A cooper based in South Hadley, Massachusetts, during the first half of the nineteenth century, Cyrus White made tubs and barrels of all varieties: soap tubs, leach tubs, oil barrels and casks, cheese presses, butter churns, and buckets.
Cyrus White’s daybook is a closely focused record of the range of work of one cooper in a country town in Massachusetts. White’s work ranged from repairing wheelbarrows and making washing machines to making all varieties of a cooper’s oeuvre.
Background on Cyrus White
The cooper, Cyrus White, lived his entire life in the town of South Hadley, Mass. Born Oct. 21, 1794, to Hannah (Day) and Eldad White, he began in the trade while a young man and continued in his work until at least 1855, being listed in the 1860 census as a farmer. White was married three times, first, on June 12, 1816, to Elvira White (died May 12, to married Rebekah White (d. 1843), with whom had eight children. Following Rebekah’s death on Oct. 2, 1843, he married a woman named Amanda. White died in South Hadley on Oct. 23, 1876, two days after he had turned 82.
Cyrus White’s daybook is a closely focused record of the range of work of one cooper in a country town in Massachusetts. White’s work ranged from repairing wheelbarrows and making washing machines to making all varieties of a cooper’s oeuvre, from soap tubs, leach tubs, oil barrels, and casks to cheese presses, butter churns, buckets and pails. On occasion he even charged a client for washing a dog. His customers included members of well-established local families such as the Lymans, Judds, Parsons, and Whites, as well as the Springfield Cotton Manufacturing Co., Whitney and Wells, and Bryant and Bird. The front paste-down and free fly leaf include notes on the births and deaths of White’s wives and children.
Gift of Donald Howe, 1960.
Processed by I. Eliot Wentworth, July 2015.
Cite as: Cyrus White Daybook (MS 085a). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.
- Coopers and cooperage--Massachusetts--South Hadley
- South Hadley (Mass.)--History
- White, Cyrus
Types of material