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The UMass Amherst Libraries host the exhibit “Yankee Yarns: True Tales of New England Characters from the 1920s and 1930s,” through Monday, June 8, 2015, in the Learning Commons (Lower Level) and Special Collections and University Archives (Floor 25), at the W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst.

“Yankee Yarns” showcases “Blackie” Blackington’s New England photography from the 1920s to the 1930s. Alton H. Blackington (1893-1963) was a writer, photojournalist, and radio personality associated with New England “lore and legend.” The exhibit covers terrain stretching from news of public officials and civic events to local personalities, but the heart of the exhibit is images of typically eccentric New England characters and human interest stories. Images, such as a young JFK, Charles Lindberg, and Upton Sinclair are paired with colorful hermits and charlatan astrologer Prof. Braganza, with background stories and their colorful “Yankee yarns.”

The exhibit is curated by David Bendiksen (2016, Humanities and Fine Arts) winner of UMass Amherst Libraries’ ETHIR Fellowship. Experiential Training in Historic Information Resources (ETHIR) is an initiative of the Department of Special Collections and University Archives in the UMass Amherst Libraries designed to provide students with structured, hands-on experience using and interpreting historical documentary resources.

The Alton H. Blackington Photograph Collection, consisting of 700 glass plate negatives, was purchased by Robb Sagendorf of Yankee Publishing around the time of Blackington’s death, and is held in Special Collections and University Archives. For details about this collection, please see

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Yankee Yarns: True Tales of New England Characters from the 1920s & 1930s



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