion
- Woodward, Robert, d. 2001
- Wrongful death--Vermont
Middleborough (Mass.) Country Store Daybook, 1825-1827.
Call no.: MS 221
Country store in the village of Titicut in Middleborough, Massachusetts, owned by members of either the Clark or Pratt families of the village. Includes goods for sale (groceries, cloth, hardware, and liquor), the method and form of payment (cash, rags, straw, wood, brick, and produce), customers’ names, and ways that families and women earned credit (producing braid or carting goods for the owners).
- Barter--Massachusetts--Middleborough--19th century
- Freight and freightage--Massachusetts
- General stores--Massachusetts--Middleborough
- Middleborough (Mass.)--Commerce--19th century
- Titicut (Middleborough Mass.)--Commerce--19th century
Types of material
Miller Family Photographs, ca.1880-1980.
Call no.: MS 119
Four generations of the Miller family from Roxbury and Hull, Massachusetts. Includes photographs mounted on twenty-eight sheets of posterboard and 158 slides stored in two slide trays that are comprised of formal and informal family portraits; family businesses; church and business gatherings; a wedding announcement; and postcards from the early 1900s depicting public recreation sites. More recent photographs reveal how the public recreation sites have changed over the years. Robert Parker Miller, a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a member of the Miller family, displayed these images in an exhibit entitled “Trying to Live the American Dream” (1986, Wheeler Gallery).
- Family--United States--History
- Hull (Mass.)--Photographs
- Massachusetts--Social life and customs--19th century--Photographs
- Massachusetts--Social life and customs--20th century--Photographs
- Roxbury (Mass.)--Pictorial works
- Miller family
Types of material
Miscellaneous Manuscripts, 1717-2003.
Call no.: MS 719
Miscellaneous Manuscripts is an artificial collection that brings together various single items or small groups of related materials. A wide range of topics and formats is represented, although there is an emphasis on Massachusetts history.
- Massachusetts--Economic conditions--18th century
- Massachusetts--Economic conditions--19th century
- Massachusetts--Politics and government
- Massachusetts--Social conditions--18th century
- Massachusetts--Social conditions--19th century
- Massachusetts--Social conditions--20th century
Types of material
- Account books
New England Homestead Farm Accounts Collection, 1883-1884.
Call no.: MS 113
The New England Homestead, a magazine published in Springfield, Massachusetts from 1842 to 1969, conducted a contest in 1884 to which farmers submitted notebooks recording their farm accounts for the one year period, April 1, 1883 to March 31, 1884.
The collection includes bound and unbound farm accounts submitted as entries to the contest contest. The Library holds The New England Homestead, 1842-1850 on microfilm, and 1894-1968 in bound volumes.
- Agriculture--Accounting--Competitions--New England
- Agriculture--Economic aspects--New England--History--19th century
- Agriculture--New England--Accounting--History--19th century
- Contests--New England
- Farm management--Competitions--New England
- Farm management--New England--History--19th century
- Farmers--Competitions--New England
- Farmers--New England--Economic conditions--19th century
- New England--Economic conditions--19th century
- New England Homestead
James R. Powell Collection, 1958-2010.
Call no.: MS 701
A devoted reader of newspaper cartoon strips, Jim Powell began collecting Peanuts cartoon books in the mid-1970s, prompted by obtaining two pure-bred beagles for his son.
The Powell cartoon book collection consists of 419 mass market paperback copies of popular cartoon books, representing the work of well-known cartoonists such as Charles M. Schultz, Johnny Hart, Gary Larson, Garry Trudeau, Jim Davis, and Berke Breathed. The collection has particularly rich runs of Peanuts, Garfield, and Doonesbury.
- Comic books, strips, etc.
- Davis, Jim, 1945 July 28-
- Schulz, Charles M. (Charles Monroe), 1922-2000
- Trudeau, G. B., 1948-
- Watterson, Bill
Types of material
William Putnam Papers, 1840-1886.
Call no.: MS 014
For several decades in the mid-nineteenth century, William Putnam (1792-1877) and his family operated a general store in Wendell Depot, Massachusetts, situated strategically between the canal and the highway leading to Warwick. Serving an area that remains rural to the present day, Putnam dealt in a range of essential merchandise, trading in lumber and shingles, palm leaf, molasses and sugar, tea, tobacco, quills, dishes, cloth and ribbon, dried fish, crackers, and candy. At various times, he was authorized by the town Selectmen to sell “intoxicating liquors” (brandy, whiskey, and rum) for “Medicinal, chemical and mechanical purposes only,” and for a period, he served as postmaster for Wendell Depot.
The daybooks and correspondence of William Putnam record the daily transactions of an antebellum storekeeper in rural Wendell, Massachusetts. Offering a dense record of transactions from 1840-1847, the daybooks provide a chronological accounting of all sales and credits in the store, including barter with local residents of the community and with contractors for the new Vermont and Massachusetts Railroad. The last in the series of daybooks lists a surprisingly high percentage of Wendell’s residents (by name, in alphabetical order) who owed him money as of October 1846. The correspondence associated with the collection continues into the 1880s and provides relatively slender documentation of Putnam’s litigiousness, his financial difficulties after the Civil War, and the efforts of his son John William to continue the business.
- Consumer goods--Massachusetts--Wendell
- General stores--Massachusetts--Wendell
- Liquor stores--Massachusetts--Wendell
- Panama hat industry--Massachusetts--Wendell
- Vermont and Massachusetts Railroad
- Wendell (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
- Wendell (Mass.)--History--19th century
- Putnam, William
Types of material