People for Economic Survival Records, 1974-1977.
3 boxes (1.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 535
Established in October 1974, People for Economic Survival (PES) was a Socialist group based in Northampton, Massachusetts, first organized with the short-term goal of pressuring local banks to sell food stamps. The group’s vision for the longer term, however, was to stimulate change that would result in the replacement of an economy based on corporate profit with one based on people’s needs. After two and half years of community activity, including working for lower utility rates and against cutbacks in welfare, human services, and unemployment benefits, PES disbanded.
The PES collection consists of flyers, meeting minutes, and a full run of Take It, the group’s newsletter.
- Food stamps--Massachusetts
- Northampton (Mass.)--Economic conditions
- Northampton (Mass.)--History
- Public welfare--Law and legislation--Massachusetts
- People for Economic Survival
Laura M. Ross Papers, 1945-2003 (Bulk: 1967-1990).
13 boxes (6.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 515
Born in the coal mining town of Blossburg, Pa., in 1913, Laura Ross (nee Kaplowitz) grew up in poverty as one of seven children of Lithuanian immigrants. In about 1932, Ross married Harry Naddell, a wine merchant, and settled into a comfortable life Brooklyn, N.Y., raising a son and daughter. During the Second World War, however, she became intensely politicized through her work with Russian War Relief, joining the Communist Party and eventually divorcing her les radical husband. Moving to the Boston area, she married Max Ross in 1963, an attorney for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, and became a noted presence in a wide range of political activities, working for civil rights, the antiwar movement, and for many years, helping to run the Center for Marxist Education in Central Square , Cambridge. Perhaps most notably, between 1974 and 1984, Ross ran for Congress three times on the Communist Party ticket, taking on the powerful incumbent Tip O’Neill and winning almost a quarter of the vote. An activist to the end, Ross died in Cambridge on August 5, 2007.
The Ross papers are the legacy of a highly visible activist, organizer, educator, and member of the Communist Party USA. Heavily concentrated in the period 1967-1990, the collection includes material relating to her affiliation with CPUSA and her work with the Center for Marxist Education in Cambridge, Mass., including information on party membership, platforms, and conventions, minutes from various district committee meetings, material relating to the People’s Daily World, and course information and syllabi. Scattered throughout the collection are materials pertaining to contemporary political issues and elections, particularly the policies associated with Ronald Reagan. Ross was a vocal and persistent opponent of Reaganomics and the nuclear arms race that Reagan accelerated.
- Center for Marxist Education (Cambridge, Mass.)
- Communist Party of the United States of America
- Peace movements--Massachusetts
- People’s Daily World
- United States--Politics and government--1981-1989
Stephen Siteman Papers, 1942-1998.
5 boxes (2.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 503
A member of the Post War World Council, an ardent pacifist, and anti-imperialist, Stephen Siteman was a long-time member of the Socialist Party of America, serving for seventeen years as secretary to the party’s leader Norman Thomas. In his late teens, Siteman was imprisoned as a conscientious objector during World War II. Although he was later pardoned, his time as a prisoner led him into active involvement in prison reform and the peace movement.
During his long involvement in the Socialist Party, Siteman collected a large quantity of material relating to important socialist issues, including Socialist Reform, the peace movement, conscientious objection, and prison reform. The collection also includes a small selection of Siteman’s personal correspondence with Frank Zeidler, former Socialist mayor of Milwaukee, and the novelist Mark Harris.
- Conscientious objectors
- Democratic Socialists of America
- Pacifists--United States
- Peace movements--United States
- Prison reformers
- Prisons--United States
- Socialists--United States
- Thomas, Norman, 1884-1968
- War Resisters League of America
- World War, 1939-1945
- Harris, Mark, 1922-2007
- Siteman, Stephen
- Zeidler, Frank P
Harvey Swados Papers, 1933-1983.
49 boxes (23 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 218
The author and social critic Harvey Swados (1920-1972) was a graduate of the University of Michigan who embarked on a literary life after service in the merchant Marine during the Second World War. His first novel, Out Went the Candle (1955), introduced the themes to which Swados would return throughout his career, the alienation of factory workers and the experience of the working class in industrial America. His other works include a widely read collection of stories set in an auto plant, On the Line, the novels False Coin (1959), Standing Fast (1970), and Celebration (1975), and a noted collection of essays A Radical’s America (1962). His essay for Esquire magazine, “Why Resign from the Human Race?,” is often cited as inspiring the formation of the Peace Corps.
The Swados collection includes journals, notes, typewritten drafts of novels and short stories, galley proofs, clippings, and correspondence concerning writings; letters from family, publishers, literary agents, colleagues, friends, and readers, including Richard Hofstadter, Saul Bellow, James Thomas Farrell, Herbert Gold, Irving Howe, Bernard Malamud, and Charles Wright Mills; letters from Swados, especially to family, friends, and editors; book reviews; notes, background material, and drafts of speeches and lectures; financial records; biographical and autobiographical sketches; bibliographies.
- Authors, American--20th century--Biography
- Jewish authors--United States--Biography
- National Book Awards--History--20th century
- Socialists--United States--Biography
- Bellow, Saul
- Farrell, James T. (James Thomas), 1904-1979
- Gold, Herbert, 1924-
- Hofstadter, Richard, 1916-1970
- Howe, Irving
- Malamud, Bernard
- Mills, C. Wright (Charles Wright), 1916-1962
- Swados, Harvey, 1920-1972
Butler, Mills, Smith, and Barker Daybook, 1837-1845.
1 vol. (0.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 183 bd
Daybook listing financial transactions of Butler, Mills, Smith and Barker Woolen Mill, a small woolen manufactory in Williamstown, Massachusetts owned by Henry Mills, Silas Butler, Asa Barker and Ebenezer Smith.
Accounts provide detailed information regarding costs of commodities, labor, and boarding in the town and document the impact of a small factory on the local economy where residents sold soap, oil, and wool to the mill, boarded its workers, took in weaving and hauled freight for the business. Includes mixed personal and business expenses, information about employees and production in the two woolen mills in town, and information concerning the cost of commodities, labor, and boarding workers in the town.
- Woolen and worsted manufacture--Massachusetts--Williamstown
- Barker, Asa
- Butler, Mills, Smith, and Barker
- Butler, Silas, d. 1841
- Mills, Henry, b. 1810
- Smith, Ebenezer
Types of material
Lucius W. Carroll Ledger, 1841-1862.
1 vol. (0.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 245 bd
Businessman in several partnerships in south-central Worcestor county who owned a general store in Webster, Massachusetts. Includes lists of partners (such as John P. Stockwell of Stockwell and Carroll), yearly salaries and profits, accounts of what he sold and how he was paid, lists of individual customers and manufacturing companies, and labor accounts of workers. Also contains an alphabetical index to the ledger and several pages of notes receivable and notes payable.
- Barter--Massachusetts--History--19th century
- Dudley (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
- Dudley Woolen Manufacturing Company (Dudley, Mass.)
- General stores--Massachusetts
- Merchants--Massachusetts--Economic conditions--19th century
- Shopping--Massachusetts--History--19th century
- Slater, George
- Stockwell & Carroll
- Union Mills (Webster, Mass.)
- Uxbridge (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
- Webster (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
- Webster Woolen Mills (Webster, Mass.)
- Carroll & Crosby
- Carroll, Lucius W
Types of material
Clement Company Records, 1881-1934.
61 boxes, 103 ledgers (43 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 099
In mid-nineteenth century, the Connecticut River Valley in Massachusetts emerged as a center of cutlery manufacture in the United States. In 1866, a group of manufacturers in Northampton including William Clement, previously a foreman at Lamson and Goodnow, founded Clement, Hawke, and Co. in Florence to produce both hardware and cutlery, and after several reorganizations, the firm spawned both the Northampton Cutlery Co. (1871) and the Clement Manufacturing Co. (1882, formerly International Screw). Clement produced high quality table cutlery and was an early adopter of stainless steel. The company ceased operations in about 1970.
The Clement Company’s records include extensive correspondence files (1881-1934), along with journals and ledgers, payroll accounts, employee information, and other records. The records provide excellent documentation of wages, working conditions, the labor forces, and technological change in the industry, as well as the efforts of local workers to unionize.
- Cutlery trade--Massachusetts
- Clement Company (Northampton, Mass.)
Esleeck Manufacturing Company Records, 1898-1987.
3 boxes (4.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 505
A manufacturing firm specializing in the production of onion skin paper, the Esleeck Manufacturing Company was established in 1898 as the Monadnock Paper Co. The principal owners, Augustine W. Esleeck and Alfred T. Judd, had worked together with the Valley Paper Mills of Holyoke, Mass., but when striking out on their own, moved to Turners Falls, believing the town to be the ideal location for a mil. Changing their name to Esleeck Manufacturing Co. in 1901, the firm sought to be a good neighbor, using local labor and products from local firms in their manufacturing. After more than 100 years of continuous operation, the company was purchased by Southworth Co. in 2006.
The collection consists chiefly of financial records, but also includes three minute books from 1898-1961 that capture the the company’s early history, as well as a memorial history of the company written by a long-term employee in 1954.
- Paper industry--Massachusetts
- Turners Falls (Mass.)--History
- Esleeck Manufacturing Company
George H. Gilbert Co. Records, 1842-1931.
26 boxes, 126 vols. (36 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 096
In 1841, George H. Gilbert and Charles A. Stevens formed a partnership to manufacture broadcloth and cloaking in Ware, Massachusetts. Ten years later, the partnership dissolved and each partner carried a part of the business into separate establishments. The newly formed George H. Gilbert Company continued making high-grade woolen flannels, for which it developed a national reputation, until 1930.
Records, consisting of correspondence, financial records and cash books, construction contracts, sales lists, production records, and sample books, document the operation of Gilbert and Stevens and later the Gilbert Company for almost a century. The labor accounts (1851-1930), document the phases of the varying ethnic composition of the workforce — Irish, French-Canadian, and eventually Polish — well as the family orientation of the mills.
- Textile industry--Massachusetts
- Ware (Mass.)--History
Types of material
Phinehas Hemenway Daybook, 1818-1828.
1 vol. (0.1 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 627
The tanner Phinehas Hemenway was born in Bolton, Worcester County, Mass., in September 1794, the fourth of six children born to Simeon and Mary (Goss) Hemenway, but he resided nearly his entire adult life in the Franklin County hill town of Shutebsury. Although little is known about his life, Hemenway appears to have married twice, to a Polly or Mary Gray in about 1816, and to the widow Mary Sears of Prescott in Aril 1838. Hemenway died in Shutesbury on December 21, 1850.
With approximately 150 pages of brief, but closely written records of daily transactions, the Hemenway daybook documents the range of activities of rural tannery in antebellum Massachusetts. Along with the names of clients, the date and amount, and a brief notation on whether the work was for dressing, tanning, currying, or (apparently) the sale of finished product, Hemenway records work in a variety of leathers, from calf to sheep, hog, and horse and from sole leather to upper leather, sometimes specified as for shoes. The daybook also includes credit entries for labor performed, the purchase of hemlock bark or hides, or more rarely for cash to settle accounts.
- Shutesbury (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
- Hemenway, Phinehas, 1796-1850
Types of material