Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Beth Hapgood Papers
Scope and Contents of the Collection
Throughout her life, Beth Hapgood has been an observer standing near the center of social change. Whether it was the largest commune in New England emerging from her kitchen table or her friendship with Elwood Babbitt, who channeled Vishnu in her living room, it is difficult to argue that Hapgood's life has been a maelstrom of people, ideas, history, spirituality, and hard work. Hapgood's collection documents many facets of the alternative history of western Massachusetts from the 1950s through the 1980s and the varied people who came through her life. Her connection with emerging new thought and ways of living are well represented in the collection. This self-imposed responsibility to record the events and lives of the people around her has resulted in a diverse and comprehensive collection that spans over a century. From the history of the Hapgood family to the Brotherhood of the Spirit, Hapgood's collection documents the life of a woman who considered herself not only an observer but the memory of several generations of family, friends, and fellow human beings.
The Hapgood collection contains correspondence, diaries, e-mails, oral and written histories, poetry, newspaper clippings, tapes and transcripts of Babbitt's trance lectures, legal records, photographs, and a variety of printed materials that give flesh to Beth Hapgood's evolving interests in graphology and spiritual development, as well as her association with Michael Metelica and the Brotherhood of the Spirit commune. The collection also includes some genealogical material on the Hapgood family, family and town histories, miscellaneous books, welfare reports from the town of Greenfield, book and meeting notes, business and legal correspondence, a memorial scrapbook, various manuscripts, and information pertaining to Opie Mountain and One World Fellowship.
This collection is organized into ten series: