To spark imagination and celebrate the legacy of innovation and the activist spirit, SCUA pursues an ambitious program of collecting materials of enduring historical value and offers strong support for research and learning. Through our collections, programs, public events, and exhibitions, SCUA promotes meaningful engagement with the record of social change in America and innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as the histories and cultures of the peoples of New England and the UMass Amherst community. We embrace the university’s historic role as a center of knowledge for the people of the Commonwealth and are committed to using the highest professional standards and practices and the best available technologies to provide free and unfettered access to our holdings for all.
In 1931, nearly half a century after Librarian Henry Hill Goodell first authorized the permanent retention of the official records of Massachusetts Agricultural College, the Library established a College History Collection. Documenting the activities of the administration and faculty and the life of its students, this collection grew steadily, until in 1953, the Library dedicated a room named in honor of Dean William L. Machmer to serve as the first true home of the University Archives.
The timing of Goodell’s proposal to preserve the College archives coincided roughly with the Library’s first efforts to assemble a collection of rare books to support its educational mission. Although the campus had no separate library building until 1885, the College accepted several significant gifts of books, beginning as early as 1868, when the apiarist and state Adjutant General Henry K. Oliver donated twenty scarce volumes on bee culture, followed by other donations of important works in agriculture, history, and science. By the time the library published its first catalogue in 1875, rare books were a small, but distinctive part of the collections. Among the Library’s earliest acquisitions were the first London edition of William Bartram’s Travels Through North and South Carolina (1792), François Augier de Marigny’s The History of the Arabians (London, 1758), and two early bee manuals by John Keys, The Practical Bee-Master (London, 1780) and The Antient Bee-Master’s Farewell (London, 1796) — both courtesy of Oliver. All remain part of the collections today.
From its initial focus on agriculture, horticulture, and the natural sciences, the Library soon extended its collections to encompass the history and culture of New England. With the acquisition of the records of the Valley Peace Center and the papers of ethnographer Jozef Obrebski in 1973, the Library began to acquire collections of personal papers and organizational records of historical significance. The rare book and manuscript collections were combined administratively with the University Archives in the early 1990s to form the current Department of Special Collections and University Archives. Today, SCUA oversees a growing research collection of primary materials that includes rare books and manuscripts, historic maps, photographs, prints, and the official records of the campus at UMass Amherst.
North Bridgewater (Mass.) Treasurer Account Book, 1858-1881.
Call no.: MS 223 bd
Nearly two thirds of this town treasurer’s account book from Bridgewater (later Brockton), Massachusetts, is devoted to a monthly accounting of money paid to the families of Civil War volunteers, beginning in April 1861 and carrying through 1881, made mostly by town treasurer R.P. Kingman; accounts of school district expenses and revenues for the years 1858 to 1869, for the 14 school districts in North Bridgewater (teacher salaries, supplies, and accounts with textbook publishers such as Harper & Bros. and Heath & Co.); and listings of salaries paid town officers, including the Superintendent of Streets, Overseer of the Poor, city clerk, city treasurer, and the Police Department.
- Schools--Massachusetts--North Bridgewater
- United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
- North Bridgewater (Mass.). Treasurer
Types of material
- Account books
Planning Services Group Records, 1956-1986.
Call no.: MS 335
An urban planning firm based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, that assisted New England cities and towns with initiating and managing urban development projects. The firm had two main types of contracts, urban renewal and comprehensive community planning, and many of their projects were supported with funds designated by the Federal Housing Act of 1949.
Includes organizational histories, memoranda, correspondence, proposal guidelines, materials for citizen participation, job inventories and reports, brochures that document urban growth management and the problems of suburbanization in New England, background studies, planning reports, growth management policies, zoning bylaws and amendments, and the files of Katharine Kumala.
- Urban planning--Massachusetts
- Planning Services Group (Cambridge, Mass.)
Grocer's Daybook, 1888-1890.
Call no.: MS 137 bd
Unnamed grocer who was possibly from the town of Amherst in either Massachusetts or New Hampshire. Daybook includes customers’ names, their account numbers, and the items that they purchased whether food or supplies.
- Amherst (Mass.)--History
- Consumers--New England--History--19th century
- Groceries--New England--History--19th century
- Grocers--New England--History--19th century
- Grocery trade--New England--History--19th century
Types of material
Amherst Community Association Records, 1939-1978.
Call no.: MS 050
Contains bylaws, incorporation papers, minutes, budgets, reports, and correspondence relating to the administration and fundraising activities of the Amherst Community Association, including the Community Chest fund drive. Also included are budget proposals and agency profiles documenting organizations such as the Amherst Boys Club and Girls Club, Children’s Aid and Family Service, Hampshire County Association for Retarded Citizens and Camp Anderson.
- Amherst (Mass.)--History
- Camp Anderson
- Social service--Massachusetts--Amherst
- Amherst Boys' Club (Amherst, Mass.)
- Amherst Community Association (Amherst, Mass.)
- Amherst Girls' Club (Amherst, Mass.)
- Children's Aid and Family Service of Hampshire County (Hampshire County, Mass.)
- Hampshire County Association for Retarded Citizens (Hampshire County, Mass.)
- Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children
Clement Company Records, 1881-1934.
Call no.: MS 099
A cutlery company in Northampton, Mass., 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.)
Dana (Mass.) Collection, 1801-1938.
Call no.: MS 012
Situated in the northeastern reaches of the Swift River Valley in western Massachusetts, Dana was one of four towns inundated in the 1930s to create the Quabbin Reservoir. Rural and relatively sparsely populated, Dana’s economy centered on agriculture, leavened with manufacturing wood products and soapstone quarrying.
The Dana Collections include a comprehensive records of town meetings from incorporation through disincorporation (1801-1938), plus rich records for the Congregational Church and its affiliate organizations, the Ladies Aid Society, the Orthodox Congregational Society, and the Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavor. Most of the materials listed in this finding aid are held at the Swift River Valley Historical Society in New Salem, Mass., and were part of a cooperative digitization project centered on the records of the Quabbin towns.
- Congregational churches--Massachusetts--Dana--History
- Dana (Mass.)--History
- Dana (Mass.)--Politics and government
- Dana (Mass.)--Religious life and customs
- Dana (Mass.)--Social life and customs
- Quabbin Reservoir Region (Mass.)--History
- Quabbin Reservoir Region (Mass.)--Social life and customs
- Women--Societies and clubs
- Dana (Mass. : Town)
- Dana (Mass. : Town). Overseers of the Poor
- First Universalist Church (North Dana, Mass.)
- Ladies' Aid Society (Dana, Mass.)
- Orthodox Congregational Church (Dana, Mass.)
- Young Peoples Society of Christian Endeavor
Types of material
- Church records
Easthampton Community Chest Records, 1943-1969.
Call no.: MS 051
Organization created to sponsor and conduct all fundraising for, and to distribute funds to, relief and social agenices in the town of Easthampton, Massachusetts. Contains records of minutes, campaign reports, Presidents’ and Treasurers’ reports, and correspondence. Also included are scrapbooks with newspaper clippings and other printed material.
- Easthampton (Mass.)--Social conditions--Sources
- Easthampton Community War Fund (Easthampton, Mass.)--Archives
- Federations, Financial (Social service)--History--Sources
- Easthampton Community Chest (Easthampton, Mass.)
Types of material
Charles Taylor Collection, 1731-1904.
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.
- 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
- Ives, Thomas
- Kellogg, Ezra
- Pynchon, George
- Pynchon, Walter
- Root, Hewitt
- Rossiter, Samuel
- Taylor, Charles J. (Charles James), 1824-1904
Types of material
- Land surveys
Hatfield Barite Mine Records, 1840-1843.
Call no.: MS 225
In November 1840, the prominent New York merchant firm, Josiah Macy and Son, requested Samuel Wells of Northampton to act as their agent in acquiring a lease to a tract of land in nearby Hatfield for the purpose of mining for barite. Wells involved Amherst College geology professor Edward Hitchcock in the survey for the appropriate mining site, and then during the next two years negotiated for the leases and the start up of the mining. With Hitchcock’s assistance, Wells located the mineral vein in Hatfield, about two miles west of the town village. His diagrams of the vein in his correspondence show that it crossed three property lines; those of Thomas Frary, John D. Morton, and the estate of Charles Smith.
- Hatfield (Mass.)--History
- Mines and mining--Massachusetts