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Audrey R. Duckert Quabbin Valley Oral History Collection, 1966-1980
51 audio recordings (0.25 linear feet)
Collection number: MS 756

Abstract:
The linguist Audrey R. Duckert was a pioneer in the study of American regional English. Born in Cottage Grove, Wisconsin, Duckert studied dialect at the University of Wisconsin, and after completing her doctorate at Radcliffe College in 1959, she joined the faculty at UMass Amherst. During her forty year career at UMass, Duckert became a founding member of the Dictionary of American Regional English (1965) and she was the first UMass woman admitted to Phi Beta Kappa. In addition to her linguistic work, she developed an avid interest in local history and was involved with several local historical societies, including the Swift River Valley Historical Society in New Salem.

The Duckert oral history collection consists of a series of 53 audiocassette recordings containing interviews with persons displaced when the Swift River Valley was flooded to create the Quabbin Reservoir in 1939. The histories include rich recollections of life in the towns of Greenwich, Enfield, Dana, and Prescott, with village life, education, family, and the changes that accompanied the inundation of the region. The original audiocassettes are in the possession of the Swift River Valley Historical Society.

Terms of Access and Use:

The collection is open for research.

Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries

Biographical Note
Audrey R. DUckert

Audrey R. DUckert

The linguist Audrey R. Duckert was a pioneer in the study of American regional English. Born in the small town of Cottage Grove, Wisconsin, Duckert took up the study of dialect at the University of Wisconsin during the 1940s, and after completing a doctorate in linguistics at Radcliffe College in 1959, she joined the faculty at UMass Amherst. During her forty year career at UMass, Duckert became a founding member of the Dictionary of American Regional English (1965) and she was the first UMass woman admitted to Phi Beta Kappa.

In addition to her linguistic work, Duckert harbored an avid interest in local history, working closely with several local historical societies on projects that united her interests in dialect and daily life. Her most fruitful work may have been with the Swift River Valley Historical Society in New Salem where for two decades, she participated in an oral historical program, interviewing persons who had displaced from the Swift River Valley during the 1930s when the Quabbin Reservoir was constructed to provide drinking water for Boston. On September 6, 2007, Duckert died in Hadley, Mass., at the age of 80.

Scope and contents of the collection

The Duckert oral history collection consists of 53 audiocassettes containing interviews with persons displaced when the Swift River Valley was flooded to create the Quabbin Reservoir. The histories include rich recollections of life in the towns of Greenwich, Enfield, Dana, and Prescott, with village life, education, family, and the changes that accompanied the evacuation and inundation of the valley. In addition to the formal interviews, the collection also includes recordings of public presentations and genealogical programs relating to the Quabbin region offered by the Swift River Valley Historical Society, tours of Quabbin sites led by former residents, and radio broadcasts.


Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

The collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation

Cite as: Audrey R. Duckert Quabbin Valley Oral History Collection (MS 756). Special Collections and University Archives, UMass Amherst Libraries.

Alternative Formats Available

Digitized versions of the recordings in this collection are made available through Credo. The original audiocassettes have been returned to the Swift River Valley Historical Society.

History of the Collection

The original audiocassettes were donated to the Swift River Valley Historical Society by Audrey R. Duckert. In 2012, the Historical Society agreed to work collaboratively with Special Collections to digitize the cassettes

Location of originals:

The original audiocassettes are held in the collections of the Swift River Valley Historical Society, New Salem, Mass., who generously permitted SCUA to digitize the content.

Processing Information

Processed by I. Eliot Wentworth, Sept. 2013.


Additional Information
Contact Information
Special Collections and University Archives
W.E.B. Du Bois Library
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Amherst, MA 01003-9275

Phone: (413) 545-2780
Fax: (413) 577-1399
Link to SCUA
Language
English

Series Descriptions
1969-1980
13 tapes

Situated in Worcester County at the northern end of the Quabbin region, due east of Greenwich, New Salem, and Prescott, the villages of Dana Center and North Dana had barely 700 residents at the turn of the twentieth century. In addition to agriculture, Dana had a biox manufactory and was a center for production of palm-leaf hats.

1974-1979
5 tapes

Located in the southernmost portion of the Quabbin Valley, Enfield was the largest and most important of the four Quabbin towns. With over 1,000 residents at the turn of the twentieth century, its industrial base in woolen and grist mills made it the wealthiest of the four towns, and along with Greenwich, it was home to the only printers to operate in the Valley, Solomon and John Howe.

1966-1979
8 tapes

The first of the Quabbin towns to be incorporated, Greenwich was settled in 1739 along the banks of the East and Middle branches of the Swift River. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the lakes and hills of Greenwich became a popular spot for vacationing tourists.

1974-1975
5 tapes

Although the town of New Salem was not dissolved by construction of the Quabbin Reservoir, one of its villages, Millington, was inundated. With a population of just over 800 at the turn of the century -- and half that by the time of completion of the Reservoir -- New Salem grew considerably in size when it annexed the northern portion of Prescott that remained above water after the flooding.

1967-1979
12 tapes

The smallest and westernmost of the four Quabbin towns, Prescott was incorporated in 1822, having been divided out from portions of the adjacent towns of New Salem and Pelham. In 1900, its population was barely over 300 residents, about 50% lower than at its peak, with most residents engaged in agriculture, lumbering, or domestic manufactures.

1968-1979
8 tapes

Lectures, programs, and interviews pertaining to the Quabbin region generally.

Contents List
Dana, Mass.
1969-1980
13 tapes

1974 June 7
01:24:33
Box 2

Days in North Dana, lumbering.

1974 Apr. 17
01:27:19
Box 2

Recollections of Dana: low-fidelity recording made during hike to the former Dana Common

1969 May 26
00:43:34
Box 4

"Joe Cornauskus takes Katherine Reed (Kitty) on a nostalgic trip to North Dana (Zib Pierce also)."

1974 May 0
00:34:14
Box 2

Recorded on a hike to Doubleday Village and North Dana; poor quality audio. Original tape held in the collections of the Swift River Valley Historical Society.

1967 June 10
00:00:00
Box 2

Lecture on stone structures in New England.

1979 July 19
00:53:46
Box 2

Recollections of early automobiles.

1980 Oct. 15
Box 4

1980 Sept. 18
00:39:55
Box 4

Oral history regarding the Goodnow Orchestra.

1975 Feb. 25
00:35:17
Box 2

Recalling life in North Dana: high ambient noise level.

1980 Nov. 1
00:46:45
Box 2

Recalling her life in Dana.

1974 Nov. 7
00:56:15
Box 2

Recollections of life in North Dana, Mass.

1975 May 10
01:29:19
Box 2

Recollections of Dana: low-fidelity recording made during hike to the former Dana Common.

1977 July 6
01:30:15
Box 2

Recollections of Dana, Pottapaug Mountain, Bear's Den, Indian kitchen, July 4th pranks, Dana waterworks, Snow's glass coffins, and family.

Enfield, Mass.
1974-1979
5 tapes

1974 May 20
01:02:34
Box 1

Oral history interview with former resident of Enfield, Mass., Quabbin River Valley. Tape noted by Duckert as incomplete.

1976 Sept. 16
00:46:18
Box 1

Oral history interview with former resident of Enfield, Mass, Quabbin River Valley, recalling Smiths Village and Enfield. Phillips, daughter of James Twible, was born in 1896.

1979 Aug. 20
01:27:18
Box 1

Oral history interview with Mrs. Stalbird Terry, former resident of Enfield, Mass, Quabbin River Valley. The Terrys were the last couple married in the Congregational Church in Enfield.

1975 June 5
01:30:52
Box 1

Oral history interview with former resident of Enfield, Mass, Quabbin River Valley, and other towns. Fred Thayer, who would turn 85 in October 1975, drove horses all over the Valley.

2. Ward, Ruth and Eleanor Schmidt oral history with Audrey R. Duckert and Eleanor Schmidt (Hadley, Mass.)
1976 Mar. 4
Box 1

Greenwich, Mass.
1966-1979
8 tapes

1976 Apr. 27
00:22:25
Box 1

Oral history interview with Billings, a resident of Anchorage, Alaska, formerly of Pittsfield, Mass., regarding his family in Greenwich, Quabbin River Valley, Mass.

1966 Oct. 1
00:41:16
Box 1

Oral history interview with former residents of Greenwich, Mass., Quabbin River Valley, recorded at Greenwich Foundation Reunion in Ware; hymn singing.

1975 Apr. 8
00:57:36
Box 1

Oral history interview with King and Schmidt (former residents of Greenwich, Mass.) and Moult (former resident of Millington), Quabbin River Valley. Recorded at King's home.

1969 July 22
00:27:23
Box 1

Oral history interview with former resident of Pelham and Greenwich, Mass., Quabbin River Valley, recorded for the Newton Public Schools.

1979 Aug. 8
00:46:31
Box 1

Oral history interview with former residents of Greenwich, Mass., Quabbin River Valley, including discussion of Greenwich genealogy.

1969 July 22
01:29:34
Box 1

Oral history interview with former resident of Greenwich, Mass., Quabbin River Valley. Recorded outside while walking to where Parker taught school in Pelham Hill (Bobbin Hollow).

1975 Apr. 14
00:53:21
Box 1

Oral history interview with former resident of Pelham and Greenwich, Mass., Quabbin River Valley, on life there in the 1920s.

1975 June 25
01:02:34
Box 1

Oral history interview with former resident of Enfield, Mass., Quabbin River Valley.

New Salem, Mass.
1974-1975
5 tapes

1975 Nov. 4
01:16:32
Box 3

"Talking about the old days, the Ballard family, New Salem people, the New Salem Academy, old fashioned foods;" also Ballard Tavern, sugaring off, brown bread, brewis, bread coffee, bubble and squeak.

1974 June 6
01:28:06
Box 4

Recorded on site, entering the Quabbin Resevation at Gate 22: Puppyville, site of house, North Prescott, New Salem, Millington. Poor audio quality for first 30 of recording

1975 Jan. 6
01:01:56
Box 3

Discussing growing up in New Salem when residents were self-sufficient; New Salem Academy.

1975 June 18
01:26:36
Box 3

Triple wedding of the Paige sisters at Hop Brook Farm, 1906, New Sale; genealogical quest for Phineas Stevens.

1975 June 11
00:00:00
Box 3

Mr. Newton (Fay) discussing Millington and other Quabbin towns; Mrs. Newton (Reita) discusses Ballard family of New Salem and her outdoor wedding in 1923.

Prescott, Mass.
1967-1979
12 tapes

1967 June 19
02:11:32
Box 4

Two interviews recorded at Berry's home near Gate 20 of the Quabbin Reservoir. The first includes a discussion of the botany of the region and folk names for the plants; second interview includes discussions of North Prescott, the Prescott Church, and New Salem.

1975 Aug. 23-1975 Sept. 05
00:57:50
Box 3

Blakesly lived on Grout place at Prescott; tour of Prescott; Schmidt interviewed by Belchertown student; "a good bit on haying." Poor audio quality.

1977 Aug. 04
01:59:34
Box 3

Regarding moving the Prescott Church to the Swift River Valley Historical Society; inventory of Prescott Historical Society Museum; memories of Prescott. Oren Jones.

1975 May 17
Box 3

Swift River Valley Historical Society walking tour to Prescott, led by Oren Jones, with contributions by Althea Daniels, Robert Johnston, and Miriam Putnam.

1969 July 22
01:29:34
Box 1

Oral history interview with former residents of Prescott and Greenwich, Mass., Quabbin River Valley, responding to questions posed by students of the Newton Public Schools.

1969 Aug. 6
01:01:49
Box 4

Guided tour of the Whitaker-Clary House, Swift River Valley Historical Society.

1975 Mar. 11
00:57:38
Box 3

Memories of Schmidt's family (the Griswolds) and Prescott; recorded at Schmidt's home on Ware Road, Belchertown.

1975 Apr. 8
01:00:21
Box 3

Recorded in Julia Wendemuth's house, with Eleanor Schmidt.

1979 May 6
01:01:59
Box 3

Recorded while looking at old photos of Prescott.

1979 July 26
01:15:27
Box 3

Miscellaneous topics, including doctors, home remedies, schools, old times. Recorded at the Wendemuth home in North Brookfield, where the family moved after leaving Prescott.

1976 Apr. 11
01:33:25
Box 3

Interview with three former residents of Prescott, Mass. "Much on picture recognizing."

1977 Mar. 11
Box 3

Quabbin region, Mass.
1968-1979
8 tapes

1979 July 18
00:54:27
Box 4

Discussing Coolidge family genealogy at the Swift River Valley Historical Society.

1979 July 11
01:02:12
Box 4

Lecture on genealogy at the Swift River Valley Historical Society, including the Paige, Haskell, Whitaker, Tyler, and Whitney families.

1979 Aug. 1
01:17:49
Box 4

Lecture is part of the geneaology series of the Swift River Valley Historical Society. "Speaks a bit about the Mormons."

44. Hemenway, Ruby, "I remember when" (New Salem, Mass.)
1979 June 23
00:00:00
Box 4

Talk at the Swift River Valley Historical Society based upon her newspaper column.

1968 Sept. 21
00:41:16
Box 1

Slide show and lecture delivered at the Swift River Valley Historical Society.

1976 Feb. 18
00:25:23
Box 4

From typed note: "Mrs. Beatrice (Fiske) Minor of North Orange being interviewed on Radio Station, Orange. Taped from a radio receiver 10:30 AM 18 February 1976. Bun Doubleday."

1975 June 21
00:45:25
Box 3

Panel discussion held in the barn at the Whitaker-Clary House, Swift River Valley Historical Society. Panelists include Roy Thayer, Lester Hager, and Sally Fillebrown Parker. Also speaking from the audience: Raymond Lego, Ruth Newbury Bassingthwaite, Rieta Balland Newton, and Dorothy Fittz.

1974 May 10
01:27:19
Box 2

Coon hunting in Quabbin region, hunting dogs; music and the Good News orchestra; Minute Tapioca Band; dances.


Search Terms
The following terms represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. Use these headings to search for additional materials on this web site, in the Five College Library Catalog, or in other library catalogs and databases.

Subjects
  • Dana (Mass.)--History
  • Dana (Mass.)--Social life and customs
  • Enfield (Mass.)--History
  • Enfield (Mass.)--Social life and customs
  • Greenwich (Mass.)--History
  • Greenwich (Mass.)--Social life and customs
  • New Salem (Mass.)--History
  • New Salem (Mass.)--Social life and customs
  • Prescott (Mass.)--History
  • Prescott (Mass.)--Social life and customs
  • Quabbin Reservoir (Mass.)--History
  • Quabbin Reservoir (Mass.)--Social life and customs
  • Swift River Valley (Mass.)--History
  • Swift River Valley (Mass.)--Social life and customs

Contributors
  • Doubleday, Warren Nehemiah
  • Fittz, Dorothy Bullard
  • Goodnow, Clarence
  • Hemenway, Ruby
  • King, Stanwood
  • Mackie, Eunice Mitchell
  • Newton, Fay
  • Parker, Sally Fillebrown
  • Schmidt, Eleanor Griswold
  • Segur, Bill
  • Terry, Gertrude Whitney Ward
  • Wendemuth, Herman W.
  • Wendemuth, Julia

Genre terms
  • Audiocassettes
  • Oral histories


Questions about this collection? Contact the archives
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