Digital Commonwealth

Dana (Mass.) Collection, 1800-1939

University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries Special Collections and University Archives

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Incorporated from parts of Greenwich, Hardwick, and Petersham in 1801, the town of Dana, Massachusetts, was situated in the northeastern reaches of the Swift River Valley. A fairly sparsely populated town (695 residents in 1890), Dana benefited from a relative abundance of flat and arable land that resulted in an economy centered on farming and pasturage, but the availability of water from the Swift River promoted the development of manufactures as well. In addition to the cottage industry of weaving palm-leaf hats, particularly in North Dana, the town supported factories that produced pianos, wood products (the Swift River Box Company), sawmills, gristmills, and textiles. Quarrying of granite and especially soapstone added to the employment. The Dana Collections include a comprehensive records of town meetings from incorporation through disincorporation (1801-1938), plus rich records for the Congregational Church and its affiliate organizations, the Ladies Aid Society, the Orthodox Congregational Society, and the Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor. This finding aid includes both materials held by SCUA and those held at the Swift River Valley Historical Society in New Salem, Mass., that were part of a cooperative digitization project centered on the records of the Quabbin towns.

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