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Towle, Gifford H.

Gifford H. and Marjorie B. Towle Papers
1970-1987 (Bulk: 1945-1980)
24 boxes (33 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 881
Image of Gifford and Marjorie Towle, 1957
Gifford and Marjorie Towle, 1957

As a student at Mount Hermon School in the late 1920s, Gifford Hoag Towle met Marjorie Ripley Blossom, a young woman at the Northfield School for Girls. When Giff went on to the Massachusetts Agricultural College (BS 1932) and Marjorie to a midwestern Bible College for a year (before being called home due to a family crisis), they remained connected and after Giff’s graduation in 1932, they married. By the time that Giff graduated from Hartford Seminary, he had left his Quaker upbringing to enter the Congregationalist ministry, and he and Marjorie filled three pulpits near Pelham, Mass. In 1939, however, they were called by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions to serve as missionaries in the American Marathi Mission in Maharashtra State, central India. Following two years of intensive study of the Marathi language in Ahmednagar, they settled in Vadala, a rural village on the semi-arid plains, where they worked for thirty-four years, counting furloughs. In 1946 on furlough in the U.S., Giff earned a master’s degree in agricultural engineering from Cornell while pastoring a small church in the suburbs of Ithaca. In his agricultural work in India, Giff used the mission farm to demonstrate crop diversity and farm animal improvement; created co-operatives to enable poor farmers to use appropriate modern tools and machinery for pennies; taught good irrigation and soil conservation; and later built a Mechanical Unit and trained local Indians as mechanics to repair machinery and drill wells. Giff also invented a pump for which he never filed a patent, wanting instead to make it as widely available as possible. He built networks with relatives, churches, and non-profits to fund these efforts and get supplies.

The Towle Collection contains a wealth of information for research in three distinct areas: missions and religious matters; agriculture in “developing” countries; and the cultural and socio-economic context of social change in rural India. The Towles’ voluminous correspondence and reports offer a particularly rich view into mission life in India, including American participation through churches, relations between Hindus and Christians or between Christians, and the viability of these efforts. Marjorie’s letters are particularly vivid, adding significantly to our understanding of mission lives and experiences. The collection is equally rich in revealing the impact of the Towles’ agricultural work and for study of the efficacy of government agencies and non-profits seeking to understand cross-cultural issues.

Gift of Jean Reed, 2015
Subjects
  • Agriculture--India
  • India--Description and travel
  • Maharasthra (India)--Economic conditions
  • Missionaries--India
Contributors
  • Towle, Marjorie Blossom, 1907-1994
Types of material
  • Photographs

U.S. Interstate Commerce Commission. Bureau of Valuation

U.S. Interstate Commerce Commission, Bureau of Valuation, Engineering Report upon the Boston and Maine Railroad Company
1931
1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 641

Chartered in 1835, the Boston and Maine Railroad was one of the largest and most successful railroad operations in northern New England for over a century, hauling both freight and passengers. The Railway began a slow decline as early as the 1930s with the decline in manufacturing in the region and later with the decline of passenger service. It came through a bankruptcy in 1970 and continues as a non-operating ward of Pan Am Railways.

This collection consists of blueprint valuations of the assets of the Boston and Maine Railroad, compiled by the Bureau of Valuation of the U.S. Interstate Commerce Commission in 1931.

Subjects
  • Boston and Maine Railroad
  • Railroads--New England

United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America. Holyoke District Council (Locals 656, 390 and 1503)

UBCJA Holyoke District Council Records
1906-1978
10 boxes (4 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 108

Minutes, correspondence, membership lists, ledgers, and daybooks of the the Holyoke District Council and the local affiliates of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (Locals 656, 390 and 1503). Together with the records of the Pioneer Valley District Council and the Massachusetts State Council, this collection offers comprehensive documentation for the UCBJA in the Connecticut River Valley of Massachusetts.

Subjects
  • Carpenters--Labor unions
  • Labor unions--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America

United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America. Pioneer Valley District Council

UBCJA Pioneer Valley District Council and Affiliates Records
1899-1978
7 boxes (3 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 231

By-laws, minutes, and correspondence of the Pioneer Valley District Council and Affiliates of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America. Together with the records of the Massachusetts State Council and the Holyoke District Council, this collection offers comprehensive documentation for the UCBJA in the Connecticut River Valley of Massachusetts

Subjects
  • Carpenters--Labor unions
  • Labor unions--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America

United Food & Commercial Workers International Union. Local 1459

United Food & Commercial Workers International Union, Local 1459 Records
1977-1985
1 box (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 046

Established in Springfield, Mass., in 1938, Local 1459 of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union represents the interests of its members in the workplace and the community in western Massachusetts and Vermont. The UCFW was formed in June 1979 from the merger of the Retail Clerks International Union and Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen of North America, creating the largest affiliated union in the AFL-CIO. Mergers with the Barbers, Beauticians and Allied Industries International Association and United Retail Workers Union followed in 1980 and 1981.

The records of UFCW Local 1459 include the 1979 constitution and merger agreement with UFCW, contracts with local businesses, and several issues of the newsletter, The Union Leader, both before and after chartering with UFCW.

Subjects
  • Food industry and trade--Labor unions--Massachusetts
  • Labor unions--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • Retail Clerks International Union. Local 1459 (Springfield, Mass.)
Types of material
  • Contracts

Urban League of Springfield

Urban League of Springfield Records
1972-1975
1 box (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 150

A community development and service agency founded in 1914, the Urban League of Springfield works to secure equal opportunity for minority groups in such fields as employment, education, housing, health, and personal welfare.

This small collection is tightly focused on the period of the school busing (desegregation) crisis in Springfield, 1974-1975, and the League’s efforts to analyze and respond to the underlying issues in race relations and political engagement. The contents include surveys on racial attitudes and voting behavior in the city along with a selection of publications from the League and a set of board minutes and handouts.

Subjects
  • School integration--Massachusetts--Springfield
  • Springfield (Mass.)--History--20th century
  • Springfield (Mass.)--Politics and government
  • Springfield (Mass.)--Race relations

Valley Light Opera

Valley Light Opera Records
1977-2005
12 boxes (18.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 476

Founded in 1975 by a group of Gilbert and Sullivan devotees, the Valley Light Opera is based in Amherst, Massachusetts. VLO presents one fully staged opera and one less formal production every year, and over the years the company has presented all fourteen of the Gilbert and Sullivan operas at least once.

This collection contains a wonderful visual record of VLO productions with literally hunderds of photographs capturing dozens of performances. The collection contains, too, records that document the company’s activities from the moment an opera is selected to be performed to last curtain call.

Gift of Valley Light Opera, 2005-2010
Subjects
  • Theatrical companies--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • Valley Light Opera

Van Meter, Ralph Albert, 1893-

Ralph Van Meter Papers
1919-1958
2 boxes (1 linear feet)
Call no.: RG 003/1 V36
Image of Ralph Van Meter
Ralph Van Meter

Ralph Van Meter, the first president of the University of Massachusetts after it changed its name from Massachusetts State College in 1947, spent nearly 40 years learning, teaching, and leading on the Amherst campus. A graduate of Ohio State University (B.S., 1917), he came to the Massachusetts Agricultural College as a specialist in Food Conservation in 1917, serving in the Pomology Department first as a professor, and then as the head from 1936 to 1948. The Board of Trustees appointed Van Meter as Acting President in 1947 and President in 1948. He was responsible for a number of innovations, including the creation of the position of Provost (first held by John Paul Mather) and the establishment of new schools of business administration and engineering.

Correspondence, memos, reports, clippings, and other papers, relating to matters at issue during Van Meter’s presidency of University of Massachusetts including the building program, World War II veterans, accreditation, and the university seal; together with published writings, biographical material, military records, and material from Van Meter’s inauguration as university president.

Subjects
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. President
Contributors
  • Van Meter, Ralph Albert, 1893-

Vogl, Otto, 1927-

Otto Vogl Papers
1970-1998
9 boxes (16.5 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 161

A native of Traiskirchen, Austria, Otto Vogl (b. 1927) earned an international reputation as a polymer scientist while working with the Polychemicals Department at Du Pont. In June 1970, he was recruited to join the relatively new Program in Polymer Science and Engineering at University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he has continued research on the structure and organic chemistry of polymers, focusing on macromolecular architecture and macromolecular asymmetry (chirality), among other topics. A prolific scholar, he has contributed over 630 articles, received nearly fifty U.S. and foreign patents, and among many other honors, has won election to the Austrian and Swedish Academies of Science.

The Otto Vogl Papers consist primarily of scholarly writings and professional correspondence, along with numerous master’s theses and doctoral dissertations completed under Vogl’s supervision and books written by Vogl’s wife, Jane C. Vogl.

Gift of Otto Vogl, 2007-2008
Subjects
  • Polymers--Structure
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Polymer Science and Engineering
Contributors
  • Vogl, Otto, 1927-

Walker, Mary Morris

Mary Morris Walker Papers
1868-2003 (Bulk: 1944-2003)
8 boxes (12 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 775

An avid botanist and naturalist, Mary (Morris) Walker was born in Stamford, Conn., on April 1, 1923, the daughter of renowed surgeon and naturalist Robert Tuttle Morris. After graduating from Vassar in 1944, Morris took her MA in Geology at the University of Michigan, marrying a fellow geologist Eugene H. Walker in 1947. Moving to Kentucky, Iowa, and Idaho before settling in Concord, Mass., in 1968, the Walkers raised three children. In Concord, Walker studied for an MA in library science at Simmons College (1971), but her work in botany and natural history became increasingly important. As a plant collector, writer, and educator, Walker traveled widely in the United States and the Caribbean, and she became a leader in organizations including the New England Wild Flower Society, the New England Botanical Club, the Thoreau Society, and the Appalachian Mountain Club. Walker died in Concord on Oct. 2, 2012.

The Walker Papers are a rich assemblage of materials documenting the life of an energetic amateur botanist. Beginning during her time as a student at Vassar, the collection offers insight into Walker’s growing interest in the natural sciences, her botanizing, and her commitments to several organizations devoted to natural history. The collection also includes a small number of letters and photographs of Walker’s father, Robert T. Morris.

Gift of Cynthia Gray and Arthur Walker, Apr. 2013
Subjects
  • Botanizers
  • Botany--Study and teaching
  • New England Botanical Club
  • New England Wild Flower Society
  • Thoreau Society
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