The University of Massachusetts Amherst
Robert S. Cox Special Collections & University Archives Research Center
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Unzicker, Rae

Rae Unzicker Papers

1979-1997
1 box 1.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 818
Depiction of Rae Unzicker
Rae Unzicker

Rae Unzicker’s exposure to the psychiatric system began at a young age. Growing up in an abusive home, her parents sent her to psychiatrists off and on for years before she was involuntarily committed. While there, she was quickly introduced to the chaotic and damaging atmosphere of a psychiatric institution, exposing her to mandatory drugs, seclusion rooms, forced feeding, and work “therapy” that required her to wash dishes six hours a day. Once she was release, Unzicker’s road to recovery was long, but after several suicide attempts and stays at other treatment facilities, she ultimately counted herself–along with her friend Judi Chamberlin, an early leader in the movement–a psychiatric survivor. Like Chamberlin, Unzicker embraced her role as an advocate of patient’s rights and for the radical transformation of the mental-health system. In 1995, President Clinton appointed her to the National Council on Disability; two years later she was elected president of the National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy (NARPA). Unzicker was widely known for her public appearances, conferences and speeches, and her writings, including numerous articles and contributions to the book Beyond Bedlam: Contemporary Women Psychiatric Survivors Speak Out. A survivor of cancer of the jaw and breast, Rae Unzicker died at her home in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on March 22, 2001 at the age of 52.

Although a small collection, Rae Unzicker’s papers document her activities as a leading advocate for the rights of mental health patients, including transcripts of speeches and videotaped appearances, correspondence and feedback related to workshops and conferences, press kits, and newspaper clippings. The most important materials, however, are her writings. It is through her poems and her full-length memoir, You Never Gave Me M & M’s, that Unzicker’s story and voice are preserved.

Subjects

AntipsychiatryEx-mental patientsPeople with disabilities--Civil rightsPeople with disabilities--Legal status, laws, etc.Psychiatric survivors movement

Contributors

Unzicker, Rae

Types of material

MemoirsVideotapes
Valley Light Opera

Valley Light Opera Records

1977-2005
12 boxes 18.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 476

Founded in 1975 by a group of Gilbert and Sullivan devotees, the Valley Light Opera is based in Amherst, Massachusetts. VLO presents one fully staged opera and one less formal production every year, and over the years the company has presented all fourteen of the Gilbert and Sullivan operas at least once.

This collection contains a wonderful visual record of VLO productions with hundreds of photographs capturing dozens of performances. The collection contains, too, records that document the company’s activities from the moment an opera is selected to be performed to last curtain call.

Gift of Valley Light Opera, 2005-2010

Subjects

Theatrical companies--Massachusetts

Contributors

Valley Light Opera
Weiner, Tom M.

Tom Weiner Oral History Collection

2004-2008
3 boxes 1.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 729

Growing up in Elmont, Long Island and Teaneck, New Jersey, Tom Weiner attended Trinity College before facing the draft in 1971. After failing the physical and mental examination, Weiner studied alternative education in England, Europe, and Israel on a Watson Fellowship. Upon his return in 1972, he began study at NYU law school, but soon left the city for Northampton, Massachusetts. A life-long social justice activist, Weiner has worked as a sixth grade teacher for the past twenty-five years.

With a lottery number of 117, Tom Weiner knew for certain that he would be drafted immediately upon graduation from Trinity College. Decades later, Weiner was inspired to collect the stories of the men and women who came of age during the Vietnam War era. This collection consists of the oral history interviews, recordings and transcripts, Weiner collected, thirty of which appear in his book Called to Serve: Stories of Men and Women Confronted by the Vietnam War Draft.

Subjects

Draft--United States--History--20th centuryVietnam War, 1961-1975--Conscientious objectorsVietnam War, 1961-1975--Draft resistersVietnam War, 1961-1975--Personal narratives

Contributors

Weiner, Tom M.

Types of material

Oral histories
Williams, Paul, 1948-2013

Paul Williams Papers

ca. 1958-2005
53 boxes 79.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1158
Depiction of Paul Williams, ca. 1973
Paul Williams, ca. 1973

Born in 1948 in Boston, Paul Williams was an avid reader of science fiction and published his first fanzine, Within, in 1962 at the age of 14. A few years later, after completing his first semester at Swarthmore, Williams hitchhiked to New York City. There he wrote and published—typing up the mimeo stencils himself—the first issue of Crawdaddy! With the birth of this publication, Williams is widely recognized as the founder of serious rock and roll journalism. He left Crawdaddy! in 1968 and went on to establish Entwhistle Books with David Hartwell, Chester Anderson, and Joel Hack. Williams continued to write, collecting his early works on rock and roll in two books and contributing articles as a freelancer for Rolling Stone. During the early 1970s, Williams lived on several intentional communities, including the Fort Hill Community in Cambridge, and wrote the surprise best seller Das Energi and its follow-up, Apple Bay during this period. In 1975, his profile of friend Philip K. Dick launched P.K.D. to a national audience, and Williams later served as the literary executor of the Dick estate following the death of his friend in 1982. His extensive writing on Bob Dylan spanned forty years and resulted in a significant body of publications including a multi-volume work on the artist. In 1995, Williams suffered a near fatal bike accident that left him partially disabled. A remarkable initial recovery proved to be short-lived and within a few years after the accident, Williams began exhibiting symptoms of early-onset dementia, a result of the traumatic brain injury he sustained. He died in 2013 leaving behind a tremendous legacy as author, editor, and publisher.

The Paul Williams Papers is comprehensive collection of materials that documents the writings and relationships that shaped the field of rock and roll journalism. Alongside manuscripts of the numerous books and articles Williams wrote are notebooks, correspondence, and media. Early issues of Crawdaddy! and Williams’s writings on science fiction author Philip K. Dick (including audio cassette tapes of the 1974 P.K.D. interview) are featured as well as his working files on Bob Dylan. Correspondence includes Theodore, Sturgeon, Chester Anderson, David Hartwell, Susan Ann Protter, Julian Moody, Raymond Mungo among many others.

Subjects

Communal livingCrawdaddy! (New York, N.Y.)Rock musicScience fiction

Contributors

Williams, Paul, 1948-2013

Types of material

CorrespondenceManuscriptsPhotographs