Special Collections & University Archives University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries

Massachusetts (West) (263 collections)
SCUA

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Easthampton (Mass.). Community Chest

Easthampton Community Chest Records, 1943-1969.
2 boxes (0.75 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 051

Organization created to sponsor and conduct all fundraising for, and to distribute funds to, relief and social agenices in the town of Easthampton, Massachusetts. Contains records of minutes, campaign reports, Presidents’ and Treasurers’ reports, and correspondence. Also included are scrapbooks with newspaper clippings and other printed material.

Subjects
  • Charities--Massachusetts--Easthampton--History--Sources
  • Easthampton (Mass.)--Social conditions--Sources
  • Easthampton Community War Fund (Easthampton, Mass.)--Archives
  • Federations, Financial (Social service)--History--Sources
Contributors
  • Easthampton Community Chest (Easthampton, Mass.)
Types of material
  • Scrapbooks

Esleeck Manufacturing Company

Esleeck Manufacturing Company Records, 1898-1987.
3 boxes (4.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 505

A manufacturing firm specializing in the production of onion skin paper, the Esleeck Manufacturing Company was established in 1898 as the Monadnock Paper Co. The principal owners, Augustine W. Esleeck and Alfred T. Judd, had worked together with the Valley Paper Mills of Holyoke, Mass., but when striking out on their own, moved to Turners Falls, believing the town to be the ideal location for a mil. Changing their name to Esleeck Manufacturing Co. in 1901, the firm sought to be a good neighbor, using local labor and products from local firms in their manufacturing. After more than 100 years of continuous operation, the company was purchased by Southworth Co. in 2006.

The collection consists chiefly of financial records, but also includes three minute books from 1898-1961 that capture the the company’s early history, as well as a memorial history of the company written by a long-term employee in 1954.

Subjects
  • Paper industry--Massachusetts
  • Turners Falls (Mass.)--History
Contributors
  • Esleeck Manufacturing Company

Finestone, Roy

Roy Finestone Photograph Collection, 1969-1990.
239 images
Call no.: PH 005 digital

Nina, Smoky, Chuck, Janis (Smoky and Nina on bikes)
Nina, Smoky, Chuck, Janis (Smoky and Nina on bikes)

A wave of experimentation in communal living in New England reached a peak in the late 1960s and early 1970s, with dozens of communities spread across the landscape of western Massachusetts and Vermont. Nina Finestone joined the Johnson Pastures in Guilford , Vermont, in 1969, however after the main house there went up in flames on April 16, 1970, killing four people, she joined a number of its residents who moved to the nearby Montague Farm in Montague, Massachusetts. Nina married a fellow Montague farmer, Daniel Keller, and the couple moved to Wendell in 1980.

Providing exceptional visual documentation of life at Johnson Pasture, the Montague Farm, and Wendell Farm between 1969 and 1990, the Finestone collection is centered on the lives and family of Daniel and Nina Keller. All images were taken by Roy Finestone, Nina’s father, with a medium format camera using color transparency film.

Subjects
  • Communal living--Massachusetts
  • Communal living--Vermont
  • Johnson Pasture Community (Vt.)
  • Keller, Daniel
  • Keller, Nina
  • Montague Farm Community (Mass.)
  • Wendell Farm Community (Mass.)
Contributors
  • Finestone, Roy

Five College Program in Peace and World Security Studies (Mass.)

Five College Program in Peace and World Security Studies Records, 1982-1989.
2 boxes (0.75 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 264

Established in 1983 by a group of faculty and administrators in the Five College community who perceived an urgent need for increased faculty dialogue about issues involving peace, security, and the nuclear arms race. Expanded in 1984 with the support of a grant from the Ford Foundation, PAWSS continued as a multidisciplinary program that sought to engage faculty in a consideration of various perspectives on world security and to assist them with curriculum development involving these issues.

This small collection includes circular letters and flyers produced by PAWSS describing the group’s activities as well as materials used by faculty during summer institutes and to develop curriculum.

Subjects
  • Nuclear disarmament--History--Sources
  • Peace movements--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • Five College Program in Peace and World Security Studies (Mass.)

Forman, Sylvia

Sylvia Forman Collection of Local Issues Student Papers, 1983-1987.
1 box (0.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 341

Student papers covering topics such as the availability of child care lower income parents in Amherst, Cambodian refugees and their sponsors, teenage pregnancy in Holyoke, and perspectives on community living.

Subjects
  • Cambodians--Massachusetts

Foster, Georgana

Georgana Foster Collection, 1970s-2007.
3 boxes (4.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 544

Collection of chiefly newspaper clippings compiled by Georgana Foster documenting the response of the western Massachusetts community to a variety of local and national topics such as the Vietnam War, communes, the re-elections of Congressmen Silvio Conte and John Olver, the Amherst Peace Vigil, the Peace Pagoda in Leverett, and the Iraq War.

Subjects
  • Activists--Massachusetts
  • Amherst (Mass.)--Politics and government
  • Conte, Silvio O. (Silvio Oltavio), 1921-1991
  • Peace movements--Massachusetts
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975
Contributors
  • Foster, Georgana

Foster, Nancy E.

Nancy E. Foster Papers, 1972-2010.
4 boxes (6 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 753

Nancy E. Foster
Nancy E. Foster

For the better part of four decades, Nancy E. Foster was active in the struggle for social justice, peace, and political reform. From early work in civil rights through her engagement in political reform in Amherst, Mass., Foster was recognized for her work in the movements opposing war, nuclear power, and the assault on civil liberties after the September 11 terrorist attacks. Locally, she worked with her fellow members of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst and with interfaith coalitions to address problems of hunger and homelessness.

Centered in western Massachusetts and concentrated in the last decade of her life (2000-2010), the Nancy Foster Papers includes a record of one woman’s grassroots activism for peace, civil liberties, and social justice. The issues reflected in the collection range from the assault on civil liberties after the 9/11 terrorist attacks to immigration, hunger and poverty, the Iraq Wars, and the conflict in Central America during the 1980s, and much of the material documents Nancy’s involvement with local organizations such as the Social Justice Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst. The collection also contains a valuable record of Nancy’s participation in local politics in Amherst, beginning with the records of the 1972 committee which was charged with reviewing the Town Meeting.

Subjects
  • Amherst (Mass.)--Politics and government
  • Civil rights--Massachusetts
  • Disaster relief
  • El Salvador--History--1979-1992
  • Hunger
  • Interfaith Cot Shelter (Amherst, Mass.)
  • Iraq War, 2003-2011
  • Peace movements--Massachusetts
  • September 11 Terrorist Attacks, 2001
  • War on Terrorism, 2001-2009
Contributors
  • ACLU
  • Lay Academy for Oecumenical Studies
  • Massachusetts Voters for Clean Elections
  • Olver, John
  • Pyle, Christopher H.
  • Swift, Alice
  • Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst
Types of material
  • Photographs

Geisler, Bruce

Bruce Geisler Collection, 1969-1984.
14 boxes (21 linear feet).
Call no.: PH 049

Renaissance Community, ca.1974
Renaissance Community, ca.1974

In the early 1970s, the documentary filmmaker Bruce Geisler dropped out of Pomona College one semester short of graduation, drove across country, and joined the Brotherhood of the Spirit commune, then the largest commune in the eastern United States. During his four years living with the Brotherhood, later renamed the Renaissance Community, Geisler learned the craft of filmmaking, before returning west to earn an MFA at the film school of the University of Southern California. Geisler has received a number of awards as a screenwriter and filmmaker including the Grand Prize for Best Screenplay from Worldfest Houston and the Dominique Dunne Memorial Prize for Filmmaking, and, in 2007, he released his feature-length documentary, Free Spirits, about the Brotherhood of the Spirit/Renaissance Community and its ill-fated founder, Michael Metelica Rapunzel. Geisler is currently a Senior Lecturer in the UMass Amherst Department of Communication.

A collection collection documenting everyday life in the commune and performances by the commune band (Spirit in Flesh and Rapunzel), the Geisler collection was assembled largely during the making of Free Spirits. In addition to many hours of raw and edited footage taken by members of the Brotherhood of the Spirit and Renaissance Community, the collection includes approximately 1.5 feet each of ephemera and newspaper clippings relating to the commune.

Subjects
  • Brotherhood of the Spirit
  • Communal living--Massachusetts
  • Renaissance Community
Contributors
  • Geisler, Bruce
Types of material
  • Photographs
  • Videotapes

George Cooley & Company

George Cooley & Co. Ledger, 1843-1851.
1 vol. (0.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 111

Ledger, begun by George Cooley in 1843 to record the accounts of his soapmaking business in the Cabotville section of Chicopee, continued by Titus Chapin, an ardent abolitionist, and Mordecai Cough who managed the business following Cooley’s death (or departure) in 1848. The 1843 date coincides with the coming of many small businesses to Cabotville in connection with the growth of industries there at the time.

Cooley accepted goods, services and cash as payment. The most frequently accepted goods had relatively obvious value to a soap maker: grease and ashes, tallow, pork, scraps and skins, and candles. Some of the services bartered were repairing wagon, shoeing horse, fixing wippletree, making 30 boxes, and covering umbrella. The business sold gallons, bars, and cakes of soap. Mount Holyoke Seminary bought 28 “fancy soaps”. Also listed were shaving soap and hard or hand soap. In addition, sales sometimes included candles, butter, mop handles, molasses, apples and potatoes, squashes, satinet, cheese, cord wood, paint, and rosin. Some of the listings were annotated with regard to the customer’s character: Ashad Bartlett was seen as “bad and poor and fights with his wife”‘ Norris Starkwether was “an honest man”; and Miss L.B. Hunt “eloped with a man”.

Subjects
  • Chicopee (Mass.)--History
  • Soap trade--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • George Cooley and Company

Gillett, Chauncey S.

Chauncey S. Gillett Daybook, 1841-1845.
1 vol. (0.2 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 417 bd

Although poorly known, Chauncey S. Gillett (1815-1846) appears to have carried on a relatively small custom at a general store in Southwick, Massachusetts, during the early 1840s. The son of Almon and Cinthia Gillett, Gillett traded in the typical range of groceries, dry goods, and other commodities, including buttons, cloth, paper, tobacco and tea, molasses, and candles, but also in liquors of various sorts (rum, gin, and brandy cider). Gillett died at the age of 30 on January 4, 1846, and is buried in Southwick.

Kept by the young Chauncey Gillett, this daybook records a chronological series of transactions at a general stores in Southwick, Mass., between 1841 and 1845. Among Gillett’s customers were several relatives, including Almon, Rhodolphus, and Levi Gillett, all of whom are also buried in the Southwick cemetery.

Subjects
  • General stores--Massachusetts--Southwick
  • Southwick (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
Contributors
  • Gillett, Chauncey S
Types of material
  • Daybooks

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