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Thomas Nye Cashbook, 1830-1842

1 vol. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 227 bd

Agent or part-owner of a firm, who may have been a ship’s chandler, from Fairhaven and New Bedford, Massachusetts. Includes personal expenses and business accounts (large bills for firms and small bills for labor, repairs, food, blacksmithing, and other items and services). Cash book is made up of six smaller cash books bound together; also contains lists of deaths in the family and notations of the lading of several ships.

  • Fairhaven (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Merchants--Massachusetts--New Bedford--Economic conditions--19th century
  • New Bedford (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Nye family
  • Nye, Thomas, 1768-1842
  • T. and A.R. Nye (Firm)
Types of material
  • Account books

Peck-Sisson-White Family Papers, 1772-1975 (Bulk: 1830-1875)

2 boxes (0.75 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 933

Perez Peck (1786-1876) and Asa Sisson (1815-1893) of the village of Anthony (Coventry), R.I., were innovative machinists and manufacturers of cotton looms. Active members of the Society of Friends, they were supporters of the antislavery struggle and sent their children to the Friends Boarding School in Providence, R.I.

Although the Peck-Sisson-White family collection spans three families and three generations, the bulk of material is concentrated on the lives of Asa Sisson and his wife Mary Ann (Peck) and their daughter Emily, who married Willis H. White, with an emphasis on their poetry and their time at the Friends Boarding School in Providence, R.I. The family also copied verse from other writers, including works from George Miller (not otherwise identified) extracting Anthony Benezet and “Remarks on encouraging slavery” and a “lamentation over New England” which touches on the execution of early Quakers in Massachusetts Bay.

  • Antislavery movements--Rhode Island
  • Death--Poetry
  • Friends Boarding School (Providence, R.I.)
  • Quakers--Rhode Island
  • Peck, Perez, 1786-1876
  • Sisson, Asa, 1815-1893
  • Sisson, Mary Ann, 1816-1882
  • White, Emily Sisson, 1856-1945
Types of material
  • Diaries
  • Poetry

William Putnam Papers, 1840-1886

1 box (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 014

For several decades in the mid-nineteenth century, William Putnam (1792-1877) and his family operated a general store in Wendell Depot, Massachusetts, situated strategically between the canal and the highway leading to Warwick. Serving an area that remains rural to the present day, Putnam dealt in a range of essential merchandise, trading in lumber and shingles, palm leaf, molasses and sugar, tea, tobacco, quills, dishes, cloth and ribbon, dried fish, crackers, and candy. At various times, he was authorized by the town Selectmen to sell “intoxicating liquors” (brandy, whiskey, and rum) for “Medicinal, chemical and mechanical purposes only,” and for a period, he served as postmaster for Wendell Depot.

The daybooks and correspondence of William Putnam record the daily transactions of an antebellum storekeeper in rural Wendell, Massachusetts. Offering a dense record of transactions from 1840-1847, the daybooks provide a chronological accounting of all sales and credits in the store, including barter with local residents of the community and with contractors for the new Vermont and Massachusetts Railroad. The last in the series of daybooks lists a surprisingly high percentage of Wendell’s residents (by name, in alphabetical order) who owed him money as of October 1846. The correspondence associated with the collection continues into the 1880s and provides relatively slender documentation of Putnam’s litigiousness, his financial difficulties after the Civil War, and the efforts of his son John William to continue the business.

  • Barter--Massachusetts--Wendell
  • Consumer goods--Massachusetts--Wendell
  • Consumers--Massachusetts--Wendell
  • General stores--Massachusetts--Wendell
  • Liquor stores--Massachusetts--Wendell
  • Panama hat industry--Massachusetts--Wendell
  • Schools--Massachusetts--Wendell
  • Vermont and Massachusetts Railroad
  • Wendell (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Wendell (Mass.)--History--19th century
  • Putnam, William
Types of material
  • Daybooks

Roxbury Action Program Collection, 1944-1975 (Bulk: 1966-1974)

2 boxes (1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 765
Roxbury Action Program Collection image
Ernest Hamilton, Black Power: What is it? (1966)

The Roxbury Action Program and Black Panther Party of Boston were both founded in the Roxbury section of Boston following the riots of 1968. RAP pursued community revitalization through Black self-determination and enjoyed success in its housing initiatives and in providing social services ranging from support for Black businesses to Black draft counseling, health and legal referrals, a Black library, and community awareness program.

Although the exact provenance of this small collection is uncertain, the materials appear to have been collected by an individual, possibly a woman, associated with the early days of the Roxbury Action Program and Boston branch of the Black Panther Party. Steeped in Black Power ideology, the collection includes publications of the Black Panther Party, the Nation of Islam, and other organizations, as well as an insightful series of transcripts of Roxbury Action Program meetings held during its first few months of operation.

  • African Americans--Massachusetts--Boston
  • Black Panther Party
  • Black power
  • Housing--Massachusetts--Boston
  • Nation of Islam (Chicago, Ill.)
  • Roxbury (Boston, Mass.)--History
  • Morrison, George
Types of material
  • Newspapers
  • Photographs

Samizdat Collection, 1955-1983

12 boxes (6 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 404

In the mid-1970s, the Center for the Study of New Russian Literature in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at UMass Amherst began collecting the self-published and underground literature of the Soviet Union as a means of documenting social and political dissent in the Communist state.

The Samizdat collection includes writings in several genres — chiefly fiction, poetry, drama, and literary, social, and political criticism — in handwritten, photocopied, and printed form, as well as photos, a passport application for Mikhail Baryshnikov, and memorabilia from an American production of one of the plays in the collection.

  • Underground literature--Soviet Union

Orlando Sargent Account Book, 1753-1808

1 vol. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 139

Prosperous, slave-owning farmer from Amesbury, Massachusetts, who also served as town warden, selectman, and representative. Includes details of the purchases of agricultural products (corn, potatoes, lamb, rye, hay, molasses, wood, cheese), and related services with some of the town’s earliest settlers, widow’s expenses, expenses in support of his grandmother, and family dates.

  • Agricultural prices--Massachusetts--Amesbury--History--18th century
  • Amesbury (Mass.)--Economic conditions--18th century
  • Amesbury (Mass.)--History--18th century--Biography
  • Amesbury (Mass.)--Officials and employees--History--18th century
  • Farm produce--Massachusetts--Amesbury--History--18th century
  • Farmers--Massachusetts--Amesbury--Economic conditions--18th century
  • Sargent family
  • Sargent, Orlando, 1728-1803
Types of material
  • Account books

Frederick Tillis Papers, 1970-2010

10 boxes (8 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 156
Frederick Tillis Papers image
Fred Tillis, Nov. 23, 1977

A composer, performer, poet, educator, and arts administrator, Fred Tillis was one of the major influences on the cultural life at UMass Amherst for forty years. Born in Galveston, Texas, in 1930, Tillis began playing jazz trumpet and saxophone even before his teens. A product of segregated schools, he graduated from Wiley College at the age of 19, and received his MA and PhD in music at the University of Iowa. As a performer and composer of unusual breadth, his work spans both the jazz and European traditions, and he has written for piano and voice, orchestra, choral pieces, chamber music, and in the African American spiritual tradition, drawing upon a wide range of cultural references. After teaching at Wiley, Grambling, and Kentucky State in the 1960s, Tillis was recruited to UMass in 1970 by his former adviser at Iowa, Philip Bezanson, to teach music composition and theory. Earning promotion to Professor in 1973, Tillis was appointed Director of the Fine Arts Center in 1978, helping to jump start some of the most successful arts initiatives the university has seen, including the the Afro American Music and Jazz program, the New World Theater, Augusta Savage Gallery, Asian Arts and Culture Program, and Jazz in July. Upon retirement from UMass in 1997, he was appointed Emeritus Director of the Fine Arts and remains active as a musician and poet.

The Tillis papers document an extraordinary career in the arts, focused on Fred Tillis’s work as a composer. Consisting primarily of musical scores along with an assortment of professional correspondence relating to his publishing and miscellaneous notes, the collection offers insight into the evolution of Tillis’s musical vision from the 1970s into the new millennium.

  • African American composers
  • African American musicians
  • Fine Arts Center (University of Massachusetts Amherst)
  • Jazz
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Music and Dance
  • Tillis, Frederick, 1930-
Types of material
  • Scores

Thomas D. Twiss Account Book, 1829-1873

1 vol. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 921 bd

A farmer and laborer in Antrim, N.H., Thomas Dimon Twiss was born in Beverly, Mass., in 1801. At the age of 24, Twiss married a local Antrim woman, Betsey Brackett, with whom he raised a family of three children.

This typical single-column account book of the mid-nineteenth century records Twiss’s diverse economic transactions, providing labor for the town in “braking rods” [breaking roads] and “digin graves”and to neighbors and for a wide variety of manual farm labor, including killing hogs, plowing, threshing, haying, and assorted carpentry work.

  • Antrim (N.H.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Farmers--New Hampshire--19th century
  • Grave diggers--New Hampshire--19th century
Types of material
  • Account books

William Wells Papers, 1796-1863

1 box (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 347

A prominent figure in the rural town of Shelburne, Mass., during the early nineteenth century, William Wells served for many years as a town selectman, representative in the state legislature, and captain of the militia. He died in Shelburne in July 1848, leaving behind his wife Prudence (May) and their nine children.

This tightly focused body of documents from William Wells represents a cross-section of public life in the town of Shelburne during the early decades of the nineteenth century, touching on the town’s finances, care for the church, school, highways, roads, and the local militia.

  • Shelburne (Mass.)--History
  • Wells, William

Westhampton Town Records, 1779-1900

10 boxes (5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 799
Westhampton Town Records image
Close-up of records from 1779

Originally settled by Europeans in 1762, the town of Westhampton, Massachusetts, was separated from adjacent Northampton and incorporated in September 1778. Situated in the western reaches of Hampshire County, it was principally an agricultural town until the later twentieth century, producing apples, other fruit, and maple sugar, with only minor industry. The town still retains its rural character: a century after incorporation, the population had grown to just over 500, and nearly 1,500 by 2000.

The Westhampton collection provides an extensive record of public life and local governance in a typical small Hampshire County town. Spanning from 1779, just after the date of incorporation, through the turn of the twentieth century, the collection includes extensive records of town meetings, including warrants, agendas, and summaries; records of the Overseers of Poor, the schools, militia service, and parish; materials on roads and highways; and a large quantity of financial records.

  • Churches--Massachusetts--Westhampton
  • Poor--Massachusetts--Westhampton
  • Roads--Massachusetts--Westhampton
  • Town meetings--Massachusetts--Westhampton

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