Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Hampshire Council of Governments and UMass Amherst Libraries Honor County's 350th

Limited Edition Prints will be available for sale at Northampton's Art Night Out on Friday, May 11 


NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (April 12, 2012) – The Hampshire Council of Governments and UMass Amherst Libraries recently selected 44 historic documents to reproduce and offer for sale as a cooperative fundraising effort and to commemorate the 350th Anniversary of Hampshire County. The reproductions were selected from the collection of dockets, session books, maps, and other paper records dealing with Hampshire County business from as early as 1677 that the Council transferred to UMass Amherst Libraries last year.

Proceeds from the sale of limited edition prints during the summer months of Arts Night Out in Northampton will benefit the Old Hampshire County Courthouse renovation project and the continued digitization of the collection at UMass Amherst Libraries. The reproductions include an indictment for witchcraft in 1683 and lists of licensees for selling spirituous liquors to a copy of a Shay’s Rebellion broadside. Rare maps of area towns are also part of the limited edition offering, most dating to the mid-1800s.

The Libraries received the historic collection, which has been valued at $206,000, from Hampshire Council last year. “We wanted to allow for the permanent preservation of our valuable history in a manner that would keep the records in the public domain and in a format that will permit easy access,” says Todd Ford, Executive Director of the Council.

Rob Cox, head of Special Collections and University Archives at UMass Amherst, calls the collection “a historic treasure of western Massachusetts… an acquisition that expands our services and resources to scholars in legal studies, genealogists, landscape and regional planners, developers, and engineers.”

The records are securely housed in the Libraries’ Special Collections and University Archives offices on the 25th floor of the W.E.B. Du Bois Library. Many are available for view online, and all are available for use on site by appointment.

The reproduction prints will be framed by local framers and will be part of a summer-long silent auction. A limited number of additional prints will be available for sale on an ongoing basis through the Arts Night Out Gallery in the Old Hampshire County Courthouse.

Contact: Todd Ford, Executive Director, 413-584-1300 x 121, tford@hampshirecog.org
Carol Connare, Director of Library Development and Communication, 413-545-0995, cconnare@library.umass.edu

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