This fine linen infant cap is the oldest textile in our collection. The crown and side stripes are constructed of bobbin lace, a type of lace created by braiding and twisting thread held in place with pins set into a lace pillow. Take a look at the fine lacework- at the time, even the clothing of infants and small children often featured beautiful, delicate lacework. A piece of clothing like this would be passed down and reused over multiple generations of children.
This unique late-19th century dress once belonged to Mabel Loomis Todd, and was donated to the Amherst Historical Society by her daughter. Purple velvet and old gold silk, with hand-embroidered pansies, created in 1890. Look at the detail on those flowers! Unfortunately, the dress is now too fragile to be displayed as it would have been worn.
Rudge High Wheel Cycle (Manufactured 1870-1888). High wheel cycles were popular with young, middle-class men of the late 19th century for their speed- the bigger the wheel, the faster the cycle could go. A high wheel of this size could reach a speed of nearly 30 mph! This particular cycle was a gift from Amherst mechanic Edward Thompson to his son Herbert in 1881. High wheels were considered hazardous to the health of their riders- both because their instability (even a small rock or bump could cause the rider to fly over the handlebars and suffer a ‘header’) and physicians worry that the jarring of the hard rubber tires on unpaved roads would damage male organs.
by Dr. Barbara Mathews
At a time when the survival of the American experiment in government by and for the people was neither destined nor assured, the Massachusetts uprising labeled “Shays’ Rebellion” fueled speculation that the new United States could not survive for long. While most widely known for the bloody confrontation at the United States Arsenal at Springfield in January 1787, the lasting legacy of the Massachusetts Regulators and their sympathizers was in the creation and ratification of the United States Constitution.
Dr. Barbara Mathews is the Public Historian and Director of Academic Programs at Historic Deerfield. She was the content director, historian, and writer for the website From Revolution to Constitution: Shays’ Rebellion & the Making of a Nation, a collaboration among the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Springfield Technical Community College, and the Springfield Armory funded through a We The People grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
DuBois Library Special Collections
by Aaron Rubinstein
“Expanding our great national reservoir of knowledge and intellectual thought:” past, present, and future of the Special Collections at UMass Amherst.
Former Chancellor Randolph Bromery’s ambitious words, written in 1974, presage a transformation of the Special Collections at UMass that began with the acquisition of the W. E. B. Du Bois Papers and blossomed after the arrival of Robert Cox in 2004. The new Head of the Special Collections, Aaron Rubinstein, will discuss the this transformation and how it sets the stage for the future of the department.
Aaron Rubinstein is the Head of the Special Collections and University Archives at UMass Amherst. Aaron grew up in Amherst, graduated from UMass, and has worked in SCUA for over a decade. Before SCUA, he was the Archivist for Digital Collections at Tufts University, and before that Collections Manager at the Yiddish Book Center.
(video in process)