The University of Massachusetts Amherst
Robert S. Cox Special Collections & University Archives Research Center
CredoResearch digital collections in Credo
Edgell, Zee

Zee Edgell Papers

ca. 1963-2009
45 boxes 67.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1206

Acclaimed writer, women’s rights advocate, journalist, and educator, Zelma (Zee) Inez Edgell was born in Belize City, Belize in 1940. Zee Edgell holds an undergraduate degree in journalism from Polytechnic-Regent Street (now the University of Westminster) and a Master’s in Liberal Studies from Kent State University. Edgell has published four novels and several short stories throughout her illustrious career. Her breakout novel, Beka Lamb, published in 1982, was the first book to be released in a newly independent Belize (formerly British Honduras) and would gain international notoriety going on to win the Fawcett Society Book Prize. Before becoming a celebrated novelist Edgell spent her early years working as a journalist, first for Jamaica’s The Daily Gleaner and then as founding editor of the Belize-based newspaper The Reporter. Edgell also served as director of the Belize Women’s Bureau, a position she held under two different administrations. As an educator, Edgell taught for many years at Belizes’ St. Catherine Academy, an all-girls catholic school she attended as a youth. She lectured at the University College of Belize as well. Edgell would spend the remainder of her teaching career as a tenured professor in the English department at Ohio’s Kent State University beginning in 1992. While at Kent State, Edgell taught courses in creative writing, fiction writing, and post-colonial literature. In 2009, Edgell received an honorary doctorate in literature from the University of West Indies. That same year she retired from teaching and moved with her husband to St. Louis to be closer to her children and grandchildren until she died in 2020.

The Zee Edgell Papers features not only a deeper look into the author’s professional life but her personal life as well. The collection includes personal letters, postcards, and notes between Edgell and her loved ones; professional correspondence between and her publisher; drafts of her short stories and book chapters; newspaper articles; letters from her global travels with husband Alvin Edgell during his tenure with CARE; documents related to her time serving as director of the Belize Women’s Bureau; and literature on Belizean history. There are also materials related to her time as a faculty member in Kent State’s English Department.


Women’s rights—Belize
Nick Akerman Watergate Special Prosecution Force Collection

Nick Akerman Watergate Special Prosecution Force Collection

1973-1976 Bulk: 1973-1975
2 2 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1217
photo of nick akerman in from of US Court of Appeals building
Akerman in 1973

Nick Akerman, a UMass Amherst class of 1969 graduate, continued on to Harvard Law School and became a lawyer for the Department of Health Education and Welfare and the Federal Trade Commission. While at Harvard, he studied under James Vorenberg, who became a professor at Harvard Law School in 1962 and was the principal assistant to Archibald Cox in the Watergate Special Prosecutor’s Office. Vorenberg recruited Akerman to join the legal team and work under Cox, and later Leon Jaworski, who led the legal investigation into the Watergate affair. As a member of the team, Akerman led the Plumbers Task Force, which investigated the group that broke into the Watergate, burglarized Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office and attempted to “neutralize” him in 1972. He stayed in Washington until 1976, when he moved to New York. He became the Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York, where he prosecuted a wide array of white collar criminal matters, including bank frauds, bankruptcy frauds, stock frauds, complex financial frauds, environmental and tax crimes. He later founded Nick Akerman Law where he specialized in criminal and civil applications of the Racketeer and Corrupt Organizations Statute, the Economic Espionage Act, the federal Securities Laws, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and State Trade Secret and Restrictive Covenant Laws.

This small collection contains the material Akerman collected in the course of working for Cox and Jaworski on the Plumbers Task Force, as well as material collected by the larger Special Prosecution Force. It consists of legal memoranda, motions, subpoenas, and Akerman’s staff meeting notes. Also included are Akerman’s chron files from 1973-1975, reports, newspaper clippings, a reel to reel tape, and a Nixon campaign photo.


Watergate Affair, 1972-1974


Akerman, Nick

Types of material

Clippings (information artifacts)CorrespondenceLegal documentsMemoranda
Restrictions: none none
Ricci, James B.

James Ricci Machine Tool Companies Printed Materials Collection

ca. 1940s-1980s
17 boxes 25.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1214

For more than fifty years, Jim Ricci collected both machine tools and the books,  catalogs, and manuals that relate to the machinery and the industry as a whole. A graduate of UMass Amherst (’71) and the son of a faculty member, Ricci is an historian of reel lawn mowers who has written extensively on the subject, publishing the book Hand, Horse, and Motor: The Development of the Lawn Mower Industry in the United States in 2016.

The collection represents more than 750 companies and includes brochures, catalogs, manuals, and parts lists from machine tool manufacturers. The majority of the companies represented are located in the United States; international companies are located in Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, England, France, Germany, East Germany, West Germany, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Poland, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan and Turkey.

Machine tools are machines that make parts and pieces for end products or other machine tools. These tools range from lathes, range from lathes, milling machines, grinders, manual and hydraulic presses, drill presses and saws to drills, mills, grinding wheels and cutting tools as well as measuring tools, jigs and fixtures. The machine tool industry evolved dramatically throughout the 20th century with the introduction of multi-function workstations. Multi-axis machines with attached tools changers are driven by sophisticated computer-controlled programs. The evolution of the industry is reflected, in part, in this historical collection of printed materials.

Gift of James B. Ricci, 2023.
Helping Hand Society Papers

Helping Hand Society Papers

6 boxes
Call no.: MS 1216

Sign from the Helping Hand House, out of which the Helping Hand Society operated.

Formed in 1887, the Helping Hand Society began as a missionary society for young girls who learned about the world (foreign missions) while also learning how to sew, developed by Emily Graves Williston. Within that same year, the Emily Mission Circle transformed into The Young Ladies’ Missionary Society, a society which became devoted to charitable work in Easthampton. The Society’s name was changed to the Helping Hand Society in 1894, and the group was incorporated in 1913. In 1919, the Society started operating out of a house purchased and endowed by Franklin W. Pitcher. The Society went on to establish a Visiting Nurse program, providing room for the nurse in the house, as well as an apartment rented out to caretakers, and at one time the Society operated a Benefit Shop. Membership in the Society has fluctuated over the years, and while specific projects may have been discontinued over time, the Society continues forward with its mission to provide help to those in need by donating time and resources to Easthampton and the surrounding communities that serve Easthampton residents.

The collection documents the history of the Helping Hand Society from its inception to around 2017. This includes minutes and annual reports, by-laws, and ledger books. There are also scrapbooks and photo albums, the framed incorporation document, and the original sign that adorned the Helping Hand House.

Gift of the Helping Hand Society, 2023


Social service--Massachusetts--EasthamptonWomen in charitable work--Massachusetts--Easthampton


Helping Hand Society (Easthampton, Mass.)

Types of material

Annual reportsMinutes (administrative records)Scrapbooks
New Bedford Monthly Meeting of Friends

New Bedford Monthly Meeting of Friends Records

34 vols., 11 boxes 14.75 linear feet
Call no.: MS 902 N493

New Bedford began meetings for worship in 1772, and was set off from Dartmouth Monthly Meeting in 1792. This meeting was divided by the split of 1845. Members of the Nantucket Monthly Meeting were received in 1867, and from Pembroke Monthly Meeting in 1876. Mattapoisett Monthly Meeting was set off in 1992.

Records for the New Bedford Monthly Meeting include minutes, correspondence and reports, worship and ministry, vital records, financial and property, New Bedford Preparative, and Long Plain Preparative.

Gift of the New England Yearly Meeting of Friends Records, March 2016.


New Bedford (Mass.)--Religious life and customs


New Bedford Monthly Meeting of Friends

Types of material

Alvarez, Sonia E.

Sonia E. Alvarez Papers

ca. 1980s-2022
33 boxes 53 linear feet
Call no.: FS 216

Sonia E. Alvarez’s research specializes in social movements and protest politics, comparative and transnational feminisms, and Latin American politics and cultures, with a focus on Brazil and the Southern Cone. Before coming to the University of Massachusetts Amherst in the fall of 2005, she taught at the University of California, Santa Cruz, for nearly two decades and also served as visiting Professor at the University of São Paulo in Campinas, the Federal University of Minas Gerais, and the Federal University of Bahia.

Alvarez is the author of Engendering Democracy in Brazil: Women’s Movements in Transition Politics and co-editor of Quem São as Mulheres das Políticas para as Mulheres no Brazil? Vol. I, O Feminismo Estatal Participativo Brasileiro; Vol. II, Expressões Femnistas nas Conferências Nacionais de Políticas para as Mulheres​ (2018); Beyond Civil Society: Activism, Participation, and Protest in Latin America (2017); Translocalities/Translocalidades: Feminist Politics of Translation in the Latin/a Américas (2014); Cultures of Politics/Politics of Cultures: Re-visioning Latin American Social Movements (1998) and The Making of New Social Movements in Latin America: Identity, Stragegy and Democracy (1992), as well as a two-part special issue of the journal Meridians on “Afro-descendant Feminisms in Latin America” (2016) and five additional special journal issues. Alvarez has published over 120 journal articles and book chapters, many written collaboratively, and in Portuguese and Spanish, as well as English, on topics including movements, feminist politics, NGOs, civil society, race and racism, transnational activism, and democratization. At UMass Amherst, she served as the Leonard J. Horwitz Professor of Latin American Politics and Studies (2005-2022) as well as the Director of the Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies (2005-2018) before assuming the role of Distinguished Professor Emerita of Political Science and Leonard J. Horwits Professor Emerita in 2022.

The Sonia E. Alvarez Papers features an extensive collection of her research materials and notes, writings, lectures and talks, conference materials, and publications related to feminism and women’s movements and Latin American politics and cultures.


Brazil--Politics and government
Yolande Du Bois Scrapbook Collection

Yolande Du Bois Scrapbook Collection

1915-1929 Bulk: 1915-1929
1 1.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1183

Nina Yolande Du Bois (1900-1961), better known as Yolande Du Bois, was an American teacher best regarded for her contributions to the Harlem Renaissance. Her father was sociologist and civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois and her mother was Nina (née Gomer) Du Bois. She was born on October 21, 1900, in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. She faced many health-related issues in her early childhood and also quarreled often with her parents. In her early adulthood, she enrolled at Fisk University in 1920 and graduated in 1924. While attending Fisk, she was in a relationship with Jimmie Lunceford, a prominent jazz musician. At her father’s insistence, she ended her relationship with Lunceford and would later go on to marry acclaimed Harlem Renaissance poet Countee Cullen on April 9, 1928. Their highly-publicized wedding was the talk of many African-American socialites at the time, with every minor detail recorded by the press. However, Yolande and Countee soon grew distant in their marriage, resorting to counseling at first and then divorce following Countee’s coming out as gay to Yolande. With the divorce finalized in the spring of 1930, Yolande chose to pursue higher education and rewrite the course of her life.

After a period of illness, she began to teach English and history at Dunbar High School in Baltimore, Maryland. There, she met Arnette Franklin Williams, whom she married in September 1931 and then later divorced in 1936. She had one daughter with Williams, Yolande Du Bois Irvin Williams, whom she took care of following the divorce. However, during this period, Yolande also moved to New York City with her mother, where she began to take courses at Columbia University’s Teachers College, eventually earning her master’s. She then continued to work as a teacher and to raise her daughter in Baltimore until her death in March 1961. She was survived by her father and her daughter.

Yolande’s scrapbooks, photo albums, and other personal artifacts from her youth (approximately 1915-1929) reflect her travels, undergraduate experiences at Fisk University, outings with her family and friends, artistic pursuits, and more. These scrapbooks showcase trips to England, France, Switzerland, and elsewhere in Europe, across Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, and New York, as well as other sites of importance in her life. These scrapbooks capture snapshots of her time at Fisk University, from breakups to athletic events, and from classical music concerts to Zeta Beta Phi rush week materials. Each scrapbook showcases a different aspect of Yolande’s late teenage life as well as her early adulthood, coupled with notes, sketches, and illustrations from friends, postcards and fliers from all over the United States and Europe, and her personal takes on the world around her.

Acquired from Brody Drake, 2023.


African Americans--History--1877-1964Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963Du Bois, Yolande Nina, 1900-1961


Du Bois, Yolande Nina, 1900-1961

Types of material

Black-and-white photographsClippings (information artifacts)Notes (documents)Photograph albumsScrapbooks
Restrictions: none none
Alfange, Jr., Dean

Dean Alfange, Jr. Papers

3 boxes 4.5 linear feet
Call no.: FS 214

Dean Alfange, Jr. was a professor in the political science department at UMass Amherst teaching constitutional law and civil liberties until his retirement in 1999. During that time he also served in the positions of Dean of the Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences and Acting Provost. Growing up on New York’s West Side, he earned a B.A. at Hamilton College in 1950. He served in the military from 1952 to 1957; this was followed by twenty years of serving in the Air Force Reserves, retiring in 1980 at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. In 1960 he earned a master’s degree from the University of Colorado followed by a doctorate from Cornell University in 1967. During his teaching career he received distinguished teaching awards from both Lafayette and UMass. The Dean Alfange Lecture Series in Constitutional Law was funded by a group of former students and brought distinguished scholars in that field to speak annually. Following his retirement from teaching, he was able to pursue his interest in the arts and became a supporter of several small theatrical groups in New York City.

The Alfange papers contain a small array of correspondence, photographs, course syllabi, handwritten lecture notes, writings, awards, and documents related to the Alfange lecture series. A small amount of files relate to his time in the military and his interest in theater and music.

Gift of Barbara Alfange, 2024.
Knott, Janet

Janet Knott Collection

ca. 1984-2007
20 boxes 30 linear feet
Call no.: PH 088

An award-winning photojournalist, Janet Knott was one of the first woman to become a staff photographer at the Boston Globe. Over a 31-year career, she covered a broad range of topics, from local assignments to longer-form photo essays and international coverage, producing iconic images of the space shuttle Challenger disaster, the late 1980s famine in the Sudan, and the violence accompanying the Haitian elections of 1987. She was only the third woman recognized with the Robert Capa Gold Medal and, among many other awards, won first place for spot news from the World Press Photography Foundation. After leaving the Globe in 2007, she became Chief of Staff for Boston City Councilor Salvatore La Mattina, representing East Boston and the first district.

The Knott Collection contains an array of letters, ephemera, and photographs documenting both her photographic and political careers. There is an extensive body of work from her years working as a photojournalist at the Boston Globe comprised of slides, negatives, prints, and contacts sheets.

Gift of Janet Knott, 2019-2024.


Boston (Mass.)—Politics and government
Fletcher, Bill, Jr.

Bill Fletcher, Jr., Papers

9 boxes 11.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1212

An activist and advocate for social and racial justice since he was a teenager, Bill Fletcher, Jr., born in New York in 1954, graduated from Harvard, and went to work as a welder in a Massachusetts shipyard. He soon became active in the labor movement, as a worker, an organizer, and a union staff member, and in electoral campaigns. Fletcher became a union staff person in Boston in 1986 with District 65-United Auto Workers.  In 1990, he and his family moved to Washington, D.C. where he held a series of positions with the National Postal Mail Handlers Union, the Service Employees International Union, and the national AFL-CIO. He has also held positions with the George Meany Center for Labor Studies/National Labor College and with TransAfrica Forum, for which he served as president and CEO. Fletcher is author of “They’re Bankrupting Us!” And Twenty Other Myths About Unions; he is coauthor of The Indispensable Ally: Black Workers and the Formation of the Congress of Industrial Organizations, 1934-1941 and Solidarity Divided: The Crisis in Organized Labor and a New Path Toward Social Justice. He has also published two murder/mystery novels, The Man Who Fell From the Sky and The Man Who Changed Colors.  He serves on the editorial board of and has contributed to numerous publications. As a writer, scholar, speaker, and activist, as well as an organizational consultant and a mentor, Fletcher continues his advocacy work. He lives with his wife, Candice, in Maryland.

The Bill Fletcher, Jr., Papers document the activities and interests of a lifelong radical and includes speeches, correspondence, material on the Black Radical Congress, and materials from an array of left-wing organizations. In addition to materials directly connected to Fletcher’s work, there are also pamphlets and other publications that he collected.

Gift of Bill Fletcher, Jr.


Black Radical CongressLabor movementLabor unionsRaceRacism

Types of material

CorrespondenceDrafts (documents)MemorabiliaPamphletsPeriodicalsSpeechesWritings (documents)
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