The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Whitcomb, John M.

John M. Whitcomb Collection

ca.1905-1969
ca.400 titles
Call no.: RB 038

John Merrall Whitcomb was an architect, researcher, and life-long scholar. Born in New York City in July 1907, Whitcomb earned an undergraduate degree at Yale (1930) and a degree in architecture from the University of Pennsylvania (1934) and began working his way up the ranks of the architectural profession in Boston. After wartime service in the Air Force, he resumed his career, establishing his own firm in Cambridge, Johnson and Whitcomb. He died in 1998.

Part of a large collection of books amassed over a lifetime, this collection focuses largely on Whitcomb’s interest in “seditionist” literature, including works on Anglo-American Socialism and Communism, as well as topics ranging from American labor to political and social history, the rise of fascism in Europe, Soviet studies, the Vietnam War, and political theory. The bulk of the material dates from the 1930s through early 1960s.

Subjects

Communism--Great BritainCommunism--United StatesSocialism--Great BritainSocialism--United States
Hood, Otis A. (Otis Archer)

Otis A. Hood Papers

1941-1957
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1056
Depiction of Otis Hood for Boston School Board, 1949
Otis Hood for Boston School Board, 1949

A long-time leader in the Communist Party in Massachusetts, Otis A. Hood (1900-1983) was a frequent candidate for public office between the late 1930s and early 1950s. At a time of increasing repression, he stood openly for Communist principles, speaking regularly on the radio and at public forums. In 1954, he was one of several activists arrested for violating the state ban on the Communist Party, winning acquittal, and he was acquitted again after a second indictment in 1956 on charges of inciting the overthrow of the federal government.

The Hood papers are a slender reflection of Communist politics during the height of McCarthy-era repression. The collection centers around Otis Hood’s public espousal of Communist ideals as a candidate for public office in Boston, and particularly his runs for the city School Board in 1943 through 1949, but it includes fliers, handbills, and other materials relating to Communist-led campaigns relating to the war, housing, public transportation, and education, but most importantly, transcripts of radio broadcasts made by Hood during his political campaigns and relating to a variety of social issues.

Gift of Bruce Rubenstein via Eugene Povirk, Oct. 2018

Subjects

Boston (Mass.)--History--20th centuryCommunists--MassachusettsRacism--MassachusettsSchools--Massachusetts--BostonWorld War, 1939-1945

Contributors

Hood, Frances A.Lipshires, SidneyMassachusetts. Special Commission to Study and Investigate Communism and Subversive Activities and Related Matters in the Commonwealthommunist Party of the United States of America (Mass.)

Types of material

Fliers (Printed matter)Printed ephemeraRadio scripts
Broadside

Broadside and Poster Collection

1798-2012
5 folders, tube 1 linear feet
Call no.: RB 034
Depiction of Advertisement for E. S. Hayden's daguerreotypes, ca.1850
Advertisement for E. S. Hayden's daguerreotypes, ca.1850

Printers and bibliographers use a bevy of terms to refer to works printed on one side (or sometimes both sides) of a single sheet, classified primarily by size. From large to small, posters, broadsides, and fliers refer to works used to convey a more or less focused message to an audience, often using illustrations or inventive typography to grab the attention.

Posters from Communist world, with an emphasis on the political and cultural transformations of the late 1980s through mid-1990s. The majority of posters originated in the Soviet Union, although there are examples from East Germany, China, and elsewhere.

Gift of various donors
Language(s): YiddishRussian

Subjects

Antiwar movements--PostersCommunism--PostersSoviet Union--History--1985-1991Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements--Posters

Types of material

Broadsheets (Formats)Broadsides (Notices)Fliers (Printed matter)Posters
Lithuania

Lithuanian Revolution Collection

1973-1991
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1025
Depiction of Sajudis button, ca.1989
Sajudis button, ca.1989

The dissolution of the Soviet bloc after 1989 was hastened in the Baltic republics by mass popular resistance waged through non-violent cultural and political means. In Lithuania, the revolutionary efforts that began in the spring 1988 culminated in a formal declaration of independence in March 1990. After demands to submit to Soviet authority were ignored, the Soviets sent troops to occupy key buildings in Vilnius killing fourteen protesters in the process. In the face of a resilient resistance and international pressure, the Soviets held on to power for several months, until turmoil at home forced them to recognize Lithuanian independence on September 6, 1991.

This small collection contains a selection of publications dating roughly from the time of the Lithuanian revolution of 1988-1991. Along with a series of mostly pro-independence newspapers and magazines, the collection includes some interesting ephemera, including a series of scarce appeals for independence issued by Sajudis and their Latvian and Estonian partners, a pair of buttons, posters, fliers, and pamphlets. Although most of the materials are in Lithuanian, the collection includes a few written in Russian or English, and there are a few items relating to Lithuania reflecting a Soviet provenance.

Gift of James and Sibylle Fraser
Language(s): Litruseng

Subjects

Communism--LithuaniaLietuvos Persitvarkymo sajudisLithuania--History--1945-199

Types of material

Buttons (Information artifacts)Maps (Documents)NewspapersPosters
Lipshires, Sidney

Sidney Lipshires Papers

1932-2012
7 boxes 3.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 730
Depiction of Sidney Lipshires
Sidney Lipshires

Born on April 15, 1919 in Baltimore, Maryland to David and Minnie Lipshires, Sidney was raised in Northampton, Massachusetts where his father owned two shoe stores, David Boot Shop and The Bootery. He attended the Massachusetts State College for one year before transferring to the University of Chicago and was awarded a BA in economics in 1940. His years at the University of Chicago were transformative, Lipshires became politically active there and joined the Communist Party in 1939. Following graduation in 1941, he married Shirley Dvorin, a student in early childhood education; together they had two sons, Ellis and Bernard. Lipshires returned to western Massachusetts with his young family in the early 1940s, working as a labor organizer. He served in the United States Army from 1943 to 1946 working as a clerk and interpreter with a medical battalion in France for over a year. Returning home, he ran for city alderman in Springfield on the Communist Party ticket in 1947. Lipshires married his second wife, Joann Breen Klein, in 1951 and on May 29, 1956, the same day his daughter Lisa was born, he was arrested under the Smith Act for his Communist Party activities. Before his case was brought to trial, the Smith Act was ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. Disillusioned with the Communist Party, he severed his ties with it in 1957, but continued to remain active in organized labor for the rest of his life. Earning his masters in 1965 and Ph.D. in 1971, Lipshires taught history at Manchester Community College in Connecticut for thirty years. During that time he worked with other campus leaders to establish a statewide union for teachers and other community college professionals, an experience he wrote about in his book, Giving Them Hell: How a College Professor Organized and Led a Successful Statewide Union. Sidney Lipshires died on January 6, 2011 at the age of 91.

Ranging from an autobiographical account that outlines his development as an activist (prepared in anticipation of a trial for conspiracy charges under the Smith Act) to drafts and notes relating to his book Giving Them Hell, the Sidney Lipshires Papers offers an overview of his role in the Communist Party and as a labor organizer. The collection also contains his testimony in a 1955 public hearing before the Special Commission to Study and Investigate Communism and Subversive Activities, photographs, and biographical materials.

Subjects

Communism--United States--HistoryCommunists--MassachusettsJews--Massachusetts--Northampton--HistoryJews--Political activity--United States--History--20th centuryLabor movement--United States--History--20th centuryLabor unions--United States--Officials and employees--Biography

Contributors

Lipshires, David MLipshires, Joann BLipshires, Sidney

Types of material

AutobiographiesPhotographsTestimonies
Finkelstein, Sidney Walter, 1909-1974

Sidney Finkelstein Papers

1914-1974
11 boxes 5.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 128

Noted critic of music, literature, and the arts, as well as a writer and an active member of the Communist Party U.S.A. Includes letters to and from Mr. Finkelstein; original manuscripts of reviews, articles, essays, and books; legal documents, educational, military, and personal records, financial papers, contracts, photographs, and lecture and course notes.

Gift of Maynard Solomon, 1986

Subjects

Art criticism--United States--History--20th centuryCommunism--United States--HistoryCommunist Party of the United States of America--History--20th centuryCommunist aesthetics--History--SourcesCulture--Study and teaching--United States--History--20th centuryMusic--History and criticismMusical criticism--United States--HistorySocialist realism--History--Sources

Contributors

Cohen, R. S. (Robert Sonné)Finkelstein, Sidney Walter, 1909-1974Gorton, Sally Kent, 1915-2000Hille, Waldemar, 1908-Kent, Rockwell, 1882-1971Lawson, John Howard, 1894-Richmond, Al, 1913-1987Selsam, Millicent Ellis, 1912-Siegmeister, Elie, 1909-Thomson, Virgil, 1896-Veinus, Abraham

Types of material

Letters (Correspondence)Photographs
Radical Student Union (RSU)

Radical Student Union Records

1905-2006 Bulk: 1978-2005
22 boxes 14.5 linear feet
Call no.: RG 045/80 R1

Founded by Charles Bagli in 1976, the Revolutionary Student Brigade at UMass Amherst (later the Radical Student Union) has been a focal point for organization by politically radical students. RSU members have responded to issues of social justice, addressing both local, regional, and national concerns ranging from militarism to the environment, racism and sexism to globalization.

The RSU records document the history of a particularly long-lived organization of left-leaning student activists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Beginning in the mid-1970s, as students were searching for ways to build upon the legacy of the previous decade, the RSU has been a constant presence on campus, weathering the Reagan years, tough budgetary times, and dramatic changes in the political culture at the national and state levels. The RSU reached its peak during the 1980s with protests against American involvement in Central America, CIA recruitment on campus, American support for the Apartheid regime in South Africa, and government-funded weapons research, but in later years, the organization has continued to adapt, organizing against globalization, sweatshops, the Iraq War, and a host of other issues.

Subjects

Anti-apartheid movements--MassachusettsCentral America--Foreign relations--United StatesCollege students--Political activityCommunismEl Salvador--History--1979-1992Guatemala--History--1945-1982Iraq War, 2003-Nicaragua--History--1979-1990Peace movements--MassachusettsPersian Gulf War, 1991Political activists--Massachusetts--HistoryRacismSocialismStudent movementsUnited States--Foreign relations--Central AmericaUnited States. Central Intelligence AgencyUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst

Contributors

Progressive Student NetworkRadical Student UnionRevolutionary Student Brigade

Types of material

Banners
Roche, John P.

John P. Roche Collection

1886-1965
324 items
Call no.: RB 008

A political scientist, writer, and government consultant, John P. Roche was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., on May 7, 1923, the son of a salesman. A liberal Social Democrat and fervent anti-Communist, Roche spent his academic career at Haverford College and Brandeis and Tufts Universities, writing extensively on American foreign policy, constitutional law, and the history of political thought in America, and maintaining a strong interest in the history of the American left. During the 1960s and early 1970s, he served as an adviser to the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations.

The Roche Collection consists of over 300 publications pertaining to the political left in the United States, with a smaller number of works from the radical right and from European Socialists and Communists. Concentrated in the years spanning the Great Depression, the Second World War, and the McCarthy hearings, many of the works were produced by formal political parties in response to particular political campaigns, current events, or social issues, with other works geared primarily toward consciousness raising and general political education on trade unionism, fascism, war and peace, American foreign policy, and freedom of speech and the press.

Gift of John P. Roche, 1964

Subjects

CommunismFascismPacifismSocialismUnited States--Foreign policy--20th centuryWorld War, 1939-1945

Contributors

Coughlin, Charles E. (Charles Edward), 1891-1979Roche, John P.
Restrictions: Collection currently unavailable due to renovation in SCUA
Ryan, Christina

Christina Ryan Collection

ca.1978-1995
15 boxes 8 linear feet
Call no.: MS 523

The collection includes publications, ephemera, periodicals, and other communications from a range of radical groups. Much of the collection relates to the sedition trial of Raymond Luc Levasseur and the Ohio Seven, but ranges into related topics, including political prisoners, Communist and revolutionary action, Puerto Rican independence, African liberation movements, and anti-Klan and antiracist activity. It is organized into six series: Ohio Seven (3 boxes), Political Prisoners (2 boxes), John Brown Anti-Klan Committee (1 box), Subject Files (5 boxes), and Radical Periodicals (4 boxes).

Gift of Christina Ryan, Nov. 2006

Subjects

Activists--MassachusettsAfrican Americans--Civil rightsAnti-imperialist movements--Massachusetts--AmherstBlack PowerCommunism--United States--HistoryLevasseur, Raymond LucPolitical activists--MassachusettsPolitical prisoners--United StatesRacismRadicalism--United StatesRevolutionaries--Puerto RicoSedition

Contributors

Ryan, Christina
Social Change Collection

Social Change Collection

1937-2008
5 boxes 2.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 457
Depiction of Join the SMC, 1970
Join the SMC, 1970

The term social change is used in SCUA to refer to individuals and organizations who actively seek to better the world around them, as well as to individuals experiencing shifts in economic, cultural, and social life. Few movements for change exist in isolation. Following W.E.B. Du Bois, we recognize that seemingly disparate issues in social justice are often intrinsically and deeply interconnected, so that to create change in one area requires close attention to others. It is the flow of ideas, people, and organizations that constitutes the warp and weft of social change in the twentieth century.

Created to collocate small groups of manuscripts, documents, letters, and other unpublished materials relating to the history and experience of social change, the Social Change Collection is focused largely on movements of the 1960s and after. While entirely miscellaneous, the collection includes interesting material relating to the peace and antiwar movements during the 1960s, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), the conflict in Vietnam, antiimperialist movements in Central and South America, and a small number of items relating to sexuality, gender, and feminism.

Acquired variously.

Subjects

Anti-imperialist movementsCommunismFeminismPeace movementsVietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements

Contributors

Students for a Democratic Society (U.S.)