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Brainerd Taylor Family Papers, 1871-1964

3 boxes (4 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 733

A member of a distinguished family of New England educators and clergymen, Brainerd Taylor played an key role in assisting the U.S. Army takes its first steps into modern mechanized warfare. Born in Newtonville, Massachusetts, in 1877, Taylor entered Harvard with the class of 1899, but during the rush of enthusiasm accompanying the start of the Spanish American War, he left before completing his degree to join the military. Serving with the Coast Artillery for several years, he became the Chief Motor Transport Officer for the Advance Section of the Service of Supply for the American Expeditionary Force during the First World War, earning promotion to Colonel, a Distinguished Service Medal, and the Legion of Honor from France for his efforts. Taylor married twice, first to Vesta Richardson, who died in 1919, and then to Helen Cady. Taylor died in 1955.

The Taylor family collection contains over 1,000 letters documenting the military career and personal life of Brainerd Taylor, with particularly thick coverage of the period of the First World War when he was stationed in France, building the Motor Transport Corps virtually from scratch. These letters are exceptionally well written and rich in description, both about his duties and his travels in France and Germany. The collection also includes Taylor’s extensive correspondence to his father, James Brainerd Taylor (1845-1929), and correspondence relating to Taylor’s wives, children, and grandchildren.


  • France--Description and travel
  • Germany--Description and travel
  • World War, 1914-1918


  • Taylor, Brainerd, 1877-
  • Taylor, Helen M.
  • Taylor, James Brainerd
  • Taylor, Vesta R.

Una F. Weatherby Collection, 1924-1934

1 box (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: PH 036
Gravestone in Putnam, Conn.
Gravestone in Putnam, Conn.

The botanical illustrator and writer Una Foster Weathery (1878-1957) was an early student of New England gravestones. Born in Texas in 1878, Una Leonora Foster met a young pteridologist Charles Alfred Weatherby (1875-1949) while traveling abroad in 1910, and seven years later, the couple wed. As Charles advanced in his career to a position at the Gray Herbarium at Harvard, Una became his close associate, working with in the field and as illustrator and photographer. Among the many interests the couple developed was a fascination with photographing early American gravestones, and over the last three decades of her life, Una published occasionally on the subject. She died in Cambridge on August 17, 1957, and is interred with her husband at Center Cemetery in East Hartford, Conn.

The Weatherby collection consists of a substantial typed manuscript illustrating early American gravestones, mostly from New England. Meticulously assembled, the manuscript is divided into six thematic sections based on gravestone design (death’s heads, winged cherubs, wingless cherubs, portrait stones, symbolic stones, and designs and willows). Each stone is represented by a single photograph pasted onto a page, along with a transcription of the epitaph and occasional comments on the design and date on which the information was recorded. Although most stones are from Connecticut and Massachusetts, a few stones from Virginia and South Carolina are included.


  • Gravestones--Connecticut
  • Gravestones--Massachusetts
  • Gravestones--New Hampshire


  • Association for Gravestone Studies
  • Weatherby, Una F

Types of material

  • Photographs
  • Scrapbooks

Russell K. Alspach Papers, 1950-1978

1 box (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 025

Russel K. Alspach earned his PhD in 1932 from the University of Pennsylvania where he taught English from 1924-1942. After four years of service in the U.S. Navy during World War II, he spent eighteen years as head of the Department of English at West Point Military Academy before retiring in 1965 with the rank of Brigadier General. A specialist in Irish literature with wide ranging interests running from William Butler Yeats to Percy Blythe Shelley and William Faulkner, Alspach published prolifically throughout his career. He took a post-retirement appointment at UMass in 1966, but hardly retired, eventually becoming Head of the Department of English, and teaching until his final retirement and death in 1980.

The Alspach Papers consist of professional correspondence, drafts of writing, and reviews written by Russell K. Alspach. The small collection includes grant applications and notes for Alspach’s Yeats Study Series, as well as a 3.75 inch monographic recording of readings and music by unidentified artists. The Department of Special Collections and University Archives is also home to the Alspach Yeats Collection of rare books.


  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of English
  • Yeats, W. B. (William Butler), 1865-1939


  • Alspach, Russell K. (Russell King), 1901-

American Express Company Florence Office Records, 1867-1890

3 boxes (3 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 298

Records of express agent Watson L. Wilcox of Simsbury, Connecticut and Florence, Massachusetts documenting Wilcox’s work for the American Express Company and the evolution of the company from a small shipping business to a delivery organization whose services contributed to the growth of the local and regional economy. Records consist of agent books, receipt books, and waybills listing accounts of local companies and residents for the sending, receiving and delivery of freight, telegraph messages, express cash, goods and packages.


  • American Merchant's Union Express Company
  • Express service--Massachusetts--Florence--History
  • Florence (Mass.)--Economic conditions
  • Florence Manufacturing Company
  • Florence Sewing Machine Company
  • Hill, Samuel L
  • Industries--Massachusetts--Florence--History
  • New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railroad Company
  • Nonotuck Silk Company
  • Parsons, I. S
  • Simsbury (Conn.)--Economic conditions
  • Williston, A. L


  • American Express Company (Florence, Mass.)
  • Wilcox, Watson L., 1832 or 3-1896

American History Workshop Records, 1980-2016

42 boxes (63 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 922

Founded by Richard Rabinowitz in 1980, American History Workshop is a consortium of historians, designers, and filmmakers who promote public understanding of history through innovative exhibition and interpretation. Collaborating with a national roster of clients, the AHW provides consultation and assistance in developing, designing, and installing exhibitions that convey current historical scholarship and pedagogical practice for the public. Their exhibits have explored a wide array of critical themes in American history, including slavery, civil rights, and social justice; Constitutional and political history; immigration; urbanization; and labor history. In recent years, they have expanded their operations to include services such as audience analysis, media production, fund raising assistance, and organizational development.

The records of the American History Workshop document over three decades of work by one of the premier firms in historical exhibition and interpretation. The collection contains detailed records of nearly 600 projects prepared in collaboration with organizations ranging from the New-York Historical Society and Arizona Historical Society to the Smithsonian, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.


  • Exhibitions
  • Public history


  • Rabinowitz, Richard
  • Singer, Michael

Amherst Disarmament Coalition Collection, 1979-1987.

1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 165

Vigil for Peace and Justice group that peacefully protested the Vietnam War, nuclear weapons, and government policy in Central America and the Middle East by organizing a weekly vigil in downtown Amherst, Massachusetts. Includes handouts and news clippings.


  • Amherst (Mass.)--Social conditions--20th century
  • Anti-imperialist movements--Massachusetts--Amherst
  • Antinuclear movement--Massachusetts
  • Nuclear Moratorium Vigil (Amherst, Mass.)
  • Peace movements--Massachusetts--Amherst
  • Social movements--Massachusetts--Amherst
  • Vigil for Peace and Justice (Amherst, Mass.)


  • Amherst Disarmament Coalition (Amherst, Mass.)
  • Crowe, Frances, 1919-

Types of material

  • Handbills

Amherst Growth Study Committee Records, 1971-1974

2 boxes (1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 543
View of the proposed the Amherst Fields
View of the proposed the Amherst Fields

In May 1971 Otto Paparazzo Associates announced their plans to develop 640 acres of land in East Amherst upon which a proposed 2,200 residential units, a commercial center, and a golf course would be built. Concerned about unnatural growth of the community and about the effect such a development would have on the environment, a group of residents formed the Amherst Growth Study Committee within a few months of the announcement. Despite these concerns, the Zoning Board of Appeals issued a formal permit for construction in December 1971, which the AGSC immediately appealed. Even though the group was unable to overturn the zoning board’s decision, they did achieve their ends, in part, when state and town agencies prevented the project from moving forward due to an overloaded sewage system. More importantly, the group increased public awareness about growth and housing in the town of Amherst.

Records include notes from AGSC meetings, correspondence, and newspaper clippings documenting coverage of the story in local papers.


  • Amherst (Mass.)--History
  • Amherst (Mass.)--Politics and government


  • Amherst Growth Study Committee, Inc

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).


  • Cemeteries
  • Epitaphs
  • Gravestones


  • Association for Gravestone Studies

Samuel Austin Collection, 1718-1920

2 boxes (1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 937

An historian and educator, Samuel Austin (1816-1897) was known for his long association with the Friends Boarding School in Providence, R.I. (later renamed the Moses Brown School). An alumnus who married an alumna, Elizabeth H. Osborn, Austin taught at the Boarding school for decades and was instrumental in gathering and preserving documents relating to the school. He wrote and lectured regularly on the history of Friends’ education and on the Boarding School, and its noted teachers and alumni.

A product of the historical work of Samuel Austin, the collection contains both essays, notes, and talks on the Friends’ Boarding School in Providence and on Moses and Obadiah Brown, and some significant original documents used by Austin in his research. Noteworthy among the original materials are a fascinating series of records from monthly and quarterly meetings in and near Rhode Island, mostly in 1787-1793; a rich series of epistles received by Smithfield Monthly Meeting from other meetings in New England (1718-1767); some key printed epistles from Yearly Meetings, including those on war (London, New England, and Philadelphia Yearly) and slavery (London and Philadelphia). Of equal note are a series of letters from Elisha Thornton (a New Bedford merchant, educator, and antislavery advocate), a lengthy letter on doctrine from John Wilbur, and a 1765 sermon from Rachel Wilson.


  • Antislavery movements
  • Brown, Moses, 1738-1832
  • Friends Boarding School (Providence, R.I.)
  • Peace movements--Rhode Island
  • Quaker women--Rhode Island--18th century
  • Quakers--Education--Rhode Island
  • Rhode Island--History--18th century
  • Society of Friends--History--Rhode Island


  • Thornton, Elisha, 1748-1816
  • Wilbur, John 1774-1856

Types of material

  • Correspondence
  • Minutes (Administrative records)

Hugh Potter Baker Papers, 1919-1951

(4.5 linear feet)
Call no.: RG 003/1 B35
Hugh P. Baker, ca.1945
Hugh P. Baker, ca.1945

Hugh Baker served as President during most of the existence of Massachusetts State College, taking office in 1933, two years after it changed name from Massachusetts Agricultural College, and retiring in 1947, just as the college became the University of Massachusetts. A forester by training, Baker began his career as a professor, and later dean, in the College of Forestry at Syracuse University. In 1920, he left Syracuse to become Executive Secretary of the American Paper and Pulp Association, and for nearly a decade, he worked in the forestry industry. He returned to academia in 1930, when he resumed the deanship at the New York State School of Forestry. During his presidency at Massachusetts State College, Baker oversaw the construction of improved housing and classroom facilities for students, a new library, the expansion of the liberal arts curriculum, and a near doubling of student enrollment. Further, chapel services were reorganized to be voluntary, and a weekly convocation was initiated. Baker also founded popular annual conferences on recreation and country life.

The Baker Papers include correspondence with college, state, and federal officials, college suppliers, and alumni; speeches and articles; reports and other papers on topics at issue during Baker’s college presidency, 1933-1947, particularly the building program. Also included are several biographical sketches and memorial tributes; clippings and other papers, relating to Baker’s career as professor of forestry at several colleges, trade association executive, and college president.


  • Clock chimes--Massachusetts--Amherst--History
  • College buildings--Massachusetts--Amherst--History
  • Massachusetts State College--Anniversaries, etc
  • Massachusetts State College--Buildings
  • Massachusetts State College--History
  • Massachusetts State College--Student housing
  • Massachusetts State College. President
  • Massachusetts State College. School of Home Economics
  • Massachusetts--Politics and government--1865-1950
  • Old Chapel (Amherst, Mass.)--History
  • Student housing--Massachusetts--Amherst--History
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--History


  • Baker, Hugh Potter, 1878-

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