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Plata, Jakob

Jakob Plata Memoir, Pamietnik emigranta w Stanach Zjednoczonych

1 vol. 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 184 bd

A Polish immigrant who arrived in the United States in 1912, Jacob Plata worked in factories in Chicago until the mid-1920s when he relocated to Massachusetts. Plata and his wife Mary operated a dry goods store on Main Street in Indian Orchard until his death in 1947, after which Mary continued in business until her death in 1963.

Jakob Plata’s autobiographical account, Pamietnik emigranta w Stanach Zjednoczonych (Memoirs of an emigrant to the United States), includes a literate and interesting account his emigration from Poland and transition into American life. This photocopy (114p.) was retained by the Plata family from a manuscript originally written for the Institute for Social Management in Warsaw in 1936.

Language(s): Polish
  • Immigrants--Massachusetts
  • Polish Americans--Illinois--Chicago
  • Polish Americans--Massachusetts
Types of material
  • Memoirs

Prescott (Mass.)

Prescott (Mass.) Collection

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.

  • 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
  • Prescott (Mass. : Town)
  • Prescott (Mass. : Town). Overseers of the Poor
Types of material
  • Account books
  • School records

Quabbin Reservoir

Quabbin Reservoir Proposed Site Maps

1 folder 0.1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 078 bd

The collection consists of five maps prepared by the Massachusetts Metropolitan District Water Supply Commission of the anticipated site of the Quabbin Reservoir, some with hand-written notations, and one map showing the route of Boston’s water supply.

  • Quabbin Reservoir (Mass.)--Maps
  • Massachusetts. Metropolitan District Commission. Water Division
Types of material
  • Maps

Ravett, Abraham

Abraham Ravett Collection

1 box 1.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 890

The independent filmmaker Abraham Ravett has taught film and video at Hampshire College since 1979. Born in Poland in 1947 and raised in Israel, Ravett emigrated to the United States with his family in 1955. Since earning his BFA and MFA in Filmmaking and Photography, he has won wide recognition for his work, receiving major grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Marion and Jasper Whiting Foundation, among other organizations, and a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. His films have been screened internationally and have earned Top Prize at the Viennale 2000, the Ann Arbor Film Festival, and Onion City Film/Video Festival.

This small collection contains raw footage on open-reel videotape shot by Ravett and two dvds documenting local communities in eastern Massachusetts: the North End, Boston (1977-1978) and Haverhill High School (1978-1979), the latter taken while artist in residence.

Gift of Abraham Ravett, Mar. 2011
  • Boston (Mass.)--Social life and customs
  • Haverhill (Mass.)--Social life and customs
  • North End (Boston, Mass.)--Social life and customs
Types of material
  • Videotapes

Rooney, Jim, 1938-

Jim Rooney Collection

5 boxes 6.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1016
Part of: Folk New England Collection

A producer, performer, writer, and pioneer in Americana music, Jim Rooney was born in Boston on January 28, 1938 and raised in Dedham. Inspired to take up music by the sounds of Hank Williams and Leadbelly he heard on the radio, he began performing at the Hillbilly Ranch at just 16 years old, taking to music full time after an undergraduate degree in classics at Amherst College and an MA at Harvard. As manager of Club 47, Rooney was at the epicenter of the folk revival in Boston, becoming director and talent coordinator for the Newport Folk Festival beginning in 1963, a tour manager for jazz musicians in the late 1960s, and by 1970, a producer. After managing Bearsville Sound Studios in Woodstock, NY, for Albert Grossman, he moved to Nashville, where he has produced projects by Hal Ketchum, Townes Van Zandt, Iris DeMent, John Prine and Bonnie Raitt, among others, winning a Grammy award in 1993 for his work with Nanci Griffith.

Documenting a varied career in American music, the Rooney collection contains material from two of Rooney’s books on the history of American music, Bossmen: Bill Monroe and Muddy Waters (1971) and Baby, Let Me Follow You Down (1979), his autobiography In It For the Long Run (2014). In addition to correspondence and other content relating to his collaborations with key Americana musicians and his record production career in Nashville, the collection includes valuable interview notes, photographs, recordings, and news clippings.

Gift of Jim Rooney through Folk New England, Mar. 2018
  • Club 47 (Cambridge, Mass.)
  • Folk music--Massachusetts--Boston
  • Producers and directors
Types of material
  • Photographs

Shutesbury (Mass.)

Shutesbury (Mass.) 250th Anniversary Collection

1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 957

The town of Shutesbury was founded as “Roadtown” in 1735 and was incorporated as a town in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1761. The town celebrated its 250th Anniversary in 2011 and planned a year’s worth of events, lectures, and celebrations.

This collection comprises the flyers and notes for several of these events and includes commemorative albums and town histories. A perfect example of a small New England town, these materials are a snapshot of the history of Shutesbury and a celebration of the town’s legacy.

  • Shutesbury (Mass.)--History.
  • Shutesbury 250th Anniversary Steering Committee.
Types of material
  • Correspondence.
  • Flyers.

Simon, Peter, 1947-

Peter Simon Collection

ca. 1945-2016
10 boxes 20 linear feet
Call no.: PH 009
Image of Peter Simon in mirror photographing Jennie Blackton at the Bitter End Cafe, 1968
Peter Simon in mirror photographing Jennie Blackton at the Bitter End Cafe, 1968

Peter Simon’s life and work as a photojournalist follows the quintessential arc of the counterculture, baby boom generation. The son of Richard Simon, founder of Simon and Schuster, Peter grew up in the New York City suburb of Riverdale and attended Boston University, graduating in 1969. While a student at BU, he began documenting the political turmoil in the US when he became photo editor for the radical student newspaper, the BU News, and later as a press photographer for the Cambridge Phoenix. In 1970, Simon left Boston to form Tree Frog Farm, a back-to-the-land commune in Guilford, Vermont, and after leaving there in 1972, he immersed himself in the New Age, forming a close relationship with spiritual leader Ram Dass. Among the most constant threads connecting his work throughout these changes was music. Simon’s sisters, Carly, Lucy, and Joanna have all been involved in music, and through a partnership with longtime friend Stephen Davis and his association with Rolling Stone magazine, Simon enjoyed unique access to many of the most important musicians of his generation. He spent time on the road with the Grateful Dead; went backstage and at home with Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, and many others. His early forays into the world of reggae with Bob Marley and other Jamaican recording artists resulted in one of his nine books, Reggae Bloodlines. Simon’s other photographic interests are as wide-ranging as his background. A visitor to Martha’s Vineyard since the 1950s and a resident since 1974, his work reflects the changes and cultural richness of that island; his family’s friendship with Jackie Robinson has driven his lifelong documentation of baseball, and he is in high demand for portraits, weddings, and other work for hire.

The Peter Simon Collection houses the original negatives for Simon’s complete body of work as a photo journalist and also includes many photographs taken by his father Richard, an avid amateur photographer, which documents the Simon family and life in Riverdale and Stamford, Connecticut, where the family had a summer home.

  • Boston (Mass.)--Photographs
  • Communal living--Vermont
  • Counterculture--United States--20th century
  • Martha's Vineyard (Mass.)--Photographs
  • Musicians--Photographs
  • Simon, Carly--Photographs
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements
  • Simon, Richard L. (Richard Leo), 1899-1960
Types of material
  • Photographs

Smith Family

Smith Family Papers

1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 500

Legal and financial documents of the Smith family of West Springfield, Massachusetts, including personal accounts, notes on road planning and construction, wills, deeds, and indentures.

  • Smith family
  • West Springfield (Mass.)--History
Types of material
  • Accounts
  • Deeds
  • Indentures
  • Wills

Springfield Environmental Coalition

Springfield Environmental Coalition Collection

1964-1977 Bulk: 1970-1976
1 box 1.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 875

In the early 1970s, the Springfield Environmental Coalition emerged as one of the grassroots organizations dedicated to environmental causes in the lower Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts. Under the leadership of its president, William R. Lenville, the Coalition took part in regional planning efforts relating to urban expansion in the city of Springfield as well as issues relating to regional land use, agriculture, and water quality in the Connecticut River.

A tightly-focused assemblage of formally and informally published materials from the lower Pioneer Valley, the SEC collection addresses a range of issues in regional planning during the early 1970s, including land use, agriculture, water resources, zoning, and urban growth. Of particular note are a series of interesting typewritten studies of individual neighborhoods in Springfield, 1970-1972. The collection includes one folder of correspondence regarding the Coalition’s work.

  • City planning--Massachusetts--Springfield
  • Connecticut River Valley (Mass.)
  • Land use
  • Regional planning--Massachusetts--Springfield region
  • Springfield (Mass.)--History
  • Lenville, William R.

Sroka Family

Sroka Family Papers

1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 216

Polish family who emigrated to the United States in 1912-1913 and settled in Chicopee, Massachusetts, working in meat packing firms and textile factories, and also as seamstresses and farmers.

Includes birth and wedding certificates, military and employment documentation, residential and passport applications, photographs, and lists of baptisms, weddings, and deaths. Also contains a family history written by Gary Sroka, correspondence, payment book for the Society of St. Joseph (Chicopee, Massachusetts), and a news clipping. All materials exist as photocopies and are written primarily in Polish, German, and Hungarian, though some are in English, Ukrainian, and Russian.

  • Chicopee (Mass.)--History
  • Immigrants--Massachusetts
  • Polish Americans--Massachusetts