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Nichols, Reuben

Reuben Nichols, The adventures and ramblings of a sailor

1 vol. 0.1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 901 bd

The son of a Revolutionary War veteran from Fairfield County, Conn., Reuben Nichols went to sea as teenager and spent a quarter of a century sailing the Atlantic aboard merchant ships and privateers. After rising to become master of the New York and Savannah packets Exact and Angelique in the 1830s, he retired to a life on shore near Bridgeport.

This vigorous account of a life on the antebellum seas runs Nichols’ childhood hardships through a series of adventures at sea in war and peace. An observant and effective writer, Nichols describes voyages to western and northern Europe, the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, and South America during and after the War of 1812. During a colorful career, he took part in the operations of warships and privateers, witnessed attempted mutinies and desertions, rescued the abolitionist John Hopper from a mob in Georgia, and was drawn into the struggles for colonial liberation. His experiences aboard the privateer Kemp and descriptions of Haiti, Cape Verde, Spain, Gibraltar, Turkey, and Argentina are particularly evocative.

Acquired from William Reese, Mar. 2016
  • Abolitionists--Georgia
  • Argentina--Description and travel--19th century
  • Aruba--Description and travel--19th century
  • Gibraltar--Description and travel--19th century
  • Haiti--Description and travel--19th century
  • Hopper, John, 1815-1865
  • Merchant ships--Connecticut
  • Mutiny
  • Privateering
  • Sailors--Connecticut
  • Spain--Description and travel--19th century
  • Stratford (Conn.)--History
  • Turkey--Description and travel--19th century
  • United States--History--War of 1812--Naval operations
Types of material
  • Autobiographies
  • Memoirs

Nopper, John

John Nopper Photograph Collection

25 photographs 0.1 linear feet
Call no.: PH 078
Howard Prussack in a field at High Meadows Farm in Putney, VT
Howard Prussack at High Meadows Farm in Putney, VT

A farmer for over thirty years along the Connecticut River in Vermont, John Nopper came to photography later in life. Drawn to the challenge of capturing individuals and environments in his and surrounding communities, Nopper focuses on portraits and landscapes, and specializes in 11”x17” or larger printing, emphasizing the depth of tone in his black and white photography. His photograph projects often focus on the instruments and individuals of a specific industry or place, and frequently document subjects and vocations he feels warrant increased attention, either due to their methods, like his work documenting traditional maple sugaring and printing practices, or due to current events, such as a more recent project as an embedded photographer within a Vermont city police department.

The John Nopper Photograph Collection currently consists of twenty-five, 11”x17”, black and white prints from the exhibit “Vermont’s Organic Pioneers,” along with the descriptions from the project. In a collaborative effort with interviewer and writer Susan J. Harlow, Nopper photographed the subjects of Harlow’s interviews for an exhibit featuring interview summaries and quotations alongside photographs from six farms and their farmers, all pioneers in the history of organic farm production, marketing, and distribution in Vermont. The collection also includes digital photographs not printed, as well as digital versions of most of the prints.

Gift of John Noper, July 2017
  • Northeast Organic Farming Association
  • Organic farmers--Vermont
  • Organic farming--Standards
  • Organic farming--Vermont
  • Sustainable agriculture
Types of material
  • Photographs

Norwich (Conn.) Ironmonger

Norwich (Conn.) Ironmonger's Account book

1 vol., 270p. 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 540 bd

Straddling three rivers with easy access to Long Island Sound and the Atlantic, Norwich, Conn., was an important center during the mid-nineteenth century for the shipment of goods manufactured throughout eastern Connecticut.

Despite covering a limited period of time, primarily 1844 and 1845, the account book of an unidentified iron monger from Norwich (Conn.) provides insight into the activities of a highly active purveyor of domestic metal goods. The unidentified business carried a heavy trade in the sale or repair of iron goods, as well as items manufactured from tin, copper, and zinc, including stoves of several sorts (e.g., cooking, bricking, coal), ovens, pipes, kettles and coffee pots, ice cream freezers, lamps and lamp stands, reflectors, and more. The firm did business with individual clients as well as mercantile firms, corporations such as the Mill Furnace Co., organizations such as the Methodist Society, the city of Norwich and County of New London, and with local hotels.

  • Hardware industry--Connecticut
  • Iron industry and trade--Connecticut
  • Norwich (Conn.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Stoves
Types of material
  • Account books

Obear, Clark H.

Clark Hopkins Obear Diaries

4 vols. 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 601

A resident of New Ipswich, N.H., Clark Obear was an ardent supporter of the temperance and antislavery movements, and was deeply involved in the affairs of his church and community. A teacher in Hillsborough County schools, Obear also worked as a farmer and insurance agent, and served in public office as a deputy sheriff, a Lieutenant Colonel in the militia, a fence viewer and pound keeper, and for several years he was superintendent of schools. Obear and his wife Lydia Ann (Swasey) had two children, Annabel and Francis.

The four diaries in this collection contain brief, but regular entries documenting Clark Obear’s daily life in New Ipswich, N.H. during the middle years of the nineteenth century. Despite their brevity, the diaries form a continuous coverage of many years and offer details that provide a compelling sense of the rhythms of life in a small New Hampshire village. Of particular note, Obear carefully notes the various lectures he attends in town and the organizations of which he is part, including reform movements like temperance and antislavery.

Acquired from Benjamin Katz, Apr. 2009
  • Abolitionists--New Hampshire
  • Antislavery movements--New Hampshire
  • New Ipswich (N.H.)--History
  • Temperance--New Hampshire
  • Obear, Clark H.
Types of material
  • Diaries

Olevsky, Julian, 1926-1985

Julian Olevsky Score Collection

2 boxes 3 linear feet
Call no.: MS 438

Ranked amongst the great violinists of his generation, Julian Olevsky served as Professor of Violin at the University of Massachusetts Amherst from 1967-1985. The collection consists of annotated scores belonging to Julian Olevsky, the bulk of which contain parts for the violin and piano.

Gift of Estella Olevsky, 2002
  • Music--18th century
  • Music--19th century
  • Music--20th century
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Music and Dance
  • Olevsky, Estela
  • Olevsky, Julian, 1926-1985

Oral history

Class of 1889 in front of Durfee Greenhouse
Oral historian at the First National Women’s Conference in Houston, Texas, 1977. Photo by Diana Mara Henry

However rich our archival collections may be, there are always parts of the historical record that never make it onto the page. Memories, emotions, and attitudes are notoriously difficult to document, and there a variety of all-too human reasons that people choose not to write down every detail of their lives. As a result, the Department of Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) has been actively engaged in recording oral histories as a way of capturing a more complete record of the many voices and diverse experiences that comprise .

SCUA first ventured into oral historical work in the mid-1970s with efforts to document the history of the university prior to the massive expansion of the previous decade, and the department has subsequently engaged in oral historical projects to document the university’s 125th and 150th anniversaries. In the past decade, SCUA has extended its work to documenting the histories of persons represented in its collections and to a broader array of projects documenting the history and experience of social change and the people and cultures on New England. Furthermore, SCUA is the repository for hundreds of oral histories recorded by other people, ranging in scope from interviews with Franco-Americans in the 1980s, 20th century Argentine political figures, and former residents of the Quabbin towns in Western Massachusetts.

Many of SCUA’s oral histories are available online through our digital repository Credo. These include audio and video recordings and, in a few cases, they may be fully transcribed.

Supporting material

For donors of oral histories:

SCUA is happy to accept donations of oral histories that fit within its collection policy.

Although SCUA accepts materials in most audio and video formats — cassette, reel to reel, RDAT, VHS, Betacam, or digital — we typically prefer to receive interviews in the format in which they were recorded and in the highest quality available. When possible, we prefer uncompressed digital files, however we appreciate receiving a compressed derivative (e.g., mp3 for audio, mp4 for video). When available, transcripts in print and electronic form are a very valuable addition.

Learn more:

Passin, Herbert

Herbert Passin Collection

1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 565

A distinguished scholar of contemporary Japan, Herbert Passin was born in Chicago on Dec. 16, 1916. After completing a doctorate in anthropology in 1941, Passin was inducted into the Army and sent to the Army’s Japanese language school in Ann Arbor, Michigan, for training. Assigned to duty in Tokyo in December 1945, he became chief of the Public Opinion and Sociological Research Division under Gen. Douglas MacArthur. During his tour of duty, Passin coordinated a series of sociological studies of Japanese village life to help guide U.S. Occupation policy, particularly as it dealt with land and labor reform.

The Passin Collection contains reports and notes of sociological surveys of two Japanese villages, Yuzurihara and Yawatano, conducted by U.S. Occupation authorities in 1946 and 1947, along with a wartime report by Arthur Meadow of “Japanese character structure based on Japanese film plots and thematic apperception tests on Japanese Americans,” and a post-war letter from the novelist Takami Jun.

Gift of James and Sibylle Fraser, Oct. 2007
  • Japan--History--Allied occupation, 1945-1952
  • Japan--Sociology--Occupation
  • Passin, Herbert
Types of material
  • Letters (Correspondence)

Patterson, Charles H.

Charles H. Patterson Papers

2 boxes 1 linear feet
Call no.: FS 089
Image of Charles H. Patterson.<br />Photo by Frank A. Waugh, 1926
Charles H. Patterson.
Photo by Frank A. Waugh, 1926

For many years, Charles H. Patterson served as head of the Department of Language and Literature at Massachusetts Agricultural College. Born in Smithsonville, Ont., in 1863, Patterson received both a BA (1887) and MA (1893) from Tufts University before launching his teaching career. He joined the faculty at MAC as an assistant professor of English, in 1916, after 13 years at West Virginia University. A former professional actor, he taught courses in modern literature, with a particular interest in drama, and served as department chair for nearly a decade before his sudden death in 1933.

The Patterson Papers contain a small selection of correspondence and notes on English composition and literature as taught at Massachusetts Agricultural College. Most noteworthy, perhaps, is a draft of Patterson’s unpublished book, The Amazing Boucicault.

  • Boucicault, Dion, 1820-1890
  • Drama--Study and teaching
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College--Faculty
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College. Department of English
  • Patterson, Charles H

Peace Development Fund

Peace Development Fund Records

53 boxes 79.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 427
Image of Traprock Peace Center and PDF<br />arms race flip chart
Traprock Peace Center and PDF
arms race flip chart

First conceived in 1980, the Peace Development Fund (PDF) was founded by a small group of activists and donors with a vision: to raise money to fund grassroots organizations promoting peace, global demilitarization, and non-violent conflict resolution. During the foundation’s first funding cycle, PDF awarded 19 grants to projects designed to increase understanding of the arms race; some to organizations as nearby as Deerfield and Northampton and others to organizations as far away as California. With the end of the Cold War in the late 1980s, PDF changed focus. Instead of thinking of peace as the absence of war, the Foundation began to see peace as “the presence of equitable relationships among people, nations, and the environment.” Since that time, PDF has developed a new perspective on peacework, one centered on fostering social, environmental, and economic justice.

The records of the Peace Development Fund consist chiefly of grant-making files documenting the many organizations that submitted and received awards. Also included is a nearly complete run of PDF’s annual reports, newsletters, and other publications, which together offer a full picture of the foundation’s funding and programmatic history. Exchange Project files record PDF’s efforts to provide training, not just money, to organizations lacking the skills necessary for effective fund-raising, strategic planning, instituting sound organizational structures, and dismantling racism.

Gift of the Peace Development Fund, 2001, 2011
  • Antinuclear movement
  • Charitable uses, trusts, and foundations--United States
  • Peace movements--United States
  • Social change--United States
  • Social justice--United States
  • Peace Development Fund

Peck Family

Peck-Sisson-White Family Papers

1772-1975 Bulk: 1830-1875
2 boxes 0.75 linear feet
Call no.: MS 933

Perez Peck (1786-1876) and Asa Sisson (1815-1893) of the village of Anthony (Coventry), R.I., were innovative machinists and manufacturers of cotton looms. Active members of the Society of Friends, they were supporters of the antislavery struggle and sent their children to the Friends Boarding School in Providence, R.I.

Although the Peck-Sisson-White family collection spans three families and three generations, the bulk of material is concentrated on the lives of Asa Sisson and his wife Mary Ann (Peck) and their daughter Emily, who married Willis H. White, with an emphasis on their poetry and their time at the Friends Boarding School in Providence, R.I. The family also copied verse from other writers, including works from George Miller (not otherwise identified) extracting Anthony Benezet and “Remarks on encouraging slavery” and a “lamentation over New England” which touches on the execution of early Quakers in Massachusetts Bay.

Gift of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, 2016
  • Antislavery movements--Rhode Island
  • Death--Poetry
  • Friends Boarding School (Providence, R.I.)
  • Quakers--Rhode Island
  • Peck, Perez, 1786-1876
  • Sisson, Asa, 1815-1893
  • Sisson, Mary Ann, 1816-1882
  • White, Emily Sisson, 1856-1945
Types of material
  • Diaries
  • Poetry