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Brooks Farm

Summer Scenes, Brooke Farm, 1922

1922-1923
1 vol. 0.1 linear feet
Call no.: PH 037
Image of Haying at MAC
Haying at MAC

In 1922, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts appropriated $15,000 for the Massachusetts Agricultural College to purchase sixty acres of land lying immediately north of the existing Experiment Station. Known as the William P. Brooks Experimental Farm, the property was intended as a site for experimental work devoted to the dominant crops of the Connecticut Valley, tobacco and onions.

This small homemade photograph album documents a picnic and group outing at the Brooke (i.e. Brooks) Farm at Massachusetts Agricultural College in September 1922. Although the participants — over thirty of them — are unidentified, they took part in standard picnic activities, including a tug of war, three legged race, and rope jumping. The album contains labeled snapshots pasted onto thick brown paper, tied with a brown ribbon, and includes images of haying on the farm (with Stockbridge Hall in the background) and the homes of William P. Brooks and Prof. Arthur N. Julian.

Subjects

  • Amherst (Mass.)--Photographs
  • Brooks Experimental Farm (Amherst, Mass.)
  • Hay
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College--Photographs
  • Picnics--Photographs

Contributors

  • Fay, Harry W.

Types of material

  • Photograph albums
  • Photographs
Campbell, Sadie

Sadie Campbell Papers

1812-2002
19 boxes 10.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 439
Image of Sadie Campbell and sons Harold and Robert Leslie
Sadie Campbell and sons Harold and Robert Leslie

A housewife, mother and active community member, Sadie Campbell was born in 1881 and lived at 1 Depot Street in Cheshire, Massachusetts for most of her life until she died in 1971. Sadie was closely tied to the Cheshire community where she had a large circle of friends and acquaintances, and was active in a a number of organizations, such as: the Cheshire Ladies Reading Club, the Merry Wives of Cheshire Shakespeare Club, and the Cheshire Cash Tearoom.

The collection documents three generations of a western Massachusetts family. The variety and nature of the materials in this collection offer a good view into the local and social history of western Massachusetts through the lives of Sadie Campbell and her family.

Subjects

  • Cheshire (Mass.)--History
  • Cheshire Cash Tearoom
  • Family--Massachusetts--History--19th century
  • Family--Massachusetts--History--20th century
  • Housekeeping--Massachusetts--Cheshire
  • Housewives--Massachusetts--Cheshire
  • Massachusetts--Social life and customs--19th century
  • Merry Wives of Cheshire Shakespeare Club
  • Small business--Massachusetts
  • Tyrell, Augustus
  • Williams Manufacturing Company
  • Women--Societies and clubs--History--19th century

Contributors

  • Campbell, Sadie

Types of material

  • Account books
  • Invitations
  • Letters (Correspondence)
  • Pamphlets
  • Photographs
  • Recipes
Canning, Josiah D. (Josiah Dean), 1816-1892

Josiah D. Canning, The Shad-Fishers Manuscript

1854
1 vol. 0.1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1009 bd

The “Peasant Bard” of Gill, Mass., Josiah D. Canning, published five books of poetry between 1838 and 1892 extolling the spiritual virtues of nature and the agrarian life. The son of a minister, Canning worked as a printer for several years before settling down to farming life, churning out poetry that reflected his reverence for the land.

This small collection consists of a printed copy of Josiah Canning’s fourth book, The Shad-Fishers, published by R.C. Graves in Greenfield, Mass., in 1854, along with a manuscript copy of the same work bound in workmanlike leather over boards. Although it is not possible to determine with certainty, the manuscript may be Canning’s own.

Acquired from Eugene Povirk, Jan. 2018

Subjects

  • Poetry--Massachusetts--Gill

Types of material

  • Manuscripts (Documents)
Coffin, George R. (George Richards)

George R. Coffin Journal

1854-1857
1 vol. 0.1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1000 bd

The son of a master mariner from Newburyport, Massachusetts, George Richards Coffin was born in Castine, Maine, on Feb. 12, 1832. Sent to Boston at the age of 19 to get his start in business as a clerk, Coffin became a wharfinger in 1854, just a year before he married Hannah Balch, the eldest daughter of a prominent Newburyport merchant. As his family grew to eight, Coffin thrived in his trade, becoming a long-time member of the Merchant’s Exchange in Boston and Inspector of Grain for the Commercial Exchange in the 1870s. By the 1880s, he relocated his family to the genteel western suburbs of the city and by the time of his death in 1894, he had earned a spot in the Boston Blue Book.

This beautifully written diary was kept by George Coffin as he was starting out in life. Kept regularly, though not daily, the entries are filled with details about his budding business and personal lives, providing a rich portrayal of an aspiring young man in antebellum Boston. Beginning during the last few months of his clerkship and courtship of Hannah Balch and continuing through their engagement and marriage to the birth of their first child, the diary is filled with descriptions of socializing at parties and lectures, religious attendance and recreational activities, and it includes his thoughts on marriage, family, and his career in business. Of particular note are Coffin’s accounts of a visit to the State Prison in Charlestown, his reactions to local resistance to the capture of Anthony Burns under the Fugitive Slave Act, and the steady growth of his relationship with Hannah.

Gift of Elizabeth Hartmann, Nov. 2017

Subjects

  • Boston (Mass.)--Social life and customs--19th century
  • Burns, Anthony, 1834-1862
  • Clerks--Massachusetts--Boston
  • Coffin, Hannah B.
  • Courtship--Massachusetts--Boston
  • Husband and wife--Massachusetts--Boston
  • Marriage--Massachusetts--Boston
  • Newburyport (Mass.)--Social life and customs--19th century
  • United States. Fugitive Slave Law (1850)
  • Weddings--Massachusetts--Newburyport

Types of material

  • Diaries
Comstock, Perry G.

Perry G. Comstock Account Book

1862-1880
1 vol. 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 480 bd

After witnessing the woolen mill he had built in West Stockbridge go up in flames, Peregrine Green Comstock (1808-1892) rebuilt his operation on the Williams River as a paper mill. For decades thereafter, he prospered as a paper manufacturer, raising a large family with his wife Elizabeth. Comstock died of gastroenteritis on Aug. 6, 1892 at the age of 84.

Comstock’s account book, 197pp., includes records of transactions of a Berkshire County paper manufacturer in the third quarter of the nineteenth century. Among Comstocks’s clients are Monument Mills, M.S. Hovey and Co., Smith Paper Co., Berkshire Woolen Co., Owen Paper Co., and Kniffin and Bro., and the book includes records of labor, rents, cash, board, and the exchange of goods, along with entries for calendar rolls, paper, wrap, weaving yards, sacks, dyestuffs, and lumber.

Subjects

  • Great Barrington (Mass.)--History--19th century
  • Paper industry--Massachusetts--Great Barrington

Types of material

  • Account books
Dall Family

Dall Family Correspondence

1810-1843
2 boxes 2 linear feet
Call no.: MS 282

Chiefly correspondence from various Dall family members in Boston, Massachusetts, particularly father William Dall, Revolutionary War veteran, merchant, businessman and former Yale College writing master, to sons William and James Dall in Baltimore, Maryland. Letters of son James Dall, then a student at Harvard University, provide accounts of Boston political and cultural activities of the time.

The correspondence documents the daily changes in the life of a merchant’s family in the early 19th century, reflecting anxiety over trade restrictions, embargoes, and other economic disruptions resulting from the War of 1812. The elder Dall (William 3rd) and much of his family lived in Boston, but two sons lived in Baltimore. The bulk of the correspondence consists of letters to the younger son, William 4th, who was then apprenticed to a Baltimore merchant. The letters of son James Dall, then a student at Harvard University, provide accounts of Boston political and cultural activities.

Acquired 1989

Subjects

  • Baltimore (Md.)--Biography
  • Baltimore (Md.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Boston (Mass.)--Biography
  • Boston (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Boston (Mass.)--Intellectual life--19th century
  • Boston (Mass.)--Politics and government--19th century
  • Dall family
  • Family--United States--History--19th century
  • Harvard University--Students
  • Merchants--Maryland--Baltimore
  • Merchants--Massachusetts--Boston

Contributors

  • Dall, James, 1781-1863
  • Dall, John Robert, 1798-1851
  • Dall, John, 1791-1852
  • Dall, Joseph, 1801-1840
  • Dall, Maria, 1783-1836
  • Dall, Rebecca Keen
  • Dall, Sarah Keen, 1798-1878
  • Dall, William, 1753-1829
  • Dall, William, 1794 or 5-1875
Enfield (Mass.)

Enfield (Mass.) Collection

1800-1939
8 boxes 4 linear feet
Call no.: MS 010
Image of Birdseye view of Enfield, ca.1915
Birdseye view of Enfield, ca.1915

Situated at the confluence of the east and west branches of the Swift River in western Massachusetts, Enfield was the largest and southernmost of the four towns inundated in 1939 to create the Quabbin Reservoir. Incorporated as a town in 1816, Enfield was relatively prosperous in the nineteenth century on an economy based on agriculture and small-scale manufacturing, reaching a population of just over 1,000 by 1837. After thirty years of seeking a suitably large and reliable water supply for Boston, the state designated the Swift River Valley as the site for a new reservoir and with its population relocated, Enfield was officially disincorporated on April 28, 1938.

The records of the town of Enfield, Mass., document nearly the entire history of the largest of four towns inundated to create the Quabbin Reservoir. The core of the collection consists of records of town meetings and of the activities of the town Selectmen, 1804-1938, but there are substantial records for the Enfield Congregational Church. The School Committee, Overseers of the Poor, the town Library Association, and groups such as the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Bethel Masonic Lodge.

Subjects

  • Enfield (Mass.)--History
  • Enfield (Mass.)--Politics and government
  • Enfield (Mass.)--Religious life and customs
  • Enfield (Mass.)--Social life and customs
  • Quabbin Reservoir Region (Mass.)--History
  • Quabbin Reservoir Region (Mass.)--Social life and customs
  • Women--Societies and clubs

Contributors

  • Daughters of the American Revolution. Captain Joseph Hooker Chapter (Enfield, Mass.)
  • Enfield (Mass. : Town)
  • Enfield (Mass. : Town). Overseers of the Poor
  • Enfield (Mass. : Town). Prudential Committee
  • Enfield (Mass. : Town). School Committee
  • Enfield Congregational Church (Enfield, Mass.)
  • Enfield Congregational Church (Enfield, Mass.). Women's Auxiliary
  • Enfield Congregational Church (Enfield, Mass.). Women's Missionary Society

Types of material

  • Account books
  • Church records
  • Photographs
  • Sermons
Foster, Nancy E.

Nancy E. Foster Papers

1972-2010
4 boxes 6 linear feet
Call no.: MS 753
Image of Nancy E. Foster
Nancy E. Foster

For the better part of four decades, Nancy E. Foster was active in the struggle for social justice, peace, and political reform. From early work in civil rights through her engagement in political reform in Amherst, Mass., Foster was recognized for her work in the movements opposing war, nuclear power, and the assault on civil liberties after the September 11 terrorist attacks. Locally, she worked with her fellow members of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst and with interfaith coalitions to address problems of hunger and homelessness.

Centered in western Massachusetts and concentrated in the last decade of her life (2000-2010), the Nancy Foster Papers includes a record of one woman’s grassroots activism for peace, civil liberties, and social justice. The issues reflected in the collection range from the assault on civil liberties after the 9/11 terrorist attacks to immigration, hunger and poverty, the Iraq Wars, and the conflict in Central America during the 1980s, and much of the material documents Nancy’s involvement with local organizations such as the Social Justice Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst. The collection also contains a valuable record of Nancy’s participation in local politics in Amherst, beginning with the records of the 1972 committee which was charged with reviewing the Town Meeting.

Subjects

  • Amherst (Mass.)--Politics and government
  • Civil rights--Massachusetts
  • Disaster relief
  • El Salvador--History--1979-1992
  • Hunger
  • Interfaith Cot Shelter (Amherst, Mass.)
  • Iraq War, 2003-2011
  • Peace movements--Massachusetts
  • September 11 Terrorist Attacks, 2001
  • War on Terrorism, 2001-2009

Contributors

  • ACLU
  • Lay Academy for Oecumenical Studies
  • Massachusetts Voters for Clean Elections
  • Olver, John
  • Pyle, Christopher H.
  • Swift, Alice
  • Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst

Types of material

  • Photographs
Fowler, Robert

Robert Fowler Diary

1831-1854
1 vol. 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 174 bd

A native of Salisbury, Massachusetts, Robert Fowler (b.1805) was a prosperous shipbuilder and merchant with a trade extending from Nova Scotia to the Gulf South. He and his wife Susan Edwards, whom he married in 1830, had at least four children.

Kept by Robert Fowler between 1831 and 1854, the volume includes both diary entries (primarily 1841-1846) and accounts. With occasional commentary on local political matters, commerce, weather, and family matters, the diary is largely a record of Fowler’s spiritual concerns and his wrestling with doctrinal matters and the relationship of religion and daily life. An ardent temperance man, he commented on religious topics ranging from the Millerite movement to the resurrection, salvation, and the duty of prayer.

Subjects

  • Fatherhood
  • Fitch, Charles, 1805-1844
  • Merchants--Massachusetts--Salisbury
  • Millerite movement
  • Religious life--Massachusetts--Salisbury
  • Salisbury (Mass.)--History
  • Second Advent
  • Temperance

Types of material

  • Account books
  • Diaries
Great Barrington (Mass.)

Charles Taylor Collection

1731-1904
5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 104

Collection of historical documents compiled by Charles Taylor, author of the 1882 town history of Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Includes Court of Common Pleas cases, deeds, estate papers, indentures, land surveys, sheriff’s writs, town history reference documents, Samuel Rossiter’s financial papers, and genealogical research papers for over 40 families.

Subjects

  • Debt--Massachusetts--Great Barrington
  • Farm tenancy--Massachusetts--Great Barrington
  • Great Barrington (Mass.)--Economic conditions--18th century
  • Great Barrington (Mass.)--Genealogy
  • Great Barrington (Mass.)--History
  • Great Barrington (Mass.)--Politics and government
  • Great Barrington (Mass.)--Social conditions
  • Land use--Massachusetts--Great Barrington

Contributors

  • Ives, Thomas
  • Kellogg, Ezra
  • Pynchon, George
  • Pynchon, Walter
  • Root, Hewitt
  • Rossiter, Samuel
  • Taylor, Charles J. (Charles James), 1824-1904

Types of material

  • Deeds
  • Genealogies
  • Land surveys
  • Writs