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Obadiah Brown’s Benevolent Fund

Obadiah Brown's Benevolent Fund Records

1814-2015
3 boxes, 7 vols. 5.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 956

Upon his death in 1822, Obadiah Brown bequeathed $100,000 from his sizable estate to support the Friends Boarding School in Providence, R.I., with much of the rest endowing a charitable fund that bears his name. A committed Quaker and philanthropist like his father Moses, Obadiah stipulated that the annual income from his benevolent fund be directed “principally for the benefit of our religious society” and assist in spreading “our Religious Principles where they are little known.” Independent of the New England Yearly Meeting of Friends and administered by twelve trustees, the Fund over the years has supported Quaker education, the publication and distribution of religious literature, and other projects that provide “benefits to the Religious Society,” including work in peace and social justice. The Trustees also administer a separate fund with similar purpose established by 1914 bequest from Sarah J. Swift.

Beginning with records documenting the establishment of the Benevolent Fund, the collection documents nearly two centuries of philanthropic support for Quaker causes. In addition to copies of Brown’s will and the incorporating documents and by-laws, the collection includes a nearly comprehensive set of Trustees’ minutes and treasurer’s reports, with some supporting documents.

Gift of the Obadiah Brown Benevolent Fund, Mar. 2017

Subjects

  • Charities--New England
  • Society of Friends--Charities
Oral history

Class of 1889 in front of Durfee Greenhouse
Oral historian at the First National Women’s Conference in Houston, Texas, 1977. Photo by Diana Mara Henry

However rich our archival collections may be, there are always parts of the historical record that never make it onto the page. Memories, emotions, and attitudes are notoriously difficult to document, and there a variety of all-too human reasons that people choose not to write down every detail of their lives. As a result, the Department of Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) has been actively engaged in recording oral histories as a way of capturing a more complete record of the many voices and diverse experiences that comprise .

SCUA first ventured into oral historical work in the mid-1970s with efforts to document the history of the university prior to the massive expansion of the previous decade, and the department has subsequently engaged in oral historical projects to document the university’s 125th and 150th anniversaries. In the past decade, SCUA has extended its work to documenting the histories of persons represented in its collections and to a broader array of projects documenting the history and experience of social change and the people and cultures on New England. Furthermore, SCUA is the repository for hundreds of oral histories recorded by other people, ranging in scope from interviews with Franco-Americans in the 1980s, 20th century Argentine political figures, and former residents of the Quabbin towns in Western Massachusetts.

Many of SCUA’s oral histories are available online through our digital repository Credo. These include audio and video recordings and, in a few cases, they may be fully transcribed.

Supporting material

For donors of oral histories:

SCUA is happy to accept donations of oral histories that fit within its collection policy.

Although SCUA accepts materials in most audio and video formats — cassette, reel to reel, RDAT, VHS, Betacam, or digital — we typically prefer to receive interviews in the format in which they were recorded and in the highest quality available. When possible, we prefer uncompressed digital files, however we appreciate receiving a compressed derivative (e.g., mp3 for audio, mp4 for video). When available, transcripts in print and electronic form are a very valuable addition.

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Ott, Cora M.

Cora M. Ott Collection

ca.1980-2000
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: PH 039

An educational psychologist from Chelsea, Mass., Cora Ott was a poet, writer, and photographer of gravestones.

This small collection consists of snapshots (both color and black and white) of gravestones and cemeteries visited by Cora Ott during her travels, primarily in eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island, but as far away as Arizona and California. Printed materials that were included with the collection will be transferred to the AGS Book Collection.

Gift of Cora M. Ott to the AGS in 2009, and transferred to SCUA, 2010.

Subjects

  • Gravestones--Massachusetts
  • Gravestones--Rhode Island

Types of material

  • Photographs
Outreach

Sunderland

Sunderland, by Frank Waugh, ca.1920

The collections in SCUA are available to all researchers regardless of affiliation and we welcome visitors, in person and online. To encourage public and scholarly interest, SCUA sponsors colloquia and seminars on subjects relating to social change, innovation and entrepreneurship, and the history of New England; we offer instructional sessions and tours; and we work collaboratively with members of our community, within UMass and without.

Over the past several years, SCUA has built a substantial online presence, offering free access to dozens of collections and hundreds of thousands of pages through our digital repository, Credo. SCUA hosts two to three exhibits per year, which are on display on the Lower Level and 25th Floor of the W.E.B. Du Bois Library, as well as periodic online exhibitions.

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Palmieri, Nancy

Nancy Palmieri Collection

1976-2012
14 boxes 6.5 linear feet
Call no.: PH 074
Image of West Springfield police officer chasing a chicken in the Century Plaza, 1984
West Springfield police officer chasing a chicken in the Century Plaza, 1984

The photojournalist Nancy Palmieri (1951-2016) received her BA in journalism at Utica College (1977) and studied at the New England School of Photography before launching a newspaper career. In addition to working with the Springfield (Mass.) Union-News and Sunday Republican for several years, she held positions with the Daily Ledger (Antioch, Calif.), the Worcester Telegram and Gazette, the Ridgewood (N.J.) News, and the Providence Journal (1989-1991). Shifting course in the early 1990s, she became a photo editor for the Associated Press in Los Angeles, and for a short time she taught photography. Relocating to Northampton, Mass., in 1998, she became a successful freelancer, working for prominent clients in new and old media such as the Boston Globe, New York Times, and LA Times, as well as with local institutions such as Jacob’s Pillow, UMass Amherst, and Smith College. Palmieri died of cancer in July 2016.

The Palmieri collection consists of negatives (mostly 35mm), 35mm slides, compact disks of digital images, and selected prints representing a cross-section of a photojournalistic career. Arranged chronologically, the collection begins during the period when Palmieri was first emerging as a serious photographer, and includes content from each of her professional positions. In addition to standard news assignments, the content includes photo essays, human interest pieces, and wide-ranging free lance work.

Gift of Kathy Borchers, Mar. 2017

Subjects

  • Photojournalists--Massachusetts

Types of material

  • Photography
Parker, Alfred A.

Alfred A. Parker Daybooks

1877-1889
4 vols. 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 235

In the years following the Civil War, Alfred A. Parker operated a stove and tinware shop in Orange, Mass., trading with individuals and business in the nearby towns of New Salem and Erving. A native of New Hampshire and resident of Missouri in the years prior to the war, Parker had four children with his wife Frances (Whipple), two of whom survived him at his death in 1907.

Alfred Parker’s daybooks document his business transactions with local residents and firms, including the Gold Medal Sewing Machine Co., the Orange Manufacturing Co., and the Rodney Hunt Machine Co. The entries note charges for labor (especially soldering), the cost of stoves, pipe, kettles of various sorts, roofing material, and information about shipping costs.

Subjects

  • Freight and freightage--Rates--Massachusetts--19th century
  • Gold Medal Sewing Machine Company
  • Kettles--Prices--Massachusetts--Orange--19th century
  • New Salem (Mass.)--History
  • Orange (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Orange Manufacturing Company (Orange, Mass.)
  • Pipe--Prices--Massachusetts--Orange--19th century
  • Rodney Hunt Machine Company
  • Roofing--Prices--Massachusetts--Orange--19th century
  • Solder and soldering--Costs--19th century
  • Stove industry and trade--Massachusetts--Orange--19th century
  • Stoves--Prices--Massachusetts--Orange--19th century
  • Tinsmithing--Massachusetts--Orange--19th century
  • Tinsmiths--Massachusetts--Orange--Economic conditions--19th century

Contributors

  • Parker, Alfred A.

Types of material

  • Account books
  • Daybooks
Passin, Herbert

Herbert Passin Collection

1944-1955
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 565

A distinguished scholar of contemporary Japan, Herbert Passin was born in Chicago on Dec. 16, 1916. After completing a doctorate in anthropology in 1941, Passin was inducted into the Army and sent to the Army’s Japanese language school in Ann Arbor, Michigan, for training. Assigned to duty in Tokyo in December 1945, he became chief of the Public Opinion and Sociological Research Division under Gen. Douglas MacArthur. During his tour of duty, Passin coordinated a series of sociological studies of Japanese village life to help guide U.S. Occupation policy, particularly as it dealt with land and labor reform.

The Passin Collection contains reports and notes of sociological surveys of two Japanese villages, Yuzurihara and Yawatano, conducted by U.S. Occupation authorities in 1946 and 1947, along with a wartime report by Arthur Meadow of “Japanese character structure based on Japanese film plots and thematic apperception tests on Japanese Americans,” and a post-war letter from the novelist Takami Jun.

Gift of James and Sibylle Fraser, Oct. 2007

Subjects

  • Japan--History--Allied occupation, 1945-1952
  • Japan--Sociology--Occupation

Contributors

  • Passin, Herbert

Types of material

  • Letters (Correspondence)
Patagonia

Patagonian Rebellion Collection

1921-1965
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 353

In 1921-1922, Chilean workers on sheep ranches in Patagonia rebelled violently against their conditions, egged on by anarchist agitators. Under pressure from Conservatives to act decisively, the Radical government in Buenos Aires ordered the 10th Cavalry Regiment under Hector Benigno Varela to quell the disturbance, which they did with a heavy hand.

The Patagonian Rebellion Collection consists of typescripts and photocopies of materials relating to the suppression of the workers’ revolt of 1921-1922. The most significant items include the official diaries and reports of cavalry officers sent to quell the uprising, but the collection also includes correspondence after the fact, news clippings documenting public reaction, and photocopies of photographs depicting the principle individuals involved and the damage wrought. .

Gift of Robert Potash, 1988
Language(s): Spanish

Subjects

  • Argentina--History
  • Argentina--History--Revolution
  • Varela, Hector B.

Contributors

  • Anello, Alfredo
  • Campos, Pedro E
  • Ibarra, Pedro Vinas

Types of material

  • Diaries
Peasley, Alonzo A.

Alonzo A. Peasley Diaries

1861-1863
2 vols. 0.2 linear feet
Call no.: MS 608 bd
Image of Fragments of the 1st Massachusetts Infantry flag
Fragments of the 1st Massachusetts Infantry flag

Born in Dorchester, Mass., Alonzo A. Peasley enlisted in the 1st Massachusetts Infantry in May 1861, only weeks after the outbreak of the Civil War. Sent almost immediately southward, Peasley’s regiment was deployed in the Battles of Glendale and First Bull Run in July, and served with the Army of the Potomac throughout the Peninsular Campaign, Frederickbsurg, and Chancellorsville. As part of the 2nd Division, 3rd Army Corps on July 2, 1863, the 1st Massachusetts suffered a 40% casualty rate during fierce fighting along the Emmitsburg Road in Gettysburg, with Peasley sustaining serious wounds. Hospitalized for several months, he was transferred to the Veterans Reserve Corps to serve out his enlistment. In later life, Peasley worked as a letter carrier in Boston.

Exceptionally well-written, observant, and above all active, Peasley’s diaries offer a fine account of a private’s life in the Civil War. The two volumes include detailed descriptions of life in the 1st Massachusetts Infantry covering the entire period from the day the regiment left the state in June 1861 until the time of Peasley’s wounding at Gettysburg in July 1863. Among the highlights are a minutely detailed, thoroughly extended account of Peasley’s first major engagements (Blackburn’s Ford and First Bull Run), excellent account for the Peninsular Campaign, and a stunning account of the Second Battle of Bull Run.

Gift of William A. Carroll, June 2009

Subjects

  • Bull Run, 1st Battle of, Va., 1861
  • Bull Run, 2nd Battle of, Va., 1862
  • Peninsular Campaign, 1862
  • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
  • United States. Army--Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, 1st (1861-1864)

Contributors

  • Peasley, Alonzo A

Types of material

  • Diaries
Pierrefeu, Yann de

Yann de Pierrefeu Diaries

1927-1938
3 boxes 1.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 815
Image of Yann de Pierrefeu, ca.1935
Yann de Pierrefeu, ca.1935

Marie Alphonse Leopold Jehan Tudor Dedons “Yann” de Pierrefeu was born in 1905, the eldest of four children born into a distinguished family and heir to a French marquisate. After attending the Groton School and Harvard, Pierrefeu settled in Cape Ann, marrying Ellen Hemenway Taintor in 1930.

A dedicated, if idiosyncratic diarist, Pierrefeu left a large number of dense and often impenetrable volumes that can be part dream book, part imagination, and part quixotic engagement with the turbulent events of the 1930s. Laden with references to the Oz novels and replete with nicknames and apparently coded language, the diaries offer glimpses into Pierrefeu’s social life and marriage, and his reactions to the Great Depression, national politics, history, and the growing crises in Europe and Asia.

Acquired from Ben Katz, Mar. 2014

Subjects

  • Depressions--1929
  • Dreams
  • Pierrefeu, Ellen Taintor

Types of material

  • Diaries
  • Photographs