The University of Massachusetts Amherst
Robert S. Cox Special Collections & University Archives Research Center
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Collecting area: Massachusetts (West)

Vega, Carlos

Carlos Vega Collection

ca.1966-1995
148 volumes, 1 box, 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 800
Depiction of Carlos Vega ca. 1990
Carlos Vega ca. 1990

An Ecuadorian-born community activist, Carlos Vega moved to Holyoke, Massachusetts, with his family in 1955. Settling in the working-class “Flats” neighborhood at a time when many of Holyoke’s factories were relocating to the southern United States or Asia, the Vegas were one of the few Spanish-speaking families in the city, but when Carlos began to work on a local tobacco farm at the age of 14, he encountered the new influx of migrants from Puerto Rico who had been lured to the Connecticut Valley as agricultural laborers by the Department of Labor. With the Puerto Rican economy declining in the 1960s, many of these farm workers settled permanently in Springfield and Holyoke, but they soon discovered that the declining economy there combined with racism and urban decay blocked their hopes for upward mobility. Radicalized by the anti-colonial, anti-war, and Civil Rights movements of the late 1960s, Vega emerged as an important community organizer in the 1970s, working with Fair Share, New Unity, Urban Ministry, and other progressive organizations. With a backdrop of riots, arson, and racial tension, these organizations focused on issues relevant to the Puerto Rican community, particularly voter education and registration, fair housing, and education. In 1982, Vega helped found Nueva Esperanza, a non-profit community development organization whose mission was to restore and maintain blighted buildings in South Holyoke. He worked with Nueva Esperanza for over 30 years, continuing until 2010 after a brain cancer diagnosis in 1995.  He survived until April 2012.

The materials in this collection reflect Vega’s interests in left wing movements in Central America, the Caribbean, Asia, South America and Africa from the 1960s through 1980s and include leaflets, pamphlets, books, and newsletters. The approximately 300 items offer sometimes scarce documentation of internationalist liberation movements such as the PAIGC in Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde, the Tupamaros in Uruguay, and the EFLNA in Eritrea. Of particular note is a small collection documenting Vega’s participation in the 1974 Venceremos Brigade and a collection of clippings, newsletters, notes, fliers, conference material, and newspapers from various groups such as New England Action Research, Friends of the Filipino People, The Latin American Student Association, and the Ethiopian Students Union of North America. Some printed materials are cataloged and housed with the rare books collection.

Gift of Jesse Vega-Fry, Apr. 2012

Subjects

Central America--Foreign relations--United StatesCivil Rights movements--AfricaCivil Rights movements--Central AmericaCivil Rights movements--ChileCivil Rights movements--United StatesCivil Rights movements-AsiaCivil Rights movements-CaribbeanLatin America--PeriodicalsNicaragua--History--1979-1990Radicalism--United StatesRevolutionary literatureSocialismUnited States--Foreign relations--Central AmericaVenceremos Brigade
Vietnamese Students Association (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

Vietnamese Students Association New Year's Day Celebration Collection

1985
1 envelope 0.1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 106 bd

The Vietnamese Students Association hosted a Vietnamese New Year celebration at the Campus Center of the University of Massachusetts Amherst on February 20, 1985. Collection contains twelve photographs and a program listing sponsors, speakers, performers, the sequence of events, descriptions of ancestor worship, the legend of the earth and the sky cakes, the menu, and some song lyrics.

Gift of Lucy Nguyen, 1985

Subjects

Amherst (Mass.)--Social life and customsUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst--Students--Social life and customsVietnamese New Year--Massachusetts--PhotographsVietnamese Students Association (University of Massachusetts at Amherst)Vietnamese students--Massachusetts--FolkloreVietnamese students--Massachusetts--Social life and customs

Types of material

PhotographsSongs
Vinal, William Gould, 1881-

William Gould Vinal Papers

1931-1963
3 boxes 1.25 linear feet
Call no.: FS 138
Depiction of Cap'n Bill Vinal
Cap'n Bill Vinal

William “Cap’n Bill” Vinal was the first instructor in nature education at Massachusetts State College and a pioneer in the field. A graduate of Bridgewater State (1904), Harvard (MA 1907) and Brown (PhD, 1922), Vinal worked for several years as a camp director on his native Cape Cod and held a variety of university appointments in nature education before joining the faculty at Massachusetts State College as Professor of Nature Education in the Nature Guide School in 1937. Spontaneous in the classroom and field, enthusiastic, and highly popular with his students, Vinal taught courses in conservation, outdoor leadership, outdoor recreation, and nature guiding, and was an important figure in the Massachusetts Audubon Society, the American Camping Association, the Camp Directors Association, and several conservation groups. After retiring from UMass in 1951, Vinal returned to his home in Norwell, Mass., remaining active as a nature writer and teacher until his death in 1973.

A valuable glimpse into the early growth of nature and conservation education, the Vinal collection includes dozens of scarce publications by the exceptionally prolific Cap’n Bill, along with a small quantity of correspondence, talks, and reports. As a collection, these document the origin and growth of the Nature Guide School and the program in nature recreation at MSC and UMass, and more generally the growth of nature, recreation, and conservation education in New England. Of local interest is an extensive report for the town of Amherst Recreation Survey Committee (1948) regarding recreational opportunities for youth. Nearly half of the collection consists of an extensive run of Vinal’s quirky, self-published Nature Guide Newsletter (1935-1951).

Subjects

Amherst (Mass.)--Social life and customsConservation of natural resources--Study and teachingNature Guide NewsletterOutdoor education--MassachusettsRecreation--Massachusetts--AmherstUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst--FacultyUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst. Nature Guide SchoolUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst. Program in Nature Recreation

Contributors

Vinal, William Gould, 1881-
Walz, Carl A. (Carl Adolph)

Carl Walz v. Albert E. Clark et al.

1943
1 vol. 0.1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 387 bd

Carl Walz was a high school teacher in the town of Montague, Mass., in May 1942 when his status as a conscientious objector cost him his career. Although the School Committee claimed that Walz had been dismissed due to a “marked decrease” in demand for German, a non-required subject, and that his other courses were simply assigned to “higher priority” teachers, the key factor in his dismissal appears to have been his decision to register as a conscientious objector. With support from the Massachusetts Civil Liberties Union, Walz sued the Montague School Committee for wrongful dismissal. He was unsuccessful.

Walz’s suit against the Montague School District over his firing for being a conscientious objector was argued in the Superior Court held in Greenfield in 1943. The typescript is a verbatim transcript of testimony given, including direct and cross-examination of members of the School Board, and re-direct and re-cross examination.

Gift of Stephen Siteman

Subjects

Conscientious objectors--Massachusetts--MontagueMontague (Mass.)--History--20th centuryPacifists--Massachusetts--MontagueTeachers--Massachusetts--MontagueWorld War, 1939-1945

Types of material

Transcripts
Ware, Ellen and Mary E.

Ellen and Mary E. Ware Papers

1862-1893
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 511

The working class women Ellen Ware and her step-daughter Mary E. lived in North Hadley, Massachusetts, during the mid to late nineteenth century.

This collection of letters documents the older generation’s reaction to the draft during the Civil War and the younger generation’s daily activities, including their education, social events, and the growing temperance movement.

Gift of Virginia Goldsbury, Feb. 2007

Subjects

Hadley (Mass.)--History--19th centuryUnited States--History--Civil War, 1851-1865Women--Massachusetts

Contributors

Ware, EllenWare, Mary E.
Watchmaker (Springfield, Mass.)

Watchmaker's Account Book

1882-1883
1 vol. 0.1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 623 bd

The mid-century success of the Waltham Watch Company set the stage for a period of innovation and corporate ferment in the manufacture and distribution of watches in the United States. As watchmakers and technologies spread and new companies sprouted and split at a rapid pace, Springfield emerged as a center for the production of high quality, mass produced watches. Perhaps best known among the large local corporations, the Hampden Watch Company was established in 1877 from the New York Watch Company and was bought out in turn by the Dueber Watch Company and relocated a decade later.

The unidentified owner of this slender account book maintained itemized records of income and expenses for a relatively small watchmaking concern in Springfield between May 1882 and September 1883. Most of the trade consisted of sales of accoutrements and repair work.

Acquired from Dan Casavant, 1999

Subjects

Springfield (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th centuryWatchmakers--Massachusetts--Springfield

Types of material

Account books
Weatherby, Una F.

Una F. Weatherby Collection

1924-1934
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: PH 036
Depiction of Gravestone in Putnam, Conn.
Gravestone in Putnam, Conn.

The botanical illustrator and writer Una Foster Weatherby (1878-1957) was an early student of New England gravestones. Born in Texas in 1878, Una Leonora Foster met a young pteridologist Charles Alfred Weatherby (1875-1949) while traveling abroad in 1910, and seven years later, the couple wed. As Charles advanced in his career to a position at the Gray Herbarium at Harvard, Una became his close associate, working with in the field and as illustrator and photographer. Among the many interests the couple developed was a fascination with photographing early American gravestones, and over the last three decades of her life, Una published occasionally on the subject. She died in Cambridge on August 17, 1957, and is interred with her husband at Center Cemetery in East Hartford, Conn.

The Weatherby collection consists of a substantial typed manuscript illustrating early American gravestones, mostly from New England. Meticulously assembled, the manuscript is divided into six thematic sections based on gravestone design (death’s heads, winged cherubs, wingless cherubs, portrait stones, symbolic stones, and designs and willows). Each stone is represented by a single photograph pasted onto a page, along with a transcription of the epitaph and occasional comments on the design and date on which the information was recorded. Although most stones are from Connecticut and Massachusetts, a few stones from Virginia and South Carolina are included.

Subjects

Sepulchral monuments--ConnecticutSepulchral monuments--MassachusettsSepulchral monuments--New Hampshire

Contributors

Association for Gravestone StudiesWeatherby, Una F

Types of material

PhotographsScrapbooks
Weatherby, William

William Weatherby Account Book

1835-1837
1 vol. 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 179 bd

Transient worker for Seth Porter and Co., a cotton mill in Cummington, Massachusetts and for Wells, Blackinton, and White, manufacturer of fine textiles in North Adams, Massachusetts. Includes accounts of his employers, debits, credits (a running account with a general store for the purchase of clothing and foodstuffs), and notations of providing room and board for other workers.

Subjects

Cummington (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th centuryGeneral stores--MassachusettsNorth Adams (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th centurySeth Porter and Co. (Firm)Textile industry--Massachusetts--19th centuryTextile workers--Massachusetts--Economic conditions--19th centuryWells, Blackinton, and White

Contributors

Weatherby, William

Types of material

Account books
Wells, Samuel

Samuel Wells Collection

1840-1843
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 225

In November 1840, the prominent New York mercantile firm, Josiah Macy and Son, contracted with Samuel Wells to act as an agent in leasing land in Hatfield, Mass., to mine barite. Wells, a resident of nearby Northampton, consulted with the renowned geologist Edward Hitchcock of Amherst College to locate the appropriate mining site, and then, over the next two years, he negotiated the leases and prepared for the start-up of mining. Ultimately, the presence of the lead ore galena rendered the barite unfit for use as a whitening agent.

The three dozen letters written to Samuel Wells, mostly by his employer Josiah Macy and Son, document the brief and ill-fated effort to start up a barite mine in Hatfield, Mass. Although some of the letters deal with the barite itself, most concern negotiations over locating the proper mine site and obtaining mineral rights and land leases.

Acquired from Charles Apfelbaum, 1989

Subjects

Barite mines and mining--Massachusetts--HatfieldHatfield (Mass.)--HistoryLead mines and mining--Massachusetts--Hatfield

Contributors

Chase, G. C.Hitchcock, Edward, 1793-1864Josiah Macy and Son
Wells, William, 1767-1848

William Wells Papers

1796-1863
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 347

A prominent figure in the rural town of Shelburne, Mass., during the early nineteenth century, William Wells served for many years as a town selectman, representative in the state legislature, and captain of the militia. He died in Shelburne in July 1848, leaving behind his wife Prudence (May) and their nine children.

This tightly focused body of documents from William Wells represents a cross-section of public life in the town of Shelburne during the early decades of the nineteenth century, touching on the town’s finances, care for the church, school, highways, roads, and the local militia.

Subjects

Shelburne (Mass.)--History

Contributors

Wells, William