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Experiential Training in Historic Information Resources (Ethir) is an initiative of the Department of Special Collections and University Archives in the UMass Amherst Libraries designed to provide students with structured, hands-on experience using and interpreting historical documentary resources. As part of our effort to integrate Special Collections more fully into the learning and research mission of the university, we offer an opportunity for select graduate students to work in the Department on a research project, while gaining first-hand experience in historical and archival praxis. Ethir fellows will take part in a range of activities in the digital humanities tied to primary source material, including curating exhibits, building digital corpora, or developing other interpretive materials.

Successful applicants will work with SCUA staff to identify a digital project that will make use of their interests and experience and that will provide a creative opportunity for building new digital skills. We ask students write a 1-2 page statement of interest outlining how their research interests might engage the department and the primary source material we collect.

Projects may include work with our collections in:

Or fellows can propose to work with a collection or topic of their choice.

Through the Ethir program, we also offer orientation for classes in any discipline that would benefit from exposure to the primary archival resources under our stewardship. Our staff are happy to work with the faculty to increase their students’ information literacy in a variety of legacy formats as well as with new digital media.

View past Ethir Fellows

Application information

Eligibility: Graduate students from any department enrolled at UMass Amherst.
Award: Graduate students from any department enrolled at UMass Amherst.
Evaluation criteria: Fellows will be selected from the pool of applicants on a competitive basis based upon: 1) a brief (1-2 page) statement of interest, 2) ability to contribute to the work of SCUA, and 3) a curriculum vita and letter of support.
Support & expectations: Fellows will receive an honorarium of $500, plus hourly compensation for 150 hours of work.
Deadline for submission: Applications must be received by April 17, 2015.
How to submit: Applications should be submitted electronically to scua [at] library.umass.edu with “ethir application” and your name in the subject line. Letters of recommendation should be sent separately to the same address.

InformationDownload the application form (rtf file).

Ethir Outcomes

For Fellows

  • Provide hands-on experience using and interpreting historical materials
  • Expose fellows to historical and archival standards and practices
  • Assist fellows in developing research projects based on primary resources
  • Increase access and provide additional scholarly layers for SCUA’s collections
  • Foster information literacy in legacy historical formats
  • Enhance learning and research at the university
  • Create web-accessible guides and exhibits that will enhance fellow’s portfolios
  • Fellows will produce tangible products for public consumption (e.g., finding aids, guides, digital collections, exhibits) based upon new or under-described collections, and they may assist in providing instruction for peers and classes

For Faculty

We will provide structured orientation for individuals and classes involving active learning, with an emphasis on:

  • Handling original materials (paleography, formats)
  • Interpreting historical content
  • Interpreting historically specific forms of information
  • Navigating the Department’s web resources
  • Translating research interests into usable queries

How can I apply for an ETHIR Fellowship?

2015

Chelsea Sams (Art)
Delene White (German and Scandinavian Studies)

2014

David Bendiksen (Comparative Literature)
Gregory Coleman (English)
Donald Geesling (Afro-American Studies)

2013

Spencer Kuchle (Afro-American Studies)
Jaime Pagana (Art History)

2012

Matthew Ferrari (Communications)
Nature, Landscape, and the Visual Culture of Sport Marketing in the McCormack Archive
Thomas Hopper (English)

2011

Molly Campbell (History)
Behold And See As You Pass By: Gravestones and Mortuary Art In Early New England
A digital exhibit drawn from the collections of the Association for Gravestone Studies
Tom Hohenstein (History)
Rhetoric or Research: The CIA at UMass
An examination of protests and counter-protests against CIA recruitment at UMass Amherst in the 1980s.
Emily Oswald (History)
Source, History, Story: Teaching U.S. History in the Archives
Double exposure of Steve Diamond
Double exposure of
Steve Diamond, ca.1985

To promote scholarship, raise public awareness of its collections, and encourage discussion of critical issues affecting American society, SCUA sponsors a number of events each year, including two annual colloquiua:

Throughout the year, the department sponsors other events, ranging from exhibit openings to lectures, book signings, and celebrations of donors and new donations. All SCUA events are free and open to the public. Please contact the department for additional information.

Learn more:

Freedman, Jacob

Jacob Freedman Papers, 1937-1981
2 boxes (1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 135

A scholar, linguist, and bibliophile, Jacob Freedman (1903-1986) served as Rabbi at Temple Beth-El in Fall River, Mass., during the 1930s and early 1940s, and later at congregations in Pittsfield, Springfield, and Stratford, Conn., among others.

The collection contains the published newsletter of Temple Beth-El from 1937-1941, as well as other published materials and a photograph of Rabbi Freedman.

Subjects
  • Congregation Knesses Israel (Pittsfield, Mass.)
  • Fall River (Mass.)--History
  • Temple Beth-El (Fall River, Mass.)
Types of material
  • Newsletters

Genealogists are the largest single group of researchers using the Friends records, but they often meet with frustration. One common misconception is that these records are neatly organized and indexed. While William W. Hinshaw’s Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy provided thorough indexes for the records of many yearly meetings, including New York, Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania and North Carolina, the New England records have never been completely indexed. The only access to information on New England Friends is usually through a search of the records, either on microfilm or in the original. Here are some important points to remember for typical genealogical problems.

  1. It is important to know both place and time. If an individual moved around New England, it will be very helpful to sketch out a chronology of their travels.
  2. All vital records are recorded by the Monthly Meeting. You will need to determine which monthly meetings your ancestor belonged to. If there is no monthly meeting named after their town, look it up in the index in the back of this book. The town may have held smaller meetings that were part of a larger nearby monthly meeting.
  3. If their town is not indexed, examine the maps on pages 12 to 14 of this guide. Were there any meetings nearby? Until the age of automobile travel, it is unlikely that many practicing Friends lived more than a few miles away from at least a worship group. Even if they did maintain the “Discipline” of Friends in a distant town, their vital records would prob- ably not be recorded by a Monthly Meeting.
  4. If a probable Monthly Meeting can be determined, look at that meeting’s entry in the monthly meeting section. Check for vital records in the listing at the bottom of this entry. Are there any birth, death, marriage or membership records? Removals and denials are also useful (see glossary). Minutes are less useful for genealogy, but sometimes include marriage information, and occasionally memorials to the deceased.
  5. If the records that you want have been microfilmed, this will be indicated in the last column: “Film#”. This is the microfilm number at the Rhode Island Historical Society Library. An asterisk indicates that it can also be found at the Maine Historical Society Library, and a plus sign indicates that it can be ordered from the Family History Centers operated by the Latter-Day Saints (Mormons). An @ symbol indicates that the film is available through the Nantucket Historical Association.
  6. If the records have not been microfilmed, you will need to consult the original. The location of originals is given in the “Loc.” column. Most of them are on deposit at the Rhode Island Historical Society Library, which houses the official Archives of New England Yearly Meeting.
  7. If you are researching early Friends (pre-Revolutionary), it is likely that you will not discover anything new in the vi- tal records. Friends records have always been a major resource for colonial genealogy, and have been consulted for most of the major reference works that you have already looked at. It is, however, possible to find new information in meeting minutes, to verify membership or residence in a location.

For further information, Our Quaker Ancestors: Finding Them in Quaker Records by Ellen Thomas Berry and David Allen Berry (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1987) is a book-length treatment of general approaches to Quaker genealogy.

Gates, John Edward

John Edward Gates Papers, 1982-1991
2 boxes (3 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 518

Lexicographer and former English faculty at Indiana State University, John Edward Gates is the author of numerous scholarly articles on idiomatic phrases and the principles and practice of dictionary making, as well as the co-editor of the Dictionary of Idioms for the Deaf. Reflecting his work as a lexicographer, this collection consists of research notes and proofs of articles and book reviews.

Subjects
  • Lexicography
  • Linguistics
Contributors
  • Gates, John Edward

George & Kent

George and Kent Records, 1887-1890
1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 888

Late in the nineteenth century, George and Kent was one among many firms in Barre, Vt., specializing in the supply of granite for grave markers and monuments. Under senior partner William L. George, the firm was located on Seminary Street in the 1880s, supplying a clientele that reached as far away as Iowa. Although the firm was listed in city directories from at least 1883 to 1890, further details are scant.

This small collection consists of receipts and correspondence relating to George and Kent’s trade in granite memorials. Concentrated in a narrow window, mostly 1887-1888, the collection includes three sketches for memorials to be produced by the firm.

Subjects
  • Granite industry and trade--Vermont
  • Gravestones--Vermont
Contributors
  • George, William L.
Types of material
  • Design drawings

Gould, Thomas

Thomas Gould, A list of the names of publick Friends, who have visited New England, 1838
1 vol. (0.1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 903 bd

Born in Middletown, R.I., on May 25, 1730, Thomas Gould was part of an extended Quaker family in Newport County and descendant of one of the first Quaker converts in Rhode Island. Enjoying success as a “mechanic” and farmer, according to Representative Men and Old Families of Rhode Island (1908), he married Alice Chase of Portsmouth in March 1757 and raised a large family of five boys and five girls. Gould died on May 3, 1795.

This slender volume includes a chronological record visits to New England by Public Friends: Quakers who were considered to have a special gift in prayer or public speaking and who often traveled widely to minister.

Subjects
  • Quakers--New England
Types of material
  • Booklets

Gourreau de La Proustière, Philippe, 1611-1694

Conclave d'Alexandre vii, Revué, Corrigé, et Augmenté de Beaucoup par..., ca.1658
1 volume, 351p. (0.2 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 436 bd

On April 7, 1655, after a conclave of 80 days, Fabio Chigi was elected to succeed Innocent X as Pope. Taking the name Alexander VII, Chigi was initially viewed as an opponent of papal nepotism, however little progress was made. He served as pope until his death on May 22, 1667.

Bound in 18th century leather with an prefatory letter by the Prieur Gourreau, this manuscript was apparently intended for publication and may be an 18th century transcription of a presumably earlier manuscript. Editions of the Le Conclave d’Alexandre VII, ou Relation véritable de tout ce qui s’est passé et négocié au Conclave tenu à Rome depuis le 17 janvier jusqu’au 7 avril 1655 au sujet de l’élection du cardinal Fabio Chigi appeared in 1666 and 1667.

Subjects
  • Alexander VII, Pope, 1599-1667
  • Popes--Election
Contributors
  • Gourreau de La Proustière, Philippe, 1611-1694

Gray, Asa, 1810-1888

Asa Gray, A pilgrimage to Torreya, 1875
1 vol. (0.1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 419 bd

The great botanist and early supporter of evolutionary theory, Asa Gray, toured the Florida Panhandle during the spring of 1875, making “a pious pilgrimage to the secluded native haunts of that rarest of trees, the Torreya taxifolia.” His journey took him along the Apalachicola River in search of Torreya, an native yew prized by horticulturists.

This slender manuscript account was prepared by Gray for publication in the American Agriculturist (vol. 43). In a light and graceful way, his “pilgrimage” describes the difficulties of travel in the deep south during the post-Civil War years and his exploits while botanizing. The text is edited in Gray’s hand and varies slightly from the published version.

Subjects
  • Florida--Description and travel--19th century
  • Yew
Contributors
  • Gray, Asa, 1810-1888
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