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Putnam, William

William Putnam Papers

1840-1886
1 box 0.5 linear feet
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.

Gift of Donald W. Howe, 1957; Robert Lucas, 1987 (correspondence); and Dan Casavant, 2001

Subjects

  • Barter--Massachusetts--Wendell
  • Consumer goods--Massachusetts--Wendell
  • Consumers--Massachusetts--Wendell
  • General stores--Massachusetts--Wendell
  • Liquor stores--Massachusetts--Wendell
  • Panama hat industry--Massachusetts--Wendell
  • Schools--Massachusetts--Wendell
  • Vermont and Massachusetts Railroad
  • Wendell (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Wendell (Mass.)--History--19th century

Contributors

  • Putnam, William

Types of material

  • Daybooks
Quabbin Broadsides

Quabbin Broadside Collection

1859-1938
2 linear feet
Call no.: MS 022

During the 1920s and 1930s, the populations of four towns in the Swift River Valley, Mass., were relocated to make way for completion of the Quabbin Reservoir. Dana, Enfield, Greenwich, and Prescott were formally disincorporated in 1938, marking an end to over a century of small town government in the region.

The Quabbin Broadside Collection contains as assortment of printed and posted notices issued in three of the four Massachusetts towns that were flooded to create the Quabbin Reservoir. These include announcements for dances (including the Enfield Fire Department Farewell Ball in 1938), for plays performed by the North Dana Dramatic Club, and notification of voter registration and tax assessment.

Subjects

  • Dana (Mass.)--History
  • Elections--Massachusetts--Enfield
  • Enfield (Mass.)--History
  • Greenwich (Mass.)--History
  • New Salem (Mass.)--History
  • Quabbin Reservoir Region (Mass.)--History
  • Theater--Massachusetts--Dana

Types of material

  • Broadsides
  • Maps
  • Playbills
Quabbin Reservoir

Quabbin Reservoir Proposed Site Maps

1926-1933
1 folder 0.1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 078 bd

The collection consists of five maps prepared by the Massachusetts Metropolitan District Water Supply Commission of the anticipated site of the Quabbin Reservoir, some with hand-written notations, and one map showing the route of Boston’s water supply.

Subjects

  • Quabbin Reservoir (Mass.)--Maps

Contributors

  • Massachusetts. Metropolitan District Commission. Water Division

Types of material

  • Maps
Quabbin Reservoir

Quabbin Clipping Collection

1888-1983
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 040

To meet the growing needs for potable water in the Boston metropolitan region, the Massachusetts state legislature ordered the evacuation of the relatively sparsely populated towns of Dana, Enfield, Greenwich, and Prescott, as well as portions of other adjoining towns such as New Salem, to make way for the construction of a massive reservoir. Over the course of almost two decades, the population of the towns was systematically relocated, the houses moved or razed, and bed of the future reservoir was stripped of trees and brush. The last remaining residents of the region were removed in 1938 and the four primary towns were officially disincorporated as the dam was completed and the waters began to rise.

A collection of newspaper clippings documenting the Swift River Valley towns that were evacuated to make way for the Quabbin Reservoir, including Dana, Enfield, Greenwich, Millington (New Salem), and Prescott. The clippings are concentrated on the towns’ final days and include an incomplete run of The Springfield Union series, “Letters from Quabbin,” series, which recorded the history of the Quabbin Reservoir from site selection to the relocation of houses and people and the disbanding of local organizations and communities.

Gift of Donald Howe, 1960

Subjects

  • Dana (Mass.)--History
  • Enfield (Mass.)--History
  • Greenwich (Mass.)--History
  • New Salem (Mass.)--History
  • Prescott (Mass.)--History
  • Quabbin Reservoir Region (Mass.)--History

Types of material

  • Clippings (Information artifacts)
Quabbin Towns

Quabbin Towns Annual Reports Collection

1864-1937
4 boxes 2 linear feet
Call no.: MS 368

During the 1920s and 1930s, the populations of four towns in the Swift River Valley, Mass., were relocated to make way for completion of the Quabbin Reservoir. Dana, Enfield, Greenwich, and Prescott were formally disincorporated in 1938, marking an end to nearly a century of small town government in the region.

The annual reports of the four towns of the Quabbin region provide important documentation of the activities of the local officials and the lives of residents in Dana, Enfield, Greenwich, and Prescott. Issued under various titles and with variable content, these reports include information on the activities of town officials, including the Selectmen, Overseers of the Poor, School Committee, and Library. In most years, the reports also include town expenditures and a list of residents with a valuation of property and taxes paid. Although substantial, this collection is not complete, particularly prior to 1880.

Subjects

  • Dana (Mass.)--History
  • Enfield (Mass.)--History
  • Greenwich (Mass.)--History
  • Prescott (Mass.)--History
  • Quabbin Reservoir Region (Mass.)--History
Rainford, Sheila

Sheila Rainford Collection

1978-2016
4 boxes 2.75 linear feet
Call no.: MS 426
Image of Brookfield Farm, 1995
Brookfield Farm, 1995

A resident of Amherst, Massachusetts and member of the UMass class of 1965, Sheila Rainford has a strong interest in local history and is a staunch supporter of her local public library, the Jones Library. An area of particular interest is the role of agriculture in the Pioneer Valley. She is co-editor with Ruth Owen Jones of a book on local agricultural history, Harvesting History: Amherst Massachusetts Farms, 1750-2010 (Amherst, Mass., 2010).

The collection consists chiefly of subject files relating to farms and farming in Amherst and the Pioneer Valley. Topics include CISA, NOFA, area farms, local CSAs . Eight audiocassettes contain presentations or interviews ranging from Doris Abramson on the history of the Jones Library to personal recollections and sewing as a business.

Subjects

  • Agriculture--Massachusetts--History
  • Amherst (Mass.)--History
  • Jones Library
  • Pioneer Valley (Mass.)--History

Contributors

  • Abramson, Doris E.
Rankin, Joseph

Joseph Rankin Papers

1832-1866
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 147

A dry goods merchant and chair maker in Erving, Massachusetts, Joseph Rankin dealt in a variety of goods from Boston to Hartford, selling chairs as far away as New York City and Chicago. Rankin’s store supplied the essentials: produce, hardware, news, and gossip.

This collection contains an assortment of correspondence and receipts documenting the nature of business in small town Massachusetts, with small glimpses of the growth of the furniture trade in Franklin County.

Subjects

  • Cabinetmakers--Massachusetts--Erving
  • Dry goods--Massachusetts--Erving
  • Erving (Mass.)--History
  • Merchants--Massachusetts--Erving
Ravett, Abraham

Abraham Ravett Collection

1977-1979
1 box 1.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 890

The independent filmmaker Abraham Ravett has taught film and video at Hampshire College since 1979. Born in Poland in 1947 and raised in Israel, Ravett emigrated to the United States with his family in 1955. Since earning his BFA and MFA in Filmmaking and Photography, he has won wide recognition for his work, receiving major grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Marion and Jasper Whiting Foundation, among other organizations, and a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. His films have been screened internationally and have earned Top Prize at the Viennale 2000, the Ann Arbor Film Festival, and Onion City Film/Video Festival.

This small collection contains raw footage on open-reel videotape shot by Ravett and two dvds documenting local communities in eastern Massachusetts: the North End, Boston (1977-1978) and Haverhill High School (1978-1979), the latter taken while artist in residence.

Gift of Abraham Ravett, Mar. 2011

Subjects

  • Boston (Mass.)--Social life and customs
  • Haverhill (Mass.)--Social life and customs
  • North End (Boston, Mass.)--Social life and customs

Types of material

  • Videotapes
Ray Family

Ray Family Papers

1898-1953 Bulk: 1911-1944
2 boxes 1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 432

Herman Edgar Ray, son of Fred Jackson Ray and Mabel Cosella Merriam Ray, was born in Westminster, Massachusetts on May 28, 1911. Herman Edgar married Anita Crabtree on May 4, 1934 in Gardner, Massachusetts. The family remained in the area throughout the 1950s as indicated by their correspondence.

The collection consists primarily of family photographs spanning three identifiable generations of the Ray family, and contains photograph albums, formal portraits, and miscellaneous photographs. Additional material includes postcards, correspondence, and hand-made greeting cards. The materials document the childhood of Herman Edgar Ray. His extended family includes: Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Ray, Mr. and Mrs. Hiram Ray, Ray Fenno, Mary Emergene Fenno, Mr.and Mrs. Charles A. Smith, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Davis, Helen Gates, Mary Russell, and Eleanor Howe.

Acquired from Peter Masi, Apr. 2005

Subjects

  • Camping--Massachusetts
  • Family--Massachusetts
  • Massachusetts--Description and travel
  • Portraits--History--20th century
  • Westwinster (Mass.)--History

Contributors

  • Ray, Herman Edgar

Types of material

  • Photograph albums
  • Photographs
Rodin, Phyllis

Phyllis Rodin Papers

1950-2014
ca.50 boxes 75 linear feet
Call no.: MS 894
Image of Phyllis Rodin
Phyllis Rodin

Born into a Jewish Lithuanian family in Williamsburg., N.Y., on May 10, 1914, Phyllis Rodin was drawn to the struggle for peace and social justice from early in life. Her widowed mother set an example as an antiwar activist and advocate for women’s rights, and after marrying at age 18, Phyllis and her husband ran a dairy farm that they reorganized on cooperative principles in the 1930s. A watershed in her life came after witnessing the suffering of war first hand while engaged as a psychiatric aid worker for the Red Cross during the Second World War. From that point, Rodin was an unrelenting activist for peace, traveling internationally and remaining vocal through the McCarthy era and Vietnam War and diving headlong into the second wave of the feminist movement. Returning to school late in life, she completed an undergraduate degree at Wisconsin before moving to Amherst in 1980 to study for a doctorate in Future Studies through the UMass Department of Education. Her activism barely skipped a beat as she worked closely with Quaker groups and stalwart activists such as her friend Frances Crowe to oppose nuclear weapons and violence in all forms. Rodin died in Amherst on Jan. 2015.

The Rodin Papers are the product of a long life of a woman devoted to the struggle for peace, feminism, and social justice. Richer in documenting Rodin’s latter decades and the philosophy of world peace she honed, the collection contains an abundance of correspondence, ephemera, and audiovisual materials related to international work in peacebuilding.

Acquired from Anne Griffin, Dec. 2015

Subjects

  • Antinuclear movement--Massachusetts
  • Feminists
  • Peace movements--Massachusetts