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

Collecting area: Performing arts

Cummington School of the Arts

Cummington School of the Arts Records

1908-1993
30 boxes 45 linear feet
Call no.: MS 891
Depiction of Poster, ca.1925
Poster, ca.1925

In 1923, Katherine Frazier established the Playhouse-in-the-Hills as a venue for theatrical performances in the small Berkshire County town of Cummington, Mass. Frazier’s vision, however, soon led her to expand the project into the Cummington School of the Arts (later the Cummington Community of the Arts), which she envisioned as “an environment congenial to creative activity.” Over its seventy years of operation, the School emphasized creative collaboration across the fine arts, offering not only performances, but summer residencies and six-week courses where writers, artists, performers, and musicians could study and practice under the guidance of visiting artists. Among its noted alumni were luminaries such as Helen Frankenthaler, Willem de Kooning, Diane Arbus, Marianne Moore, and Archibald Macleish, and the school was a starting point for Harry Duncan’s renowned Cummington Press. The increasing financial challenges facing not-for-profit organizations led a cessation of operations in about 1993.

The records of the Cummington School of the Arts offer a cross-sectional view of the School across its years of operation. In addition to a very small selection of personal material from Katherine Frazier, the collection includes valuable correspondence and ephemera relating to the school’s philosophy and founding, and nearly a third of the collection consists of records of students, often including their applications, comments on the work accomplished in Cummington, and occasionally, copies of work produced. The balance of the collection consists of many of the school’s publications, administrative materials (including curricula and planning documents), and financial and fundraising materials.

Transferred from Springfield Museums through Margaret Humberston, Dec. 2015
Davis, Bobby

Bobby Davis Photograph Collection

1980-1983
1 box 0.2 linear feet
Call no.: PH 065

A native of Providence, R.I., Bobby Davis arrived in Amherst in 1977 and soon afterward entered the University Without Walls program at UMass to earn his college degree. A talented jazz musician, Davis became immersed in the vibrant local arts scene, learning photography while writing for the student publications Nummo News and the Collegian, and covering performances by a steady stream of jazz and R&B acts touring through the area. Working later as a photographer for Smith College and traveling for the yearbook company, Delmar Studios, Davis eventually settled in Northampton, where he remains active as a photographer.

The Davis collection contains ten exhibition prints of jazz musicians performing in Amherst, including Art Blakey, Angela Bofill, Ray Charles, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Yusef Lateef, Oscar Peterson, Max Roach, Gil Scott-Heron, and Archie Shepp.

Gift of Bobby Davis, Jan. 2015

Subjects

Jazz musicians--Photographs

Types of material

Photographs
Davis, Chester

Chester Davis Papers

ca. 1945-2016
24 boxes 36 linear feet
Call no.: FS 201

Chester Davis was a scholar of African American education and media, one of the first core faculty members of the Afro-American Studies Department at UMass Amherst and a major architect of that department’s development, and an avid photographer. Davis was born in Gary, Indiana and attended Roosevelt High School. He was among the first African American graduates of the University of Chicago, where he earned his BA and MA, and then earned his PhD from Syracuse University. After several positions in academia, Davis joined the African American think tank Institute of the Black World, right after its establishment by Coretta Scott King in 1969. His work there influenced the growth of Black Studies programs across the US and he was soon recruited by the University of Massachusetts to help build its newly founded Afro-Am. department. Davis retired from the University in 1992 and moved to Tallahassee, Florida, where he passed away in 2016.

The Chester Davis Papers reflect his research, teaching, and administrative work as a member of the Afro-American Studies Dept. at UMass. In addition to UMass-related lecture notes, correspondence, and research materials, the collection documents his post-retirement activities in Tallahassee and a longstanding research project on Roosevelt High School, which includes a rich cache of historical materials. There is also a significant collection of Davis’s photographs, including prints, negatives, and slides. Davis was an avid amateur with an artistic eye and his topics range from family photographs to concerts, demonstrations, and other activities at the University.

Gift of Penny Ralston, 2019

Subjects

African Americans--Study and teachingJazz musicians--PhotographsUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst . FacultyUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst . W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies

Types of material

Photographs
Dobell, Frederic

Frederic Dobell Papers

1872-1916
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 607
Depiction of Frederic Dobell
Frederic Dobell

A fixture on the late Victorian and Edwardian English stage, Frederic Dobell headlined a variety of productions, appearing in theatres and touring from London to Edinburgh. Late in his career, Dobell played roles from Shakespeare to melodrama. He died in London in August 1916 at the age of 72.

A small collection dating from the last three decades of his career, the Dobell Papers including correspondence regarding acting engagements, 14 part books, six broadsides advertising performances, and a fine clutch of materials relating to the play On the Verge, Or, A Woman’s Honor, including: four watercolor set designs, five stage layouts, a musical score.

Subjects

Actors--Great Britain

Contributors

Dobell, Frederic
Donohue, Joseph W., 1935-

Joseph W. Donohue Papers

1963-2003
37 boxes 55.5 linear feet
Call no.: FS 110

Theater historian and critic, Joseph W. Donohue, Jr., was appointed Associate Professor of English at UMass Amherst in 1971. An alumnus of Princeton (PhD, 1965), Donohue specialized in British drama and theater, with an emphasis on the period from the Restoration to the present day, with a particular interest in the study of the performed play and its relationship to the audience, community, and society. While at UMass, he taught courses ranging from Shakespeare on Film to The Vitality of British Drama. Donohue remained at UMass until his retirement in May 2005.

The papers reflect Donohue’s professional life from his time at Princeton through his years as a Professor of English at UMass. Among the papers are course notes, teaching materials, and a myriad of materials relating to the history of British theater.

Subjects

Theater--History--Great BritainUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst--FacultyUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of English

Contributors

Donohue, Joseph W., 1935-
Donohue, Joseph W., 1935-

Joseph Donohue Collection of Theatre Programs and Theatrical Ephemera

1968-2010
23 boxes 12 linear feet
Call no.: MS 696

An historian of modern British drama, Joseph Donohue was a longtime member of the Department of English at UMass Amherst. A native of Brookline, Mass., Donohue was educated at Johns Hopkins and Georgetown before receiving his doctorate at Princeton (1965), and he studied directing at both Columbia and Yale. After five years at Princeton, he joined the faculty at UMass in 1971, where he remained for thirty four years. The author of numerous articles and books on the British and Irish theatre, Donohue was author — among many other works — of Dramatic Character in the English Romantic Age (1970) and Theatre in the Age of Kean (1975) and editor of the London Stage, 1800-1900 Project. A past president of the American Society for Theatre Research, he was also a fixture in local performances, including the Valley Light Opera Company. Upon retirement from the department in 2005, Donohue was named Professor Emeritus.

Consisting of hundreds of theatrical programs and other ephemera, the Donohue collection documents a lifetime of avid theater-going. The astonishing array of playwrights and plays represented in the collection, and the diversity of theatres (mostly in New York and London), provides a nearly exhaustively chronicle of Donohue’s theatrical habits from his days as a graduate student to nearly the present.

Subjects

Theater--England--LondonTheater--New York (State)--New York

Contributors

Donohue, Joseph W., 1935-

Types of material

EphemeraPlaybills
Double Edge Theater

Double Edge Theatre Records

1970-2002
28 boxes 15.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 455
Depiction of Bold Stroke for a Wife
Bold Stroke for a Wife

Since its founding, Double Edge Theatre has embraced a two-fold mission: to develop and promote the highest quality of original theatre performance, and to create a permanent center of performance, practice, training research, and cultural exchange.

The collection documents the Theatre’s focus on research, international collaboration, and the elevation of artistic performance above and beyond stage work into the realm of cultural exchange.

Subjects

Experimental theaterTheater and societyTheatrical companies--Massachusetts

Contributors

Arnoult, PhilipDouble Edge TheatreDurand, CarrollKlein, StacyOdin teatretStaniewski, WlodzimierzStowarzyszenie Teatralne "Gardzienice"

Types of material

PhotographsPostersPrograms
Drucker, Jeffrey I.

Jeffrey Drucker Photograph Collection

1966-1969
387 photographs
Call no.: RG 50/6 D78
Depiction of Roger McGuinn being interviewed, Feb. 25, 1968
Roger McGuinn being interviewed, Feb. 25, 1968

Jeffrey Drucker was a student and photographer at the University of Massachusetts Amherst from 1966 to 1969, where he majored in production management and was the WMUA station engineer. As a student, Drucker was a photography enthusiast, taking snapshots of events across campus, thoroughly documenting his years as an undergraduate at UMass in the late-sixties.

The Jeffrey Drucker Photograph Collection contains 387 photographs of a diverse array of campus events, including the Dow Chemical protest in 1968, parades, Roister Doisters productions, musicians like Stevie Wonder and Simon and Garfunkel performing at on-campus concerts, and iconic campus buildings. Many of Drucker’s photographs were printed in the Index yearbook as well as the University of Massachusetts Daily Collegian and give a clearly student perspective to life on campus.

Subjects

Protests and demonstrations--PhotographsRock concerts--Massachusetts--Amherst--PhotographsRoister Doisters (University of Massachusetts Amherst)--PhotographsUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst--PhotographsUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst--Students and alumni--Photographs

Types of material

Black-and-white negativesGelatin silver prints
Econosmith

Econosmith Collection

1969-2019
1 box, digital files 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: PH 089
Depiction of Pete Seeger, 2006
Pete Seeger, 2006

A wife and husband team of photographers based in Provincetown, Mass., Maxine Smith and John Economos, known collectively as Econosmith, are photographers of the folk music scene, social action, and the landscape and people of outer Cape Cod. Social activists themselves, the Econosmiths were photographers for Pete Seeger during the last decade of his life and headed up the photography team at the Clearwater Festival, giving them unusual access to dozens of performers.

With compelling images of musicians in performance, the Economsmith collection is a rich visual record of the contemporary folk scene, with a special focus on Pete Seeger and the Clearwater Festival (also known as the Great Hudson River Revival). Over 90% of the images were born digital, with the remainder split between color negatives and 35mm. slides. The collection also includes photographs of antiwar demonstrations sparked by the Iraq War and images of the scenery and people of Provincetown and outer Cape Cod.

Gift of John Economos and Maxine Smith, April 2019

Subjects

Cape Cod (Mass.)--PhotographsClearwater Festival--PhotographsDemonstrations--New York (State)--New York--PhotographsDemonstrations--Washington (D.C.)--PhotographsFolk musicFolk musicians--PhotographsIraq War, 2003-2011--Protest movements--PhotographsPeace movements--PhotographsSeeger, Pete, 1919-2004--Photographs

Contributors

Economos, JohnSmith, Maxine

Types of material

Photographs
Elders Share the Arts

Elders Share the Arts Records

ca.1975-2018
14 boxes 17 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1034
Depiction of Hodson Drama Group, Grandma's home remedy show, 1982 (photo by A. Heppenheimer)
Hodson Drama Group, Grandma's home remedy show, 1982 (photo by A. Heppenheimer)

A community arts organization founded by Susan Perlstein in 1979, Elders Share the Arts was a pioneer and national leader in the field of creative aging. Beginning as a single living-history theater workshop in the South Bronx, ESTA grew into a citywide organization with national impact that engaged older adults in participatory arts programing. The performing groups that emerged from ESTA typically drew upon the experiences of its members, with the programs running from storytelling and theater to writing, dance, and the visual arts. With the rapid growth of the field, ESTA ceased operations in June 2018, transferring their programs to other organizations.

The records of Elders Share the Arts offer vital documentation of the origins and development of the field of creative aging and the growth of one of the innovators. The collection includes a full set of board minutes, action plans, and by-laws, marketing materials, photographs and media, and a relatively complete record of grants sought and won. Of particular importance are files for ESTA’s senior programs and intergenerational programs, and a thick series of matierlas relating to the National Center for Creative Aging and the history of creative aging as a field.

Gift of Lynn Winters and Susan Perlstein, July 2018

Subjects

AgingArts and older peopleCreative agingTheater--New York (State)--New York

Contributors

National Center for Creative AgingPerlstein, Susan

Types of material

PhotographsVideotapes