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Founded under the Morrill Land Grant Act of 1862 as the Massachusetts Agricultural College, UMass Amherst has long been dedicated to the study and teaching of agriculture and the natural sciences. One of two land grant institutions in the Commonwealth (along with MIT), the university has played an important role in the development of scientific agriculture in New England and has been a major factor in agricultural instruction through its classes and extension service.

SCUA’s collections contain a wealth of information on the history of agriculture and related fields, including horticulture, botany, entomology, animal husbandry, gardening, and landscape design. The strength of the collection lies in documenting the development of American agricultural sciences with an emphasis upon the northeastern states, but it is supplemented with numerous works on British, French, and German agriculture. Adding additional depth are the records of the several departments at UMass Amherst charged with instruction in the agricultural sciences and the papers of individual agricultural educators.

Currently, SCUA is particularly interested in documenting the growth of organic agriculture, heritage breeds, and the practices of sustainable living.

Notable collecting areas (view all)

  • Agricultural education
    • Papers of faculty members at Massachusetts Agricultural College and UMass Amherst, as well as educational organizations dedicated to instruction in the agricultural sciences. Among the individuals represented are the agricultural educator, Kenyon Butterfield; Levi Stockbridge, the first farm manager and long-time instructor at MAC; and William Smith Clark, William Penn Brooks, and William Wheeler, who were instrumental in the 1870s in establishing the agricultural college in Hokkaido, Japan.
    • Also printed works through the late nineteenth century on agriculture in America, Britain, and Europe, including those by John Fitzherbert, Thomas Hale, Arthur Young, “Columella,” John Smith, Gervase Markham, et al.
  • Animal husbandry
    • Books on sheep culture in the United States (Robert R. Livingston, Samuel Bard) and England (Lord Somerville, John Lawrence); dairy and beef cattle, horses, poultry science.
  • Farming and rural life
    • Correspondence, farm accounts, and other records of farming and rural life, primarily in New England, as well as materials relating to the sociology of rural life.
  • Beekeeping and entomology
    • Among the earliest rare books acquired by the Massachusetts Agricultural Library were a collections of rare books in beekeeping, including key works by Thomas Hill, John Keys, Daniel Wildman, Henry Eddy, from the late 17th through late 19th centuries. Works by Maria Sibylla Merian, John Curtis, Dru Drury, Johann Jakob Romer, Jacob l’Admiral
  • Botany, horticulture, pomology, etc.
    • Collections relating to the scientific study of botany, horticulture, forestry, and related sciences.
    • Important printed works on American botany by Frederick Pursh, Thomas Nuttall, Humphry Marshall’s Arbustrum Americanum, François André Michaux, early editions of Linnaeus, William Prince, William Coxe, William Chorlton, et al.
  • Landscape and gardening
    • The papers and photographs of the landscape designer Frank Waugh, Julius Fabos, Erwin Zube, and other collections.
    • Among many printed works on gardens and landscapes are three editions of Bernard M’Mahon’s seminal American Gardener’s Calendar, William Cobbett, Alexander Jackson Davis, Humphry Repton, and others.
  • Organic and sustainable agriculture
    • Records of the Northeast Organic Farmers Association and others involved in organic agriculture, alternate energy, and sustainability.
  • Other natural sciences
    • Including entomology and geology.

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Albertson, Jeff

Jeff Albertson Photograph Collection

7 boxes 10.5 linear feet
Call no.: PH 057
Image of Jeff Albertson, ca.1970
Jeff Albertson, ca.1970

Born in Reading, Mass., on Sept 13, 1948, Jeff Albertson was still a student at Boston University, working on the staff of the BU News, when he was hired as a photographer by the Boston Globe. Reflecting the youth culture of the late 1960s and early 1970s, his photographs earned him positions with several prominent Boston alternative media outlets. Covering news, music, and the political interests of his generation, he served as photo editor for the Boston Phoenix and associate publisher for the Real Paper, and his work appeared regularly in mainstream publications such as Rolling Stone, People, and Boston Magazine. After becoming photo editor for the Medical Tribune News Group and moving to New York City in the 1980s, he met and married Charlene Laino. In later years, he became involved in early efforts to create websites devoted to issues surrounding health. Albertson died in 2008.

As a photographer, Albertson covered a wide range of subjects, with particular focus on music and social change. The many thousands of prints, slides, and negatives in the collection include stunning shots of Bruce Springsteen, Bonnie Raitt, Neil Young, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, and John Lee Hooker, activists such as Abbie Hoffman, politicians, and public personalities. The collection also includes several photographic essays centered on poverty, old age, fire fighting in Boston, and prisoners in Massachusetts (among other issues) along with a wide array of landscapes and street scenes.

Gift of Charlene Laino, Oct. 2013
  • Boston (Mass.)--Photographs
  • Musicians--Photographs
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements
  • Simon, Peter
Types of material
  • Photographs

Alumnus Magazine

Alumnus Magazine Photograph Collection

ca. 1974-1989
12 linear feet
Call no.: RG 147
Image of Julius Erving during basketball workshop at UMass, 1980
Julius Erving during basketball workshop at UMass, 1980

The once active photo morgue of the Alumnus Magazine, the Alumnus Magazine Photograph Collection captures diverse aspects of campus life during the 1970s and 1980s, including portraits of campus officials, sports events, commencements, a visit to campus by Julius Erving, and assorted campus buildings and scenery.

  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Alumni
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Students
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst
Types of material
  • Photographs

Association for Gravestone Studies

Association for Gravestone Studies Collection

25 collections
Call no.: MS 610

Founded in 1977, the Association for Gravestone Studies (AGS) is an international organization dedicated to the study and preservation of gravestones of all periods and styles. Based in Greenfield, Mass., the AGS sponsors conferences, workshops and exhibits, and publishes an annual journal, Markers, and quarterly bulletin. Their mission is to promote the study of gravestones from historical and artistic perspectives, expand public awareness of the significance of historic grave markers, and encourage individuals and groups to record and preserve gravestones.

The AGS Collection consists of the central records of the organization plus a growing number of photographic archives of gravestone art donated by members and associates. Offering critical documentation of gravestones, tombs, and cemeteries throughout the country, but especially New England.

Collections include:

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Gift of the Association for Gravestone Studies, 2009-2017
Connect to another siteThe AGS publications, Markers
and Newsletter of the AGS are digitized and available online through Credo
  • Sepulchral monuments
  • Stone carving
  • Association for Gravestone Studies

Bascom, Eric

Eric Bascom Collection of Jazz Recordings

ca. 1940-1950
ca. 500 phonograph records 10 linear feet
Call no.: MS 882
Image of David Stone Martin cover for Slim Gaillard and Bam Brown's 'Opera in Vout'
David Stone Martin cover for Slim Gaillard and Bam Brown's 'Opera in Vout'

When he was fifteen or sixteen, Eric Bascom’s life changed forever when he saw renowned jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery perform. Though Bascom had been playing guitar himself since he was young, seeing Montgomery opened his eyes to a completely new way of playing guitar and a completely new approach to music. Since that time, Bascom has been an avid listener, collector, and practitioner of jazz. He is currently performing as the Eric Bascom Trio with Ed Brainerd and Genevieve Rose.

The Eric Bascom Collection of Jazz Recordings consists of hundreds of jazz 78 rpm records from the 1940s and 1950s, including a number of 78 books with beautifully illustrated covers. In addition to the records are player piano rolls, several of which were punched by Fats Waller, and a portable Walters Conley Phonola 78 record player.

  • Bop (Music)
  • Jazz musicians
  • Basie, Count, 1904-1984
  • Christian, Charlie, 1916-1942
  • Fitzgerald, Ella
  • Parker, Charlie, 1920-1955
Types of material
  • 78 rpm records
  • Piano rolls

Black, Joseph Laurence, 1962-

Joseph Laurence Black History of the Book Collection

128 items 3 linear feet
Call no.: RB 023
Image of The Woman Trapper (1908)
The Woman Trapper (1908)

A scholar of early modern British literature, Joe Black received his BA and PhD from the University of Toronto and taught for several years at the University of Tennessee Knoxville before joining the English faculty at UMass Amherst in 1994. Rooted in the history of the book, his research on seventeenth-century literature has examined the intersection between writing and the material and social context of production as well as the dialogue between print and manuscript culture.

The Black collection is an eclectic assemblage of American imprints designed to assist study and instruction in the history of the book. The collection includes two long runs of pulp novels, Beadle’s Frontier Series and the American Revolution-inspired Liberty Boys of ’76, examples of almanacs, prompt books, and works form the early national period in publishers’ bindings.

  • Books--History--United States
  • Dime novels, American
Types of material
  • Almanacs
  • Scrapbooks

Blackington, Alton H.

Alton H. Blackington Photograph Collection

15 boxes 4 linear feet
Call no.: PH 061
Image of Fortune teller, ca.1930
Fortune teller, ca.1930

A native of Rockland, Maine, Alton H. “Blackie” Blackington (1893-1963) was a writer, photojournalist, and radio personality associated with New England “lore and legend.” After returning from naval service in the First World War, Blackington joined the staff of the Boston Herald, covering a range of current events, but becoming well known for his human interest features on New England people and customs. He was successful enough by the mid-1920s to establish his own photo service, and although his work remained centered on New England and was based in Boston, he photographed and handled images from across the country. Capitalizing on the trove of New England stories he accumulated as a photojournalist, Blackington became a popular lecturer and from 1933-1953, a radio and later television host on the NBC network, Yankee Yarns, which yielded the books Yankee Yarns (1954) and More Yankee Yarns (1956).

This collection of glass plate negatives was purchased by Robb Sagendorf of Yankee Publishing around the time of Blackington’s death. Reflecting Blackington’s photojournalistic interests, the collection covers a terrain stretching from news of public officials and civic events to local personalities, but the heart of the collection is the dozens of images of typically eccentric New England characters and human interest stories. Most of the images were taken by Blackington on 4×5″ dry plate negatives, however many of the later images are made on flexible acetate stock and the collection includes several images by other (unidentified) photographers distributed by the Blackington News Service.

Gift of Yankee Publishing, Mar. 2012
  • Coolidge, Calvin, 1872-1933--Photographs
  • Earhart, Amelia, 1897-1937--Photographs
  • Maine--Social life and customs--Photographs
  • Massachusetts--Social life and customs--Photographs
  • New England--Social life and customs--Photographs
  • New Hampshire--Social life and customs--Photographs
  • Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945--Photographs
  • Sacco-Vanzetti Trial, Dedham, Mass., 1921--Photographs
Types of material
  • Photographs

Blake, Ella Dot Martin

Ella Dot Martin Blake Sheet Music Collection

3 boxes 3.0 linear feet
Call no.: RB 015
Image of I'm forever blowing bubbles
I'm forever blowing bubbles

A native of Waterloo, Quebec, Ella Dot Martin Blake emigrated to Worcester County, Mass., in about 1927. She and her husband Sydney farmed and raised two sons. Ella Blake died in 1987.

Assembled by Ella Dot Martin Blake, this collection consists of eighty pieces of sheet music, more than half with illustrated covers. Dating from the early 1900s, the collection covers both World Wars as well as the rise of Broadway and Hollywood’s golden age. Selections include military sheet music, “Good-Bye, Little Girl, Good-Bye” (1904) and music from Hollywood films, such as “Daddy Long Legs” dedicated to Mary Pickford (1919), and “By a Waterfall” from Footlight Parade (1933).

Gift of Janice Blake, Oct. 2012
  • Motion picture actors and actresses--Photographs
  • World War, 1939-1945--Songs and music
Types of material
  • Sheet music

Campano, Anthony

Anthony Campano Papers

2 boxes 1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 617

Anthony “Tony” Campano and Shizuko Shirai met by chance in January 1955 as Tony was passing through Yokohama en route to his new post in Akiya. Recently transferred to Japan, Tony enlisted in the U.S. Army a little over a year earlier, serving first in Korea. As their relationship blossomed, Tony and Shizuko set up housekeeping until his enlistment ended and he returned home to Boston. Determined to get back to Japan quickly and marry Shizuko, the two continued their courtship by mail, sending letters through Conrad Totman and Albert Braggs, both stationed in Japan. By the summer of 1956, Tony re-enlisted in the Army, this time stationed in the Medical Battalion of the 24th Division located in Seoul, Korea. There he remained until August 1957 when he was finally able to secure official authorization to marry Shizuko. Cutting their honeymoon short to deal with her medical emergency, Tony returned to his post in Korea. The couple reunited in November of that year after Tony secured a new assignment in Yokohama.

The letters of Tony Campano to Shizuko Shirai during the year or more they were separated document their unlikely romance. Soon after Tony returned home when his first enlistment ended, friends and family tried to discourage him from pursuing a relationship with Shizuko. Despite their age difference–Shizuko was eleven years older– and the language barrier, the two ultimately married. In addition to the couple’s long-distance courtship letters, the collection also contains about 100 letters exchanged between Campano and Conrad Totman, dating from their early days in the U.S. Army to the present; taken together they document a friendship of more than fifty years.

  • Japan--Social life and customs--1945-
  • United States. Army--Non-commissioned officers--Correspondence
  • Campano, Anthony
  • Campano, Shizuko Shirai
  • Totman, Conrad D
Types of material
  • Letters (Correspondence)

Chenoweth, Walter W. (Walter Winfred), b. 1872

Walter W. Chenoweth Papers

1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: FS 046
Image of Walter W. Chenoweth
Walter W. Chenoweth

Walter W. Chenoweth, the founder of the Horticultural Manufactures Department in 1918, the predecessor to the Food Science Department, was a key figure in the development of research and education in modern food science. Hired as a pomologist at Mass. Agricultural College in 1912, Chenoweth had no background in food science, but encouraged by Frank A. Waugh and supported by Frederick Sears, he developed a course of study from scratch, learning and standardizing many of techniques himself while teaching. His curriculum and the processes he and his students developed for preserving food contributed to easing the food shortages brought on by World War I. Under the aegis of the new department, Chenoweth initiated a program in community food preservation, instructing students and members of the public in canning and other techniques. In 1929-1930, he loaned his services to the Grenfell Mission in Newfoundland, setting up canneries and teaching the methods of food preservation to would-be colonizers in Newfoundland and Labrador. Faced with a dearth of solid literature in the field, he published a textbook, Food Preservation (1930), which was a standard text for many years. The University named the Food Science building in Chenoweth’s honor after it was built in 1965. Chenoweth retired in 1941 and died four years later at the age of 75. .

The Walter Chenoweth Papers includes many of Chenoweth’s published works on canning and food preservation including his 1930 text, Food Preservation, as well as a typescript text called How to Preserve Food, eventually published by Houghton Mifflin in 1945. Also in the collection are clippings and memorabilia from Chenoweth’s trips to Newfoundland while working at the Grenfell Mission and a set of glass lantern slides.

  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Food Science
  • Chenoweth, Walter W. (Walter Winfred), 1872-