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Geisler, Bruce

Bruce Geisler Collection, 1969-1984
14 boxes (21 linear feet)
Call no.: PH 049
Image of Renaissance Community, ca.1974
Renaissance Community, ca.1974

In the early 1970s, the documentary filmmaker Bruce Geisler dropped out of Pomona College one semester short of graduation, drove across country, and joined the Brotherhood of the Spirit commune, then the largest commune in the eastern United States. During his four years living with the Brotherhood, later renamed the Renaissance Community, Geisler learned the craft of filmmaking, before returning west to earn an MFA at the film school of the University of Southern California. Geisler has received a number of awards as a screenwriter and filmmaker including the Grand Prize for Best Screenplay from Worldfest Houston and the Dominique Dunne Memorial Prize for Filmmaking, and, in 2007, he released his feature-length documentary, Free Spirits, about the Brotherhood of the Spirit/Renaissance Community and its ill-fated founder, Michael Metelica Rapunzel. Geisler is currently a Senior Lecturer in the UMass Amherst Department of Communication.

Documenting everyday life in a Massachusetts commune and performances by the commune bands (Spirit in Flesh and Rapunzel), the Geisler collection was assembled in conjunction with the making of the film Free Spirits. In addition to many hours of both raw and edited film footage taken by members of the Brotherhood of the Brotherhood of the Spirit and Renaissance Community, the collection includes a rich assemblage of still photographs, ephemera, and newspaper clippings relating to the commune.

Subjects
  • Brotherhood of the Spirit (Commune)
  • Communal living--Massachusetts
  • Renaissance Community (Commune)
Contributors
  • Geisler, Bruce
Types of material
  • Photographs
  • Videotapes

George Cooley & Company

George Cooley & Co. Ledger, 1843-1851
1 vol. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 111

Ledger, begun by George Cooley in 1843 to record the accounts of his soapmaking business in the Cabotville section of Chicopee, continued by Titus Chapin, an ardent abolitionist, and Mordecai Cough who managed the business following Cooley’s death (or departure) in 1848. The 1843 date coincides with the coming of many small businesses to Cabotville in connection with the growth of industries there at the time.

Cooley accepted goods, services and cash as payment. The most frequently accepted goods had relatively obvious value to a soap maker: grease and ashes, tallow, pork, scraps and skins, and candles. Some of the services bartered were repairing wagon, shoeing horse, fixing wippletree, making 30 boxes, and covering umbrella. The business sold gallons, bars, and cakes of soap. Mount Holyoke Seminary bought 28 “fancy soaps”. Also listed were shaving soap and hard or hand soap. In addition, sales sometimes included candles, butter, mop handles, molasses, apples and potatoes, squashes, satinet, cheese, cord wood, paint, and rosin. Some of the listings were annotated with regard to the customer’s character: Ashad Bartlett was seen as “bad and poor and fights with his wife”‘ Norris Starkwether was “an honest man”; and Miss L.B. Hunt “eloped with a man”.

Subjects
  • Chicopee (Mass.)--History
  • Soap trade--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • George Cooley and Company

Gershuny, Grace

Grace Gershuny Papers, 1975-1997
2 boxes (3 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 793
Image of Soul of Soil
Soul of Soil

An organizer, consultant, and educator in the alternative agriculture movement, Grace Gershuny has been active in the field since the 1970s when she worked for the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA), developing its first organic certification program. As a leader in the movement, Gershuny helped to establish both the Organic Trade Association and the Organic Farmer: The Digest of Sustainable Agriculture. Today she continues to write and teach on the subject, serving as a faculty member at a number of colleges, most recently Green Mountain College.

The collection consists chiefly of printed material from a run of the Organic Farmer to Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas (ATTRA) publications and organizational newsletters, such as the Rural Education Center. Amongst these publications are a few small but significant groups of materials including notes from Gershuny’s role as the NOFA VT coordinator in 1979 and her drafts and notes for the second editions of The Soul of Soil.

Subjects
  • Farming--United States
  • Northeast Organic Farming Association
  • Organic farmers
  • Organic farming
Contributors
  • Gershuny, Grace

Goessmann, Charles A. (Charles Anthony), 1827-1910

Charles A. Goessmann Papers, 1850-1917
(5.5 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 063
Image of Charles A. Goessmann, ca.1890
Charles A. Goessmann, ca.1890

German-born agricultural chemist, professor of Chemistry at the University of Massachusetts Amherst when it was known as Massachusetts Agricultural College, and President of the Association of Official Agricultural Chemists and the American Chemical Society who made several important contributions in nineteenth century chemistry and held at least four patents.

The Goessman collection includes correspondence (mostly professional), some with presidents of Massachusetts Agricultural College, William Smith Clark (1826-1886) and Henry Hill Goodell (1839-1905). Also contains handwritten drafts of addresses and articles, his dissertation, printed versions of published writings, handwritten lecture notes, class records, proposed college curricula, notes taken by students, handwritten research notes, newsclippings and offprints utilized in research, and biographical materials.

Subjects
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College--Faculty
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College. Department of Chemistry
Contributors
  • Goessmann, Charles A. (Charles Anthony), 1827-1910

Gray, Asa, 1810-1888

Asa Gray, A pilgrimage to Torreya, 1875
1 vol. (0.1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 419 bd

The great botanist and early supporter of evolutionary theory, Asa Gray, toured the Florida Panhandle during the spring of 1875, making “a pious pilgrimage to the secluded native haunts of that rarest of trees, the Torreya taxifolia.” His journey took him along the Apalachicola River in search of Torreya, an native yew prized by horticulturists.

This slender manuscript account was prepared by Gray for publication in the American Agriculturist (vol. 43). In a light and graceful way, his “pilgrimage” describes the difficulties of travel in the deep south during the post-Civil War years and his exploits while botanizing. The text is edited in Gray’s hand and varies slightly from the published version.

Subjects
  • Florida--Description and travel--19th century
  • Yew
Contributors
  • Gray, Asa, 1810-1888

Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce. Total Community Development Committee

Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce Total Community Development Committee Records, 1968-1970
1 box (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 154

Formed by the Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce in 1968, the Total Community Development Committee was assigned the task of assessing the city’s needs and resources in an effort to guide the community in making and remaking its physical shape. Drawn from local business leaders, academics, and city planners, the Committee addressed issues relating to the city’s public assets including the state of the Hampshire County Courthouse, City Hall, schools, and housing, as well as economic and industrial development, recreation and youth, and urban renewal.

The collection consists of minutes and memos of the Total Development Committee, notes kept by Committee member Harvey J. Finison, and supporting material, including a copy of the 1963 master plan for the city and a series of maps. The Committee’s work contributed to a new comprehensive plan for the city by the firm Metcalf and Eddy (1972) and a survey of needs for proposed Hampshire County courthouse prepared by Reinhardt and Associates (1969).

Subjects
  • City planning--Massachusetts--Northampton
  • Northampton (Mass.)--Economic conditions--20th century
  • Urban renewal--Massachusetts--Northampton
Contributors
  • Finison, Harvey J., 1916-1987
  • Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce. Total Community Development Committee
Types of material
  • Comprehensive plans (reports)
  • Maps

Green, Josiah

Josiah Green and Co. Records, 1829-1905
2 boxes (2 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 683

Josiah Green and Co. were pioneering manufacturers of mass produced pegged boots, one of the earliest and largest firms of its kind in Central Massachusetts. Founded by Josiah Green in the town of Leicester in 1812, the firm relocated to Spencer in 1816 or 1817 and erected its first factory there in 1834. In 1850, J. Green and Co. was the largest of six major shoe- and boot-manufacturers in town, though it lost market share thereafter. Green ran the company until control passed to his sons in 1867.

The records of Josiah Green and Co. document the growth and peak years of operation of one of the most important high-volume manufacturers of boots in central Massachusetts. Although the account books and ledgers extend back into the 1820s, the bulk of the correspondence dates from 1889-1894, when Josiah’s sons controlled the firm and while it was losing ground to its competitors. Although sporadic and incomplete, the correspondence offers a glimpse into the manner in which Green’s business was conducted during a period when the firm sold to a wide network of wholesalers and jobbers in the northeast and Midwest. Most of the correspondence concerns placement or fulfillment of orders and issues over prices and payment. The collection contains four press copybooks containing outgoing letters for the years 1889-1892 and 1904-1905.

Subjects
  • Shoe industry--Massachusetts--Spencer
  • Spencer (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
Contributors
  • Green, Josiah
  • J. Green and Co
Types of material
  • Account books

Griswold, Jonah B.

Jonah B. Griswold Ledgers, 1841-1876
4 vols. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 638

An industrious artisan with a wide custom, Jonah B. Griswold made gravestones and sepulchral monuments in Sturbridge, Mass., during the three decades saddling the Civil War. Making 20 or more stones a month, Griswold had clients throughout southern Worcester County, including the Brookfields, Charlton, Wales, Woodstock, Warren, Brimfield, Union, Oxford, Worcester, Southbridge, Holland, New Boston, Spencer, Webster, Dudley, and Podunk, and as far south as Pomfret, Conn.

The four volumes that survive from Griswold’s operation include: record of cash expenditures for personal items, 1843-1876, combined with accounts of work performed for Griswold and daybook with records of marble purchased and stones carved, 1861-1876; daybook of cash on hand 1841-1842, with accounts of stone purchased and stones carved, April 1843-1849; daybook of stones carved, 1849-1860; and daybook of stones carved, 1855-1876. Griswold seldom records inscriptions, with most entries restricted to the name of the client and/or deceased, location, and cost, such as: “Oct. 14. Brookfield. Stone for Mr. Woods child 25.43” Prices during the antebellum period ranged from $10 (half that for infants) to over $140, with larger monuments going higher.

Subjects
  • Gravestones--Massachusetts
  • Stone carving--Massachusetts
  • Sturbridge (Mass.)--History
Contributors
  • Association for Gravestone Studies
  • Griswold, Jonah B
Types of material
  • Daybooks

Gwin, Lucy

Lucy Gwin Papers, 1982-2005
8 boxes (12 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 822

Born in Indiana, the writer Lucy Gwin (1943-2014) lived “a lot of lives,” in her own words, working in advertising, as a dairy farmer, civil rights activist, and deckhand on ships servicing oil rigs, all before the age of 40. While living in Rochester, N.Y., in 1989, however, her life took a sudden turn. After a head-on collision with a drunk driver left her with traumatic brain injury, Gwin was remanded for care to the New Medico Brain Rehabilitation Center, where she witnessed a world of isolation, patient abuse, and powerlessness. Never one to shrink from a challenge, she escaped from the Center and used her skills as an organizer and writer to expose conditions at New Medico and shut the facility down. Through her experiences, Gwin emerged as a powerful, often acerbic voice in all-disability rights advocacy, becoming the founder, designer, and editor of the influential Mouth Magazine in 1990.

Lucy Gwin’s papers document the advocacy of an important figure in the disability rights movement. The rich documentation for Mouth Magazine includes comprehensive editorial files arranged issue by issue, some correspondence with authors and supporters, and copies of the published issue. The balance of the collection contains Gwin’s other work as a writer, personal correspondence, and materials relating to her experiences with and campaign against New Medico.

Subjects
  • Disabled--Civil rights
  • Mouth Magazine

Hamilton, Phyllis

Phyllis Hamilton Sketch Collection, 1970-1989
1 box (2 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 752
Image of Phyllis Hamilton, Brotherhood of the Spirit, 1971
Phyllis Hamilton, Brotherhood of the Spirit, 1971

Phyllis Hamilton was a recently divorced mother of a young daughter when she joined the Brotherhood of the Spirit in 1970. Encouraged to visit the commune by two young friends, Phyllis was attracted to the spiritual values of the group and relocated herself and her daughter from Worcester to Heath, making her at the age of 40 one of the oldest members of the community. She quickly used her more mature demeanor and appearance to the group’s advantage. In an area where realtors were increasingly reluctant to work with “hippies,” Phyllis was able to negotiate and purchase the Warwick property with the assistance of another member; together they signed the deed over to the Brotherhood after the sale was final. Her age was not her only distinction, however, she was also an artist, and used her artistic capabilities to capture the familiar faces of her fellow commune members.

The collection consists of 146 sketches of members of the Brotherhood of the Spirit (renamed the Renaissance Community in 1974) from 1970-1989. About half of the drawings were identified by the artist’s daughter, the others are of unidentified individuals.

Subjects
  • Brotherhood of the Spirit (Commune)
  • Communal living--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • Hamilton, Phyllis
Types of material
  • Sketches

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