The University of Massachusetts Amherst
Robert S. Cox Special Collections & University Archives Research Center
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David Seager New Left and Anti-War Academic Repression Collection

David Seager New Left and Anti-War Academic Repression Collection

1971-1994 Bulk: 1993-1994
2 boxes 1.5 linear feet
Call no.: 1168

David Seager’s 1995 PhD history thesis, “Repression in Academia: New Left and Antiwar College Teachers and Political Dissent in the Vietnam War era, 1964-1975” is one of the few in-depth studies of academic repression during the Vietnam era. Besides Ellen Schrecker, who has written extensively on academic freedom and repression in higher education, there has been a dearth of material written about the personal and career consequences faced by American college and university teachers who spoke out against the Vietnam War. For his thesis, Seager did extensive primary and secondary source research and directly interviewed 35 instructors and corresponded with 38 additional ones throughout 1993 and 1994.
               
The project was fully self-funded by Seager who had very little financial support. Early in the research project, his advisor passed away unexpectedly of a heart attack. He worked with a competent replacement, but they were not involved with the original concept and Seager was, in a sense, orphaned. Seager planned to expand the thesis with additional post-graduate work, but he was instead caught in a desperate financial bind with no help from a true mentor, a growing pile of job rejections, and a need for income, so the project ended with the thesis.

Subjects

Vietnam War, 1961-1975

Contributors

Seager, David R.

Types of material

Audiocassettes
Restrictions: none none
Committee to Defend Johnny Imani Harris Collection

Committee to Defend Johnny Imani Harris Collection

1973-1983 Bulk: 1974-1979
5 5 linear feet
Call no.: 1181

Committee to Defend Johnny Imani Harris pamphlet

Administrative records of the Committee to Defend Johnny Imani Harris, which supported efforts to free Imani (aka Johnny Harris) from death row in Alabama in the late 1970s early 1980s. Originally sentenced to five life terms for 4 small robberies and an alleged rape in 1970, Imani was eventually given the death penalty under Alabama’s capital offenses law due to an inadequate defense by his court appointed lawyers. Harris was put in the brutal Atmore Prison, where he experienced extreme racism, poor medical care, overcrowding, and slave wages. In 1972 the inmates organized a group called Inmates for Action (IFA) and led a work stoppage of over 1,200 prisoners. The prisoners were beaten by guards and the strike leaders were placed in isolation. Two years later, in 1974 an IFA member was beaten to death by guards. The prisoners reacted by capturing a cellblock and taking two guards hostage. In the ensuing take-back by the prison, a guard and IFA leader were killed. Harris and others were charged with the guard’s death. Imani was convicted of the murder and sentenced to death.

The Committee worked throughout the 1970’s and 1980s for Harris’ freedom through endorsements, fundraising, and networking to national and international groups. Thanks to the participation of Amnesty International and other groups, Harris’s murder conviction was dismissed in 1987 after a new trial and he was given parole.

The records reflect the dedicated work of Tom Gardner, a civil rights and union organizer/journalist, and others on the Committee who tirelessly toiled on behalf of Harris to secure his freedom. Contained in the collection are the fruit of those efforts, including: fliers, clippings, correspondence, photographs, donor appeals, posters, buttons, legal documents, and additional administrative records of the Committee as well as material from Inmates for Action.

Gift of Tom Gardner, 2022

Subjects

African American prisonersDeath row inmatesPolitical prisoners--United StatesPrisoners--United StatesPrisons

Contributors

Johnny Imani HarrisThomas N. Gardner

Types of material

CorrespondenceFliersMailing listsPamphletsPosters
Brown, Ken

Ken Brown Collection

1971-2021
Call no.: MS 1141

Ken Brown, born March 12, 1944 in Dayton, Ohio, is a filmmaker, photographer, cartoonist, designer and collector. He was raised in Amherst, Massachusetts, where he briefly attended UMass Amherst, before moving to Cambridge where he also attended Boston University. In the late 1960s he joined the thriving arts scene in Boston, where his most notable contribution was his film work, now known as Psychedelic Cinema. This live music project was projected onstage at the Boston Tea Party while musical acts like the Velvet Underground and Jimi Hendrix played. Brown made experimental films, using tricks like double exposure and stop motion, with a Super 8mm camera. He also worked as a film teacher in the early 1970s.  

In 1975 his career took a fortuitous turn when he started to sell postcards featuring his own drawings. This venture was so successful that he expanded the postcard line to include photographs and collages, mining his own collections, which are characterized by kitsch. From there he expanded the business further to include rubber stamps, eventually adding t-shirts, coffee mugs, tea towels, and wrapping paper to the line; he worked with local businesses to put his art and designs on the products. His unconventional business model attracted the attention of the Harvard Business School, which conducted and published a study of his work. He also continued to make films, which have been featured on MTV and Sesame Street. Since 1985 he has lived in New York City with his wife and frequent collaborator, artist and filmmaker Lisa Crafts. He continues to take photographs and make films about life in the city. 

The collection comprises a wide variety of the products Brown has produced and marketed throughout his career. It includes near-complete runs of his postcards, rubber stamps, and wrapping paper; a selection of t-shirts, tea towels, placemats and magnets; published books; and a variety of editioned screen prints made from his cartoons and drawings. The collection also contains ephemera documenting Brown’s career and early artwork in an anti-nuclear publication. The collection is expected to grow over time to include drawings, films, and recent digital photographs.

Acquired from Ken Brown, October 2021

Contributors

Brown, Ken, 1944-

Types of material

Postcards
Konsevich, J. P.

J. P. Konsevich Photograph Album

1934-1936
2 vol. .25 linear feet
Call no.: PH 098
Photograph of J.P. Konsevich standing next to truck, outside the 116th Company Office building in Wendell State Forest
"J.P. Konsevich, Truck driver," ca. 1934

J.P. Konsevich, almost certainly Joseph Peter Konsevich (born Oct 22, 1921 in Millers Falls, Mass.; death May 9, 1988 in Westfield, Mass.), was one of the over 99,500 men to join the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in Massachusetts. The Emergency Conservation Work (March 31, 1933 – Jan. 1, 1942; renamed, Civilian Conservation Corps in 1937) was just one of the many relief programs established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to aid in the effort to curb rising unemployment and to lift the “spiritual” morale of the country. In Massachusetts the main work accomplished was in tree planting, firefighting, and tree and plant disease and insect control, although several recreational facilities were also built in the forests and parks. Konsevich served on one of the latter projects, as a member of the 116th Company, stationed at Camp S-62 in Wendell State Forest.

This combination of two homemade photograph albums thoroughly documents the CCC 116th Company, and their camp in Wendell State Forest. Of the over 800 photographs, 518 are identified, with the majority being portraits of the men at camp facilities. The local landscape of concern to the company is also featured, including the Connecticut River, Erving, Greenfield, Northampton, Northfield, Turners Falls, and especially documentation of the aftermath of the flood of March and April, 1936. A small set of photographs additionally document Konsevich’s presence at the Chicago World’s Fair (Century of Progress Exposition of 1933).

Gift of Charles L. Darling, August 2022

Subjects

Civilian Conservation Corps (U.S.)--Massachusetts--HistoryCivilian Conservation Corps (U.S.)--PhotographsCivilian Conservation Corps (U.S.). Company 116 (Mass.)--PhotographsFloods--Massachusetts--Franklin County--PhotographsFloods--Massachusetts--Hampshire County--PhotographsNew Deal, 1933-1939--Massachusetts--History

Contributors

Konsevich, J. P.

Types of material

Photographs
Paul, Ellen, and Michael Connett Anti-Fluoridation Collection

Paul, Ellen, and Michael Connett Anti-Fluoridation Collection

1950-2016 Bulk: 2000-2015
6.5 8 linear feet
Call no.: 1170
"Fluoride, Don't Swallow It" bumper sticker
Fluoride Action Network bumper sticker

In 1996, Paul Connett was persuaded by his wife Ellen to investigate the controversial practice of water fluoridation. In 2000, he was one of the founders of the Fluoride Action Network which he directed for 15 years (2000-2015). In 2003, Paul gave an invited presentation to a panel appointed by the US National Research Council, which published a landmark review of fluoride’s toxicity in 2006.

In 2010, with two other authors, James Beck, MD, PhD and Spedding Micklem, DPhil (Oxon), Connett published The Case Against Fluoride (Chelsea Green 2010).

Paul Connett is recognized as one of the most important anti-fluoride activist of the early 21st century. The collection consists of material generated during his work with the Fluoride Action Network, which includes the contributions of his wife Ellen and their son Michael. Michael is now a lawyer who has brought a case against the EPA over fluoride.

The collection contains newsletters, correspondence, scientific papers, legal documents, clippings, publications, photographs, audio and video recordings, and a collection of 3/4″ videotaped oral histories with leaders of the anti-fluoridation movement. Also contains material from Paul and Ellen’s involvement with Work on Waste, USA, the environmental group opposed to municipal solid waste incineration (see MS 767, Work on Waste USA, Inc. Records).

Gift of Michael Dolan, December 2021

Subjects

Antifluoridation movementWater--Fluoridation

Contributors

Connett, EllenConnett, Paul, 1940-

Types of material

CorrespondenceNewsletters
Restrictions: none none
Barter, Judith A.

Judith A. Barter Papers

1951-2021 Bulk: 1992-2000
5 boxes
Call no.: MS 1134

Judith Barter is an art historian and curator of American art. She is currently the Field-McCormick Chair, American Art at The Art Institute of Chicago (AIC), where she has worked since 1992. Born in 1951 in Chicago, IL, she earned degrees at Indiana University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign before completing a PhD in Cultural and Social History at UMass Amherst in 1991. While earning her PhD, she worked as the curator of collections and associate director at the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College. She has written and contributed writing to a number of exhibition catalogs for exhibitions held across the United States; notable among these is Mary Cassatt: Modern Woman, which originated at the AIC in 1998. She was awarded the Chancellor’s Medal at UMass in 1999.

The papers document Barter’s professional career as a celebrated scholar of American art. The collection includes documentation of her research, writing, and lectures on topics such as trompe l’oeil and photography. Also included are VHS and cassette tapes documenting exhibitions and lectures. 

Gift of Judith A. Barter, 2021

Subjects

University of Massachusetts Amherst--AlumniUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of History

Contributors

Barter, Judith A.

Types of material

AudiocassettesPhotographsResearch (documents)Videocassettes
Karen Lederer Political Button Collection

Karen Lederer Political Button Collection

1978-2018 Bulk: 1980-1998
1 .05 linear feet
Call no.: 1167
Assortment of buttons from the Karen Lederer Political Button Collection

Collection of 38 political buttons donated by Karen Lederer, UMass Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies Department faculty member, covering several social change issues including: gay rights, political candidates, unions, anti-nuclear activism, women’s rights, campaigns at UMass, racism, anti-war movement, AIDS, single payer health care, the environment, domestic violence, the Equal Rights Amendment, and other assorted events in Western Mass.

Gift of Karen Lederer, July 2022

Subjects

Anti-nuclear movements--MassachusettsGay Liberation MovementLabor unions--Massachusetts

Contributors

Karen Lederer

Types of material

Buttons (information artifacts)
Penney, Darby

Darby Penney Papers

1887-2008 Bulk: 1992-2004
10 boxes
Call no.: MS 1166

Darby Penney, born in 1952, was herself a psychiatric survivor and devoted her life to activism and support of the psychiatric consumer/survivor/ex-patient (C/S/X) movement. Above all, she believed the voices of survivors themselves should be used in policy and program design, and she spent the latter part of her life collecting those voices in her C/S/X Oral History Project. Penney worked for the New York State Office of Mental Health for almost fifteen years, with roles including Director of Recipient Affairs and Director of Historical Projects, until she was let go in 2003 due to her outspoken views on coercive treatment of patients. This freed her to devote her time to creating nonprofits and advocacy groups for the C/S/X movement, as well as overseeing the Oral History Project. She designed a museum exhibit to give voice to the patients of Willard State Hospital, based on the contents of more than four hundred suitcases found in the hospital’s attic, and co-authored a book called The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases from a State Hospital Attic, published in 2008. Penney died in 2021.

The Darby Penney Papers comprise Penney’s research on psychiatric treatment and patient narratives, her writings and presentations, and her oral history work, including over two hundred interviews done by the C/S/X Oral History Project. The documentation, cassette tapes, and transcripts of this project forms the bulk of the collection.

Gift of Darby Penney, June 2021

Subjects

Ex-mental patientsMental health services--United StatesPeople with disabilities--Civil rightsPsychiatric hospitals--New YorkPsychiatric survivors movement

Types of material

AudiotapesFloppy disksNewslettersOral historiesVideotapes
Kohler, Marion Ingraham, 1911-2000

Marion Ingraham Kohler Collection

1923-1924
1 box .10 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1165

Marion Ingraham was born January 6, 1911, the youngest of four children of George Hunt Ingraham and Ruth Forster Ingraham. She grew up on a farm in Millis, Mass., and was active in the Junior Extension Service programs run by Massachusetts Agricultural College, including Camp Gilbert. At least two of her siblings graduated from MAC (Edward in 1925 and Mary in 1927), as did her daughter. Marion Ingraham married Otto Kohler and lived in South Hadley. She died in 2000.

This small collection focuses on young Marion’s activities with the Junior Extension Service and includes ephemera, copies of the Camp Gilbert News newsletter, photographs, and pages from a scrapbook.

Gift of Carol D. Chewning, 2021

Subjects

4-H clubs--History--MassachusettsUniversity of Massachusetts at Amherst. Cooperative Extension Service

Types of material

EphemeraPhotographsScrapbooks
Greening Greenfield Collection

Greening Greenfield Collection

2008-2017
3 boxes .5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1139

Greening Greenfield is a citizen group based in Greenfield, Massachusetts, focused on environmental action. The group has been active since 2008, when it was known as the Greenfield Energy Committee, before being called the Greening Greenfield Energy Committee. It has been known as Greening Greenfield since 2010. Members work with residents, businesses, and town government to promote sustainability on a local level. The group successfully propelled Greenfield toward being the first municipality in Massachusetts to be classified as a Green Community.

The collection consists of meeting minutes, newspaper clippings, planning documents for programming, and grant applications.

Gift of Carol Letson, 2021
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