Cultural Crossroads a COPLAC Digital Course

Month: August 2017

Local Archives

“North Adams Historical Society Logo.” Museum of History and Science. Accessed August 29, 2017.

The Freel Library, located on the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts main campus, houses special collections which offer a range of ledgers and logs of day to day business dealings of the North Adams’ economy from the mid eighteen hundreds through the early to mid nineteen hundreds.It does not seem like they have a lot to offer in the way of personal information about the cities population however.  Once we are actually able to sift and search through the records in person we may find something fruitful though.   The North Adams Public library seems to have many good sources that we can use to narrow down our topic on interest.  So far it seems to be likely that we will focus our attention on the inhabitants of North Adams during the civil war and the turn of the century. The Census Bureau also has very helpful records depicting the ethnicity’s of those who called Berkshire County home from 1790 until today. This might prove to be very helpful in determining which migration group we will dive deeper into looking at.

North Adams does have a Historical Society, which one of our very one professors in connected with so we will use not only the society but him as well for information.  The Historical Society founded a museum in the late nineteen eighties which displays many exhibits on the how the industrial revolution played such a huge role in the success of North Adams and how it continues to shape everyday life.  They do not seem to have many resources or archives online but once again going through their tangible collection will certainly aid in our research.  The museum is open Thursday through Sunday in the afternoons through October so it is a perfect place to start.  Online archives will most likely also provide a large amount of information for us to gather.


Getting Started and First Readings


Immigration , the act of moving to a foreign place with the intent of staying.  Hundreds of years ago settlers immigrated to colonies like Massachusetts, founded on the hope of economic prosperity and religious freedom creating towns and cities where ever the went.  Surrounded by acres of forests, miles of river, and many mountains, sits the city of North Adams.  Through out this class I hope to dive into the history of one of the smallest cities in Massachusetts that I my self have migrated to like so many others.  While at the current moment I do not plan on staying in North Adams post graduation, every time I cross the one of the many bridges into town I cannot help the sense of homecoming I feel.  I love learning about local history so this project seems like the perfect challenge to undertake.  While my partner and I are not quite sure which direction the project will end up going, I believe we are looking to study the early twentieth century period of North Adams.  A time when factories and mills were the heart and soul of the Northern Berkshires where our city is located.  I am also extremely excited to learn about the cultures and histories of my classmates towns and cities.  Connecting to others across our country, and the world for that matter, is so important for growing as a society as we have seen from our readings.

Being a college town, much of the population that makes up North Adams is transient. Like Goodman states not every migrant intends to stay . During the beginning of the nineteen hundreds people from all over the world came to stay however, and carve out a life for themselves and their families.  That all changed as the years went on and the mills and factories began to close.  The affects can still be felt today as North Adams works to recover from the closing of our last factory during the 1980s, causing hundreds to emigrate in search of employment elsewhere.  It will be interesting to see the similarities between people separated by time.