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Charles Bestor Papers, 1971-2002

2 boxes (0.75 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 126

Composer and presently the Professor of Composition and Director of the Electronic and Computer Music Studios of the University of Massachusetts Amherst who has taught at Juilliard School of Music and numerous other universities, won international awards for his music, and collaborated with contemporary installation artists. Includes scores and sound recordings for two of his compositions, Suite for Alto Saxophone and Percussion and In the Shell of the Ear, as well as correspondence, concert programs, and reviews all relating to the publication and performance of the works.


  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Music and Dance


  • Bestor, Charles

Joseph Laurence Black History of the Book Collection, 1789-1964

128 items (3 linear feet)
Call no.: RB 023
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

Alton H. Blackington Photograph Collection, 1898-1943

15 boxes (4 linear feet)
Call no.: PH 061
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 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

  • Photographs

Boarding House Register, 1850

1 vol. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 098

Twenty-four page register kept by unnamed person, possibly from a Quabbin town, listing boarders by name, payment received, and employee accounts. Payments noted in detail from February to October, 1850. Boarders included several doctors and L.S. Hills, possibly Leonard S. Hills of the Amherst, Massachusetts hat factory. Employee accounts list many women with Irish surnames, including Ellen O’Leary, Ellen Callahan, and Margaret Murphy.


  • Boardinghouses--Massachusetts--19th century
  • Irish American women--History--19th century

Types of material

  • Account books

Allan C. Boschen Esperanto Collection, 1852-2015

ca.750 items (18 linear feet)
Call no.: RB 028
Esperanto travel book, 1927
Esperanto travel book, 1927

A constructed language developed by a Polish physician, L.L. Zamenhof, and first published in 1887, Esperanto is the most widely spoken auxiliary language in the world. Fundamentally utopian in origin, Esperanto is a simplified and highly rationalized language derived from a pastiche of languages, primarily European. By creating a universal second language, Zamenhof hoped that Esperanto would help transcend national and cultural boundaries and thus promote peace and understanding in a fractious world. Allan Boschen, an engineer with General Electric in Pittsfield, was a student and teacher of Esperanto and longtime officer with the Esperanto Society of New England.

The Esperanto book collection includes instructional materials in the language from around the world along with a diversity of imprints ranging from novels and poetry to travel books, histories and biographies, political writings, materials on China and Vietnam, children’s literature, and even a cookbook. We expect to add to the collection in future.


  • Esperanto
  • Ido
  • Languages, Artificial

Brinley Family Papers, 1643-1950

(4.75 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 161
Deborah Brinley and infant son Francis, 1729<br />Copy by Charles U. Bond (1830)<br />after John Smibert
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.


  • 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.) 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.


  • Brookfield (Mass.)--History--18th century
  • Smallpox
  • United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783


  • Forster, Jedediah

Types of material

  • Warrants

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.


  • Agriculture--Massachusetts--Greenwich--Photographs
  • Carriages and carts--Massachusetts--Greenwich--Photographs
  • Children--Massachusetts--Greenwich--Photographs
  • Dana (Mass.)--Photographs
  • Dwellings--Massachusetts--Greenwich--Photographs
  • Enfield (Mass.)--Photographs
  • Greenwich (Mass.)--Photographs
  • Hillside School (Marlborough, Mass.)
  • Horses--Massachusetts--Greenwich--Photographs
  • New Salem (Mass.)--Photographs
  • Plowing--Massachusetts--Greenwich--Photographs
  • Prescott (Mass.)--Photographs

Types of material

  • Dry plate gelatin negatives
  • Gelatin silver negatives
  • Photographs

Brown and Brothers Account Book, 1862-1873

1 vol. (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 092

Freight haulers from Dana, Massachusetts. Includes information about products that were hauled (such as palm leaf hats, mats, lumber, railroad ties, and waste) and the companies for which they were carried. Also contains information about how Brown was paid (cash, barter, manure, chopped wood, stone) and the names of many people and places with whom Brown and Brothers conducted business.


  • Dana (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Freight and freightage--Massachusetts
  • Furniture industry and trade--Massachusetts
  • Panama hat industry--Massachusetts
  • Swift River Valley (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century


  • Brown and Brothers
  • Brown, Harry

Types of material

  • Account books

Robert E. Brown Southbridge (Mass.) Collection, 1973-1977

1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 029

During the mid-1970s, Robert Brown worked as a fifth grade teacher at the West Street School, Southbridge, Mass., while pursuing a graduate degree in anthropology at UMass Amherst under Joel Halpern. Part of Brown’s research involved conducting oral histories with Southbridge families identified as “ethnic,” including Albanian, Greek, Polish, Portuguese, Italian, and Puerto Rican, as well as the only African American family in town at the time. Brown published his work in local newspapers and ultimately in the book, The New New Englanders (Worcester, Mass.: Commonwealth Press, 1980).

The Brown collection includes copies of his newspaper articles, profiles of the families he studied, and apparently complete transcripts of two oral history interviews. Also included are copies of two papers by Brown on Southbridge, possibly for an anthropology class, analyzing the education of Puerto Rican students and the lives of Rumanian Americans.


  • African Americans--Massachusetts--Southbridge
  • Greek Americans--Massachusetts--Southbridge
  • Immigrants--Massachusetts
  • Italian Americans--Massachusetts--Southbridge
  • Rumanian Americans--Massachusetts--Southbridge
  • Southbridge (Mass.)--History


  • Brown, Robert E

Types of material

  • Oral histories

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