Alton H. Blackington Photograph Collection, 1898-1943.
15 boxes (4 linear feet).
Call no.: PH 061
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 Blackington’s 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.
- 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
Boston & Albany Railroad Engineering Department Map Collection, 1833-1920.
Call no.: MS 130
The Boston and Albany Railroad was formed between 1867 and 1870 from the merger of three existing lines, the Boston and Worcester (chartered 1831), the Western (1833), and the Castleton and West Stockbridge (1834). The corporation was a primary east-west transit through the Commonwealth, with branches connecting towns including Athol, Ware, North Adams, and Hudson, N.Y.
The nineteen atlases comprising this collection include detailed plans documenting the location and ownership of rights of way, land-takings, and other land transfers to or from the railroad company. Dating from the early years of operation for the corporation to just after the turn of the century, the atlases include maps of predecessor lines (Boston and Worcester Railroad Corporation and Western Rail-Road), as well as the Grand Junction Railway Company (Charlestown, Somerville, Everett, and Chelsea), the Ware River Railroad, and the Chester and Becket Railroad.
- Boston and Albany Railroad Co.--Maps
- Boston and Worcester Railroad Corporation--Maps
- Chester and Becket Railroad--Maps
- Grand Junction Railway Company--Maps
- Real property--Massachusetts--Maps
- Ware River Railroad--Maps
- Western Rail-Road Corporation--Maps
- Boston & Albany Railroad Company. Engineering Department
Types of material
Boston and Maine Railroad Fitchburg Division Records, 1918-1958.
1 box (0.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 475
Chartered in June 1835, the Boston and Maine Railroad was the dominant railroad of northern New England for nearly one hundred years. This collection consists of records from the Engineering Department of the Fitchburg Division relating to the maintenance of bridges in Massachusetts, including correspondence, accident reports, financial records and progress reports on work recommended by bridge inspectors.
- Railroad companies--United States--History--20th century
- Boston and Maine Railroad. Fitchburg Division
Boston Jazz Society Records, ca. 1973-2014.
6 boxes (10 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 880
Founded in 1973, the Boston Jazz Society grew from a small group of enthusiasts listening to music in living rooms to a thriving organization that “kept Jazz alive” in New England. As Jazz’s popularity began to fade in the late 1960s, local Jazz societies formed to provide support to artists and give them the means and venues to continue to perform on the road. The Boston Jazz Society was originally inspired by one of the earliest, the Left Bank Jazz Society of Baltimore. Like the Left Bank, BJS produced concerts in clubs, theaters, and hotels but expanded their efforts to include exhibits, television and radio shows, and a Jazz education program for grade school students. The longest running BJS activities, however, were the annual Jazz Barbecues and starting in 1975, the BJS Scholarships. The scholarship program raised funds for young Jazz musicians to attend the New England Conservatory of Music’s Jazz Department and the Berklee School Of Music and began the musical careers of many important musicians, composers, and teachers. BJS was also deeply connected to the local music scene, celebrating Roxbury, Mass. natives Alan Dawson and Roy Haynes, whose brother Vincent was a long-time board member, among many others. After 42 years of promoting Jazz music in Boston, the Boston Jazz Society, Inc. dissolved in 2015.
The Boston Jazz Society Records extensively document BJS’s meetings, events, business dealings, and scholarship administration through meeting minutes, posters, correspondence, photographs, recordings, videos, and BJS’s own propaganda and publications. The majority of the BJS records came from the collection of founding member and longtime president Aureldon Edward Henderson and also represents his involvement in promoting Jazz in the Boston area.
- Jazz musicians--Massachusetts--Boston
- Berklee School of Music
- Haynes, Roy
- Henderson, Aureldon Edward
- New England Conservatory of Music
Brinley Family Papers, 1643-1950.
(4.75 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 161
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.
- American loyalists--Massachusetts
- Book collectors--United States--History--19th century
- Brinley family
- Brinley, George, 1817-1875--Library
- Businessmen--Rhode Island--History
- Craddock family
- 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
Burt V. Brooks Photograph Collection, 1889-1934.
3 boxes (1.5 linear feet).
Call no.: PH 060
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.
- Carriages and carts--Massachusetts--Greenwich--Photographs
- Dana (Mass.)--Photographs
- Enfield (Mass.)--Photographs
- Greenwich (Mass.)--Photographs
- Hillside School (Marlborough, Mass.)
- New Salem (Mass.)--Photographs
- Prescott (Mass.)--Photographs
Types of material
- Dry plate gelatin negatives
- Gelatin silver negatives
Children's Aid and Family Service Records, 1910-ca. 2001.
10 boxes (8 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 008
Agency providing traditional child and family service and extensive mental health services that worked closely with the SPCC, was a member in the Child Welfare League of America, and was the Northampton representative for the National Association of Travelers Aid Societies. Includes 10 versions of the constitution, typed personal recollections from the 25th anniversary, annual reports, minutes, and the correspondence of President Miriam Chrisman (1952-1957). Of special note, Mrs. Calvin Coolidge was the Chair of the Home Finding Committee of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children which helped to found the CAFS.
- Child mental health services--Massachusetts--Hampshire County--History
- Child welfare--Massachusetts--Hampshire County--History
- Children--Institutional care--Massachusetts--Hampshire County--History
- Coolidge, Grace Goodhue, 1879-1957
- Foster home care--Massachusetts--Hampshire County--History
- Franklin County (Mass.)--Social conditions
- Hampshire County (Mass.)--Social conditions
- Homeless children--Massachusetts--Franklin County--History
- Homeless children--Massachusetts--Hampshire County--History
- Northampton (Mass.)--Intellectual life--History
- Northampton (Mass.)--Social conditions
- Social service--Massachusetts--Hampshire County--History
- Children's Aid Association (Hampshire County, Mass.)
- Children's Aid and Family Service of Hampshire County (Hampshire County, Mass.)
- Children's Home Association (Franklin County, Mass. and Hampshire County, Mass.)
- Chrisman, Miriam Usher
- Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Home Finding Committee
Lyman Clapp Diary, 1825 August 8-25.
Call no.: MS 709 bd
When Lyman Clapp and Lucia Cowls agreed to marry in 1825, they took a celebratory tour of western Massachusetts and northern Connecticut. Over nine days, they traveled from Mt. Pleasant, Mass. (possibly in Worcester County) through Brimfield to Stafford, Tolland, Vernon, Hartford, and Litchfield, Connecticut, before returning home by way of Springfield and Northampton. The Clapp’s party consisted of the engaged couple chaperoned by Lucia’s parents, and they were joined by a relative, Edward, near Hartford.
Filled with interesting vignettes of travel in western New England during the 1820s, Clapp’s diary includes fine descriptions of the various taverns and inns they visited en route and the range of natural and cultural sites, from rolling hills to modern milling technology. Among other sights that caught Clapp’s eye were the the Charter Oak, a hermit living in the hills near Avon, the Walcott Factories at Torrington, Northampton, and the extraordinary view from the top of Mount Holyoke.
- African Americans--Connecticut
- Brookfield (Mass.)--Description and travel--19th century
- Connecticut--Description and travel--19th century
- Hartford (Conn.)--Description and travel--19th century
- Litchfield (Conn.)--Description and travel--19th century
- Massachusetts--Description and travel--19th century
- Mount Holyoke (Mass.)--Description and travel--19th century
- Northampton (Mass.)--Description and travel--19th century
- Springfield (Mass.)--Description and travel--19th century
- Stafford (Conn.)--Description and travel--19th century
- Taverns (Inns)--Connecticut
- Vernon (Conn.)--Description and travel--19th century
Types of material
Gloria Xifaras Clark Papers, 1943-2015.
20 boxes (9.75 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 865
Gloria Xifaras Clark was working as an elementary school teacher in her home town of New Bedford in 1964 when she answered the call to enlist in the Mississippi Freedom Summer Project. A recent graduate of Wheelock College, she was assigned to teach in the Benton County Freedom School in Holly Springs for several months, and stayed on to help organize the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and to teach literacy and Negro history in Benton, Tippah, and Union Counties. She continued on the activist path after returning to Massachusetts, devoting her energies to economic justice initiatives and work with the Friends of SNCC and the NAACP, and diving headlong into the antiwar movement as head of the Greater New Bedford Draft Information Center. After spending three years in England with her family in 1972-1975, she resumed her civic and educational work in New Bedford, eventually earning appointment as head of the Commonwealth’s Office for Children under Michael Dukakis in 1983. With a keen awareness of the historical importance of the civil rights struggle, Clark became a key organizer of an oral history project during the 1990s that included her fellow veterans of the civil rights movement in northern Mississippi. The results are available digitally through the University of Southern Mississippi.
Documenting the evolution of one activist’s career, the Clark Papers offer valuable information on the Freedom Summer and Freedom Schools in northern Mississippi, particularly in Tippah and Benton Counties, and civil rights activism more generally. The collection includes communiques among civil rights workers in the region, a variety of correspondence, pamphlets, newsletters, and ephemera, plus a small, but noteworthy collection of photographs. Of particular significance among the later materials is a thick body of material from the Draft Information Center in New Bedford (1967-1968), the Vietnam Summer project (1967), and relating to Clark’s role in the Harvard Strike of 1969.
- American Friends Service Committee
- Civil Rights movements--Mississippi
- Council of Federated Organizations (U.S.)
- Draft resisters--Massachusetts
- Harvard University--Student strike, 1969
- Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party
- Mississippi Freedom Project
- Peace movements--Masachusetts
- Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (U.S.)
- Students for a Democratic Society (U.S.)
- Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements--Massachusetts
Types of material
Paul and Olive Colburn Collection, 1894-2001.
1 box (0.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 860
Husband and wife Paul Francis and Olive (“Tommie” Fox) Colburn were active members of the Association for Gravestone Studies from the 1980s. Natives of Lowell, Mass., and long-time residents of Berwick, Me., the Colburns shared an interest in New England gravestones and marker symbolism, with Tommie enjoying a particular specialty in metal-based markers.
The Colburn collection represents a cross-section of the couple’s work documenting and lecturing about New England grave markers and marker symbolism as well as Victorian funerary practice. Of note are a small number of items reflecting Victorian mourning culture, including images of funeral wreaths and arrangements, three mourning handkerchiefs, and a funeral card.
- Sepulchral monuments--Connecticut
- Sepulchral monuments--Maine
- Sepulchral monuments--Massachusetts
- Sepulchral monuments--New Hampshire
- Sepulchral monuments--New York
- Sepulchral monuments--Rhode Island
- Sepulchral monuments--Vermont
Types of material