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Rural Massachusetts Imprints Collection

Rural Massachusetts Imprints Collection

1797-1897
48 items 3 linear feet
Call no.: RB 012
Depiction of John Metcalf
John Metcalf

Although printing requires a substantial capital investment in equipment before any hope of profitability can be entertained, there have been numerous attempts over the years to set up printing houses in communities with astonishingly small population bases. In even the most remote Massachusetts towns, people like John Metcalf (Wendell), Ezekiel Terry (Palmer), and John and Solomon Howe (Enfield and Greenwich) operated as printers during the nineteenth century, specializing in a quotidian array of broadsides, song sheets, almanacs, toy books, and printed forms, hoping to supplement, or provide, a decent living.

This small, but growing collection consists of materials printed prior to the twentieth century in small Massachusetts towns, defined as towns with populations less than about 2,500. Although few of these houses survived for long, they were important sources for rural communities. Typically simple in typography, design, and binding, even crude, the output of such printers provides an important gauge of the interests and tastes of New England’s smallest and often poorest communities.

Subjects

Children's books--MassachusettsPrinters--Massachusetts

Contributors

Howe, John, 1783-1845Howe, Solomon, 1750-1835Metcalf, John, 1788-1864Terry, Ezekiel, 1775-1829

Types of material

AlmanacsBroadsides
Sears, Roebuck and Company

Sears, Roebuck and Company Catalog Collection

1929-1980
104 vols. 19.5 linear feet
Call no.: RB 020

Sears, Roebuck and Company were pioneers in the concept of the mail order catalog. Beginning in 1894, company founder Richard Sears began sending thick catalogs offering a wild profusion of consumer goods, ranging from clothing and kitchen goods to toys, bicycles, furniture, and even homes themselves. With an affordable price tag, the catalogs became a staple in many homes, particularly in rural settings and locations with limited access to stores. Changes in the retail market and the country’s demographics led Sears to end publication of its “big book” catalogs in 1993, although the company continues to issue specialty and seasonal catalogs.

This collection contains over one hundred seasonal catalogs issued by Sears from its stores in Boston between 1929 and 1990.

Subjects

Department storesMail-order business

Types of material

Mail order catalogs
Swedish Book Design

Swedish Book Design Collection

1922-1961 Bulk: 1922-1942
ca.250 vols. 17 linear feet
Call no.: RB 026
Depiction of Ivan Bunin, Herrn Fran San Francisco
Ivan Bunin, Herrn Fran San Francisco

James H. Fraser and his wife Sibylle were eclectic and sometimes omnivorous collectors of the book arts, dedicated to the scholarly exploration of visual culture, the book, and the avant garde. A former Director of the Library at Farleigh Dickinson University and a consultant to many other academic libraries, James Fraser developed an omnivorous passion for German and Eastern European graphic design and book culture and had interests that ranged from Socialist children’s books to Judaica, the American left, Mongolian printing, and Japanese posters of the 1980s. James Fraser died in the fall 2013 and was survived by Sibylle and their two children.

This unusual collection of over 250 volumes is a product of the Frasers’ interest in Swedish book jacket design. Consisting nearly entirely of soft cover volumes printed between the 1920s and 1960s, primarily pre-war, and not necessarily written by Swedish authors, the collection reflects the work of many illustrators drawing on a range of graphic styles, from avant garde modernism to the later parts of the collection, which includes translations of popular works by writers such as Ian Fleming and Agatha Christie.

Subjects

Book jackets--Sweden

Contributors

Fraser, James H.Fraser, Sibylle
Whitcomb, John M.

John M. Whitcomb Collection

ca.1905-1969
ca.400 titles
Call no.: RB 038

John Merrall Whitcomb was an architect, researcher, and life-long scholar. Born in New York City in July 1907, Whitcomb earned an undergraduate degree at Yale (1930) and a degree in architecture from the University of Pennsylvania (1934) and began working his way up the ranks of the architectural profession in Boston. After wartime service in the Air Force, he resumed his career, establishing his own firm in Cambridge, Johnson and Whitcomb. He died in 1998.

Part of a large collection of books amassed over a lifetime, this collection focuses largely on Whitcomb’s interest in “seditionist” literature, including works on Anglo-American Socialism and Communism, as well as topics ranging from American labor to political and social history, the rise of fascism in Europe, Soviet studies, the Vietnam War, and political theory. The bulk of the material dates from the 1930s through early 1960s.

Subjects

Communism--Great BritainCommunism--United StatesSocialism--Great BritainSocialism--United States
Winokur, Marshall

Marshall Winokur New Hampshire Collection

1805-2004
364 items 17 linear feet
Call no.: RB 001

A long time professor of the Russian language, Marshall Winokur received his B.A. in Russian from the University of Massachusetts (1965) and his masters (1966) and doctorate (1973) in Slavic Linguistics from the University of Pennsylvania. While working on his doctoral thesis in 1969, he began teaching Russian and German at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa where he remained for the duration of his academic career. His research on Russian culture and the fate of Russian Orthodox churches, convents, and monasteries under the Soviet regime resulted in numerous publications and talks. After retiring from the University in 1994, Winokur and his wife Janice settled on an old farm in Deering, New Hampshire, consisting of an old house built circa 1800, a three-story barn dating back to 1850, and a carriage house, and has since been involved in the local community and exploring New Hampshire history.

The Winokur collection consists of hundreds of printed works pertaining to the history and culture of New Hampshire, about a quarter of which were published prior to 1900. Wide ranging in content, the collection includes state registers, directories, gazetteers, popular magazines, and a number of biographical works and local histories.

Subjects

New Hampshire--Description and travelNew Hamsphire--History
Yeats, W. B. (William Butler), 1865-1939

Russell K. Alspach Collection of William Butler Yeats

1888-1984
ca.475 items 35 linear feet
Call no.: RB 014

The Irish poet W.B. Yeats was a key figure in the Celtic literary revival of the early twentieth century. Born into an artistic family in Dublin in 1865, Yeats was heavily influenced early in his career by Irish folk literature and Theosophical mysticism, but he was simultaneously rooted in the political issues of the day. An Irish nationalist by inclination, he became a two-term Senator in the Irish Free State and he was a key supporter of the arts and theatre in the new nation. His international reputation was cemented when he received the Nobel Prize for literature in 1923. Yeats died in 1939 at the age of 73.

The Alspach collection consists of hundreds of works by and about W.B. Yeats, collected by Yeats scholar Russell K. Alspach, a member of the UMass English faculty. An extensive assemblage with first editions of most of the key works, the collection also includes critical works on Yeats, works by his literary peers, bibliographies, and items published by the Cuala Press, a private press operated by Yeats’s sister Elizabeth that was a strong influence in the Celtic revival. A few items have been added to the collection since its acquisition in 1971.

Subjects

Irish poetry--20th century

Contributors

Alspach, Russell K. (Russell King), 1901-Cuala Press
Restrictions: Collection currently unavailable due to renovation in SCUA
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