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Two girls in carriage, Quabbin region, ca.1910
Two girls in carriage, Quabbin region, ca.1910

SCUA is dedicated to documenting New England history, including primary materials relating to the political, cultural, economic, and intellectual life of our region, and the lives and experiences of its residents.

The collections in SCUA touch on many aspects of the history of the region with developing depth in immigration, labor, work, and industry, social change and movements for social change, and literature and the arts. Of particular note are two exceptionally large and rich collections: the records of the Hampshire Council of Governments, which contains over 325 years of county-level governance in western Massachusetts, and the records of the New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, which contains 350 years of Quaker history.

The recent political history of the region is documented through the papers of congressmen Silvio O. Conte and his successor John Olver, Governor Jane Swift, state Senator Stanley Rosenberg, state representatives John G. Clark, Maurice Donahue, Whiting Griswold, and John Haigis, and other figures involved in the political life of the Commonwealth.

In addition to holding material relating to many individual towns and communities in western Massachusetts, SCUA maintains a special interest in the history of the towns of the Quabbin watershed.

Significant collections

  • Business and industry
    • In addition to collections relating to organized labor and the labor movement, SCUA attempts to document the experience of work and the business community to provide a rounded understanding of work life in New England. For a more complete listing, see our guide for Labor, Work, and Industry.
  • Civic organizations and charities
    • Collections ranging from the records of charitable organizations that provide social services to groups that foster civic engagement and social justice, benevolent and ethnic self-help societies, to organizations that support social and professional communities.
  • Family history
    • SCUA has a strong interest in “family collections,” typically collections that include correspondence, photograph albums, family and farm accounts, and other materials that reveal the every day lives of New Englanders. Researchers on family life and genealogy should note that many collections indexed under other subjects contain personal and family information of some importance. Our printed materials collections include many local and county histories, genealogies, and other resources which may be useful for understanding family life.
  • Immigration, demography, and ethnicity
  • Medical history
    • Collections include daybooks and medical accounts of physicians, primarily from the nineteenth century, personal papers of physicians, and some materials on public health policy.
  • Military history
    • Although SCUA has scattered holdings relating to earlier wars, the department houses interesting materials relating to World War II and the War in Vietnam, with the latter concentrated on the antiwar movement.
  • Political life and culture
    • The distinctive political culture of Massachusetts and formal and informal political activity in the Commonwealth. Although the collections extend back into the nineteenth century, our focus is primarily on the post-World War II period.
  • Printing in rural Massachusetts
    • SCUA collects books, broadsides, and other materials printed in rural New England prior to 1900. The collections include a growing collection for the printers in the Quabbin region, Solomon and John Howes, but also includes works printed in small towns throughout Berkshire, Hampshire, Hamden, and Franklin Counties.
  • Quabbin Regional collections
    • Collections relating to all aspects of life and the legacy of the four towns inundated by the Quabbin Reservoir: Dana, Greenwich, Enfield, and Prescott, as well as surrounding communities such as New Salem, Petersham, and Wendell. In our rare books holdings, we have a number of works printed in Enfield or Greenwich, mostly by Solomon and John Howe.
  • Religious life
    • Our efforts to document the spiritual lives and religious commitments of New Englanders has resulted in a number of manuscript and archival collections. Our social change holdings include a number of collections on spiritually-motivated social reform, and our rare book holdings include hundreds of published sermons and other printed materials relating to religious life in the region.
  • New England regional history

Learn more:

New England Homestead Farm Accounts Collection, 1883-1884

2 vols. (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 113

The New England Homestead, a magazine published in Springfield, Massachusetts from 1842 to 1969, conducted a contest in 1884 to which farmers submitted notebooks recording their farm accounts for the one year period, April 1, 1883 to March 31, 1884.

The collection includes bound and unbound farm accounts submitted as entries to the contest contest. The Library holds The New England Homestead, 1842-1850 on microfilm, and 1894-1968 in bound volumes.


  • Agriculture--Accounting--Competitions--New England
  • Agriculture--Economic aspects--New England--History--19th century
  • Agriculture--New England--Accounting--History--19th century
  • Contests--New England
  • Farm management--Competitions--New England
  • Farm management--New England--History--19th century
  • Farmers--Competitions--New England
  • Farmers--New England--Economic conditions--19th century
  • New England--Economic conditions--19th century


  • New England Homestead

New England Labor and Community Newsletters, 1979-1984

1 envelope (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 202

Includes eleven of the thirteen newsletters published by the Labor and Community Network, a group of academics and trade unionists interested in labor issues in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.


  • Labor--New England--Periodicals
  • New England--Social conditions--Periodicals
  • Working class--New England--Periodicals

Types of material

  • Newsletters

New England Post-War Marketing Plans Collection, 1937-1950

1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 083

Includes reports, addresses, articles, proposals, memos, and correspondence regarding post-war marketing plans in New England for agricultural products in general, and for dairy products in particular, including the Every Other Day Milk Delivery campaign.


  • Agriculture--Economic aspects--New England--20th century
  • Dairy products--New England--Marketing--History--20th century
  • Farm produce--New England--Marketing--History--20th century
  • New England--Economic conditions--20th century

New England Regional Planning Commission Collection, 1935-1943

3 boxes (1.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 069

Organized in March 1934, the New England Regional Planning Commission was a coalition of state planning boards intended as a permanent, non-partisan, representative body. Charged with the continuous coordination, review, and revision of state plans, the Commission coordinated research and physical planning relating to transportation (including the highway system and airports), interstate water resources, land utilization, conservation of forests and wildlife, and recreational facilities.

This small collection consists of printed reports, bulletins, and minutes from the NERPC from its founding through middle of the Second World War. Ephemeral in nature, the reports chart the growth of regional cooperation in planning in the use of water and land resources and the transportation system, spurred by the federal New Deal.


  • Airports--New England
  • New England--Economic conditions
  • Regional planning--New England
  • Roads--New England
  • Transportation--New England
  • Water-supply--New England


  • New England Regional Planning Commission

New England Telephone Workers Strike Collection, 1989

1 folder (0.15 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 323

In 1989, almost 60,000 telephone workers in New England and New York waged a successful fifteen week strike against Nynex to protest a new contract that threatened cuts to medical benefits.

This small collection includes three handouts and a bulletin documenting the four-month labor strike carried out by New England telephone workers (represented by the Communications Workers of America and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers unions) against the NYNEX corporation.


  • NYNEX Corporation
  • New England--Economic conditions--20th century
  • Strikes and lockouts--Telephone companies--New England --History
  • Telephone companies--Employees--Labor unions--New England--History


  • Communications Workers of America
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers

Types of material

  • Handbills

New York City Draft Riot Letter, 1863

1 item (0.1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 278

This letter, dated July 14, 1863 from New York, is addressed simply to “Brother.” The correspondent is unknown, as the letter is incomplete and consists only of a single sheet of paper. The subject of the letter is the ongoing draft riots in New York City, which began on July 13th and ended on July 16th. The rioters set fire to many businesses and homes, tore up railroad tracks and brought down telegraph lines during the three day ordeal.


  • Draft Riot, New York, N.Y., 1863
  • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865

Types of material

  • Letters (Correspondence)

New York Farm Bureau Photograph Collection, 1915-1916

5 images (0.1 linear feet)
Call no.: PH 053
Ilion, N.Y. detail)
Ilion, N.Y. detail)

Founded as a non-governmental, volunteer organization in 1911, the New York Farm Bureau offers resources to support and enrich rural life and encourages farmers to work collaboratively for better marketing and production.

This small collection of photographs documents inspection tours conducted by the New York Farm Bureau of farms, apparently in the Mohawk River Valley, in 1915-1916. The intent, as the caption of one photograph suggests, was to bring “science into the field.”


  • Automobiles--Photographs
  • Fort Plain (N.Y.)--Photographs
  • Ilion (N.Y.)--Photographs
  • Street-railroads--New York (State)--Photographs

Types of material

  • Photographs

New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation Records, ca.1975-2005

12 boxes (18 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 663

Founded in 1977, the New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation is a non-partisan policy making and political action organization devoted to informing the public about the deleterious physiological effects of fluorides. With a membership comprised of professionals and non-professionals, physicians, scientists, and environmentalists, the Coalition works to raise awareness among elected officials at all levels of government about the need for environmental protection and works with an international network of similar organizations with the ultimate goal of ending the fluoridation of public water supplies.

The NYSCOF collection documents two decades of an organized, grassroots effort to influence public policy relating to water fluoridation in New York state and elsewhere. In addition to 7.5 linear feet of subject files relating to fluoridation, the collection includes materials issued by and about NYSCOF, several audio and videotapes, and documentation of their work with elected officials.


  • Antifluoridation movement--New York (State)
  • Drinking water--Law and legislation--United States
  • Fluorides--Environmental aspects
  • Public health


  • New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation

Lucy Nguyen Papers, 1983-2001

2 boxes (0.75 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 026

A scholar of Francophone literature in Asia and Director of the United Asia Learning Resource Center, Lucy Nguyen Hong Nhiem was born in Kontum, Vietnam, in 1939. A graduate of the University of Saigon and teacher of French, she fled Saigon in 1975 just three days before its fall. From a refugee camp in Arkansas, she traveled through Connecticut and then to Springfield, Mass., before arriving at UMass in 1976 to resume her studies. After completing her MA (1978) and PhD (1982), she held positions at Smith, Amherst, and Mount Holyoke Colleges before beginning her tenure at UMass in 1984. An Adjunct Professor of Asian Languages and Literatures, she also served as Academic Advisor to the Bilingual Collegiate Program and Vice-Chair of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Refugees and Immigrants.

Nguyen’s papers are a small but critical collection of materials on Southeast Asian Refugees. Included among the papers are materials relating to the resettlement of Southeast Asian refugees, materials relating to the Governor’s Advisory Council on Refugees and Immigrants (1983), and a paper on the status of refugees in Massachusetts in 1987, along with unpublished writings, professional correspondence, and a handful of notes from a search committee.


  • Refugees--Vietnam
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Bilingual Collegiate Program
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Program in Asian Languages and Literatures
  • Vietnamese--Massachusetts


  • Nguyen, Lucy Hong Nhiem, 1939-
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