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Blanchard Family

Blanchard-Means Family Papers, ca.1770-1970
48 boxes (67 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 830
Blanchard-Means Family Papers image
Abby Blanchard (later Mrs. Oliver W. Means) at Jacquard punching machine, ca.1890

The seat of seven generations of the Blanchard and Means families, Elm Hill Farm was established prior to 1797, when the joiner Amasa Blanchard began acquiring property in Brookfield, Mass., as he looked forward to his marriage. The success he enjoyed in farming was a spark for his family’s prosperity. Amasa’s son Albert Cheney Blanchard left Brookfield in the 1830s to pursue commercial opportunities out west as a partner in the Richmond Trading Co., in Richmond, Ind., and by the time he returned home to take over operations after his father’s death in 1857, Albert had earned a fortune. In the years after the Civil War, Elm Hill grew to 1,300 acres crowned by a mansion built in 1870 that became the center of a compound of eight buildings. Each subsequent generation at Elm Hill has left its own distinctive mark. Albert’s son Charles P. Blanchard, a minister and talented amateur photographer, developed a renowned herd of Morgan horses, and Charles’ daughter Abby and her husband, the minister Oliver W. Means, added a herd of Jersey cattle that included a prize-winning bull, Xenia’s Sultan, imported in 1923, and the cow, You’ll Do Lobelia, better known as the original, real-life Elsie the Cow. Abby’s daughter-in-law, Louise Rich Means, laid acres of spectacular gardens on the estate. Following Louise’s death in 2009, Elm Hill left family ownership.

Consisting of nearly two centuries of papers that accumulated on the Elm Hill estate, the Blanchard-Means collection stretches from a handful of documents from the late eighteenth century relating to landholdings and Amasa ‘s work Blanchard as a joiner, to a blossoming of correspondence, photographs, ephemera, and realia dating from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Well-educated, well-traveled, and well-informed, the Blanchards and Means were prolific letter writers, and their papers provide wonderful insights into the lives of a religiously-devoted family from the New England elite. Among the highlights of the collection are the extensive records from the Richmond Trading Company and from the farm’s livestock and gardening operations (both Morgans and Jerseys) and a remarkable photographic record that document the family, the evolving landscape of Elm Hill, and the town of Brookfield, as well as hundreds of images from C.P. Blanchard’s world tours in the 1890s.

Subjects
  • Agriculture--Massachusetts--Brookfield
  • Asia--Description and travel
  • Brookfield (Mass.)--History
  • Cabinetmakers--Massachusetts--Brookfield
  • Congregational Church--Clergy--Connecticut
  • Congregational Church--Clergy--Massachusetts
  • Europe--Description and travel
  • Jersey cattle--Massachusetts
  • Morgan horse--Massachusetts
  • Yale University--Students
Contributors
  • Richmond Trading Company
Types of material
  • Ephemera
  • Photographs

Blumenthal, Norman B.

Norman B. Blumenthal Collection, 1999-2005
30 boxes (45 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 951

A native of Washington, D.C., and graduate of the University of Wisconsin (1970) and Loyola University of Chicago Law School (1973), Norman Blumenthal moved to La Jolla, Calif., in 1976 to accept a position as Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel for an oil and gas exploration company. After twelve years in the corporate sector, Blumenthal entered private practice, shifting focus to the protection of employees, consumers, and securities buyers from unfair business practices and pursuing both class action and individual cases. Among other notable cases, Blumenthal led a class action suit against the city of Escondido, Calif. (Coshow v. City of Escondido, 132 Cal. App. 4th 687), arguing that their decision to fluoridate the city water supply in 2001 amounted to “mass medicating the entire community” without consent using chemicals that were known to be carcinogenic. In 2005, the court upheld the City’s fluoridation plan.

The Blumenthal collection represents the extensive legal and research files employed by the plaintiffs in Coshow v. Escondido and the appeals that ensued, including correspondence, litigants’ files, depositions, exhibits, “expert documents,” research materials and drafts, “extras.”

Subjects
  • Antifluoridation movement
  • Drinking water--Law and legislation--California
  • Fluorides--Physiological effect

Brinley Family

Brinley Family Papers, 1643-1950
(4.75 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 161
Brinley Family Papers image
Deborah Brinley and infant son Francis, 1729
Copy by Charles U. Bond (1830)
after John Smibert

A prosperous family of merchants and landowners, the Brinleys were well ensconced among the social and political elite of colonial New England. Connected by marriage to other elite families in Rhode Island and Massachusetts — the Auchmutys, Craddocks, and Tyngs among them — the Brinleys were refined, highly educated, public spirited, and most often business-minded. Although many members of the family remained loyal to the British cause during the Revolution, the family retained their high social standing in the years following.

The Brinley collection includes business letters, legal and business records, wills, a fragment of a diary, documents relating to slaves, newspaper clippings, and a small number of paintings and artifacts. A descendent, Nancy Brinley, contributed a quantity of genealogical research notes and photocopies of Brinley family documents from other repositories. Of particular note in the collection is a fine nineteenth century copy of a John Smibert portrait of Deborah Brinley (1719), an elegant silver tray passed through the generations, and is a 1713 list of the library of Francis Brinley, which offers a foreshadowing of the remarkable book collection put together in the later nineteenth century by his descendant George Brinley.

Subjects
  • American loyalists--Massachusetts
  • Book collectors--United States--History--19th century
  • Brinley family
  • Brinley, George, 1817-1875--Library
  • Businessmen--Massachusetts--History
  • Businessmen--Rhode Island--History
  • Craddock family
  • Landowners--Massachusetts--History
  • Landowners--Rhode Island--History
  • Libraries--Rhode Island--18th century
  • Massachusetts--Economic conditions--18th century
  • Massachusetts--Politics and government--19th century
  • Rhode Island--Economic conditions--18th century
  • Rhode Island--Genealogy
  • Rhode Island--Politics and government--19th century
  • Slavery--United States--History
  • Tyng family
  • United Empire Loyalists
Types of material
  • Deeds
  • Realia

Brookfield (Mass.). Selectmen

Brookfield (Mass.) Records, 1736-1795
1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 595

Settled in 1660 and incorporated in 1718, the town of Brookfield (Worcester County) straddles the Boston Post Road, one of the major arteries during the colonial period connecting Boston with the towns of the Connecticut River Valley and New York.

This assemblage of documents from the town of Brookfield consists primarily of warrants for town meetings, many with agendas, issued through the local constable. Concentrated in the 1770s, these warrants provide relatively detailed information on matters of local importance, including town finances, tax assessments, contributions to the poor house, roadways, and property disputes. During the Revolutionary and post-Revolutionary years, however, issues of interest to the town were often wrapped up in regional or national political issues. Town freeholders, for example, were called to consider requests to “come into any Vote or Resolve Respecting the East India Company Tea,” the encouragement of manufacture of firearms, smallpox inoculation, and pay for the town’s Minute Men.

Subjects
  • Brookfield (Mass.)--History--18th century
  • Smallpox
  • United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783
Contributors
  • Forster, Jedediah
Types of material
  • Warrants

Buffington, Elisha L.

Elisha L. Buffington Diaries, 1894 July-Dec.
2 vols. (0.1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 711 bd

A twenty year-old from Swansea, Mass., Elisha L. Buffington took a grand tour of Asia with his uncle Elisha D. Buffington and aunt Charlotte in 1894. Spending two months in Japan, the Buffingtons traveled through China and the Subcontinent, visiting the usual cultural and historic sites as well as more unusual voyages to the Himalayas.

Meticulously kept in two volumes (ca.381p.), Elisha L. Buffington’s diaries record the impressions of a twenty year-old from Swansea, Mass., during his first voyage to Asia. Although the diaries do not cover the entire trip, they record details of two months spent in Japan, including an eyewitness account of the Meiji earthquake in Tokyo, and interesting visits to Shanghai and Hong Kong, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and India. The diary ends on December 27, 1894, when the Buffingtons were at Delhi.

Subjects
  • Buffington, Charlotte Walker
  • Buffington, Elisha D
  • Canada--Description and travel
  • China--Description and travel
  • India--Description and travel
  • Japan--Description and travel
  • Japan--Social life and customs--1868-1912
  • Singapore--Description and travel
  • Sri Lanka--Description and travel
Contributors
  • Buffington, Elisha L
Types of material
  • Diaries

Buffington, Zephania, 1771-

Zephaniah Buffington Account Book, 1803-1808
1 envelope (0.1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 226

Quaker merchant and farmer from Dartmouth, Massachusetts. Includes two major notations about a large cheese purchase and the sale of hoes in Washington County, New York. Also contains inventories of goods, notations for notes payable and notes receivable, and accounts of his farm (including amounts of cheese made, accounts of farm tools, and the keeping of cows and sheep).

Subjects
  • Bristol County (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Cheese
  • Cheesemakers--Massachusetts--Dartmouth
  • Dairying--Economic aspects--Massachusetts
  • Dartmouth (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Farmers--Massachusetts--Dartmouth
  • Hoes
  • Merchants--Massachusetts--Dartmouth
  • Quakers--Massachusetts--Bristol County
  • Quakers--New York (State)--Washington County
  • Washington County (N.Y.)--Economic conditions--19th century
Contributors
  • Buffington, Zephaniah, 1771-
Types of material
  • Account books

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

Burnett, Bela, 1778-

Bela Burnett Account Book, 1801-1842
1 vol. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 385 bd

A storeowner, farmer, and citizen of Granby, Mass., Bela Burnett was born October 4, 1778, the second of seven children of Jonathan and Mehitabel (Dickinson) Burnett. Having relocated from Southampton, New York, to Battleboro, Vermont, in 1770, Jonathan and Mehitable settled in Granby in 1774, purchasing the farm of Aaron Nash where in 2010, Burnett descendants still live. Burnett had at least five children by two marriages, first to Clarissa Warner (1801) and second to Sally Allen (1808). Burnett died in Granby on April 16, 1846.

The Burnett account book includes careful records of goods sold, customers’ accounts, and the form and method of payment (cash, credit, or barter), as well as some information on family members and boarders, along with a handful of miscellaneous items laid in, such as calculations, notes, and a remedy for yellow jaundice.

Subjects
  • Agricultural laborers--Massachusetts--Granby
  • Barter--Massachusetts--Granby
  • Boardinghouses--Massachusetts--Granby--19th century
  • Farmers--Massachusetts--Granby
  • Food prices--Massachusetts--Granby
  • General stores--Massachusetts--Granby
  • Granby (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Jaundice
  • Marsh, Tim A. P
  • Medicine--Formulae, receipts, prescriptions
  • Produce trade--Massachusetts--Granby--19th century
  • Robbins, Asa
  • Shopping--Massachusetts--Granby
  • Smith, David
Contributors
  • Burnett, Bela, 1778-
Types of material
  • Account books

Business (misc.)

Business Collection, 1915-1989
1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 329

Publications and reports from miscellaneous businesses including Northeast Utilities and Turners Falls Power and Electric Company as well as from the Employers’ Association of Western Massachusetts and the Industrial Accident Board.

Contributors
  • Employers' Association of Western Massachusetts
  • Northeast Utilities Company
  • Turners Falls Power and Electric Company

Butler, Mills, Smith & Barker

Butler, Mills, Smith, and Barker Daybook, 1837-1845
1 vol. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 183 bd

Daybook listing financial transactions of Butler, Mills, Smith and Barker Woolen Mill, a small woolen manufactory in Williamstown, Massachusetts owned by Henry Mills, Silas Butler, Asa Barker and Ebenezer Smith.

Accounts provide detailed information regarding costs of commodities, labor, and boarding in the town and document the impact of a small factory on the local economy where residents sold soap, oil, and wool to the mill, boarded its workers, took in weaving and hauled freight for the business. Includes mixed personal and business expenses, information about employees and production in the two woolen mills in town, and information concerning the cost of commodities, labor, and boarding workers in the town.

Subjects
  • Woolen and worsted manufacture--Massachusetts--Williamstown
Contributors
  • Barker, Asa
  • Butler, Mills, Smith, and Barker
  • Butler, Silas, d. 1841
  • Mills, Henry, b. 1810
  • Smith, Ebenezer
Types of material
  • Daybooks
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