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

Collecting area: Performing arts

Primus, Pearl

Pearl Primus Collection

1995-2006
3 boxes 1.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 912

A pioneer of African dance in the United States and a vital scholarly voice, Pearl Primus burst onto the scene in the early 1940s as a choreographer, performer, composer, and teacher. Born in Trinidad in 1919 and raised in New York City, Primus was introduced to performance through the National Youth Administration and the New Dance Group. Her interest in the dance cultures of Africa and the African diaspora formed the conceptual center of her work throughout her career, drawing upon her deep scholarly research. In addition to her creative work, Primus earned a doctorate in anthropology from NYU and taught at a number of universities, including the Five Colleges. She died in New Rochelle, N.Y., in October 1994.

Conducted with Pearl Primus’ fellow dancers, musicians, friends, and collaborators between 1995 and 2005, the interviews comprising this collection were recorded by Peggy and Murray Schwartz for use in their book, The Dance Claimed Me: A Biography of Pearl Primus (New Haven, 2011). The oral histories provide insights into Primus’s sometimes controversial life career, her performances, teaching, and legacy.

Gift of Peggy and Murray Schwartz, Dec. 2013

Subjects

ChoreographersDance--AfricaDancers

Contributors

Nash, Joe, 1919-2005Washington, Donald

Types of material

AudiocassettesBetacam-SPVideotapes
Ramsey, Martha, 1954-

Martha Ramsey Papers

ca. 1930-2018
17 boxes 24.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1054

Martha Ramsey is the author of Where I Stopped, a memoir of rape in adolescence, and Blood Stories, a book of poems. Ramsey grew up in Flemington, New Jersey, a farming community 65 miles southwest of New York City. She had unusually creative, bohemian-minded, arts-oriented parents; her father was a pioneering jazz historian; both became alcoholics. She was a precociously intelligent child and was skipped two grades at her local elementary school; she escaped from the resulting loneliness and social insecurity into books and nature. She was happier as a day student at Solebury School, a progressive high school nearby in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. On a summer day in 1968, at age 13, while she was walking her bike up a back road near her home, she was attacked and raped by a 28-year-old man, a stranger. She insisted that her parents call the police immediately, “so it won’t happen to anyone else.” Her parents soon heard from neighbors that before Martha, the rapist had “molested other girls.” She endured a confrontation with him at the police barracks and giving testimony at the trial that resulted in his conviction and sentence of 15 years. Five years later she also endured the shock of learning on a visit home from college that he had, while released on parole, sexually assaulted and murdered a 16-year-old girl near the girl’s family’s farm, on the anniversary of the rape. This time he was sentenced to life. Where I Stopped, written when Ramsey was in her thirties, tells this story in detail and follows her attempts to understand what had happened to her and how it was affecting her over the years as she grew into adulthood, pursued her calling as a poet, and married. The memoir also chronicles her decision to return to the place where she grew up to speak with people who remembered the crime and who had participated in the trial and to unearth the police and trial records—all part of her effort to come to terms with what she remembered.

A powerful collection documenting the writing of her memoir, Where I Stopped, Ramsey’s papers include audio recordings of statements she and others made to the police shortly after her rape; a transcript of the trial; Ramsey’s notes from interviews she conducted with individuals who remembered the crime; and drafts of her memoir, containing comments from early readers and material cut from the final version. Ramsey’s unpublished writings, journals, and correspondence document her intellectual and emotional life from her teenage years forward, including the drafts of all her published and unpublished poems. Family papers focus on the author’s father, Frederic Ramsey, a noted jazz historian; they include correspondence, photographs, and the unpublished autobiography of Ethel Ramsey (1884–1965)—textile designer, painter, and participant in the artists’ colony in New Hope, Pennsylvania—that contains acerbic discussion of the struggles of women artists in the late nineteenth century and later.

Subjects

AuthorsNew Hope (Pa.)Rape victims--United States--BiographyRape--United States--Case StudiesWomen artistsWomen authors
Rand, Frank Prentice, 1889-

Frank Prentice Rand Papers

1905-1976
5 boxes 2.5 linear feet
Call no.: FS 083
Depiction of Frank Prentice Rand
Frank Prentice Rand

Playwright, poet, historian, student theater director and professor of English, University of Massachusetts.

Correspondence, speeches, lectures, drafts of writings, reviews, publicity material, programs and playbills, scrapbooks, grade books (1917-1959), newsclippings, memorabilia, and other papers, relating to Rand’s teaching career, his writing of poetry, plays, and history, and his activities, as a dramatic coach and director. Includes material relating to the dedication of Rand Theater.

Connect to another siteListen to oral history with Rand's wife:
Oral history, part 1
Oral history, part 2

Subjects

University of Massachusetts Amherst--FacultyUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of History

Contributors

Rand, Frank Prentice, 1889-

Types of material

Oral historiesScrapbooks
Ring, Hans Joachim

Hans Joachim Ring Collection of East German Cinema

1945-1990
10 boxes 4.75 linear feet
Call no.: MS 566
Depiction of Bummi
Bummi

Born in Germany on Aug. 4, 1934, Hans Joachim Ring was a film enthusiast with an encyclopedic knowledge of German cinema. During the Second World War, movie theatres became a refuge for the young boy, whose family was forced several times to flee due to Allied bombing. The hardships of post-war life cemented the role of film in his life and as he grew older, he became an ardent collector of materials relating to film.

The Ring Collection includes hundreds of programs, fliers, and handbills published by the official East German film distributors Progress Film-Vertrieb and the Deutsche Film Aktiengesellschaft (DEFA) and sold to patrons at theatres. This extraordinary assemblage includes several hundred programs covering the immediate post-war period (1945-1950) and hundreds more relating to films released up to and beyond the end of the Communist era. Offering insight into the evolution of graphic design in East Germany and the marketing of film, the collection is one of the largest of its kind in the United States.

Acquired from Ann Langevin, May 2008
Language(s): German

Subjects

Children's films--Germany, EastMotion pictures--Germany, East

Contributors

Deutsche Film AktiengesellschaftProgress Film-VertriebRing, Hans Joachim

Types of material

Fliers (Printed matter)HandbillsPrograms
Rooney, Jim, 1938-

Jim Rooney Collection

1960-2014
5 boxes 6.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1016

A producer, performer, writer, and pioneer in Americana music, Jim Rooney was born in Boston on January 28, 1938 and raised in Dedham. Inspired to take up music by the sounds of Hank Williams and Leadbelly he heard on the radio, he began performing at the Hillbilly Ranch at just 16 years old, taking to music full time after an undergraduate degree in classics at Amherst College and an MA at Harvard. As manager of Club 47, Rooney was at the epicenter of the folk revival in Boston, becoming director and talent coordinator for the Newport Folk Festival beginning in 1963, a tour manager for jazz musicians in the late 1960s, and by 1970, a producer. After managing Bearsville Sound Studios in Woodstock, NY, for Albert Grossman, he moved to Nashville, where he has produced projects by Hal Ketchum, Townes Van Zandt, Iris DeMent, John Prine and Bonnie Raitt, among others, winning a Grammy award in 1993 for his work with Nanci Griffith.
Documenting a varied career in American music, the Rooney collection contains material from two of Rooney’s books on the history of American music, Bossmen: Bill Monroe and Muddy Waters (1971) and Baby, Let Me Follow You Down (1979), his autobiography In It For the Long Run (2014). In addition to correspondence and other content relating to his collaborations with key Americana musicians and his record production career in Nashville, the collection includes valuable interview notes, photographs, recordings, and news clippings.

Gift of Jim Rooney through Folk New England, Mar. 2018

Subjects

Club 47 (Cambridge, Mass.)Folk music--Massachusetts--BostonProducers and directors

Types of material

Photographs
Rubin, Emanuel, 1935-

Emanuel Rubin Papers

1964-2006
5 boxes 7.5 linear feet
Call no.: FS 155
Depiction of Emanuel Rubin
Emanuel Rubin

Emanuel Rubin was a professor of Musicology and Judaic Studies at UMass Amherst from 1986 until his death in 2008. From 1986-1987 he served as Head of the Department of Music and Dance. In addition to teaching, he performed frequently as a soloist and an ensemble member on the French horn, Viola da Gamba, and as a choral member. He actively conducted and composed works for solo performers and ensembles. Rubin was originally from Pittsburgh, and attended Carnegie Mellon University for his undergraduate work. He received a Master’s Degree in Music composition from Brandeis University, and a doctorate in musicology from University of Pittsburgh. Prior to arriving at UMass Amherst, he taught at Ball State University, University of Milwaukee Wisconsin, and Bowling Green State University. His research interests were the relationship between Judaism and music, and the history of glees, which was the topic of his doctoral dissertation.

The Emanuel Rubin Papers contain records of extensive research in the area of Georgian glees, including historical background, scores, lyrics, and correspondence regarding the research. The collection also includes programs and newspaper clippings from many of Rubin’s performances throughout his career, manuscripts of his publications and compositions, as well as some teaching materials and course information from his time at UMass.

Gift of Marilyn Steele, Mar. 2012

Subjects

Glees, catches, rounds, etc.--History and criticismUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst--FacultyUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Judaic and Near Eastern StudiesUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Music and Dance

Contributors

Rubin, Emanuel, 1935-

Types of material

PhotographsScores
Scherman, Rowland

Rowland Scherman Collection

ca.1955-2018
20 boxes, 7 portfolios
Call no.: PH 084
Depiction of Mississippi John Hurt, ca.1965
Mississippi John Hurt, ca.1965

One of the most frequently published photographers in Life magazine during the late 1960s, Rowland Scherman is noted for an iconic portfolio that documents the worlds of politics, culture, and the rock music scene. Born in New York in 1937, Scherman attended Oberlin College and began his career in the darkroom at Life before winning an assignment as the first official photographer for the Peace Corps in 1961. His work blossomed after becoming a free-lancer two years later, with assignments that included the civil rights March on Washington and the presidential campaign of Lyndon Baines Johnson. He covered the Newport Folk Festival when Bob Dylan broke on the national scene, the Beatles’ first concert in the U.S., Robert Kennedy’s campaign for the presidency, and Woodstock, and he went along on a memorable tour with Judy Collins. His work has appeared in dozens of magazines and books, including Life, Look, Time, National Geographic, Playboy, and Paris Match, earning wide acclaim, including a Grammy Award in 1968 for the portrait that appears on the cover of Dylan’s greatest hits album. Scherman relocated to London in 1970, then to Birmingham, Ala., in the 1980s, and finally to Cape Cod on 2000. He continues to shoot portraits, photo essays, and abstract work.

This rich collection consists of nearly the entire body of work from Rowland Scherman’s long career in photography, including negatives and transparencies with a small selection of prints. Negatives from the March on Washington and the Peace Corps are in the collections of the Library of Congress.

Acquired from Rowland Scherman, Dec. 2018

Subjects

Dylan, Bob, 1941---PhotographsJohnson, Lyndon B. (Lyndon Baines), 1908-1973Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963Kennedy, Robert F., 1925-1968Newport Folk Festival (1963 : Newport, R.I.)--PhotographsPeace movements--PhotographsRock musicians--PhotographsVietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements--PhotographsWoodstock Festival (1969 : Bethel, N.Y.)--Photographs

Types of material

Photographs
Restrictions: Copyright for commercial purposes retained by Scherman
Siggins, Betsy, 1939-

Betsy Siggins Papers

1958-2018
6 boxes 6 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1022
Depiction of Betsy Siggins, ca.1959. Photo by Alan Klein
Betsy Siggins, ca.1959. Photo by Alan Klein

A key figure in the New England folk revival of the 1960s, Betsy Siggins (nee Minot) entered Boston University in the fall 1958 just at the music was taking off. Along with her college friend Joan Baez, she soon left school for the lure of the bohemian musical scene in Cambridge. At the age of 20, Betsy married the banjo player for the Charles River Valley Boys, Bob Siggins, who was also a founding member of Club 47, the most important venue for folk music in the region. For musicians from Baez and Bob Dylan to Jim Kweskin, Eric Von Schmidt, and Jim Rooney Club 47 was a career launching pad and despite the segregation of the era, it was a place where white northern audiences first encountered African American and blues musicians. Siggins worked full time at Club 47, filling a variety of jobs from office work to waitress to art gallery manager, eventually becoming program officer, arranging the schedules for musicians booked by Rooney or Byron Linardos. After Club 47 closed in 1968, Siggins went on to work for a succession of not for profit organizations, including the Smithsonian Festival of American Folklife and for programs for the homeless and poor.
The Siggins Collection contains important materials on Club 47 and its successor, Club Passim, including business records, ephemera, clippings, and some remarkable scrapbooks featuring performers such Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, and Richard Farina. The collection contains dozens of photographs (many taken by Charlie Frizzell), showing Siggins, her friends, and musicians at home, at Club 47, and at folk festivals in Newport, Brandeis, and Monterey. Of particular note in the collection is a remarkable series of 27 reel to reel tapes of performances at Club 47 featuring John Hammond, Doc Watson, Bill Monroe, Eric Von Schmidt, Jim Rooney, Jeff and Maria Muldaur, Jackie Washington, the Charles River Valley Boys, Joan Baez, and others. Additional material on Siggins and the Minot family was retained by the Cambridge Historical Society.

Transferred from Cambridge Historical Society, April 2018

Subjects

Club 47 (Cambridge, Mass.)Dylan, Bob, 1941-Folk music--New England
Simon, Peter, 1947-2018

Peter Simon Collection

ca. 1945-2016
10 boxes 20 linear feet
Call no.: PH 009
Depiction of Peter Simon in mirror photographing Jennie Blackton at the Bitter End Cafe, 1968
Peter Simon in mirror photographing Jennie Blackton at the Bitter End Cafe, 1968

Peter Simon’s life and work as a photojournalist follows the quintessential arc of the counterculture, baby boom generation. The son of Richard Simon, founder of Simon and Schuster, Peter grew up in the New York City suburb of Riverdale and attended Boston University, graduating in 1969. While a student at BU, he began documenting the political turmoil in the US when he became photo editor for the radical student newspaper, the BU News, and later as a press photographer for the Cambridge Phoenix. In 1970, Simon left Boston to form Tree Frog Farm, a back-to-the-land commune in Guilford, Vermont, and after leaving there in 1972, he immersed himself in the New Age, forming a close relationship with spiritual leader Ram Dass. Among the most constant threads connecting his work throughout these changes was music. Simon’s sisters, Carly, Lucy, and Joanna have all been involved in music, and through a partnership with longtime friend Stephen Davis and his association with Rolling Stone magazine, Simon enjoyed unique access to many of the most important musicians of his generation. He spent time on the road with the Grateful Dead; went backstage and at home with Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, and many others. His early forays into the world of reggae with Bob Marley and other Jamaican recording artists resulted in one of his nine books, Reggae Bloodlines. Simon’s other photographic interests are as wide-ranging as his background. A visitor to Martha’s Vineyard since the 1950s and a resident since 1974, his work reflects the changes and cultural richness of that island; his family’s friendship with Jackie Robinson has driven his lifelong documentation of baseball, and he is in high demand for portraits, weddings, and other work for hire.

The Peter Simon Collection houses the original negatives for Simon’s complete body of work as a photo journalist and also includes many photographs taken by his father Richard, an avid amateur photographer, which documents the Simon family and life in Riverdale and Stamford, Connecticut, where the family had a summer home.

Subjects

Boston (Mass.)--PhotographsCommunal living--VermontCounterculture--United States--20th centuryMartha's Vineyard (Mass.)--PhotographsMusicians--PhotographsSimon, Carly--PhotographsVietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements

Contributors

Simon, Richard L. (Richard Leo), 1899-1960

Types of material

Photographs
Sleeveless Theatre Company

Sleeveless Theater Company Records

1989-1996
1 box 1.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1087
Depiction of Channer, Nugent, Halpin and Futtner (from left), ca.1992. Photo by K.D.Halpin
Channer, Nugent, Halpin and Futtner (from left), ca.1992. Photo by K.D.Halpin

The Sleeveless Theatre Company was an innovative political theater company with a strong feminist slant. Founded in 1989 by UMass Amherst alumnae Lisa Channer, Maureen Futtner, K. D. Halpin, and Kate Nugent, and Smith alumna, Terianne Falcone, Sleeveless was an actor-centered, highly collaborative ensemble company that wielded humor in staging original, socially- and politically-charged theater. Based in Northampton, Mass., the company toured nationally and internationally, presenting sometimes controversial works on themes ranging from reproductive rights to the Gulf War. As they evolved, they refined their mission to focus on telling stories about the lives and perspectives of women, but under the strains of growing within their collaborative model, they made the decision to disband in 1997.

In addition to minutes for the company’s formative years (1989-1992), the records of Sleeveless Theater Company include a small selection of production notes, background research, fliers, reviews and newsclippings, and a handful of publicity photos. Among the plays represtened are Womb for Rent (1989), War: The Comedy (1991), The F Word (1992), Emily Unplugged (1995), and Mill America (1996).

Gift of Lisa Channer, Maureen Futtner, K. D. Halpin, and Kate Nugent, June 2019 (2019-093).

Subjects

Feminist theater--Massachusetts--NorthamptonTheatrical companies--Massachusetts--Northampton

Types of material

Fliers (Printed matter)Photographs