Guide to the Collection

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Representative digitized documents from this collection:

Restrictions on Access

Use of portions of this collection is restricted. Select items are available as color digital facsimiles (see links below).

Collection Summary


This collection consists of the records of the Massachusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture, including correspondence, financial records, membership and trustee records, committee reports, petitions for premiums, records of awards, 150th anniversary materials, records of charitable contributions, Middlesex Agricultural Society papers (1819-1873), and Middlesex Society of Husbandmen and Manufacturers papers (1819-1850).

Historical Sketch

The Massachusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture (MSPA), one of the earliest agricultural societies in the United States, was incorporated in 1792. Among the founding members were Samuel Adams (who hosted the first meeting), Charles Bulfinch, Timothy Pickering, Benjamin Lincoln, Christopher Gore, and Benjamin Guild. These were presently joined by the likes of John Adams (the MSPA president from 1805 to 1813), John Hancock, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry, Artemas Ward, Josiah Quincy, and other national figures from Massachusetts.

The Society's raison d'etre as stated in their petition for incorporation was to join the ranks of the agricultural societies in Britain and America "whose particular business is to make experiments themselves and invite others thereto on the subject of agriculture...[and] to give handsome premiums to the men of enterprise who have by their inquiries made useful discoveries and communicated them to the public." Although the methods have differed somewhat over the years, the Society has never strayed from this original intention of encouraging agricultural pursuits and experiments designed to advance agricultural technology and disseminate information.

The first premiums (prizes) offered by the MSPA were $50 for "the most satisfactory account of the natural history of the canker-worm" and $100 for the cheapest and most effective method of eradicating it. Premiums were also offered for the cultivation of wheat and other grains; the improvement of land, including the reclamation of salt marshes; the raising of trees; the greatest stock maintained on the least land; the best vegetable food for wintering stock; the most and best wool from a given number of sheep; the best process for making cider, maple sugar, butter, cheese, flax, and salted provisions; and for the best farm journals, manures, tree plantations, advances in ploughs and ploughing techniques, and farms in general. In 1801, the Society voted to establish a professorship of natural history at Harvard, which served as the origin of the Botanical Garden at Cambridge. In 1813, the MSPA began publishing semi-annually the Massachusetts Agricultural Journal, which was discontinued in 1827 when the publication of various weekly farming journals supplanted the need for a semi-annual one.

The year 1816 marked the first Cattle Show sponsored by the Society on their grounds in Brighton designated for that purpose. The Cattle Shows, which ran until 1835, were accompanied by an MSPA annual dinner, at which it was the custom to propose numerous toasts to members and guests, to the delight and amusement of all present. Among the guests in 1832 were the renowned ornithologist John James Audubon and Johann G. Spurzheim, the co-founder of phrenology. The toasts were as follows: "Our scientific countryman, John James Audubon: The flight of the eagle is not beyond his reach, nor the tenants of the poultry yard beneath his notice"; and "Our honored guest, Dr. Spurzheim: He reveals to us the secret import of our 'bumps'; we greet him with a bumper."

After 1835, the Society directed more effort at introducing into America improved breeds of cattle, sheep, and horses. They also voted many scholarships and grants to the State Agricultural College (now the University of Massachusetts) and other educational institutions, funded research in animal diseases such as bovine tuberculosis, and supported the Cambridge Botanical Garden and the Arnold Arboretum among many such horticultural stations. At the same time, they continued to offer premiums for the finest examples of farm products and techniques, and became involved in the many county and local agricultural societies and fairs that formed in the nineteenth century, mainly through offering prizes and prize monies to them.

In the twentieth century, the MSPA became involved with the 4-H Club, offering premiums to children involved in that organization, as well as funding the 4-H headquarters at Amherst and the junior dairy and poultry departments at the annual Eastern States Exposition in Massachusetts. They continue to fund scientific research at various educational institutions.

Collection Description

The records of the Massachusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture consist of correspondence with many individuals and organizations, financial records, membership and trustee records, committee reports, petitions for premiums (prizes), records of awards, 150th anniversary materials, papers concerning charitable contributions of the MSPA, Middlesex Agricultural Society papers (1819-1873), and Middlesex Society of Husbandmen and Manufacturers papers. The collection contains loose manuscripts, bound manuscript volumes, oversize loose manuscripts, oversize manuscript volumes, and photographs and engravings. The photographs and engravings (housed in one oversize box) are stored with the oversize manuscript material and are described in this guide to the collection.

Printed material has been removed from the collection and separately stored and cataloged. This material includes many broadsides advertising cattle shows and other fairs in Massachusetts, pamphlets on agricultural topics, and a variety of books. Papers of the Humane Society of Massachusetts, which had members in common with the MSPA, have also been removed and separately cataloged.

Acquisition Information

This collection was deposited by the Massachusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture in 1979. Additions were deposited in 2010 and 2017.

Restrictions on Access

Use of portions of this collection is restricted. Select items are available as color digital facsimiles (see links below).

Other Formats

Portions of this collection are available as color digital facsimiles.

Detailed Description of the Collection

I. Drawer A, 1793-1940

The bulk of the material in this series relates to premiums awarded by the MSPA, including correspondence and petitions for premiums on butter and cheese, livestock, farm equipment, manures, and other items. The series also contains lists of MSPA members, trustees, and officers.

Farmer's almanac by Robert B. Thomas (Boston: Printed for West and Richardson), 1818

Box 1Folder 1a
Copy kept by Daniel Hale, Byfield, Mass., with ms. entries
Box 1Folder 1b
Copy kept by Jacob Kelley, Amesbury, Mass.
Box 1Folder 1c
Copy kept by George Osgood, Andover, Mass.
Box 1Folder 1d
Copy kept by Ward Lock, Corresponding Secretary of the Farmington Agricultural Society
Box 1Folder 2
Two letters from the U.S. Patent Office, 1856; one letter from the U.S. War Department, 1871
Box 1Folder 3
Harvard University correspondence (2 items)
Box 1Folder 4
Horse "Columbus" correspondence and memoranda, 1822-1826
Box 1Folder 5
Horses (miscellaneous), 1825-1899
Box 1Folder 6
Insects and worms, 1793-1900
Box 1Folder 7
Jersey cattle, 1852-1869
Box 1Folder 8
Massachusetts Academy of Agriculture, 1844
Box 1Folder 9
Massachusetts School of Agriculture, 1856; Massachusetts Agricultural College, 1868-1906, 1940
Box 1Folder 10
"Massachusetts Ox," slaughtered 1 Jan. 1838

Membership lists, trustee and officer lists, acceptances and resignation letters, and some miscellaneous correspondence

Box 1Folder 11a-11g
No. 1-110
Box 2Folder 11h-l
No. 111-165
Box 2Folder 12
Minerals, 1793
Box 2Folder 13
Thomas Motley, Jr.'s reports, 1849-1856
Box 2Folder 14a-b
E. Phinney's reports, no. 1-36, 1846-1849
Box 2Folder 15
North Devon cattle, 1850
Box 2Folder 16a-b
Oxen, cattle, sheep, and other livestock, no. 1-41, 1809-1850
Box 2Folder 17
Petition for premium on account books, 1842
Box 2Folder 18a-g
Butter and cheese, correspondence, invoices, memoranda, and petitions for premiums, no. 1-107, 1820-1833
Box 3Folder 19a-e
Petitions for premiums on butter and cheese, correspondence, and memoranda, no. 1-71, 1834-1839
Box 3Folder 20
Petitions for premiums on domestic manufactures, 1835-1840

Correspondence, memoranda, and petitions for premiums on farms and crops, 1793-1844

Box 3Folder 21a-g
No. 1-100, 1793-1839
Box 3Folder 22a-b
No. 1-33, 1840
Box 3Folder 23a-e
No. 1-66, 1841-1844
Box 3Folder 24a-c
Petitions for premiums on inventions and improvements in farm equipment and machinery, no. 1-45, 1813-1840

Petitions for premiums on manures, 1793-1865

Box 4Folder 25a-e
No. 1-69, 1793-1865
Box 4Folder 26a-e
No. 1-73, 1800-1864
Box 4Folder 27a-e
Correspondence and petitions for premiums on mowing machines, no. 1-73, 1855-1856
Box 4Folder 28a-c
Petitions for premiums on oxen and cattle, swine, and sheep, no. 1-45, 1824-1844
Box 4Folder 29a-b
Correspondence, memoranda, and petitions for premiums on ploughs, no. 1-25, 1794-1843
Box 4Folder 30a-b
Petitions for premiums on trees, no. 1-19, 1815-1876
Box 4Folder 31
Petition for premium on wine (one item), 1824
Box 4Folder 32a-c
Miscellaneous material about premiums offered by the MSPA, 1793-1906
Box 5Folder 1
Culture of potatoes (one item)
Box 5Folder 2
Massachusetts Agricultural Journal, catalog of Maghull Nurseries, 1817; letter, Levi Lincoln to J.W. Paige, 8 Nov. 1855

Note: The journal has been moved to printed material. The letter has been moved to general papers.

Box 5Folder 3
"Guernsey Record Book - List of owners - Vol. I and II"
Box 5Folder 4
"Premium Record Book. Worcester, 1844"
Box 5Folder 4a
Payment book, Worcester, 1844

Inscription: "Check Book of H. Codman Treasurer of the Mass. Society for Promoting Agriculture. Worcester Oct. 10, 1844. For payment of Premiums Gratuities & Travel at the Cattle Show & Exhibition of Farming Implements."

Box 5Folder 5
"Premium Lists ca. 1889"
Box 5Folder 6
Index of names and addresses [of farmers?], ca. 1880s?

Inscription on inside cover: "Property of Francis H. Appleton 23 Court St."

II. Drawer B, 1800-1961

Most of the material in this series is correspondence, first arranged chronologically, then alphabetically by subject. Subjects include agricultural societies, clubs, awards, fairs, and expositions, as well as various agricultural schools and professional associations. Among the individuals represented in the correspondence are James R. Reynolds and George S. West. This series also contains records relating to the MSPA's 150th anniversary in 1942.

Box 6Folder 1-14
Chronological correspondence, June 1945-1951

Alphabetical correspondence and material relating to:

Box 6Folder 15
Elinor R. Abbot, American Autograph Shop, American Guernsey Cattle Club, Appalachian Mountain Club
Box 6Folder 16
Francis H. Appleton, Sr., and Francis H. Appleton, Jr.
Box 6Folder 17
Arnold Arboretum
Box 6Folder 18
Agricultural "A" Awards, 1944
Box 6Folder 19
Agricultural "A" Awards, Barnstable County, 1944
Box 6Folder 20
Agricultural "A" Awards, Berkshire County, 1945
Box 6Folder 21
Agricultural "A" Awards, Bristol County, 1944
Box 6Folder 22
Agricultural "A" Awards, Hampden County, 1944
Box 6Folder 23
Agricultural "A" Awards, Middlesex County, 1944
Box 6Folder 24
Agricultural "A" Awards, Norfolk County, 1945
Box 6Folder 25
Agricultural "A" Awards, Plymouth County, 1945
Box 6Folder 26
Agricultural "A" Awards, Worcester County, 1945
Box 6Folder 27
Peter J. Baima, Barnstable Fair, Walter C. Baylies, A. Emerson Benson
Box 6Folder 28
Boit, Dalton & Church; Boston Evening Transcript
Box 6Folder 29
Boston Poultry Show
Box 6Folder 30
Boston Public Schools, Nathaniel E. Bowditch, Thomas J. Brown
Box 7Folder 31
Charles C. Cabot, centennial volumes (of the MSPA) distribution
Box 7Folder 32
Robert B. Choate, Chilean nitrate of soda
Box 7Folder 33
William Dexter
Box 7Folder 34
Eastern States Exposition
Box 7Folder 35
William C. Endicott
Box 7Folder 36
Essex Agricultural Society, William M. Evarts
Box 7Folder 37
4-H Club
Box 7Folder 38
Gore Place Society; Jeannette E. Graustein; Harvard Cooperative Society, Inc.
Box 7Folder 39
Harvard Forest
Box 7Folder 40
Harvard University Botanical Museum
Box 7Folder 41
Augustus Hemenway, Walter Hunnewell
Box 7Folder 42
"Inquiries by the Agricultural Society," 1802

Printed booklet completed in ms.

Box 7Folder 43
International Association of Fairs and Expositions; Jamaica Plain High School; James T. Lea; Lee, Higginson Trust Company
Box 7Folder 44
Lexington Gardens, Inc.; Lowthorpe School of Landscape Architecture; A.W. Lombard (Massachusetts Agricultural Fairs Association)
Box 7Folder 45
Massachusetts Audubon Society, Massachusetts Civic League, Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation, Massachusetts Forest and Park Association, Massachusetts Horticultural Society
Box 7Folder 46
Massachusetts State College
Box 7Folder 47
Meador Publishing Company
Box 7Folder 48
MSPA meetings and trustee lists
Box 7Folder 49
Middlesex County Agricultural "A" Awards, Middlesex County Extension Service (A.F. MacDougall)
Box 7Folder 50
Jane Motley
Box 7Folder 51
National parks, National Shawmut Bank of Boston
Box 7Folder 52
New England Council
Box 7Folder 53
New England Farm and Garden Association
Box 7Folder 54
New York Guernsey Breeders' Association, New York Public Library
Box 7Folder 55
Philip Dana Orcutt
Box 7Folder 56
Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture
Box 7Folder 57
James R. Reynolds, 1936-1951
Box 8Folder 58-70
James R. Reynolds, 1952-1960
Box 8Folder 71
Rhode Island State College, William J. Robbins (New York Botanical Garden), John T. Robinson
Box 8Folder 72
Dudley P. Rogers, William B. Rogers
Box 8Folder 73
Alice Roundy, James S. Russell, Stephen W. Sabine
Box 8Folder 74
John L. Saltonstall, Leverett Saltonstall, Richard Saltonstall
Box 8Folder 75
Securities brokerage houses
Box 8Folder 76
Quincy A. Shaw II, George E. Stone, John E. Thayer, Henry S. Thompson
Box 8Folder 77
Topsfield Fair, Sep. 1954; Bayard Tuckerman, Jr.
Box 8Folder 78
Union Agricultural Meeting, Jan. 1956; University of Massachusetts
Box 8Folder 79
Raymond Urquhart, archivist for the MSPA, 1941
Box 8Folder 80
Henry G. Vaughan
Box 8Folder 81-86
George S. West, 1930-1945
Box 8Folder 87
C.W. Whittier & Bro., William P. Wolcott
Box 9Folder 88
Sample of Rudolph Ruzicka bookplate for the MSPA
Box 9Folder 89
MSPA history, typescript, 1892-1942
Box 9Folder 90
Article about the MSPA in Food Marketing in New England, Vol. 21, No. 4, Spring 1961
Box 9Folder 91
MSPA emblem samples
Box 9Folder 92
MSPA property inventories, 1949-1955
Box 9Folder 93-101
MSPA 150th anniversary acceptances, A-Z
Box 9Folder 102-106
MSPA 150th anniversary regrets, A-Z

MSPA 150th anniversary banquet

Box 9Folder 107
Seating arrangements
Box 9Folder 108
Mailing lists
Box 9Folder 109
Drafts of John Ames's speech
Box 9Folder 110
Miscellaneous material
Box 9Folder 111-115
Correspondence regarding the 150th anniversary, 1941-July 1942
Box 10Folder 116
Animal diseases, papers concerning experiments
Box 10Folder 117
4-H Club, correspondence and papers concerning MSPA awards to 4-H members
Box 10Folder 118
Papers and correspondence regarding gypsy moths
Box 10Folder 119
Letter by F. H. Appleton regarding pesticides
Box 10Folder 120
Awards given by the MSPA at the Boston Poultry Show (boys and girls department), 1936-1937
Box 10Folder 121
Obituaries of F.H. Appleton, C.S. Sargent, W.C. Baylies, and J.C. Rogers
Box 10Folder 122
Correspondence with Old Sturbridge Village, regarding letters of Salem Towne, 1959
Box 10Folder 123
MSPA trustee and officer lists
Box 10Folder 124-127
Miscellaneous correspondence and papers, 1800-1928

III. Drawer C, 1786-1929

This series consists of correspondence, reports, accounts, receipts, premium lists, and other miscellaneous material on a variety of subjects, including crops and livestock. Other topics addressed in this series include agricultural societies, cattle shows, gifts and other financial matters, trustees' votes, and the MSPA's bovine tuberculosis experiment, 1906-1912.

Agricultural societies

Box 11Folder 1
Barnstable County
Box 11Folder 2
Berkshire County
Box 11Folder 3a-b
Essex County
Box 11Folder 4
Foreign agricultural societies
Box 11Folder 5
Hampshire, Franklin & Hampden Agricultural Society
Box 11Folder 6
MSPA premium lists

Note: Broadsides have been moved to printed material.

Box 11Folder 7
MSPA correspondence and other papers
Box 11Folder 8
Middlesex and Norfolk Counties: Society of Middlesex Husbandmen and Manufactures, Middlesex Agricultural Society, Middlesex South Agricultural Society, and Norfolk Agricultural Society
Box 11Folder 9
Miscellaneous agricultural societies
Box 11Folder 10
Box 11Folder 11
Miscellaneous; premiums awarded by the MSPA

Note: Broadsides have been moved to printed material.

Box 11Folder 12
New York
Box 11Folder 13
North and South Carolina
Box 11Folder 14
Box 12Folder 15
Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture
Box 12Folder 16
United States Agricultural Society
Box 12Folder 17a
Worcester Agricultural Society, no. 1-13
Box 12Folder 17b
Worcester Agricultural Society, no. 14-36
Box 12Folder 18
Alderney cattle
Box 12Folder 19
American Pomological Society
Box 12Folder 20
Amherst College
Box 12Folder 21
Appalachian Mountain Club
Box 12Folder 22
Arnold Arboretum, 1897-1909
Box 12Folder 23a-d
Ayrshire cattle, no. 1-76
Box 12Folder 24a-c
Ayrshire and North Devon cattle, no. 1-63
Box 12Folder 25
Bay State Society
Box 12Folder 26
Beets and beet sugar
Box 12Folder 27
Boston Asylum and Farm School for Indigent Boys
Box 12Folder 28
City of Boston, reports to assessors, 1883-1898
Box 12Folder 29
Boston School Garden Committee, 1905-1906

Cambridge Botanic Gardens, professorship of natural history at Harvard

Box 13Folder 30a-d
No. 1-64
Box 13Folder 31a-f
No. 1-145

Cambridge Botanic Garden

Box 13Folder 32a-h
William Carter's accounts, no. 1-228
Box 13Folder 33a-e
W.D. Peck's accounts, no. 1-107

Brighton Cattle Show

Box 14Folder 34a
Premium lists, no. 1-10
Box 14Folder 34b
Premium lists, correspondence, and advertising copy, no. 11-25
Box 14Folder 34c
Committee lists, no. 26-42
Box 14Folder 35a-e
Brighton Exhibition Hall, deeds, plans, correspondence, premiums, etc., no. 1-83
Box 14Folder 36

Cattle shows

Box 14Folder 37
Box 14Folder 38a
Plymouth County
Box 14Folder 38b
Worcester County
Box 14Folder 40
Copperplate of Oakes's prize cow
Box 14Folder 41a-f
Correspondence and reports on various agricultural matters, no. 1-62, 1793-1869
Box 14Folder 42a
Vines and wines, weeds, trees, and plants; correspondence and reports, no. 1-8
Box 14Folder 42b
Wheat, correspondence and reports, no. 9-22
Box 15Folder 42c
Wool, "general reports," no. 23-30
Box 15Folder 42d
General reports and Fessenden's monument, no. 31-45
Box 15Folder 42e
General reports, no. 46-58
Box 15Folder 42f
General reports and correspondence (wheat), no. 59-72
Box 15Folder 43
Dummer Academy (one item)
Box 15Folder 44a
Essays on peat, no. 1-40
Box 15Folder 44b
Premiums paid, n.d.; experiments, canker worm, inventions, and single-horse carts, no. 41-50
Box 15Folder 44c
Maple syrup, canker worm, experiments, inventions, meadows, and butter (report, 1792), no. 51-64
Box 15Folder 45
Negatives and originals of items that were shown in display case, including items relating to: Timothy Pickering, George Washington, Daniel Webster, Edward Everett, John Adams, and John Quincy Adams
Box 16Folder 1
Gypsy moths
Box 16Folder 2
"Amounts paid Harvard College," 1901-1903
Box 16Folder 3-10
Gifts to Arboretum, 1904-1929
Box 16Folder 11-16
"Fiscal matters," 1920-1928

Receipts, 1909-1928

Box 16Folder 17-27
Box 17Folder 1-9
Box 17Folder 10-18
Trustees' business, 1916-1922

Trustees' votes, 1898-1922

Box 17Folder 19-23
Box 18Folder 1-7
Box 18Folder 8-10
Bovine tuberculosis experiment, 1906-1912

IV. Drawer D, 1764-1907

This series contains general correspondence, as well as correspondence relating to domestic manufactures, farm products, MSPA publications, and other subjects. Notable individuals represented in the letters include John Quincy Adams, Edward Everett, Josiah Quincy, and Daniel Webster. The series also contains reports on crops, livestock, farm machinery, etc.; records of premiums paid; the papers of the Middlesex Agricultural Society, 1820-1873; and the papers of the Middlesex Society of Husbandmen and Manufacturers, 1819-1850.

General correspondence, 1790-1907

Box 19Folder 1a-d
No. 1-64, 1790-1835
Box 19Folder 2a-e
No. 1-76, 1836-1842
Box 19Folder 3a-d
No. 1-64, 1843-1850
Box 19Folder 4a-g
No. 1-129, 1850-1900
Box 19Folder 5a-e
No. 1-102, 1901-1907
Box 20Folder 6a-b
No. 1-44, n.d.
Box 20Folder 7a
Domestic manufactures, correspondence, no. 1-10, 1808-1870
Box 20Folder 7b-d
Farm products, correspondence, no. 12-53, 1792-1851
Box 20Folder 7e
Ploughs, correspondence, no. 54-62, 1794-1840
Box 20Folder 7f
Trees, correspondence, no. 63-73, 1800-1841
Box 20Folder 8a
Petitions for premiums, memoranda, and reports on butter and cheese, no. 1-7, 1831-1839
Box 20Folder 8b
Reports on cattle (1829), farm implements, fruits, and orchards (1804-1851), no. 8-21
Box 20Folder 8c
Reports on inventions and machines (1797-1833), manufactures (1829-1873), trees (1827-1840), silkworms (1798), no. 22-42
Box 20Folder 9a-f
Reports on farms and farm products, no. 1-72, 1837-1844
Box 20Folder 10a
Premiums paid on butter and cheese, reports of committee on butter and cheese, no. 1-10, 1830-1839
Box 20Folder 10b
Premiums paid on domestic manufactures, no. 11-16, 1833-1841
Box 20Folder 10c-d
Premiums paid on farms and farm products, no. 17-58, 1823-1843
Box 20Folder 10e
Premiums paid on inventions, no. 59-68, 1818-1844
Box 20Folder 11a-b
Premiums paid on oxen and cattle, no. 1-46, 1827-1844
Box 20Folder 11c
Premiums paid on ploughs and ploughing, no. 47-59, 1827-1835
Box 20Folder 11d
Premiums paid on trees and plants, no. 60-77, 1833-1889
Box 21Folder 12
Butter and cheese sales, no. 1-21, 1837-1883
Box 21Folder 13a-g
Correspondence and materials related to publications, no. 1-109, 1764-1906
Box 21Folder 14
Correspondence and other papers regarding horse and cow skeletons, including one item on the Devon Cow, no. 1-17, 1846-1853
Box 21Folder 15
Veterinary materials, no. 1-8, 1815-1901
Box 21Folder 16
John and John Quincy Adams, typescripts of letters, 1813, 1819; correspondence regarding nomination of John Quincy Adams as trustee, no. 1-5, 1867-1868
Box 21Folder 17
Edward Everett, correspondence, no. 1-16, 1834-1854
Box 21Folder 18
William Prescott, correspondence, no. 1-15, 1834-1843
Box 21Folder 19
Josiah Quincy (1772-1864), one letter, 1845
Box 21Folder 20
Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, materials regarding a statue to him in his native city, no. 1-7
Box 21Folder 21
Daniel Webster, typescript of letter, 1833; resolves on his death, 1852 (3 items)

Middlesex Agricultural Society papers, 1820-1873

Box 22Folder 1
Beet sugar, 1839
Box 22Folder 2
Bread, 1861
Box 22Folder 3
Butter, 1828-1861
Box 22Folder 4-6
Cattle, 1826-1873
Box 22Folder 7
Domestic manufactures, 1861
Box 22Folder 8
Boots and shoes, 1823-1829
Box 22Folder 9
Cotton, woolen, and linen goods, 1833
Box 22Folder 10
Inventions and improvements in farm machinery and tools, 1823-1829
Box 22Folder 11
Needlework, 1861
Box 22Folder 12
Straw bonnets, 1823-1824
Box 22Folder 13
Farms, 1830-1839
Box 22Folder 14
Farms, 1841-[1860s]
Box 22Folder 15
Flowers, n.d.
Box 22Folder 16
Poultry, 1859-1872
Box 22Folder 17
Grapes, 1861
Box 22Folder 18
Mulberry trees, 1839-1841
Box 22Folder 19
Apple orchards, 1821-1840
Box 22Folder 20
Peaches, plums, and melons, 1846-1863
Box 22Folder 21
Pears, 1861-1864
Box 22Folder 22
Temperance, 1821
Box 22Folder 23
Grain, hay, and corn, 1822-1861
Box 22Folder 24
Horses, 1828-1861
Box 22Folder 25
Trustees and trustee committees, 1820-1849
Box 22Folder 26
Manure, 1847-1862
Box 22Folder 27
Oxen, 1828-1861
Box 22Folder 28
Ploughing, 1824-1861
Box 22Folder 29
Sheep, 1825-1829
Box 22Folder 30
Swine, 1825-1861
Box 22Folder 31
Vegetables, 1821-1873
Box 23Folder 32-34
General business papers, 1820-1865
Box 23Folder 35-38
Middlesex Society of Husbandmen and Manufacturers papers, 1819-1850
Box 23Folder 39
Dummies of miscellaneous printed items moved to printed material

V. Financial papers, 1793-1957

This series consists of treasurer's reports, auditor's reports, reports to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, information on investments and insurance, and records relating to the Michaux Legacy.

Box 24Folder 1-15
Treasurer's reports, 1793-1934
Box 24Folder 16-17
Bank books, Columbian National Bank, 1885-1898
Box 25Folder 18-43
Auditor's reports, 1932-1957
Box 25Folder 44-48
Reports to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 1820-1853

Investments, 1807-1927

Box 25Folder 49
Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railway Company, 1900-1926
Box 25Folder 50
Georgia Railroad & Banking Company, 1900-1926
Box 25Folder 51
New York Central & Hudson River Railroad Company, 1884-1927
Box 25Folder 52
Union Pacific Railroad Company, 1902-1907
Box 25Folder 53
United Electric Securities Company, 1900-1909
Box 25Folder 54-55
Miscellaneous, 1807-1909
Box 25Folder 56
Property rentals, 1884-1909
Box 25Folder 57
American Insurance Company, 1882-1890
Box 25Folder 58
Boylston Mutual Insurance Company, 1873-1877
Box 25Folder 59
Boylston Fire and Marine Insurance Company, 1845
Box 26
Michaux Legacy, 1852-July 1872

VI. General papers, 1799-1963

This series contains miscellaneous loose manuscripts not originally filed in Drawers A-D, including correspondence, reports, bills, receipts, records of experiments, and notes on the history of the MSPA.

Bills, receipts, memoranda, reports, and correspondence, 1817-1951

Box 27
Box 28
Box 29
Box 30
Box 31
1887-1909, 1951
Box 32Folder 1-8
Potato experiments, with photographs
Box 32Folder 9
Notes on the history of the MSPA (ms.)
Box 32Folder 10
Letter, William Strickland to John T. Kirkland, 10 Apr. 1799
Box 32Folder 11
Louise Emerson Carlisle, correspondence and notes regarding the MSPA, 1952-1963
Box 32Folder 12
Ms. titled "Legislation as to Bounties to Agricultural Societies," 27 pp.
Box 32Folder 13
Bills and accounts relating to Percheron stallions and rams, 1882
Box 32Folder 14
Reclamation of salt marshes, 1877-1879

VII. Volumes, 1792-2014digital content

This series consists of miscellaneous bound volumes, including meeting minutes, lists, contest books, account books, and some records of the MSPA secretary.

A. Minutes of trustee meetings, 1792-2014digital content

Note: Most of the minutes dated 1975-2009 came to the MHS in three-ring binders, which have since been discarded.

Note: Loose items are stored (physically) in a separate folder, but presented (digitally) within the sequence of the volume at their original location(s).

Box 33Folder 1Vol. 1digitized
digitized3 Aug. 1792-29 June 1805

This volume is the first record book of the MSPA.

Box 33Folder 2Vol. 2digitized
digitized28 Sep. 1805-6 June 1818
Box 33Folder 3Vol. 3digitized
digitized27 June 1818-11 Dec. 1824
Box 33Folder 4
Loose items removed from Vol. 3, June 1818-Jan. 1825

Note: Loose items are stored (physically) in a separate folder, but presented (digitally) within the sequence of the volume at their original location(s).

Box 33Folder 5Vol. 4digitized
digitized8 Jan. 1825-13 July 1844
Box 33Folder 6Vol. 5digitized
digitized13 July 1844-12 Apr. 1856
Box 34Folder 1Vol. 6digitized
digitized14 June 1856-9 June 1871

Note: Loose items are stored (physically) in a separate folder, but presented (digitally) within the sequence of the volume at their original location(s).

Box 34Folder 2
Loose items removed from Vol. 6, 14 June 1856-9 June 1871
Box 34Folder 3Vol. 7digitized
digitized14 July 1871-12 Oct. 1883
Box 34Folder 4
Loose items removed from Vol. 7, 14 July 1871-12 Oct. 1883

Note: Loose items are stored (physically) in a separate folder, but presented (digitally) within the sequence of the volume at their original location(s).

Box 34Folder 5Vol. 8digitized
digitized9 Nov. 1883-8 Jan. 1909
Box 34Folder 6
Loose items removed from Vol. 8, 9 Nov. 1883-8 Jan. 1909

Note: Loose items are stored (physically) in a separate folder, but presented (digitally) within the sequence of the volume at their original location(s).

Box 34Folder 7Vol. 9digitized
digitized16 Apr. 1909-12 Dec. 1941
Box 34Folder 8
Loose items removed from Vol. 9, 16 Apr. 1909-12 Dec. 1941

Note: Loose items are stored (physically) in a separate folder, but presented (digitally) within the sequence of the volume at their original location(s).

Box 35Folder 1digitized
digitized14 Nov. 1975-8 Dec. 1978
Box 35Folder 2digitized
digitized12 Feb.-14 Dec. 1979
Box 35Folder 3digitized
digitized5 Mar.-12 Dec. 1980
Box 35Folder 4digitized
digitized24 Feb. 1981-12 Nov. 1982
Box 35Folder 5Vol. 10digitized
digitized24 Feb. 1981-9 Dec. 1983
Box 35Folder 6digitized
digitized5 Jan.-31 Mar. 1984
Box 35Folder 7digitized
digitized11-30 Apr. 1984
Box 35Folder 8digitized
digitized11 May-26 July 1984
Box 35Folder 9digitized
digitized28 Sep.-31 Oct. 1984
Box 35Folder 10digitized
digitized7 Nov.-27 Dec. 1984
Box 36Folder 1digitized
digitized18 Jan.-31 May 1985
Box 36Folder 2digitized
digitized6 June-31 Dec. 1985
Box 36Folder 3digitized
digitized2 Jan.-31 May 1986
Box 36Folder 4digitized
digitized4 June-30 Dec. 1986
Box 36Folder 5digitized
digitized5 Feb.-12 Dec. 1987
Box 36Folder 6digitized
digitized6 Jan.-31 May 1988
Box 36Folder 7digitized
digitized2 June-31 Dec. 1988
Box 36Folder 8digitized
digitized13 Feb.-30 May 1989
Box 36Folder 9digitized
digitized9 June-8 Dec. 1989
Box 36Folder 10digitized
digitized12 Mar.-31 May 1990
Box 36Folder 11digitized
digitized7 June-31 Oct. 1990
Box 36Folder 12digitized
digitized6 Nov.-18 Dec. 1990
Box 36Folder 13digitized
digitized17 Jan.-22 Apr. 1991
Box 36Folder 14digitized
digitized10 May-30 Sep. 1991
Box 36Folder 15digitized
digitized2-31 Oct. 1991
Box 36Folder 16digitized
digitized8 Nov.-31 Dec. 1991
Box 36Folder 17digitized
digitized3 Jan.-17 Apr. 1992
Box 36Folder 18digitized
digitized7 May-21 Dec. 1992
Box 37Folder 1digitized
digitized11 Jan.-22 Apr. 1993
Box 37Folder 2digitized
digitized3 May-30 Sep. 1993
Box 37Folder 3digitized
digitized18 Oct.-31 Dec. 1993
Box 37Folder 4digitized
digitized20 Jan.-31 May 1994
Box 37Folder 5digitized
digitized3 June-31 Dec. 1994
Box 37Folder 6digitized
digitized19 Jan.-27 June 1995
Box 37Folder 7digitized
digitizedSep.-10 Nov. 1995
Box 37Folder 8digitized
digitized17 Jan.-31 May 1996
Box 37Folder 9digitized
digitized7 June-31 Dec. 1996
Box 37Folder 10digitized
digitized13 Jan.-31 May 1997
Box 37Folder 11digitized
digitized13 June-11 Nov. 1997
Box 37Folder 12digitized
digitized26 Jan.-13 Nov. 1998
Box 37Folder 13digitized
digitized11 Jan.-11 Nov. 1999
Box 37Folder 14digitized
digitized13 Apr.-10 Nov. 2000
Box 37Folder 15digitized
digitized11 May 2001-9 Nov. 2002
Box 37Folder 16digitized
digitized26 Feb.-14 Nov. 2003
Box 37Folder 17digitized
digitized3 Feb.-12 Nov. 2004
Box 37Folder 18digitized
digitized16 Feb. 2005-10 Nov. 2006
Box 37Folder 19digitized
digitized20 Feb.-8 Dec. 2007
Box 37Folder 20digitized
digitized20 Feb. 2008-11 Sep. 2009
Box 37Folder 21digitized
digitized24 Feb.-12 Nov. 2010
Box 37Folder 22digitized
digitized23 Feb. 2011-9 Nov. 2012
Box 37Folder 23digitized
digitized26 Feb. 2013-15 Nov. 2014

B. Secretary's records and other volumes, 1792-1958digital content

Box 38Folder 1Vol. 11digitized
digitizedSecretary's records of MSPA meetings, 19 Apr. 1792-14 June 1944
Box 38Folder 2digitized
digitizedItems removed from Vol. 11
Box 38Folder 3Vol. 12digitized
digitizedSecretary's records of MSPA meetings (copies), 19 Apr. 1792-13 June 1958
Box 38Folder 4Vol. 13digitized
digitizedList of members of the MSPA, 1792-1865
Box 38Folder 5
Items removed from Vol. 13

Note: Loose items are stored (physically) in a separate folder, but presented (digitally) within the sequence of the volume at their original location(s).

Box 39Folder 1Vol. 14digitized
digitizedSecretary's letterbook, 12 Jan. 1886-1 Mar. 1895
Box 39Folder 2Vol. 15
"List of local farmers' clubs, horticultural societies, village improvement societies, etc. in Massachusetts," 1887
Box 39Folder 3Vol. 16
Sir Isaac (stallion) receipt book for stud services, 1826
Box 39Folder 4Vol. 17
"The feeding of sheep; considered in reference to the production of mutton and wool," n.d.

Soft-bound volume, four folios tied together.

Entries in fairs and cattle shows

Six soft-bound volumes.

Box 39Folder 5Vol. 18
Fair, n.d.
Box 39Folder 5Vol. 19
Fair, 1826
Box 39Folder 5Vol. 20
Fair, 1828
Box 39Folder 5Vol. 21
Fair, 1830
Box 39Folder 5Vol. 22
Cattle show, 1837
Box 39Folder 5Vol. 23
Fair, 1838
Box 40Folder 1Vol. 24
"List of names of active farmers in state to whom notices of 'Farm Prizes' were sent. List obtained through courtesy of Grange. Jan. 1, 1905."
Box 40Folder 2Vol. 25
Massachusetts farm account book (blank). Issued in furtherance of the acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914. John S. Willard, Director. Printed through the courtesy of the Massachusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture
Box 40Folder 3Vol. 26
"A New and complete system of keeping farm accounts." Fourth edition, 1905. Originated and published by George A. Rogers, Westboro, Mass.

Printed, soft-bound volume completed in ms. by J.J. Erwin, Wayland, Mass.

Box 40Folder 4Vol. 27
Farm prize contest book with entries for farm prize contest, Apr.-Oct. 1905

Printed entry forms completed in ms.

Box 40Folder 5Vol. 28
Farm prize contest book with entries for farm prize contest, Apr.-Oct. 1905

Copy of Vol. 27 in a different hand.

Box 40Folder 6
Inventories for farm prize contest, May 1905-Apr. 1906
Box 40Folder 7Vol. 29
Alphabetical index of names, unidentified, mostly blank, n.d.

C. Financial records, 1793-1939

Box 41Folder 1Vol. 30
Cashbook, 1793-1880
Box 41Folder 2Vol. 31
Dues book, with index, 1793-1817
Box 41Folder 3Vol. 32
Investments, 1880-1939

VIII. Oversize material, 1792-1952digital content

This series contains both oversize manuscripts and oversize volumes, including land plans, blueprints, drawings, awards, and financial reports of the MSPA to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Folder OS
Drawing, plan of land at Brighton Agricultural Hall, n.d.
Folder OS
Drawings, plan of land at Brighton Agricultural Hall, slightly different versions (6 items)
Box OS 1Vol. OS 1
Index of names, n.d.

Soft-bound volume.

Folder OS
MSPA membership certificate of Joseph Ward, 31 May 1792
Folder OS
Letter to the trustees of the MSPA from the NLPE (Commonwealth of Massachusetts) re: canker worm, 30 June 1795
Folder OS
Insurance policy, Massachusetts Fire Insurance Company, 16 May 1799
Box OS 1Vol. OS 2digitized
digitizedList of members of the MSPA, corrected with the Secretary, Sep. 1819

Hard-bound volume.

Box OS 1Vol. OS 3
Premium Awards at Brighton, 1827

Soft-bound volume.

Box OS 1Vol. OS 4
Premium Awards at Fanueil Hall, Boston, 1831

Soft-bound volume.

Folder OS
Answers of Ichabod R. Jacobs, Scituate, to the interrogators of the MSPA committee as presented in the Proposals (farm premium petition), 1839
Folder OS
Plan of Land Appurtenant to the Agricultural Hall, Brighton, to be sold at public auction, 1844. Printed map, B.W. Thayer & Co. Lith. Boston. (2 copies)
Folder OS
Record of work of mowing machines manufactured by Ruggles Nourse Mason & Co. and by Henry, Rice & Co. in the year 1855, 10 Sep. 1855

Printed form completed in ms.

Folder OS
Drawing of a farm machine patented by W.H. Hovey, 15 Apr. 1856
Folder OS
Returns of the MSPA for the year ending 30 Nov. 1859

Printed form completed in ms. Financial report to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Folder OS
Returns of the MSPA for the year ending 30 Nov. 1860

Printed form completed in ms. Financial report to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Folder OS
Returns of the MSPA for the year ending 30 Nov. 1865

Printed form completed in ms. Financial report to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Folder OS
Gift acknowledgment from Massachusetts Historical Society to Francis Henry Appleton, 6 July 1920
Folder OS
Blueprints for the library of the MSPA, Campbell & Aldrich Architects, Boston, Mass., 2 Dec. 1952

IX. Photographs and engravings, [183-]-1956

This series consists of individual and group photographs, engravings, and seals. Individuals represented in the images include William C. Endicott, Robert C. Winthrop, Caleb Strong, and others.

Box OS 2
Three photographs, black and white glossies, Topsfield Fair, Sep. 1954
Box OS 2
One photograph, black and white glossy, exhibit at Worcester Memorial Auditorium, 38th Annual Union Agricultural Meeting, 4-6 Jan. 1956
Box OS 2
Group photograph, William C. Endicott's place, Danvers, Mass., 11 June 1920
Box OS 2
Cabinet card, Robert C. Winthrop, 15 Apr. 1874
Box OS 2
Photograph of miniature of Thomas Russell by Edward G. Malbone (ca. 1796)
Box OS 2
Photograph of a drawing (?) of David Sears, Jr.
Box OS 2
Engraving of Caleb Strong
Box OS 2
Seal of the MSPA on parchment (or vellum?), two examples, 183-, 184-
Box OS 2
Engraving, Improved Short Horned Cow Red Lady, the property of James Lenox, Esq. N.Y. which obtained the First Prizes at the N.Y.S. Ag. Society's Show, Poughkeepsie, 1844, and at the Dutchess Ag. Society's Show, 1843. Engraved for the "Cultivator." Printed by Gavil & Co. Albany. E. Forbes, del. Jordan & Halpin, sc.
Box OS 2
Engraving, Isaac P. Davis, by W.H. Forbes & Co.
Box OS 2
Photograph of Charles S. Sargent
Box OS 2
Photograph of painting of Caleb Strong
Box OS 2
Photograph of Francis H. Appleton, 1931
Box OS 2
Photograph of Jacob C. Rogers
Box OS 2
Photograph of Frederick L. Ames
Box OS 2
Photograph of drawing (?) of George M. Dexter
Box OS 2
Photograph of S. Endicott Peabody
Box OS 2
Group photograph, William Endicott's place, Danvers, Mass., Aug. 1905
Box OS 2
Photograph of painting of George W. Lyman
Box OS 2
Photograph of painting of Thomas Motley
Box OS 2
Photograph of drawing (?), unidentified man
Box OS 2
Eight photographs on a mat board: George W. Lyman, R.C. Winthrop, Richard S. Fay (1847), Peter C. Brooks, Edward N. Perkins, Ebenezer F. Bowditch, Francis H. Appleton, and John S. Ames
Box OS 2
Photograph of painting of Leverett Saltonstall
Box OS 2
Photograph of painting of Thomas L. Winthrop
Box OS 2
Photograph of painting of John Adams
Box OS 2
Photograph of painting of Ebenezer Frank Bowditch

Preferred Citation

Massachusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture records, Massachusetts Historical Society.

Access Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in ABIGAIL, the online catalog of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Researchers desiring materials about related persons, organizations, or subjects should search the catalog using these headings.


Appleton, Francis Henry, b. 1847.
Brooks, Peter Chardon, 1767-1849.
Everett, Edward, 1794-1865.
Guild, Benjamin, 1785-1858.
Lincoln, Levi, 1782-1868.
Motley, Thomas, Jr.
Phinney, Elias, 1780-1849.
Prescott, William, 1788-1875.
Reynolds, James Robbins, 1901-
West, George S.


4-H Club (Massachusetts).
Arnold Arboretum.
Brighton Cattle Show (1816-1835: Boston, Mass.).
Harvard University--Endowments.
Middlesex Agricultural Society (Middlesex County, Mass.).
Society of Middlesex Husbandmen and Manufacturers (Middlesex County, Mass.).


Agricultural inventions.
Agricultural pests.
Botanic Garden (Cambridge, Mass.).
Farm equipment--Massachusetts.
Farm produce--Massachusetts.