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John Thomson Photograph Collection, 1863

8 items (0.2 linear feet)
Call no.: PH 002
Caledonia Sugar Mill
Caledonia Sugar Mill

The Scotsman John Thomson is considered one of the fathers of social documentary photography and a pioneer in the photography of southeast Asia. Between 1861 and 1872, he traveled extensively in Asia, documenting the scenery and people of modern day Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia, and China.

The collection includes eight albumen prints from wet-plate collodion negatives taken early in Thomson’s photographic career. The images of Penang, Malaysia, are all signed by John Thomson, with five dated November 1863. Subjects include Malay people, a native infantry regiment, sugar mill, temple, and Thomson’s widely reproduced image of tree ferns.


  • George Town (Pinang)--Photographs
  • Kedah--Photographs
  • Malaysia--Photographs


  • Thomson, J. (John), 1837-1921

Types of material

  • Albumen prints
  • Photographs

Thresholds to Life Records, 1983-1986

1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 156

Thresholds to Life is a training program for decision making, problem solving, and life planning taught by volunteers to prison inmates and offenders on probation in 30 locations in the United States. The records in this collection are those of the Thresholds program in Greenfield, Massachusetts, a United Way agency.


  • Prisoners--Massachusetts


  • Thresholds to Life

Thurber-Woolson Botanical Manuscripts Collection, 1803-1918

4 boxes (2.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 065 bd

Largely self-educated, George Thurber (1821-1890) began a career as a pharmacist before signing on as botanist to the U.S. Boundary Commission from 1850-1854. After completing a masters degree at Brown University, he emerged as a important horticultural writer and editor of American Agriculturist from 1863 to 1885.

Letters, photographs, engravings, and clippings compiled primarily by George Thurber and bequeathed to George Clark Woolson (MAC class of 1871) who added to it and donated it as a memorial to his class, the first to graduate from the College. The collection includes 993 letters written by 336 correspondents, and 35 photographs and engravings, primarily botanists and other scientists, including Asa Gray, Louis Agassiz, John Torrey, Frederick Law Olmsted, John James Audubon, Henry Ward Beecher, Jefferson Davis, Edward Payson Roe, Donald G. Mitchell, and George Brown Goode.


  • Botany--History
  • Horticulture--History


  • Thurber, George, 1821-1890
  • Woolson, George Clark

Types of material

  • Photographs

C.S. Toppan Account Book, 1845-1861

1 vol. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 084

A wealthy merchant from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Includes details of his ventures in ship owning and his investments in manufacturing companies and real estate. Also contains total assets of his “property in possession” as of January 1845, and lists of debtors, including men, women, businesses, religious groups, and political groups.


  • Debtor and creditor--New Hampshire--Portsmouth--History--19th century
  • Inventories of decedents' estates--New Hampshire--Portsmouth
  • Merchants--New Hampshire--Portsmouth--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Portsmouth (N.H.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Shipowners--New Hampshire--Portsmouth--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Toppan, C. S. (Christopher S.)--Estate


  • Toppan, C. S. (Christopher S.)

Types of material

  • Account books

Conrad D. Totman Papers, 1800-2005

65 boxes (53 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 447
Conrad Totman in his office
Conrad Totman in his office

A scholar of the history and culture of early modern Japan, Conrad Totman began his career as a student of ornamental horticulture at the University of Massachusetts. After graduation in 1953, Totman served in the army for three years in South Korea where got his first taste of Japanese culture during leave. His experiences in Japan piqued his scholarly interest, and upon his return to the states with his new wife Michiko, he finished college at UMass and did his graduate work at Harvard where he received a doctorate in 1964 for a study of politics during the Tokugawa period. Totman held academic positions at UC Santa Barbara, Northwestern, and Yale before retiring in 1997.

The bulk of the collection documents Professor Totman’s education and professional work as a scholar and teacher of Japanese history. Dispersed throughout is a treasure trove of information on Japan in general, and particularly on his specialties: early modern Japan and forestry and environmental management. An enormous, highly influential, and cherished part of Totman’s life is his family, and the Totman clan is well represented in this collection. Reams of genealogical material document the rich heritage of the Totman family, including the transcribed love letters and diaries of his paternal grandmother and biographies of Totman ancestors, as well as hundreds of letters written between Michiko and her family in Japan.


  • Afforestation--Japan--Akita-ken--History
  • Agriculture--Japan--History
  • Agriculture--Korea--History
  • Conway (Mass.)--Genealogy
  • Dairy farms--Massachusetts
  • Family farms--United States
  • Farm life--United States
  • Forest management--Japan--Akita-ken--History
  • Forest policy--Japan
  • Forests and forestry--Japan
  • Human ecology--Japan--History
  • Human ecology--Korea--History
  • Japan--Civilization--American influences
  • Japan--Environmental conditions
  • Japan--History--1952-
  • Japan--History--Restoration, 1853-1870
  • Japan--History--Tokugawa period, 1600-1868
  • Japan--Politics and government--1600-1868
  • Korea--American influences
  • Korea--Environmental conditions
  • Korea--History--1948-1960
  • Lumber trade--Japan--History
  • Tokugawa, Ieyasu, 1543-1616
  • Totman family
  • United States--Army--Medical personnel--Correspondence


  • Drew, Raymond Totman, 1923-1981
  • Lewis, Gertrude Minnie, 1896-
  • Totman, Conrad D
  • Totman, Ruth J

Types of material

  • Genealogies
  • Letters (Correspondence)
  • Memoirs
  • Photographs

Susan Tracy Papers, 1966-1985

9 boxes (4.5 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 005

Susan Tracy, Dean of Humanities, Arts, and Cultural Studies and Professor of American Studies and History at Hampshire College, received a B.A. in English and an MA. in history from the University of Massachusetts Amherst before earning her PhD. in history from Rutgers University. Her primary interests are in American social and intellectual history, particularly labor history; Afro-American history; and women’s history. She has taught United States history and women’s studies courses at the UMass Amherst.

The Susan Tracy Papers consist largely of Tracy’s files during her tenure as a student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (ca. 1966) and her time as a member of the University staff (ca. 1984). Included in the collection are documentation of the campus Everywoman’s Center and the Chancellor’s Committees on Sexual Harassment and Human Relations; issues of the “What’s Left” newsletter; records of the Women’s Studies Policies Board; and research for a student project on the Southwest Residential area.


  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Everywoman's Center
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Students
  • Women college students


  • Tracy, Susan

Phileman L. Tyler Daybooks, 1841-1852

2 vols. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 236 bd

The shoemaker, Philemon L. Tyler, was born in Massachusetts in 1812. He and his wife Tersilla, also a native of Massachusetts, settled in New York some time before the birth of their first child in 1838. By 1850, after at least a decade in the village of Springville in the agricultural town of Concord, New York, Tyler had three children, and real estate valued at $4,400.

Daybooks include a record of the prices of boots and shoes, and the method and form of payment (rarely cash, sometimes labor, but often apples, potatoes, chicken, wheat, mutton, pork, beef, hay, and other farm products such as cow hides and calf skins).


  • Barter--New York--Erie County--History--19th century
  • Boots--Prices--New York--Erie County--History--19th century
  • Debtor and creditor--New York--Erie County--History--19th century
  • Erie County (N.Y.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Erie County (N.Y.)--Rural conditions--19th century
  • Hides and skins--New York--Erie County--History--19th century
  • Shoemakers--New York--Erie County--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Shoes--Prices--New York--Erie County--History--19th century
  • Springville (Erie County, N.Y.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Springville (Erie County, N.Y.)--Rural conditions--19th century


  • Tyler, Phileman L., 1812-

Types of material

  • Daybooks

United States Information Service Photographs of Laos, 1961-1969

1 envelope (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 145

Photographs taken in the 1960s by the United States Information Service depicting Lao dignitaries, the funeral of King Sisavongvong, the cremation of Prince Ratsamphanthavong at Luong Prabong, a Pathet Lao soldier, a Yao woman, and a Lao woman.


  • Laos--Photographs

Types of material

  • Photographs

Recent applicants for FLURA

Although scholarship in the humanities and social sciences is grounded in the skillful use of primary sources, few undergraduates ever have the opportunity to engage with original historical materials. To encourage scholarly and creative research and promote the use of our collections, the Friends of the Library and Department of Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) have established an award for undergraduates at UMass Amherst recognizing excellence in the use of primary sources.

Students are invited to submit papers or projects they have completed at UMass Amherst during the 18 months prior to the deadline for submission. Submissions will be considered by the Evaluation Committee and winners will be announced in early April. The first place award will be presented to the recipient at the Library’s annual Dinner with Friends. All winning papers/projects will be published on the SCUA web site and added to the University Archives.

View past FLURA recipients

Application information

Eligibility: Projects must represent work completed for a class or independent study in any field within the 18 months prior to the application deadline and while the student was enrolled as an undergraduate at UMass Amherst.
Award: First place: $1000 scholarship awarded at the Library’s annual Dinner with Friends on Apr. 2, 2016
Honorable mention: $250 scholarship
Evaluation criteria:
  1. Papers or projects must draw upon primary sources either from collections in SCUA, other archives, or from other Library resources.
    What is a primary source?
    A primary source is a record of an event, an occurrence, or a time period produced by a participant or observer at the time. Typically, one thinks of primary sources as unique documents or manuscript material (such as letters, diaries, journals, writings, speeches, photographs, scrapbooks, etc.), or the historic records (archives) of an organization (such as correspondence, memoranda, minutes, annual reports, etc.). Primary sources may also include government documents, artwork, artifacts, maps, music, audiovisual materials (film, audiotape, and video tape), and electronic computer files.
  2. Creativity and originality
  3. Clarity and effectiveness of writing
Deadline for submission: Monday, Mar. 7, 2016 by 5 p.m.
Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) and the UMass Amherst Libraries reserve the right to extend the deadline or cancel the contest if too few entries are received. The determination of number of entries required to award a winner is at the sole discretion of SCUA and the UMass Amherst Libraries.
How to apply: Complete the cover sheet and submit a copy of your paper/project as two separate files. Note: your name must not appear on the paper itself. Submissions should be delivered to the following with “FLURA” in the subject line:

  • scua@library.umass.edu

Download application materials (.rtf format)


Undertaker's Daybook, 1855-1884

1 vol. (0.1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 904 bd

A small town situated on the Southegan River in the southern tier of New Hampshire, Wilton had a population of over 1,300 in 1860. Fed by an influx of Irish and Canadian immigrants, the economy at the time was based on a mix of agriculture and small-scale manufacturing, including woolen and yarn mills and factories for furniture and shoes and boots.

Although the identity of the undertaker who kept this volume is nowhere recorded, research into the names of his clients strongly suggests that he operated in or near Wilton (Hillsborough County), New Hampshire. The entries are invariably brief but informative, noting the name of the deceased, date of death and age, notes on the services provided (coffin plate, handles, “sexton service,” “grave”), and the cost of those services. On rare occasions, there are notes on the cause of death, including a cluster of deaths by consumption in the winter of 1858-1859.


  • Undertakers and undertaking--New Hampshire--Wilton
  • Wilton (N.H.)--History

Types of material

  • Daybooks
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