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American Express Company. Florence (Mass.) Office

American Express Company Florence Office Records
1867-1890
3 boxes (3 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 298

Records of express agent Watson L. Wilcox of Simsbury, Connecticut, and Florence, Massachusetts, documenting Wilcox’s work for the American Express Company and the evolution of the company from a small shipping business to a delivery organization whose services contributed to the growth of the local and regional economy. Records consist of agent books, receipt books, and waybills listing accounts of local companies and residents for the sending, receiving, and delivery of freight, telegraph messages, express cash, goods, and packages.

Subjects
  • American Merchant's Union Express Company
  • Express service--Massachusetts--Florence--History
  • Florence (Mass.)--Economic conditions
  • Florence Manufacturing Company
  • Florence Sewing Machine Company
  • Hill, Samuel L
  • Industries--Massachusetts--Florence--History
  • New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railroad Company
  • Nonotuck Silk Company
  • Parsons, I. S
  • Simsbury (Conn.)--Economic conditions
  • Williston, A. L
Contributors
  • American Express Company (Florence, Mass.)
  • Wilcox, Watson L., 1832 or 3-1896

Bridgewater (Mass.)

Bridgewater (Mass.) Merchant's Daybook
1837
1 vol. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 222 bd

Perched at the western boundary of Plymouth County, Bridgewater, Massachusetts, grew rapidly during the antebellum period, spurred by the growth of its industry. During the mid-nineteenth century, the town’s most valuable products revolved around the local iron industry, with large manufacturers like Lazell, Perkins, and Co. producing iron and heavy machinery as early as 1810.

The daybook of this unidentified trader and merchant in Bridgewater, Mass., reveals the quickening pace of economic activity connected to the burgeoning Plymouth County iron industry. While many of the transactions at the store are small purchases of consumable goods such as flour, fabric, sugar, tobacco, meats, and molasses, more substantial purchases ae interspersed throughout for bar iron, nails, metal plates, and other manufactured metal items.

Acquired from Charles Apfelbaum, 1987
Subjects
  • Bridgewater (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Merchants--Massachusetts--Bridgewater
Types of material
  • Daybooks

Brookfield (Mass.). Selectmen

Brookfield (Mass.) Records
1736-1795
1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 595

Settled in 1660 and incorporated in 1718, the town of Brookfield (Worcester County) straddles the Boston Post Road, one of the major arteries during the colonial period connecting Boston with the towns of the Connecticut River Valley and New York.

This assemblage of documents from the town of Brookfield consists primarily of warrants for town meetings, many with agendas, issued through the local constable. Concentrated in the 1770s, these warrants provide relatively detailed information on matters of local importance, including town finances, tax assessments, contributions to the poor house, roadways, and property disputes. During the Revolutionary and post-Revolutionary years, however, issues of interest to the town were often wrapped up in regional or national political issues. Town freeholders, for example, were called to consider requests to “come into any Vote or Resolve Respecting the East India Company Tea,” the encouragement of manufacture of firearms, smallpox inoculation, and pay for the town’s Minute Men.

Subjects
  • Brookfield (Mass.)--History--18th century
  • Smallpox
  • United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783
Contributors
  • Forster, Jedediah
Types of material
  • Warrants

Center for Community Access Television (Amherst, Mass.)

Center for Community Access Television Records
1973-1989
1 box (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 293

Group comprised of students from the University of Massachusetts and community members who sought to develop and promote cultural, literary, charitable, educational and public affairs television programming. Records include by-laws, articles of organization, organizational histories, annual reports, meeting minutes, correspondence, program schedules, subject files, brochures, handbills, news clippings, and materials relating to a proposed merger with University of Massachusetts Cable Vision. In 1989, CCATV was renamed Amherst Community Television (ACT).

Subjects
  • Amherst (Mass.)--Intellectual life--20th century
  • Cable television--Massachusetts--Amherst--History
  • Public-access television--Massachusetts--Amherst--History
  • Television programs--Massachusetts--Amherst--History
Contributors
  • Center for Community Access Television (Amherst, Mass.)
Types of material
  • Handbills

Easton (Mass.)

Easton (Mass.) Physician's Daybook
1831-1833
1 vol. (0.15 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 283 bd

The Bristol County, Massachusetts, towns of Easton and Norton had only a small number of trained physicians in the antebellum period tending to a growing population. During the 1830s, that number was probably less and ten, including those with allopathic medical degrees, alternative practitioners, and those who had irregular educations.

The unidentified physician who kept this daybook appears to have practiced in either Easton or Norton, Massachusetts, during the early 1830s. The daybook includes brief records of patient names and dates of visits, medical care dispensed, and minimal records of medical procedures.

Acquired from Charles Apfelbaum, 1989
Subjects
  • Physicians--Massachusetts
Types of material
  • Daybooks

Montague (Mass.) Nuclear Power Station

Montague Nuclear Power Station Environmental Report
1975
1 box (1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 061

Planning for construction of a nuclear power plant in Montague, Mass., in 1973, Northeast Utilities was required to conduct an environmental impact survey of the site, building a 500-foot tall weather monitoring tower to gather data. Their plans, however, were thwarted by the rise of a powerful antinuclear opposition, symbolized by a renowned act of civil disobedience in February 1974. On Washington’s Birthday, a member of the Montague Farm commune, Sam Lovejoy, took down the tower using simple farm tools, turning himself in to the police immediately afterward. The ensuing trial, the effective organizing by his colleagues, and the success of their effort to prevent construction of the power plant is often regarded as a formative moment in the history of the modern antinuclear movement.

This environmental report for the proposed Montague Nuclear Power Station includes an accounting of the purpose of the facility, its environmental, archaeological, and social impact, and an analysis of the costs and benefits of operation.

Subjects
  • Antinuclear movement--United States
  • Lovejoy, Sam
  • Montague (Mass.)--History
  • Northeast Utilities
  • Nuclear power plants--Massachusetts

New England history

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:

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.

SCUA accepts materials in most audio and video formats — cassette, reel to reel, RDAT, VHS, Betacam, or digital — but in every case, we prefer to receive the interview in the format in which it was recorded and in the highest quality available. When possible, we prefer digital files that are uncompressed, 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:

Pines Hotel (South Hadley, Mass.)

Pines Hotel (South Hadley, Mass.) Register
1925-1939
1 vol. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 498 bd

The Pines in South Hadley, Mass., was a popular meeting place for men to socialize in the 1920s and 1930s. Employees of Bosch Magneto, the West End Sporting Club, and other groups who enjoyed hunting and fishing held special suppers where they consumed their prey with quantities of alcohol, Prohibition or not.

Using a standard hotel register, The Pines recorded a series of meetings of men’s groups in South Hadley, mostly centered around the activities of hunting and fishing. The Bosch Club (apparently employees of Bosch Magneto in Springfield), the Pines Gang, and the West End Sporting Club — with overlapping membership — held an array of events annually, including Coon Suppers, Deer Dinners, and Game Suppers, as well as occasional Chicken Fries, Piano Suppers, Pig Roasts, Dog Roasts, and special events such as member’s weddings. Summaries at the end of the year in 1926 and 1927, replete with bad verse, provide a sense of their socializing.

Acquired from Peter Masi, Mar. 2005
Subjects
  • Fishers--Massachusetts--South Hadley
  • Hunters--Massachusetts--South Hadley
  • Men--Societies and clubs--Massachusetts--South Hadley
  • South Hadley (Mass.)--History

Prescott (Mass.)

Prescott (Mass.) Collection
1822-1952
8 vols. (digital)
Call no.: MS 021

Rural and sparsely populated, Prescott, Massachusetts, was founded in 1822 along the ridge separating the West and Middle branches of the Swift River. Its three villages (North Prescott, Atkinson Hollow, and Prescott Hill) never amounted to more than a few houses each, and the town’s total population never exceeded 500. Prescott became the first of four towns to vacate after the Swift River Valley was ordered cleared and dammed to create the Quabbin Reservoir, ceding its administration to the state in 1928 before formally disincorporating in 1938.

The records of Prescott, Mass., document the history of the smallest of the four towns inundated to create the Quabbin Reservoir. Held by the Swift River Valley Historical Society, the materials in this collection consist of records of town meetings and of the activities of the town Selectmen, 1822-1938, as well as sparser records of the School Committee, the Treasurer, and Overseers of the Poor.

Subjects
  • Education--Massachusetts--Prescott--History
  • Poor--Massachusetts--Prescott--History
  • Prescott (Mass.)--Appropriations and expenditures
  • Prescott (Mass.)--History
  • Prescott (Mass.)--Politics and governmen
  • Prescott (Mass.)--Social conditions
  • Quabbin Reservoir Region (Mass.)--History
  • Quabbin Reservoir Region (Mass.)--Social life and customs
Contributors
  • Prescott (Mass. : Town)
  • Prescott (Mass. : Town). Overseers of the Poor
Types of material
  • Account books
  • School records
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