Special Collections & University Archives University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries

Results for: “Textile workers--Massachusetts--Economic conditions--19th century” (846 collections)
SCUA

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Labor, work, and industry

Picket line, New Bedford
Picket line, New Bedford, 195
“Teamsters crossed the Hathaway picket line”

Western Massachusetts was an early and important center of both industrialization and the development of organized labor, and in recent years, it has experienced many of traumatic effects of de-industrialization and economic transformation. The Department of Special Collections and University Archives seeks to document the history of organized labor, the experience of work, and business and industry in New England.

At the heart of the SCUA holdings is a suite of collections documenting the organized labor movement in New England. The official records of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, a large and important collection, is joined by records for trades ranging from clothing and textile workers to carpenters, electrical workers, and granite cutters.

Of particular note is the John W. Bennett Labor History Collection, a large assemblage of labor-related realia and ephemera, including hundreds of badges, pins, watch fobs, lighters, and other artifacts distributed to union members at annual conventions and other union events. The collection is a unique resource for study of the iconography of organized labor and includes items from representative unions and locals ranging from the Knights of Labor in the 1870s to the present. While centered on New England, the Bennett Collection extends nationally.

View our brochure on documenting labor, work, and industry (pdf).

Significant collections

  • Organized Labor
    • From the records of the Massachusetts State AFL-CIO to the papers of union locals and labor leaders.
  • See all Business and industry
    • Manufacturing
      • The industrial heritage of New England is represented in collections ranging from the records of the Clement Co., Lamson and Goodnow, and the Northampton Cutlery Company (manufacturers of cutlery), the American Writing Paper Company, the Rodney Hunt Co. (a manufacturer of textile machinery and waterwheels), and Smith and Wesson. The most recent collection is the papers of Sidney Topol, CEO of Scientific-Atlanta, a corporation at the forefront of the growth of cable television in the United States.
    • Merchants and mercantile exchange
      • Account books and other business records for a number of New England merchants dating back to the eighteenth century, ranging from small scale traders to keepers of rural general stores to shipping merchants trading in the Atlantic economy.

Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union. New England Joint Board

ACTWU New England Joint Board Records, 1974-1987.
8 boxes (12 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 241

Records of the New England Joint Board of the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union include union administration files, company files, and publications. Company files document interactions between the union and companies such as Best Coat Co.; Healthtec, Inc.; Image Wear; M & M Pants Co.; Soloff & Son, Inc.; and Wear Well Trouser Co.

Subjects
  • Clothing trade--Labor unions--New England
  • Labor unions--New England
  • Textile workers--Labor unions--New England
Contributors
  • Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union

Drury, Luke, 1737-1811

Luke Drury Papers, 1746-1831.
4 boxes (3 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 258

Soldier in Revolutionary War and Shays Rebellion, later a state legislator and local politician from Grafton and Marlboro, Massachusetts. Drury’s papers contain family and business (farm and mill) correspondence, notes of hand, bills, receipts, and legal papers as well as records pertaining to the town of Grafton. Collection also includes papers of Timothy Darling and the Goulding, Place, and Sherman families.

Subjects
  • Grafton (Mass.)--History
  • Massachusetts--History
  • Shays' Rebellion, 1786-1787
Contributors
  • Darling, Timothy
  • Drury, Luke, 1737-1811
  • Goulding, Israel
  • Sherman, Thankful Temple
Types of material
  • Deeds

Estey, Joseph W.

Joseph W. Estey Account Book, 1809-1827.
1 vol. (0.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 093

Joseph W. Estey was the owner of a farm in Greenwich, Massachusetts with a grist and sawmill. The account book (started in Springfield and Ludlow, Massachusetts with his business partner Abner Putnam) documents business dealings, hired male and female help, personal and farm expenses (hiring tanners and blacksmiths), and a deed.

Subjects
  • Agricultural laborers--Massachusetts--Greenwich
  • Domestics--Massachusetts--Greenwich
  • Farmers--Massachusetts--Greenwich
  • Greenwich (Mass.)--Economic condition--19th century
  • Howe, Edward
  • Howe, Gideon
  • Lincoln, Benjamin
  • Ludlow (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Marcy, Laban
  • Mills and mill-work--Massachusetts--Greenwich
  • Oaks, John
  • Parson Clapp Tavern
  • Putnam, A. W.
  • Putnam, Abner
  • Springfield (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Vaughan, Josiah
  • Ware Manufacturing Co. (Ware, Mass.)
  • Warner, John
Contributors
  • Estey, Joseph W.
Types of material
  • Account books

George H. Gilbert & Company

George H. Gilbert Co. Records, 1842-1931.
26 boxes, 126 vols. (36 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 096

In 1841, George H. Gilbert and Charles A. Stevens formed a partnership to manufacture broadcloth and cloaking in Ware, Massachusetts. Ten years later, the partnership dissolved and each partner carried a part of the business into separate establishments. The newly formed George H. Gilbert Company continued making high-grade woolen flannels, for which it developed a national reputation, until 1930.

Records, consisting of correspondence, financial records and cash books, construction contracts, sales lists, production records, and sample books, document the operation of Gilbert and Stevens and later the Gilbert Company for almost a century. The labor accounts (1851-1930), document the phases of the varying ethnic composition of the workforce — Irish, French-Canadian, and eventually Polish — well as the family orientation of the mills.

Subjects
  • Textile industry--Massachusetts
  • Ware (Mass.)--History
Contributors
  • George H. Gilbert and Co
Types of material
  • Account books

Rundlett, Samuel H.

Samuel H. Rundlett Daybooks, 1873-1879.
3 vols. (0.2 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 214 bd

Teamster from Newburyport, Massachusetts. Three daybooks document his work for local businesses (hauling bales of raw cotton and finished cloth, delivering coal, produce, fertilizer, and goods), prices paid for freight handling, and forms of payment (cash, credit at a store, and produce from a local farmer). Of note is Rundlett’s delivery of goods to the Newburyport branch of the Sovereigns of Industry, a workingmen’s cooperative association.

Subjects
  • Newburyport (Mass.)--History
  • Sovereigns of Industry
  • Teamsters--Massachusetts--Newburyport
Types of material
  • Daybooks

Valley Peace Center (Amherst, Mass.)

Valley Peace Center Records, 1965-1973.
28 boxes (13.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 301

In the summer of 1967, members of University of Massachusetts Amherst campus groups, such as the Faculty Group on War and Peace and the Students for Political Action, joined with individuals from other area colleges and from the community at large to form the Valley Peace Center of Amherst for the purposes of opposing the Vietnam War, providing draft counseling, eliciting pledges from the government to avoid first use of nuclear and biological weapons, and reduction of the power of the “military-industrial complex”. The Center was active for more than five and a half years, drawing its financial support largely from the community and its human resources from student and community volunteers.

Correspondence, minutes, volunteer and membership lists, financial records, newsletters, questionnaires, notes, petitions, clippings, posters, circulars, pamphlets, periodicals, other printed matter, and memorabilia. Includes material relating to alternative service, boycotts, war tax resistance, prison reform, environmental quality, and political candidates.

Subjects
  • Amherst (Mass.)--Social conditions--20th century
  • Draft--United States--History
  • Pacifists--Massachusetts
  • Peace movements--Massachusetts--Amherst
  • Social movements--Massachusetts--Amherst
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements--Massachusetts--Amherst
  • Westover Air Force Base (Mass.)--History--20th century
Contributors
  • Valley Peace Center (Amherst, Mass.)
Types of material
  • Ephemera
  • Pamphlets

WFCR (Radio station : Amherst, Mass.)

WFCR Radio Broadcast Collection, 1954-1987 (Bulk: 1964-1987).
308 boxes (462 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 741

The first public radio station in western New England, WFCR Five College Radio has provided a mix of high quality, locally-produced and nationally syndicated programming since May 1961. In 2012, the station reached over 175,000 listeners per week, with a mix of classical and jazz music, news, and entertainment.

The WFCR Collection contains nearly 4,500 reel to reel recordings of locally-produced radio programs, reflecting over fifty years of the cultural and intellectual life of western Massachusetts. Drawing upon the talents of the faculty and students of the Five Colleges (Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges and UMass Amherst), the collection offers a remarkable breadth of content, ranging from public affairs to community and national news, cultural programming, children’s programming, news and current events, scholarly lectures, classical music, and jazz.

Subjects
  • Amherst (Mass.)
  • Pioneer Valley (Mass.)
  • Radio stations--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • WFCR (Radio station : Amherst, Mass.)
Types of material
  • Sound recordings

Wright, John

John Wright Account Books, 1818-1859.
9 vols. (3 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 162

Farmer, freight hauler, laborer, cider-maker, landlord, and town official who was a seventh-generation descendant of Samuel Wright, one of the first English settlers of Northampton, Massachusetts. Nine bound volumes and four folders of loose material include accounts of his businesses with his brother Samuel and son Edwin and activities, as well as letters, and miscellaneous papers and figurings.

Subjects
  • Farmers--Massachusetts--Northampton
  • Freight and freightage--Massachusetts
  • Northampton (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
Types of material
  • Account books

United Auto Workers. District 65 Boston University Local

UAW District 65 Collection, ca.1985.
1 folder (0.2 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 320

The decision of clerical and technical workers at Boston University to organize with District 65 of the UAW was as rooted in the labor movement as it was in the womens movement. By the early 1970s, office workers at B.U. were dissatsified with working conditions that included — among other grievances — sexual harassment and a classification system that did not value “women’s work.” In 1979 after an intense struggle with the administration, B.U. finally recognized the union and signed their first contract.

The collection includes a printed history and videotape documenting unionization activities at Boston University’s Medical Campus.

Subjects
  • Boston University. Medical Campus
  • Collective bargaining--Professions--Massachusetts--Boston
  • Collective labor agreements--Medical personnel --Massachusetts--Boston--History
  • Labor unions--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • United Automobile, Aircraft, and Vehicle Workers of America. District 65
Types of material
  • Videotapes
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