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Blanchard Family

Blanchard-Means Family Papers, ca.1770-1970
48 boxes (67 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 830
Blanchard-Means Family Papers image
Abby Blanchard (later Mrs. Oliver W. Means) at Jacquard punching machine, ca.1890

The seat of seven generations of the Blanchard and Means families, Elm Hill Farm was established prior to 1797, when the joiner Amasa Blanchard began acquiring property in Brookfield, Mass., as he looked forward to his marriage. The success he enjoyed in farming was a spark for his family’s prosperity. Amasa’s son Albert Cheney Blanchard left Brookfield in the 1830s to pursue commercial opportunities out west as a partner in the Richmond Trading Co., in Richmond, Ind., and by the time he returned home to take over operations after his father’s death in 1857, Albert had earned a fortune. In the years after the Civil War, Elm Hill grew to 1,300 acres crowned by a mansion built in 1870 that became the center of a compound of eight buildings. Each subsequent generation at Elm Hill has left its own distinctive mark. Albert’s son Charles P. Blanchard, a minister and talented amateur photographer, developed a renowned herd of Morgan horses, and Charles’ daughter Abby and her husband, the minister Oliver W. Means, added a herd of Jersey cattle that included a prize-winning bull, Xenia’s Sultan, imported in 1923, and the cow, You’ll Do Lobelia, better known as the original, real-life Elsie the Cow. Abby’s daughter-in-law, Louise Rich Means, laid acres of spectacular gardens on the estate. Following Louise’s death in 2009, Elm Hill left family ownership.

Consisting of nearly two centuries of papers that accumulated on the Elm Hill estate, the Blanchard-Means collection stretches from a handful of documents from the late eighteenth century relating to landholdings and Amasa ‘s work Blanchard as a joiner, to a blossoming of correspondence, photographs, ephemera, and realia dating from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Well-educated, well-traveled, and well-informed, the Blanchards and Means were prolific letter writers, and their papers provide wonderful insights into the lives of a religiously-devoted family from the New England elite. Among the highlights of the collection are the extensive records from the Richmond Trading Company and from the farm’s livestock and gardening operations (both Morgans and Jerseys) and a remarkable photographic record that document the family, the evolving landscape of Elm Hill, and the town of Brookfield, as well as hundreds of images from C.P. Blanchard’s world tours in the 1890s.

Subjects
  • Agriculture--Massachusetts--Brookfield
  • Asia--Description and travel
  • Brookfield (Mass.)--History
  • Cabinetmakers--Massachusetts--Brookfield
  • Congregational Church--Clergy--Connecticut
  • Congregational Church--Clergy--Massachusetts
  • Europe--Description and travel
  • Jersey cattle--Massachusetts
  • Morgan horse--Massachusetts
  • Yale University--Students
Contributors
  • Richmond Trading Company
Types of material
  • Ephemera
  • Photographs

Coggeshall, D. H.

D. H. Coggeshall Papers, 1869-1912
1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 600
D. H. Coggeshall Papers image
Langstroth

D. H. Coggeshall (1847-1912) made his living as an apiculturist in Tompkins County, N.Y., on the southeast edge of the Finger Lakes. Beginning by 1870, he sold honey or extracted honey, and occasionally bees, to customers and commission merchants as far away as the Midwest.

This small assemblage of business letters and accounts document an active apiculturist during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Of particular note are some scarce printed advertising broadsides and circulars from some of the best known apiculturists of the time, including L.L. Langstroth and Charles Dadant, as well as an early flier advertising the sale of newly arrived Italian bees. The sparse correspondence includes letters from clients and colleagues of Coggeshall, along with communications with commission merchants charged with selling his honey.

Subjects
  • Beehives
  • Bees
  • Dadant, Charles, 1817-1902
  • Honey trade--New York (State)
  • Langstroth, L. L. (Lorenzo Lorraine), 1810-1895
Types of material
  • Letters (Correspondence)

Gershuny, Grace

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

Holden, Nathan

Nathan Holden Daybook, 1852-1887
1 vol. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 349 bd

Farmer from New Salem, Massachusetts, whose secondary occupation was that of a shoe repairman. Daybook documents a component of small-scale, handwork shoe production in a local economy prior to the arrival of centralized, mechanized manufacturing; lists Holden’s shoemending skills and the method and form in which he was paid by customers, including cash, customers’ labor, and services or wares such as butchering pigs or cows, chopping or gathering wood, traveling by buggy to a different town, using a neighbor’s oxen, and a variety of food and tools.

Subjects
  • Barter--Massachusetts--New Salem--History--19th century
  • Farmers--Massachusetts--New Salem--Economic conditions--19th century
  • New Salem (Mass.)--History
  • Shoemakers--Massachusetts--New Salem--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Shoes--Repairing--Massachusetts--New Salem--History--19th century
  • Wages-in-kind--Massachusetts--New Salem--History--19th century
Contributors
  • Holden, Nathan, b. 1812
Types of material
  • Account books
  • Daybooks

Jefferson, Lorian P.

Lorian P. Jefferson Papers, 1913-1929
1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 072
Lorian P. Jefferson Papers image
Lorian Jefferson, photo by Frank Waugh

An historian of economics specializing in American agriculture, Lorian Pamela Jefferson was one of the first women in the field and became an expert on New England agricultural industry. Born in 1871 near Necedah, Wisconsin, Jefferson earned her B.L. from Lawrence University in 1892 and her M.A. from the University of Wisconsin in 1907, continuing on to study towards her PhD though she never finished her research. Jefferson began working at the University in 1912 as an expert in the Division of Rural Social Science and became a professor of Agricultural Economics in 1915. Known as “Miss J”, Jefferson was a dedicated teacher and published extensively on various aspects of agricultural industry and marketing, including the McIntosh apple market and the agricultural labor movement. Illness forced Jefferson’s retirement from the University in 1935 and she died shortly thereafter.

Industry reports, farm and community market assessments, and many of her published articles make up the majority of the collection. There is also a bound volume of correspondence and pamphlets by Jefferson from 1914 titled “Letters Relating to economic Entomology in the United States.” Among the published work is a copy of the magazine Farm and Garden from April, 1924.

Subjects
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Agricultural Economics
Contributors
  • Jefferson, Lorian P

New York Farm Bureau

New York Farm Bureau Photograph Collection, 1915-1916
5 images (0.1 linear feet)
Call no.: PH 053
New York Farm Bureau Photograph Collection image
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.”

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

Newland, Jacob and John E.

Jacob and John E. Newland Account Book, 1798-1849
1 vol. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 197 bd

The account book kept by Jacob Newland and later John E. Newland of Mansfield, Massachusetts, between 1798 and 1849, details much about the work of these farmers and their interaction with neighbors in eastern Mansfield during the early nineteenth century. The customers, most of whom seem to have been fellow farmers, made frequent use of the Newlands’ animals and animal-drawn vehicles (carriage, “waggon,” “slay”) for riding and work, in addition to purchasing products, using the Newlands’ labor, and leasing pasture land. The book also served as a leaf press and scrapbook for newspaper items bearing upon the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, mention of social events and anniversaries, children’s sayings, short romantic fiction, and as a copybook for poetry.

Subjects
  • Farmers--Massachusetts--Mansfield
Contributors
  • Newland, Jacob
  • Newland, John E
Types of material
  • Account books

Smith, Lewis

Lewis Smith Account Book, 1784-1828
2 folders (0.15 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 085 b

A resident of Northampton, Mass., directly across the Connecticut River from South Hadley, Lewis Smith ran a substantial farm during the early decades of the nineteenth century. Settling in the village of Smith’s Ferry shortly after service in the American Revolution, Smith owned a part stake in a sawmill and produced and traded in an array of farm products, from grains and vegetables to grain, beef, and pork. A producer of apples and owner of his own mill, he produced large quantities of cider and vinegar.

In a standard double-column account book kept somewhat erratically, Lewis Smith recorded an extensive exchange of goods and services befitting a prosperous Northamptonite. Smith sold an array of goods he produced, from apples to dairy products, grain, beef, lard, and tallow, with cider from his mill (and briefly brandy) being the most consistent producer of revenue.

Subjects
  • Cider industry--Massachusetts--Northampton
  • Farmers--Massachusetts--Northampton
  • Northampton (Mass.)--History
Types of material
  • Account books

Towle, Gifford H.

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

Twiss, Thomas D.

Thomas D. Twiss Account Book, 1829-1873
1 vol. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 921 bd

A farmer and laborer in Antrim, N.H., Thomas Dimon Twiss was born in Beverly, Mass., in 1801. At the age of 24, Twiss married a local Antrim woman, Betsey Brackett, with whom he raised a family of three children.

This typical single-column account book of the mid-nineteenth century records Twiss’s diverse economic transactions, providing labor for the town in “braking rods” [breaking roads] and “digin graves”and to neighbors and for a wide variety of manual farm labor, including killing hogs, plowing, threshing, haying, and assorted carpentry work.

Subjects
  • Antrim (N.H.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Farmers--New Hampshire--19th century
  • Grave diggers--New Hampshire--19th century
Types of material
  • Account books
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