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Polish Jubilee

Polish Jubilee Catalogs and Souvenirs

5 boxes 2.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 057

Includes booklets containing parish and community histories, photographs, and local advertisements celebrating Jubilee, other anniversaries, and events in over twenty Massachusetts Polish American parishes; booklets furnishing histories and names associated with Polish American groups (such as the Brotherly Aid Society and Polish American Veterans); an historical paper on the Chicopee Polish Community; a pamphlet including songs and recipes; photographs; a booklet; and two books.

  • Chicopee (Mass.)--History
  • Polish Americans--Massachusetts

Thacher-Channing families

Thacher-Channing Family Papers

3 boxes, books 22.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1005
Image of Stephen Thacher, ca.1853
Stephen Thacher, ca.1853

A graduate of Yale, failed schoolmaster, and politically-connected customs collector in eastern Maine during the antebellum period, Stephen Thacher raised a large family with grand intellectual ambitions. Thacher’s sons made the most of their collegiate educations in their careers in law and the ministry, his eldest daughter Mary married Thomas Wentworth Higginson, while a granddaughter Alice Thacher married the Harvard historian Edward Channing, son of William Ellery Channing and nephew of Margaret Fuller.

These relics of a prominent New England family contain nearly 150 letters, dozens of photographs and other visual materials, and a large assortment of books from three generations of Thachers and Channings. The letters are a rich resource for understanding the life of Stephen Thacher from the uncertainty of youth in Connecticut to political and financial success in the ports of eastern Maine. Assembled by Stephen’s son Peter, the collection includes a number of noteworthy items, including an excellent letter from Timothy Goodwin in July 1775, describing his experiences during the failed expedition on Quebec and the retreat to Crown Point, and a series of letters from Congressman Martin Kinsley on the major issues of the day, including the extension of slavery to the territories and formation of the state of Maine.

Gift of Ben Forbes and Fran Soto, 2017
  • Channing family
  • Maine--Politics and government--19th century
  • Massachusetts--Politics and government--19th century
  • Thacher family
Types of material
  • Ambrotypes
  • Daguerreotypes
  • Photographs
  • Silhouettes

Wilder, Robert W.

Robert W. Wilder Papers

2 boxes 2 linear feet
Call no.: MS 884

Born in the Quabbin town of Enfield, Mass., Bob Wilder (1933-2015) rose from a life of poverty to a successful career in the Marine Corps and the aerospace industry. Becoming an avid local historian in his retirement, he drew upon his rural childhood while working later as an interpreter at Old Sturbridge Village and became a popular lecturer on topics in regional history.

This small collection consists of materials relating to Wilder’s family and his research into the history of the Swift River Valley and the Quabbin Reservoir. In addition to some Wilder family photographs, the collection includes hand-drawn maps, newspaper clippings, town reports, magazine articles, oral histories, and poems about the towns of the Swift River Valley. Of particular note are several video recordings of Wilder’s lectures and an extensive series of oral histories with Wilder recorded by Marc Peloquin.

Gift of Robert W. Wilder, Nov. 2015
  • Enfield (Mass.)--History
  • Quabbin Reservoir (Mass.)--History
  • Swift River Valley (Mass.)--History
  • Peloquin, Marc
Types of material
  • Diaries
  • Oral histories
  • Photographs

Wright, John

John Wright Account Books

9 vols. 3 linear feet
Call no.: MS 162

Descendants of one of the founding families of Northampton, Mass., John Wright and his brother Samuel were farmers and freight haulers during the first half of the nineteenth century. Before the 1840s, the brothers hauled freight by wagon from Northampton as far away as Hartford and Boston, however the advent of lower-cost carriers over canal and rail, led them to restrict their operations to a local clientele.

The Wright collection includes nine bound volumes and four folders of loose material associated with the businesses of John Wright, his brother Samuel, and son Edwin. They document the growth of a freight hauling firm that supported a substantial trade stretching to Boston, as well as the eventual decline of that business.

  • Farmers--Massachusetts--Northampton
  • Freight and freightage--Massachusetts
  • Northampton (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
Types of material
  • Account books

Albertson, Dean, 1920-

Dean Albertson Oral History Collection

1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 224

A long-time faculty member at UMass Amherst, Dean Albertson was an historian of the twentieth century United States with a specialty in oral history. A veteran of the Second World War, Albertson received his BA from University of California Berkeley (1942) and doctorate from Columbia (1955), joining the Department of History at UMass in 1965 after several years at Brooklyn College. The author of books on Dwight Eisenhower, Claude Wickard (Franklin Roosevelt’s Secretary of Agriculture), and the student movements of the 1960s, Albertson was interested throughout his career in new methods in research and teaching history. He died at his home in Longmeadow, Mass., on March 31, 1989, at the age of 68.

Dean Albertson’s History 384 class at UMass Amherst, required students to conduct oral histories relating to a theme in contemporary U.S. history chosen each year. Between 1975 and 1977, Albertson’s students interviewed social activists of the 1960s and early 1970s, participants and observers in the North End riots of 1975 in Springfield, Massachusetts, and war and nuclear power resisters. The collection includes transcripts of 15 interviews conducted during this period, as well as the students’ papers, which put the transcripts into context.

  • Antinuclear movement--Massachusetts
  • Civil rights--Massachusetts--Hampden County
  • Demonstrations--Massachusetts--Chicopee
  • History--Study and teaching (Higher)--Massachusetts-- Amherst
  • Police shootings--Massachusetts--Springfield
  • Political activists--Massachusetts--Interviews
  • Prison riots--New York (State)--attica
  • Puerto Ricans--Massachusetts--Springfield
  • Riots--Massachusetts--Springfield
  • Selma-Montgomery rights March, 1965.
  • Springfield (Mass.)--Race relations
  • Springfield (Mass.)--Social conditions
  • Venceremos Brigade
  • Vietnamese Conflict, 1961-1975--Protest movements -- Massachusetts--Springfield
  • Welfare rights movement--Massachusetts--Springfield
  • Westover Air Force Base (Mass.)
Types of material
  • Oral histories

Bestor, Charles

Charles Bestor Papers

2 boxes 0.75 linear feet
Call no.: FS 126

A composer, Professor of Composition, and Director of the Electronic and Computer Music Studios at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Charles Bestor has also taught at Juilliard School of Music and other universities, won international awards for his music, and collaborated with contemporary installation artists.

The Bestor Papers 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.

Gift of Charles Bestor, Mar.-Apr. 2004
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Music and Dance
  • Bestor, Charles

Brown, Robert E.

Robert E. Brown Southbridge (Mass.) Collection

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

Dillon, Robert E.

Robert E. Dillon Papers

1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 635
Image of Robert E. Dillon, 1943
Robert E. Dillon, 1943

A working class native of Ware, Mass., Robert E. Dillon was a student at Massachusetts State College when he was drafted into the Army in 1943. After his induction at Fort Devens, Mass., and training for the Quartermaster Corps in Virginia and California, Dillon was assigned to duty as a mechanic and driver with the First Service Command. Stationed at Rest Camps number 5 and 6 in Khanspur, India (now Pakistan), Dillon’s company maintained the trucks and other vehicles used to carry supplies over the Himalayas to Chinese Nationalist forces. After he left the service in February 1946, having earned promotion to T/5, Dillon concluded his studies at UMass Amherst on the GI Bill and earned a doctorate in Marketing from Ohio State. He taught at the University of Cincinnati for many years until his death in 1985.

The Dillon Papers consist of 178 letters written by Dillon to his family during his service in World War II, along with several written to him and an assortment of documents and ephemera. Beginning with basic training, the letters provide an essentially comprehensive account of Dillon’s military experience and interesting insight into a relatively quiet, but sparsely documented theater of war.

Gift of Edward O'Day, Sept. 2009
  • California--Description and travel
  • India--Description and travel
  • Pakistan--Description and travel
  • World War, 1939-1945
  • Dillon, Robert E
Types of material
  • Letters (Correspondence)
  • Menus
  • Photographs

Early Children’s Literature

Early Children's Literature Collection

42 items 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: RB 017
Image of The New Picture-Book (1837)
The New Picture-Book (1837)

Publishers in Western Massachusetts engaged in a brisk trade in books intended for children during the antebellum years, producing chapbooks to teach reading, didactic works on morals and comportment, and toy books for reward and entertainment. Brief and most often simply produced, the books are noted for their diminutive size, stock woodcut illustrations and characteristic moralistic tone, but they are rich sources for understanding popular conceptions of childhood, education, religious life, and marketing in the book trade, among other subjects.

The majority of the works in the Early Children’s Literature collection were products of the antebellum press in western Massachusetts, produced and distributed by printers such as John Metcalf (Wendell and Northampton), Anson Phelps (Greenfield), and A. R. Merrifield (Northampton). There are examples of chapbooks from other printers, most notably Mahlon Day of New York and the American Sunday School Union in Philadelphia.

Acquired variously.
  • Children's literature--Massachusetts
  • Toy and movable books
  • Metcalf, John, 1788-1864
Types of material
  • Books

Ege, Otto F., 1888-1951

Otto F. Ege, "Fifty Original Leaves From Medieval Manuscripts"

12th-14th century
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 570
Image of Beauvais Missal
Beauvais Missal

The scholar of book history Otto F. Ege disassembled works from his personal collection of medieval manuscripts to create forty portfolios of fifty leaves each, offering these sets for sale to individuals and institutions under the title “Fifty Original Leaves From Medieval Manuscripts.” Marketing his portfolios as a resource for study of the history of the book, book illustration, and paleography, Ege justified his biblioclastic enterprise as a means of sharing the beauties of Medieval books with a wider audience.

The majority of the texts scavenged for Otto Ege’s “Fifty Original Leaves From Medieval Manuscripts” (all but one in Latin) are liturgical in origin — Bibles, psalters, missals, breviaries, and Books of Hours — however Ege also included a few less common works such as the 15th-century manuscript of Livy’s History of Rome and a version of Thomas Aquinas’s Commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard. The leaves range in date from the late twelfth to the early sixteenth century and represent a number of distinctive regional styles in paleography and illumination from throughout western Europe, including Italy, France, Germany, the Low Countries, Switzerland, and England. The UMass Amherst set is number six of 40.

Language(s): Latin
  • Manuscripts, Medieval
  • Paleography
  • Ege, Otto F., 1888-1951
Types of material
  • Books of hours
  • Breviaries
  • Illuminated manuscripts
  • Missals