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

Collecting area: Massachusetts (West)

Wilson, Douglas Fir

Douglas Fir Wilson Papers

1975-2012
6 boxes 9 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1059

A philosopher, writer, activist, and artist, Douglas Wilson founded the Rowe Conference Center affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist camp in Rowe, Mass. Born in Vancouver, B.C., in 1946, but raised primarily in California, Wilson earned degrees at UC Santa Barbara (1967) and the Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley (1970), before being ordained at the First Uniarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn. He first came to Rowe in 1971 to work as assistant director of the Junior High summer camp, but soon proposed building a center at Rowe modeled on the Esalen Institute which would offer year-round retreats and workshops founded in Unitarian Universalist principles of equality, justice, freedom, peace, and the respect for the interdependent web of all existence. Serving as Executive Director (and after 1985, as co-Executive Director with his partner Prue Berry), Wilson brought together people who were “politically aware, psychologically sophisticated, and religiously based,” ranging from the Berrigans and Nearings to Jean Houston and Abbie Hoffman. The Wilsons retired from Rowe in December 2012.

The Wilson collection contains nearly forty years of files accumulated during Douglas Wilson’s time as Director of the Rowe Conference Center. In addition to a nearly complete run of the Center newsletter, Wilson retained materials on dozens of the thinkers, writers, and activists who came to Rowe, with each file containing correspondence (usually both directions), background notes and clippings.

Gift of Douglas Fir Wilson and Prue Berry, Nov. 2018

Subjects

Peace movements--MassachusettsUnitarian Universalist Rowe Camp & Conference CenterUnitarians--Massachusetts

Types of material

Newsletters
Wilson, John S.

John S. Wilson Collection

1970-1983
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 858
Depiction of Amos Foster stone, 1793, New Salem Cemetery
Amos Foster stone, 1793, New Salem Cemetery

As an undergraduate at UMass Amherst, John S. Wilson undertook of study of gravestones in New Salem, Mass. Working under George Armelagos, he receiving a BA in Anthropology with honors (1971) for his work on the “social dimension of New England mortuary art,” and returned for an MA in (1976). Wilson later worked as Regional Historic Preservation Officer and Archaeologist for the Northeast Region of the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Part of the collections of the Association for Gravestone Studies, the collection includes two copies of John Wilson’s senior honors thesis, a card file associated with the thesis, and several dozen slides (both color and black and white) of New Salem headstones. Some images appear to be later prints of images taken in 1970-1971.

Subjects

New Salem (Mass.)--HistorySepulchral monuments--Massachusetts--New Salem

Types of material

Photographs
Wilson, Rand

Rand Wilson Papers

1977-2004
15 boxes 22.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1026

A union organizer and labor communicator, Rand Wilson became a rank and file organizer for the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers Union and helped win the first-ever contract for workers at Clinical Assays in Cambridge, Mass., in 1982. He has since taken part in dozens of successful organizing and contract campaigns, both regionally and nationally, for the Communications Workers of America, the Paperworkers, Carpenters, Teamsters and Service Employees International Union, and other unions. Wilson’s notable achievements include coordinating solidarity efforts with the CWA and IBEW during the massive NYNEX telephone workers’ strike in 1989; founding the Massachusetts branch of the community-labor coalition, Jobs with Justice; coordinating communications for the Teamsters in 1997 during the lengthy contract campaign and historic 15-day strike by the 185,000 workers at UPS; and organizing an AFL-CIO-led effort focused on financial institutions’ conflicts of interest that helped to thwart the Bush administration’s efforts to privatize social security. He served as national coordinator for “Labor for Bernie” during the presidential campaign on 2016, and currently works for SEIU Local 888 in Boston.

Documenting forty years of labor activism, the Wilson papers include important material from most of his major initiatives, including organizing campaigns with the CWA, files relating to the Justice at Work/Just Cause for All initiatives, organizing high tech, health care and telephone workers, and Jobs with Justice. Nearly half of the collection is comprised of a comprehensive collection of source materials and documents from the Teamsters’ UPS contract campaign and strike.

Subjects

Labor unions--MassachusettsNYNEX CorporationStrikes and lockoutsUnited Parcel Service

Contributors

Communications Workers of AmericaInternational Brotherhood of TeamstersJustice at Work
Women Against Garage (WAG)

WAG Records

1995-2002
2 boxes 3 linear feet
Call no.: MS 530

Informally referring to themselves as WAGs (Women Against Garage), Fay Kaynor, Mary Snyder, Merrylees Turner, and Mary Wentworth, opposed the building of a parking garage in the center of Amherst. Together they collected newspaper clippings, reports, minutes of meetings, and flyers that tell both sides of the story, but in particular shed light on the motivations of those opposed to the garage, concerns not well represented in the local paper, the Amherst Bulletin, at the time. Potential problems raised by garage opponents focused on the environmental issues that added traffic in Amherst would introduce, as well as the financial impact both on the town, if the revenues from the garage did not cover the investment or maintenance costs, and on locally-owned businesses that might not be able to afford higher rents if property values near the garage increased significantly.

Subjects

Amherst (Mass.)--Politics and government

Contributors

Kaynor, FaySnyder, MaryTurner, MerryleesWentworth, Mary L
Worthington (Mass.) Tavern

Worthington (Mass.) Tavern Account Book

1826-1854
1 vol. 0.2 linear feet
Call no.: MS 421 bd

By the turn of the nineteenth century, the Hampshire County town of Worthington, Massachusetts, was a significant crossroads on the Boston-Albany Turnpike, belying its small size. The population in Worthington peaked at barely over 1,000 in 1810, and declined slowly thereafter, although it remained an active stopover on the road for many years.

This standard double column account book provides a concentrated record of financial and other transactions in the antebellum period, probably associated with a tavern in Worthington, Mass. Although the ledger’s keeper is unidentified, it records an assortment of odd jobs filing saws, smoking meat, lending horses, carting, pasturing cattle, and tending sheep, along with the sale of significant quantities of beer and cider and a regular stream of hard brandy and rum. There are records as well of providing meals and, in one instance, caring for prisoners and their keepers overnight (p. 21). Most of the clients who can be positively identified were residents of Worthington (e.g., Persis Knapp, Chauncy B. Rising, Nathan Searl, Shubal Parish, Elisha H. Brewster, Addison D. Perry, Merritt Hall, and Otis Boies), however others are noted as wayfarers, passing through from towns such as Whately or Hadley. Clients settled their accounts with a motley mixture of cash, goods, and labor.

Subjects

Taverns (Inns)--Massachusetts--WorthingtonWorthington (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century

Types of material

Account books
Wright, John

John Wright Account Books

1818-1859
9 vols. 3 linear feet
Call no.: MS 162

Descendants of one of the founding families of Northampton, Mass., John Wright and his brother Samuel were farmers and freight haulers during the first half of the nineteenth century. Before the 1840s, the brothers hauled freight by wagon from Northampton as far away as Hartford and Boston, however the advent of lower-cost carriers over canal and rail, led them to restrict their operations to a local clientele.

The Wright collection includes nine bound volumes and four folders of loose material associated with the businesses of John Wright, his brother Samuel, and son Edwin. They document the growth of a freight hauling firm that supported a substantial trade stretching to Boston, as well as the eventual decline of that business.

Subjects

Farmers--Massachusetts--NorthamptonFreight and freightage--MassachusettsNorthampton (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century

Types of material

Account books
Young Women’s City Club (Northhampton, Mass.)

Young Women's City Club Records

1931-1981
2 boxes 0.75 linear feet
Call no.: MS 045

Known as Girl’s City Club until 1954, the Young Women’s City Club was a non-sectarian, self-governing, and largely self-supporting club in Northampton, Massachusetts, that developed educational and recreational opportunities for young women through programs, social events, volunteer services, and fund-raising activities. The club met regularly under the auspices of the People’s Institute until November 1979 when their rooms at James House were taken over by the Highland Valley Elder Service and the club relocated to the People’s Institute.

The records of the Young Women’s City Club document the growth and activities of the club from 1939 to 1981, with the exception of the decade 1961 to 1971. Consisting of photocopies of originals still held by the People’s Institute, the collection includes minutes of council and business meetings and scrapbook pages.

Gift of Margaret Hutchins, People's Institute, 1985

Subjects

Women--Societies and clubs--Massachusetts

Contributors

Young Women's City Club (Northampton, Mass.)