The University of Massachusetts Amherst
Robert S. Cox Special Collections & University Archives Research Center
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Five College Women’s Studies Exhibit

Five College Women’s Studies Exhibit Collection

1970-1984
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 986

Established as a pilot project in the fall of 1974, the Women’s Studies program at UMass Amherst was proposed by the Faculty Senate Committee on Women in 1973. The committee asked for a two-year mandate to develop the pilot project into a permanent program with a major and certificate minor by the fall of 1976. Despite the steady growth of the department over the next few years, the university offered minimal financial support. There were roadblocks, too, on the way to becoming a permanent program. Even after the Faculty Senate voted to approve a five-year extension of the program, university administrators continued to delay awarding the program independent degree-granting status. Finally, on April 30, 1980, the Women’s Studies Program received the approval of the Chancellor.

This collection consists of materials displayed as part of an exhibit curated by Lisa Baskin that celebrates the history of Women’s Studies Programs at UMass Amherst and in the Five Colleges, including photographs, reports, publications, and course catalogs.

Subjects

University of Massachusetts Amherst--WomenUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst. Program in Women's Studies
Seneca Women's Encampment for a Future of Peace and Justice

Seneca Women's Encampment for a Future of Peace and Justice Collection

1979-1992
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 839
Depiction of

Concerned women in upstate New York joined together in the summer 1983 to form the Seneca Women’s Encampment for a Future of Peace and Justice, occupying a site near the Seneca Army Depot in Romulus, N.Y., where nuclear weaponry was stored. Taking a radical stance against militarism, violence, and oppression and modeling their approach after the women’s encampment at Greenham Common in England, the Seneca Encampment drew participants from a large number of women’s peace groups. In 1994, the Encampment transitioned into the Women’s Peace Land, remaining an active center of resistance to militarism and nuclear power for several years.

Maintained by attorney Alaine T. Espenscheid, the collection consists primarily of legal records relating to the Seneca Encampament, including filings documenting health and saftey, sanitation, water, and finances and materials relating to the arrest of several women for civil disobedience in 1985. Also included is a folder of ephemera and clippings on the Encampment from local media.

Subjects

Antinuclear movements--New York (State)Peace movements--New York (State)

Contributors

Espenscheid, Alaine T.
International Women's Year Conference

International Women's Year Conference Collection

1977
6 boxes 2.75 linear feet
Call no.: MS 510
Depiction of IWY printed material
IWY printed material

After 1975 was designated as the first International Women’s Year by the United Nations, later extended to a decade, President Carter created a National Commission on the Observance of International Women’s Year. A national women’s conference was proposed and funded by the U.S.Congress, the first and only time the federal government funded a nationwide women’s conference. A series of state meetings were held throughout 1977 to elect delegates to the national conference and to identify goals for improving the status of women over the next decade.

This collection consists of state reports prepared and submitted to the National Commission for the Observance of International Women’s Year. Reports include details about the election of national delegates, topics of workshops held at the meetings, and resolutions adopted by individual states.

Subjects

Equal rights amendmentsFeminism--United StatesInternational Women's Year ConferenceWomen's rights--United States
League of Women Voters of Amherst (Amherst, Mass.)

League of Women Voters of Amherst Records

1939-2001
60 boxes 33 linear feet
Call no.: MS 296

Non-partisan political organization based in Amherst, Massachusetts that influences public policy through education and advocacy by registering voters, organizing candidate forums, publishing voting guides, and disseminating general information on the legislative process and the functioning of government on the local, state, and federal levels.

Includes minutes, annual reports, financial records, publications, extensive files on specific programs, photographs, video- and audio-tapes, scrapbooks, and newspaper clippings. Also contains information on two league members who rose to national prominence: Lucy Wilson Benson (Under Secretary of State in the federal government in 1977) and Jane F. Garvey (Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration in 1997).

Subjects

Amherst (Mass.)--Politics and governmentEducation--Massachusetts--Amherst--HistoryHousing--Massachusetts--Amherst--HistoryMassachusetts--Politics and government--1951-

Contributors

Benson, Lucy WilsonGarvey, Jane FLeague of Women Voters of Amherst (Amherst, Mass.)

Types of material

Oral historiesPhotographsScrapbooks
League of Women Voters of Central Berkshire

League of Women Voters of Central Berkshire Records

1959-2001
9 boxes 4 linear feet
Call no.: MS 478

First founded as a chapter for Pittsfield and later for all of central Berkshire county, this local league is one of many Massachusetts chapters of the national non-partisan political organization, League of Women Voters, that influences public policy through education and advocacy by registering voters, organizing candidate forums, publishing voting guides, and disseminating general information on the legislative process and the functioning of government on the local, state, and federal levels.

The bulk of the collection documents the activities and topics of interest to members of the League of Women Voters of Central Berkshire during the last three decades of their work before disbanding in 2001. The chapter consistently served to educate the public on voter registration, the voting process, and on the functioning of local and state government. Other issues of importance included child care and rights, prison reform, clean water, and health care.

Subjects

Berkshire County (Mass.)--Politics and governmentDrinking water--MassachusettsMassachusetts--Politics and government--1951-Prisons--Massachusetts

Contributors

League of Women Voters of Central Berkshire
Massachusetts Federation of Polish Women's Clubs

Massachusetts Federation of Polish Women's Clubs Records

1949-1995
3 boxes 1.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 465

The Massachusetts Federation of Polish Women’s Clubs was formed in 1931 when Kolo Polek of Boston and Mrs. Frances Siluk as President hosted delegates representing 26 Polish women’s organizations in Massachusetts. The group’s object was to unite women’s clubs in the state whose members were of Polish birth or descent for civic, cultural, and educational purposes, and to foster an understanding of Polish culture.

The collection includes the organization’s newsletters and convention programs from the late 1940s through the mid 1990s.

Subjects

Polish Americans--MassachusettsWomen--Massachusetts--Societies and clubs

Contributors

Massachusetts Federation of Polish Women's Clubs
Massachusetts Federation of Business and Professional Women

Massachusetts Federation of Business and Professional Women Records

1925-1992
25 boxes 36.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 394

First called for in 1918 as a result of the need for a coordinated women’s effort during World War I, the National Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs was not officially formed until just after the armistice was signed in 1919. The new organization did not die with the end of the war, however, as first expected. Instead the group determined that the need for a national business women’s organization was of equal or greater importance during a time of peace. Today Massachusetts state affiliates continue to improve the lives of working women through action on issues such as economic empowerment, women’s health, family and medical leave, and pay equity.

The records of the Massachusetts Federation of Business and Professional Women consist chiefly of correspondence and minutes of meetings, which together chronicle the various issues the state club has worked on for more than sixty years. In addition to materials that document the efforts of the state affiliate there are also records for local chapters in Massachusetts (Hampshire County and Upper Cape Cod centered in Falmouth) which include annual reports and newsletters. Publications issued by the parent organization, BPW/USA, connect the national agenda with topics of importance to the state and local chapters.

Subjects

Businesswomen--MassachusettsWomen--MassachusettsWomen--Societies and clubs--History

Contributors

Business and Professional Women/USAMassachusetts Federation of Business and Professional Women
Massachusetts Women in Public Higher Education

Massachusetts Women in Public Higher Education Records

1985-2006.
6 boxes 9 linear feet
Call no.: MS 513

Founded in 1982, the Massachusetts Women in Public Higher Education (MWPHE) is a non-profit organization open to current and prospective women administrators in public higher education in the Commonwealth. Founded in 1982, the MWPHE serves as a support network, enhances professional development, encourages and promotes upward mobility, and addresses issues affecting Massachusetts public higher education and the status of women within the system.

The MWPHE records include administrative files and correspondence that document the organization’s work since its founding.

Subjects

Education, Higher--MassachusettsWomen educators--Massachusetts

Contributors

Massachusetts Women in Public Higher Education
Polish Women’s Club of Three Rivers (Mass.)

Polish Women's Club of Three Rivers Records

1924-1994
3 boxes 1.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 391

Polish-American women’s club located near Palmer, Massachusetts, that aims to encourage Polish women to become United States citizens and provide them with classes in the English language; to take an active part in local, state and federal politics; to support local Polish-owned businesses; to preserve and integrate Polish culture with those of other ethnicities present in the United States; to encourage higher education in the Polish-American community.

Includes meeting minutes (primarily in Polish), histories, anniversary programs, town and state citations, and government publications, documenting the activities, membership, and national recognition of the club over a period of seventy years.

Gift of Helen B. Grzywna and Sophie Wojtowicz-Valtelhas, 1995

Subjects

Americanization--History--20th centuryPalmer (Mass.)--Ethnic relations--20th centuryPalmer (Mass.)--Social conditions--20th centuryPoles--Cultural assimilation--Massachusetts--History--20th centuryPolish American friendly societies--Massachusetts--Palmer--HistoryPolish Americans--Ethnic identity--History--20th centuryPolish Americans--Massachusetts--PalmerPolish Americans--Political activity--History--20th century

Contributors

Massachusetts Federation of Polish Women's ClubsPolish American Women Citizens Political Club of Three Rivers and Thorndike (Palmer, Mass.)Polish Women's Club of Three Rivers (Palmer, Mass.)

Types of material

Programs
Rural American Women’s Conference

Rural American Women Conference Records

1978-1981
5 boxes 2.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 146

Feeling the frustrations of millions of women and girls in rural America who lacked the support or resources necessary to combat unemployment, inadequate medical care, and domestic violence, Jane Threatt along with several other women decided to form a non-profit organization that would unite these women and give them a national voice. Established in 1978, Rural American Women (RAW) was organized to promote the interests of rural women in the areas of equal rights, employment, education, family life, and freedom of all forms of discrimination.

In 1981 RAW held a series of five regional conferences throughout the country, and the bulk of this collection consists of records relating to the New England meeting. The records also include some materials documenting the group’s activities at their national headquarters in D.C., such as minutes, correspondence, newsletters, and pamphlets.

Subjects

Rural women

Contributors

Rural American Women