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African American history

Founders of the Niagara Movement, ca.1905

Founders of the Niagara Movement, ca.1905

The acquisition of the papers of W.E.B. Du Bois in 1972 established SCUA as a center for research in African American history. In subsequent years, UMass has supported publication of three volumes of Du Bois’ correspondence and SCUA has digitized the papers and made them freely available on the internet while serving as a resource for many dozens of scholarly articles and books. SCUA continues in its efforts to build around the Du Bois collection, adding other important printed and manuscript materials both in African American history and in the history of efforts to promote social change.

Every February, SCUA and the Du Bois Department of Afro-Americans Studies at UMass Amherst commemorate Du Bois’s birthday by co-sponsoring a public colloquium on Du Bois and his legacy. Our lecturers have included distinguished scholars such as Herbert and Bethina Aptheker, Randolph Bromery, Clayborne Carson, Arnold Rampersad, and David Levering Lewis.

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Association for Gravestone Studies

Association for Gravestone Studies Book Collection

1812-2005
269 items 14 linear feet
Call no.: RB 004

Founded in 1977, the Association for Gravestone Studies (AGS) is an international organization dedicated to furthering the study and preservation of gravestones. Based in Greenfield, Mass., the Association promotes the study of gravestones from historical and artistic perspectives. To raise public awareness about the significance of historic gravemarkers and the issues surrounding their preservation, the AGS sponsors conferences and workshops, publishes both a quarterly newsletter and annual journal, Markers, and has built an archive of collections documenting gravestones and the memorial industry.

The AGS Books Collection contains scarce, out of print, and rare printed works on cemeteries and graveyards, epitaphs and inscriptions, and gravemarkers, with an emphasis on North America. The AGS Books Collection also includes the AGS publication, Markers. The collection is divided into three series: Series 1 (Monographs and Offprints), Series 2 (Theses and Dissertations), and Series 3 (Markers).

Subjects

  • Cemeteries
  • Epitaphs
  • Gravestones

Contributors

  • Association for Gravestone Studies
Banks, Katherine Bell

Katherine Bell Banks Papers

1926-1960
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 429

Collection of letters from Du Bois to various members of the Bell family, the earliest written in September 1926 to Katherine Bell and the latest written in December 1960 to Thomasina Bell Fitzroy. These letters offer a unique perspective of Du Bois’s personal life.

Subjects

  • African Americans--History--1877-1964

Contributors

  • Banks, Katherine Bell
  • Bell, Thomas, d.1946
  • Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963

Types of material

  • Letters (Correspondence)
  • Photographs
Beach, Samuel

Samuel and Harriett Beach Papers

1829-1903
2 boxes 0.75 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1032
Image of Business card for J.S. Stannard Oysters, ca.1885
Business card for J.S. Stannard Oysters, ca.1885

Spread out across the early national landscape, the Beach and Cooke families were bound by the ties of family, friendship, and business. The brothers-in-law Samuel Beach, from Branford, Conn., and Samuel G. Cooke, from Mendon, Illinois, both served in the Civil War. As a corporal in the 27th Connecticut Infantry, Beach saw action at the battles of Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, while Cooke served in the west with the 50th Illinois before taking a captain’s commission in the 44th U.S. Colored Troops. Farmers and fruit growers, the two settled in Branford after the war, with Beach establishing Pawson Park, a day resort and picnic grounds that prospered in the 1880s.

The paper of Samuel and Harriett Beach contain family correspondence from two generations of Connecticut family in the mid-nineteenth century. Of particular note are 31 war-date letters and a post-war memoir of the battle of Fredericksburg from Samuel Beach, and three war-date letters from Samuel G. Cooke. The collection also includes an interesting, though scattered series of letters relating to the creation and operation of the day resort, Pawson Park.

Acquired from William Reese, April 2018
Brooks, Burt V.

Burt V. Brooks Photograph Collection

1889-1934
3 boxes 1.5 linear feet
Call no.: PH 060
Image of

The artist Burt Vernon Brooks was one of the outstanding chroniclers of daily life in the Swift River Valley before it was inundated to create the Quabbin Reservoir. Born in Brimfield, Mass., in 1849 and raised in Monson, Brooks moved to Greenwich with his family in the 1870s, where he worked on the family farm. At some unclear point before he turned 40, Brooks became active as an artist, painting local homes and scenery and taking photographs of the landscape, residents, and daily life in the Quabbin region. A prolific photographer, he was, in the words of historian Donald W. Howe, “hardly ever seen without his camera strapped to his back,” remaining active for decades. Three years after following his second wife to the west, Brooks died in Los Angeles in 1934.

The great majority of the 92 photographs in this collection are 5×7″ dry plate glass negatives taken by Brooks in the earliest years of the twentieth century, documenting the houses and people of Greenwich. Brooks’ work includes landscapes, houses, and a significant series of images of the Hillside School, but some of his best works are studio portraits, images of people at home or with their carriages, and posed scenes of children at play or at work. The collection also includes eight images by Brooks at Enfield, Greenwich, and Dana that are the property of the Swift River Valley Historical Society, and six images taken by Chetwynd and Pike in the Quabbin region to document properties slated for removal.

Gift of Friends of Quabbin through Gene Theroux, Paul Godfrey, and Les Campbell, June 2014

Subjects

  • Agriculture--Massachusetts--Greenwich--Photographs
  • Carriages and carts--Massachusetts--Greenwich--Photographs
  • Children--Massachusetts--Greenwich--Photographs
  • Dana (Mass.)--Photographs
  • Dwellings--Massachusetts--Greenwich--Photographs
  • Enfield (Mass.)--Photographs
  • Greenwich (Mass.)--Photographs
  • Hillside School (Marlborough, Mass.)
  • Horses--Massachusetts--Greenwich--Photographs
  • New Salem (Mass.)--Photographs
  • Plowing--Massachusetts--Greenwich--Photographs
  • Prescott (Mass.)--Photographs

Types of material

  • Dry plate gelatin negatives
  • Gelatin silver negatives
  • Photographs
Burgett-Irey family

Burgett-Irey Family Papers

1832-2010 Bulk: 1929-2008
4 boxes 2 linear feet
Call no.: MS 605

Born in 1908 to Louis and Sarah Kessel Burgett, Katherine grew up on the family farm outside of Oquawka, Illinois. In 1924 her parents purchased their own farm in Monmouth, which they later lost due to the devastating impact of the Depression on agriculture, and it was there that she first met her future husband, Kenneth Monroe Irey, a student at Monmouth College. The newlyweds moved to New Jersey in 1931 where Kenneth was transferred for work. As a chemical engineer, Kenneth enjoyed a successful career and comfortably supported his wife and two children. Retiring in 1970, he and Katherine spent their later years pursuing two passions: traveling and bird-watching. Kenneth and Katherine’s eldest daughter, June Irey Guild, spent most of her adult life in Massachusetts where she has married twice, raised six children, and operated her own business. During her retirement years, June focused on preserving her family’s history by collecting letters and recoding family narratives.

The Burgett-Irey Family Papers chronicle the changes that many twentieth-century American families experienced as the nation descended into an economic depression, entered into a world war, and emerged as one of the most powerful countries in the world. The collection, which will continue to grow, includes approximately 65 letters between Katherine Burgett Irey and her family. Most of the letters exchange family updates, particularly precious after Katherine relocated to New Jersey. Among the earliest letters is an account of Katherine and Kenneth’s first meeting described as “fast work,” since he asked her out on the spot. Also included are autobiographical writings by Kenneth describing his cross-country trip to California in 1927 and a brief history of his life and career.

Subjects

  • Bird watching
  • Burgett family
  • Irey family
  • Marriage--United States
  • Motherhood--United States--History--20th century
  • Mothers--United States--History--20th century
  • Women--United States--History--20th century

Contributors

  • Guild, June Irey
  • Irey, Katherine Burgett
  • Irey, Kenneth Monroe, 1905-1994

Types of material

  • Diaries
  • Letters (Correspondence)
  • Slides
Calkins, David

David and Marshall Calkins Account Books

1848-1855
3 vols. 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 178

Brothers from Wilbraham, Mass., David and Marshall Calkins received medical degrees together at the Worcester Medical Institution in 1848. Although David died at the age of 31 in 1855 while just beginning a career, Marshall went on to build a considerable reputation in medicine, working with the Springfield City Hospital for many years and teaching at the University of Vermont.

Kept during the Calkins brothers’ years in Monson, Mass., the three daybooks that comprise this collection list patients treated and their origin or race, along with medical class notes, services provided, remedies, and forms of pay, including bartering for goods. Also included is an account of a stay in Wilbraham.

Acquired from Charles Apfelbaum, 1987

Subjects

  • Monson (Mass.)--History--19th century
  • Physicians--Massachusetts--Monson

Contributors

  • Calkins, David
  • Calkins, Marshall

Types of material

  • Account books
Campbell, Sadie

Sadie Campbell Papers

1812-2002
19 boxes 10.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 439
Image of Sadie Campbell and sons Harold and Robert Leslie
Sadie Campbell and sons Harold and Robert Leslie

A housewife, mother and active community member, Sadie Campbell was born in 1881 and lived at 1 Depot Street in Cheshire, Massachusetts for most of her life until she died in 1971. Sadie was closely tied to the Cheshire community where she had a large circle of friends and acquaintances, and was active in a a number of organizations, such as: the Cheshire Ladies Reading Club, the Merry Wives of Cheshire Shakespeare Club, and the Cheshire Cash Tearoom.

The collection documents three generations of a western Massachusetts family. The variety and nature of the materials in this collection offer a good view into the local and social history of western Massachusetts through the lives of Sadie Campbell and her family.

Subjects

  • Cheshire (Mass.)--History
  • Cheshire Cash Tearoom
  • Family--Massachusetts--History--19th century
  • Family--Massachusetts--History--20th century
  • Housekeeping--Massachusetts--Cheshire
  • Housewives--Massachusetts--Cheshire
  • Massachusetts--Social life and customs--19th century
  • Merry Wives of Cheshire Shakespeare Club
  • Small business--Massachusetts
  • Tyrell, Augustus
  • Williams Manufacturing Company
  • Women--Societies and clubs--History--19th century

Contributors

  • Campbell, Sadie

Types of material

  • Account books
  • Invitations
  • Letters (Correspondence)
  • Pamphlets
  • Photographs
  • Recipes
Clark family

Clark Family Papers

1679-1814
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 654

The Clark family played a prominent role in the colonial and early national history of Newton, Massachusetts. John Clark and his wife Elizabeth Norman settled in Cambridge Village (now Newton), Massachusetts, in about 1681, and played an active role in the public life of the town. His son William, grandson Norman, and great-grandson Norman followed in John’s footsteps, serving as Selectmen and, in the case of Norman, Jr., as the Collector of taxes during and after the Revolutionary War.

This small collection traces the early history of Newton, Mass., through the lives and activities of four generations of the family of John Clark. While the majority of the collection consists of deeds or related legal documents pertaining to properties in Newton (or in one case, Connecticut), a few items provide glimpses into other Clark family activities. As tax collector for Newton during and after the Revolution, Norman Clark, Jr., left an interesting documentary trail that touches on financial priorities in town, including the collection of taxes for support of the church, Revolutionary War soldiers, and road building.

Subjects

  • Clark Family
  • Newton (Mass.)--History--18th century
  • Real property--Massachusetts--Newton
  • Taxation--Massachusetts
  • United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783

Contributors

  • Clark, John
  • Clark, Norman
  • Clark, William

Types of material

  • Deeds
  • Maps
  • Wills
Coffin, George R. (George Richards)

George R. Coffin Journal

1854-1857
1 vol. 0.1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1000 bd

The son of a master mariner from Newburyport, Massachusetts, George Richards Coffin was born in Castine, Maine, on Feb. 12, 1832. Sent to Boston at the age of 19 to get his start in business as a clerk, Coffin became a wharfinger in 1854, just a year before he married Hannah Balch, the eldest daughter of a prominent Newburyport merchant. As his family grew to eight, Coffin thrived in his trade, becoming a long-time member of the Merchant’s Exchange in Boston and Inspector of Grain for the Commercial Exchange in the 1870s. By the 1880s, he relocated his family to the genteel western suburbs of the city and by the time of his death in 1894, he had earned a spot in the Boston Blue Book.

This beautifully written diary was kept by George Coffin as he was starting out in life. Kept regularly, though not daily, the entries are filled with details about his budding business and personal lives, providing a rich portrayal of an aspiring young man in antebellum Boston. Beginning during the last few months of his clerkship and courtship of Hannah Balch and continuing through their engagement and marriage to the birth of their first child, the diary is filled with descriptions of socializing at parties and lectures, religious attendance and recreational activities, and it includes his thoughts on marriage, family, and his career in business. Of particular note are Coffin’s accounts of a visit to the State Prison in Charlestown, his reactions to local resistance to the capture of Anthony Burns under the Fugitive Slave Act, and the steady growth of his relationship with Hannah.

Gift of Elizabeth Hartmann, Nov. 2017

Subjects

  • Boston (Mass.)--Social life and customs--19th century
  • Burns, Anthony, 1834-1862
  • Clerks--Massachusetts--Boston
  • Coffin, Hannah B.
  • Courtship--Massachusetts--Boston
  • Husband and wife--Massachusetts--Boston
  • Marriage--Massachusetts--Boston
  • Newburyport (Mass.)--Social life and customs--19th century
  • United States. Fugitive Slave Law (1850)
  • Weddings--Massachusetts--Newburyport

Types of material

  • Diaries