The University of Massachusetts Amherst
Robert S. Cox Special Collections & University Archives Research Center
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Archive

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
Lipshires, Sidney

Sidney Lipshires Papers

1932-2012
7 boxes 3.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 730
Depiction of Sidney Lipshires
Sidney Lipshires

Born on April 15, 1919 in Baltimore, Maryland to David and Minnie Lipshires, Sidney was raised in Northampton, Massachusetts where his father owned two shoe stores, David Boot Shop and The Bootery. He attended the Massachusetts State College for one year before transferring to the University of Chicago and was awarded a BA in economics in 1940. His years at the University of Chicago were transformative, Lipshires became politically active there and joined the Communist Party in 1939. Following graduation in 1941, he married Shirley Dvorin, a student in early childhood education; together they had two sons, Ellis and Bernard. Lipshires returned to western Massachusetts with his young family in the early 1940s, working as a labor organizer. He served in the United States Army from 1943 to 1946 working as a clerk and interpreter with a medical battalion in France for over a year. Returning home, he ran for city alderman in Springfield on the Communist Party ticket in 1947. Lipshires married his second wife, Joann Breen Klein, in 1951 and on May 29, 1956, the same day his daughter Lisa was born, he was arrested under the Smith Act for his Communist Party activities. Before his case was brought to trial, the Smith Act was ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. Disillusioned with the Communist Party, he severed his ties with it in 1957, but continued to remain active in organized labor for the rest of his life. Earning his masters in 1965 and Ph.D. in 1971, Lipshires taught history at Manchester Community College in Connecticut for thirty years. During that time he worked with other campus leaders to establish a statewide union for teachers and other community college professionals, an experience he wrote about in his book, Giving Them Hell: How a College Professor Organized and Led a Successful Statewide Union. Sidney Lipshires died on January 6, 2011 at the age of 91.

Ranging from an autobiographical account that outlines his development as an activist (prepared in anticipation of a trial for conspiracy charges under the Smith Act) to drafts and notes relating to his book Giving Them Hell, the Sidney Lipshires Papers offers an overview of his role in the Communist Party and as a labor organizer. The collection also contains his testimony in a 1955 public hearing before the Special Commission to Study and Investigate Communism and Subversive Activities, photographs, and biographical materials.

Subjects

Communism--United States--HistoryCommunists--MassachusettsJews--Massachusetts--Northampton--HistoryJews--Political activity--United States--History--20th centuryLabor movement--United States--History--20th centuryLabor unions--United States--Officials and employees--Biography

Contributors

Lipshires, David MLipshires, Joann BLipshires, Sidney

Types of material

AutobiographiesPhotographsTestimonies
Local Rural Life Audiotapes

Local Rural Life Audiotape Collection

1980s
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 507

Audiotape recordings of interviews conducted with members of the Pioneer Valley community for a public radio program. Titles of the shows that aired include: “Portrait of a Farm Woman,” “Hadley: the Portrait of an Endangered Town,” Keeping Rural Businesses in Business,” and “Shepherds, Bumpkins and Farmers’ Daughters.”

Subjects

Farmers--Massachusetts--HistoryHadley (Mass.)--HistoryMassachusetts--Economic conditionsMassachusetts--Social life and customs--20th century

Types of material

Sound recordings
Malcolm, David Johnston

David J. Malcolm Collection

1926-1958
1 reel 0.1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 495 mf

From 1919 to 1923 David J. Malcolm served both as the Superintendent of Schools in Hinsdale, Massachusetts and as the local Hinsdale correspondent for one of the two Springfield newspapers. At the urging of his editor, Malcolm increased the length of his submissions by reporting on the day-to-day activities of the townspeople. Based on the success of his reports, the paper offered him a Sunday column called “Hinsdale Observations.” Returning to Hinsdale after three years in Aberdeen, South Dakota, Malcolm resumed his weekly reports for the Springfield Sunday Republican, this time naming the column “Our Hilltown Neighbors.” For the next thirty-two years Malcolm wrote columns on topics ranging from crop production to weather and from elections to good neighbors.

Microfilm rolls and microfiche cards containing every column published from 1926-1958.

Subjects

Hinsdale (Mass.)--Social life and customsMassachusetts--HistoryMassachusetts--Social life and customs--20th century

Contributors

Malcolm, David Johnston
Mange, Arthur P.

Arthur P. Mange Photograph Collection

1965-2010
3 boxes 4.5 linear feet
Call no.: PH 044
Depiction of Fern fronds
Fern fronds

Arthur P. Mange taught in the Biology Department at University of Massachusetts Amherst for 31 years before retiring in 1995. A co-author of numerous works in human genetics, Mange served on the chair of the Conservation Committee in Amherst, and currently serves on the Burnett Gallery Committee. In 1983, his New England images were featured in Across the Valley (from Cummington to New Salem) held at the Burnett Gallery. This exhibition was followed at the Hitchcock Center in 1984 with Delight in Familiar Forms (celebrating some well-known plants and animals), with Ring Bell to Admit Bird at the Jones Library and Net Prophet at Cooley Dickinson Hospital. Architectural Sights — Big and Small, Mange’s most recent show (2002), appeared at the Burnett Gallery. In addition to exhibitions, Mange has also donated collections for fund-raising auctions at New York University, the Cooley Dickinson Hospital, the University of Massachusetts Fine Arts Center, the Amherst Historical Society, Jones Library, and the Amherst Community Arts Center.

His photographic collection spans more than half a century of subjects reflecting his varied interests in animals, plants, our region, gravestones, what he calls “whimsical signs,” and attention-grabbing shadows.

Subjects

Amherst (Mass.)--Pictorial worksCemeteries--Pictorial worksHadley (Mass.)--Pictorial worksNew England--Pictorial worksNew Salem (Mass.)--Pictorial worksNew York (N.Y.)--Pictorial works

Types of material

Photographs
Mass Voters for Fair Elections

Mass Voters for Fair Elections Records

1997-2005
14 boxes 21 linear feet
Call no.: MS 554

Since 1994 the Mass Voters for Fair Elections has been part of a national movement to minimize the role of money in elections. Watching both the cost of running a successful campaign and the role of fundraising increase, the organization led the fight to put the Clean Elections Initiative on the ballot in 1998. With overwhelming support for the initiative, the ballot question won only to be repealed by the Legislature in 2003. Until it ceased activity in 2007, Mass Voters for Fair Elections continued to work for reform in the electoral process not only to encourage more individuals to run for office, but also to affirm the principle “one person, one vote.”

The collection consists chiefly of subject files that document issues relating to elections and campaign reform addressed by the group and its volunteers. Also included: correspondence, meeting notes, publications, and mailings.

Subjects

Campaign funds--MassachusettsElections--MassachusettsMassachusetts--Politics and government--1951-Political campaigns--Massachusetts

Contributors

Mass Voters for Fair Elections
Massachusetts Community Forestry Council

Massachusetts Community Forestry Council (MCFC) Records

1991-2000s
3 boxes 4.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1163

The Massachusetts Community Forestry Council was formed in 1991 as the Massachusetts Urban Forestry Council in response to a mandate of the USDA Forest Service under the Urban and Community Forestry Act of 1990 Farm Bill. The Council had an office at the UMass Amherst Eastern Extension Center in Waltham, Mass. from 1997 through the early 2000s.

The collection consists of materials located at the UMass Amherst Eastern Extension Center including minutes, by-laws, committee documentation, annual reports, strategic plans, member lists, grant records and leases and agreement with UMass.

Subjects

Forests—Massachusetts

Contributors

Massachusetts Community Forestry Council
Massachusetts Constitution

Massachusetts Constitution Revision Collection

1948-1965
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 449

In the early 1960s the Council for Constitutional Reform, a nonpartisan citizen organization seeking to promote economical and efficient state government, called for a constitutional convention to convene in Massachusetts. The group cited the state’s national reputation for corruption and public immorality as reasons for amending the constitution, while others argued that the state’s problems, primarily governmental waste, a cumbersome state tax structure, and inefficient state agencies, could only be resolved by the legislature and governor. Opponents to the convention argued too that the cost of such a convention, in total more than $2 million, would only increase the financial burden of the state.

Correspondence and position statements arguing both sides of the debate offer insight into the politics of the 1960s as well as the public’s response to the political climate in the Commonwealth. Newspaper clippings trace the movement for constitutional reform from early proposals to the approval of four amendments during the November 1964 election.

Subjects

Massachusetts--Economic conditions--20th centuryMassachusetts--Politics and government--1951-Massachusetts. Constitution
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 Town Monographs

Massachusetts Town Monographs Collection

1963-1969
2 boxes 3 linear feet
Call no.: MS 509

Town Monograph series published by the Massachusetts Department of Commerce and Development providing general information about towns in the Commonwealth including population from the U.S. Census (1960) and state census (1965), historic and recreational attractions, housing, and economic base.

Subjects

Massachusetts--Economic conditionsMassachusetts--History