The University of Massachusetts Amherst
Robert S. Cox Special Collections & University Archives Research Center
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Autoharp and Folk Song Periodicals

Autoharp and Folk Song Periodicals Collection

Bulk: 1981-1993
2 boxes .63 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1161

This collection consists of periodicals on the subject of the autoharp and folk song education. Autoharp Quarterly was published out of Pennsylvania with quarterly issues until summer of 2021. It was edited by Mary Lou Orthery and Ivan Stiles. It features letters, songs and tablature, and columns called “‘Harpers at Large” and “Auto-suggestion,” which includes tips from readers. Autoharp Teachers Digest was published out of Kalamazoo, Michigan, and edited by Jacalyn Post. Most issues, which are two or three pages, include a lesson plan with some tablature. Autoharpoholic was edited by Becky Blackley, the author of The Authoharp Book (1983), published by i.a.d, in Brisbane, CA. Folksong in the Classroom was a newsletter established in 1979 by members of the American Historical Association’s Committee on History in the Classroom, led by Laurence I. Seidman, a folklorist and professor at Post College, New York. It was issued three times a year, and reached an audience composed primarily of upper elementary, junior high, and high school teachers. It was self-published, edited by John A. Scott of the Fieldston School (New York) and Rutgers University (NJ); and Laurence I. Seidman. Each issue has a themed section, such as Lullabies or “Teaching about Slavery through Folk Song,” with historical background information and songs, including lyrics and music, and sample lesson plans. Issues also include correspondence with readers, and lists of useful resources for classroom teachers like books and workshop offerings.

Sarah Bilotta, January 2020

Subjects

Autoharp musicFolk music

Types of material

periodicals
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
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
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
Postler, Klaus

Klaus Postler Collection

1981-2013
14 boxes
Call no.: MS 1122

Klaus Postler was a visual artist and curator who lived and worked in New England. Born Michael Edward Postler on March 23, 1951, he grew up in Yonkers, New York, and Connecticut. He was an avid collector of paper ephemera, which he included in his large-scale paintings and collages. From the late 1970s he was an enthusiastic participant in the international mail art movement, labelling his enterprise the Social Artists Reality Empire (S.A.R.E.). One of the exhibitions he curated was the Ray Johnson Memorial Mail Art Show at UMass Amherst, in 1996, for which he put out an open call and received mailed responses from around the world. Postler traveled in Europe and forged relationships with artists there, especially in Germany. In addition to his art practice, he worked for many years picking apples and pruning trees at New England orchards. Postler pursued his education at a number of institutions, with some difficulty due to his dyslexia, and completed his bachelor’s degree in 1998 through the University Without Walls program at UMass Amherst. He was a MacDowell Colony fellow in 2000, and returned to UMass to earn his MFA in studio art in 2005. Late in his life he cared for the estate of the artist Robert Mallary. He died on January 6, 2013, at his studio in Conway, Massachusetts.

The Klaus Postler collection contains a variety of sketchbooks that also functioned as diaries, as well as daybooks and dream journals; slides of his work; and photographic prints. Also included is an assortment of mail art, some created by Postler but mostly work sent to him by other artists, which Postler included in exhibitions he curated in Brattleboro, Vermont, and at UMass Amherst. Thomas Jahn, known as Horsefeathers, is a prolific contributor of mail art. The collection also includes documentation from posthumous gallery shows and a commemorative book about his work published by his partner, Eileen Claveloux.

Gift of Eileen Claveloux, September 2020

Contributors

Postler, Klaus

Types of material

Sketchbooks