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Israel E. Trask Papers

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MA.00339

Scope and Contents

The Israel E. Trask Papers document the professional and personal life of Israel E. Trask, the bulk of the material spanning the period 1812-1855. Much of this collection is personal and business-related correspondence reflecting Israel Trask’s roles as father, husband, Mississippi plantation owner, slaveholder, Amherst College trustee and New England citizen engaged in local politics and educational institutions. This collection also contains correspondence and materials related to Israel Trask’s involvement in Foreign Missions and the Monson Academy.


  • Creation: 1812-1855
  • Creation: 1938


Conditions Governing Access

In general, there is no restriction on access to the Israel E. Trask Papers for research use. Particularly fragile items are restricted for preservation purposes.

Conditions Governing Use

Requests for permission to publish material from the Israel E. Trask Papers should be directed to the Archives and Special Collections. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Biographical / Historical

Israel Elliot Trask was born in Brimfield, Massachusetts in 1773, the eldest son of Dr. Israel and Sarah (Lawrence) Trask. Trask studied law in Richmond, Virginia, finishing his law studies in Windsor, Vermont. Trask entered the United States Army as a Captain before moving to Natchez, Mississippi to practice law in 1801. Trask married Elizabeth Carter, daughter of Jesse and Sarah (Parish) Carter of Natchez, Mississippi. Around 1812, Trask and family returned to Brimfield, Massachusetts where Trask built one of the first cotton textile factories in Western Massachusetts. Trask was elected to the State Legislature and was a member of the convention for revising the State Constitution in 1820 and served on the Judiciary Committee. The Trasks moved to Springfield, Massachusetts in 1821. Israel Trask served as a Trustee of Amherst College from 1821 until 1835. Israel Trask continued to visit and be involved in the running of his Mississippi plantations, co-owned and managed with his brother James L. Trask, until his death in Woodville, Mississippi in 1835.

Elizabeth Carter Trask died in Bergen, New Jersey in 1860.


Tyler, W.S. History of Amherst College During the First Half Century, 1821-1871. Clark W. Bryan and Company, 1873.

Rothman, Adam. Slave Country: American Expansion and the Origins of the Deep South. Harvard University Press, 2005.


0.5 Linear feet (1 archives box)

Language of Materials



The Israel E. Trask Papers document the professional and personal life of Israel E. Trask (1773-1835), early Amherst College Trustee (1821-1835) and Mississippi plantation owner.


This collection is arranged into four series:

  1. Series 1: Correspondence, 1812-1855, undated
  2. Series 2: Material Related to Foreign Missions, 1821-1834, undated
  3. Series 3: Material Related to Monson Academy, 1820-1826
  4. Series 4: Miscellaneous, undated

Custodial History

The Israel E. Trask Papers were removed from the Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection and described as a discrete collection in 2017.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection of Israel E. Trask Papers was a gift of Mrs. Laidlaw Williams to the Amherst College Library in 1967.

Related Materials

Related business papers of Israel E. Trask are housed in the Baker Library at Harvard Business School.

Chris Barber, Deputy Archivist
2017 December
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Repository Details

Part of the Amherst College Archives and Special Collections Repository

Amherst College Archives & Special Collections
Robert Frost Library
61 Quadrangle Drive
Amherst MA 01002-5000
(413) 542-2299