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

Collecting area: Oral history

Loomis Communities

Loomis Communities Records

1909-2015 Bulk: 1980-2000
11 boxes 15.75 linear feet
Call no.: MS 685
Loomus House logo
Loomis House logo

Temporarily stored offsite; contact SCUA to request materials from this collection.

In 1902, a group of residents of Holyoke, Mass., secured a charter for the Holyoke Home for Aged People, wishing to do “something of permanent good for their city” and provide a “blessing to the homeless.” Opened in March 1911 on two acres of land donated by William Loomis, the Holyoke Home provided long-term care of the elderly, and grew slowly for its first half century. After changing its name to Loomis House in 1969, in honor of the benefactor, Loomis began slowly to expand, moving to its present location in 1981 upon construction of the first continuing care retirement community in the Commonwealth. In 1988, the Board acquired a 27-acre campus in South Hadley on which it established Loomis Village; in 1999, it became affiliated with the Applewood community in Amherst; and in 2009, it acquired Reeds Landing in Springfield.
The Loomis Communities Records offer more than a century perspective on elder care and the growth of retirement communities in western Massachusetts. The collection includes a nearly complete run of the minutes of the Board of Directors from 1909 to the present, an assortment administrative and financial records, and some documentation of the experience of the communities’ residents, with the bulk of materials dating from the 1980s to the present. An extensive series of oral histories with residents of Loomis Village was conducted in 2010.

Subjects

Holyoke (Mass.)--HistoryHolyoke Home for Aged PeopleLoomis CommunitiesLoomis VillageOlder people--Care--MassachusettsRetirement communities--Massachusetts
Mainstream Media Project

Mainstream Media Project Records

1995-2012
11 boxes 16 linear feet
Call no.: MS 976

A World of Possibilities logo, ca. 1998

Founded in 1995, by founder and former executive director Mark Sommer, the Mainstream Media Project (MMP) was a nonprofit public education organization focused on print and broadcast media about creative approaches in achieving peace, security, and sustainability in an interdependent global community. Until its closing in early 2014, it was particularly involved with placing top policy analysts, social innovators, and on-the-ground organizers on radio and television stations across the country and globe. One such project, A World of Possibilities radio show, founded in 2001, was an award-winning one hour weekly show hosted by Sommer. A program “of spirited global conversations,” featuring interviews searching for understanding of, and solutions to, longstanding global public affairs challenges, A World of Possibilities was nationally and internationally syndicated until it ceased broadcasting in 2011.

The MMP Records contain over ten linear feet of CD and DVD masters of uncut interviews and produced radio shows. Shows, including Heart of the Matter and A World of Possibilities, explore promising new thinking and experimentation in fields ranging from energy, food, water, and wilderness to human rights, global security, and public health, and include interviews with leading experts and innovators, such as Studs Terkel, Pete Seeger, Laurie Garrett, Wangari Maathai, Frances Moore Lappe, Howard Gardner, Lily Yeh, Robert Reich, Majora Carter, Van Jones and many more. The collection also contains MMP business files, consisting of correspondence, reports, articles, grant information, and organizational materials.

Gift of Mark Sommer, May 2017

Subjects

ActivistsEnvironmentalismGlobalizationGreen movementPeaceful changePolitics and cultureReconciliationScience--Social aspectsSustainable livingTechnology--Social aspects

Types of material

InterviewsRadio programs
Marino, Michella M.

Michella Marino Oral History Collection

2011-2012
23 items
Call no.: MS 812

Michella Marino received her doctorate from the Department History of at UMass Amherst in May 2013. Her dissertation, Sweating femininity: women athletes, masculine culture, and American inequality from 1930 to the present, drew on extensive oral historical and archival research to examine how feminist women negotiated the cultural boundaries surrounding gender to carve out identities as women, athletes, and mothers. Focusing on women’s participation in two sports, basketball and roller derby, Marino wrote that her goal was to “explain the tension between women’s representation and agency, between cultural constructs and women’s lives, between images of women and their individual identities.”

The Marino Collection consists of 23 oral historical interviews with female and male participants in roller derby and basketball.

Gift of Michella Marino, Feb. 2014

Subjects

Roller derbySex discrimination in sports--HistorySports for womenWomen athletesWomen's basketball

Types of material

Oral histories
Memory Corps

Memory Corps oral histories

2011-2012
Call no.: Digital

Memory Corps was launched in 2011 to collect brief oral histories of the alumni of UMass Amherst. Interviews will include alumni from throughout the history of the university and center on memories of their experiences at UMass and their careers since.

Subjects

University of Massachusetts Amherst--Alumni

Types of material

Oral histories
Our Hideaway

Our Hideaway Collection

1998-1999
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 647

Founded in Chicopee, Massachusetts in 1949 under another name, Our Hideaway was the oldest women’s bar on the east coast, offering the local lesbian community a safe haven in which to socialize for fifty continuous years. Before the bar was forced to close after losing its lease in 1999, it was home to a diverse community of women from those known as “old timers,” comprised of women patronizing the bar for upwards of 25 years, to college students new to the area.

As part of a project to research the lesbian bar as a social institution, Smith College student Heather Rothenberg conducted interviews of the women who frequented Our Hideaway. During the course of her research an unexpected announcement was made: the bar was closing. As a result, Rothenberg’s efforts to document Our Hideaway extended far beyond her original intent, and she was able to capture the final days of the bar as both a physical place as well as a community of women assembled over five decades. The collection consists of interview transcripts, emails, photographs and Rothenberg’s written reports. Transcripts of the interviews were modified to protect the privacy of the women interviewed; the original transcripts are restricted.

Gift of Heather Rothenberg, Oct. 2009

Subjects

Lesbian bars--MassachusettsLesbian business enterprises--MassachusettsLesbian community--Massachusetts

Contributors

Rothenburg, Heather
Ozer Family

Ozer Family Papers

ca. 1935-2015
10 boxes 13.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1002
Ruth and Abe Ozer celebrating their 90th birthdays in 2010.
Ruth and Abe Ozer celebrating their 90th birthdays in 2010.

Born five days apart in June 1920 in Manhattan, Abraham Jay Ozer (born Abraham Ozersky) and Ruth Sydell Ozer (born Ruth Sydell Newman) married in 1947 after Abe returned from his army service in Australia, New Guinea, and the Philippines. Abe received the Purple Heart after being wounded by shrapnel from a kamikaze attack on his ship after the Battle of Leyte Gulf in 1944. Returning to New York, Abe and Ruth began their romance, after being friends earlier as part of a Workmen Circle teen group, and lived almost the entirety of the rest of their lives in the Amalgamated Housing Cooperative in the Bronx, the country’s oldest nonprofit housing cooperative. The Ozers were involved in the social, cultural, and financial community of the cooperative, originally founded by Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union members, and decidedly Jewish and progressive in its early decades. Working for RKO Pictures Inc. and as a substitute teacher, Ruth also volunteered at the local Amalgamated nursery school, which her daughters Alison and Stephanie attended as children. Self-employed in the insurance business, Abe served on several of the community’s boards and societies, and later volunteered as a dispatcher for ambulances in the Amalgamated, and as a tour guide at the Bronx Zoo. The two were also able to pursue their passion for travel, beginning their adventures in 1969 with a trip to the United Kingdom. Over the next thirty-five years they would take more than fifty international and national trips.

The Ozer Family Papers primarily document the lives of Abe and Ruth Ozer, including their high school and college years, their correspondence and other records from Abe’s military service in the 311th and then 168th Ordnance Depot Company, additional war correspondence between Ruth and other parties, and extensive documentation of the couple’s many years of travel, including selected slides, photographs, travel planning documents, and Ruth’s detailed travel journals for each trip from 1969 through 2005. Additional materials cover the Amalgamated Housing Cooperative, RKO Pictures Inc., and other aspects of the Ozer’s lives, including numerous oral history interviews and home movies on formats ranging from 8mm film to digital. The greater Ozer family is also represented, from a family tree back to Abe’s grandparents from Belorussia, to content and interviews with his mother, Sadie Uretsky, and several folders of clippings about Abe’s brother, Bernard Ozer, an important figure in fashion, and former vice-president of Associated Merchandising Corporation. Additional content on the Ozer’s children, grandchildren, and extended family rounds out the collection. An additional two boxes of family photographs and albums, added to the collection later, remain unprocessed.

Gift of Alison Ozer, November 2017

Subjects

Bronx (New York, N.Y.)--Social life and customsHousing, CooperativeHunter College--StudentsJews--New York (State)--New YorkLeyte Gulf, Battle of, Philippines, 1944TourismTravelUnited States. Army. Ordnance CorpsWorld War, 1939-1945

Types of material

Letters (Correspondence)Oral historiesPhotographsSlides (photographs)
Paros, Lawrence

Larry Paros Papers

1965-2015
6 boxes 7 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1081
Part of: Irma McClaurin Black Feminist Archive
Yale Summer High School brochure
Yale Summer High School brochure, 1968

The educator and writer, Lawrence “Larry” Paros was born in Springfield, Mass., in 1934. After undergraduate work at UMass Amherst (1958), Paros earned his masters degree from Yale in American Diplomatic History and Russian Studies, and began teaching high school in Connecticut, where he became a lightning rod for promoting discussions of the Vietnam War among his students. The Yale Summer High School came calling in 1967, giving Paros the reins to a three-year old program that brought underprivileged youth from across the country for rigorous pre-collegiate study at the Yale Divinity School. Begun as a progressive response to the federal “War on Poverty,” Paros soon sought to move the school in a more radical direction. Along with a small group of concerned educators, he redesigned the curriculum to deal directly and deeply with the most challenging contemporary issues in America and to address fundamental questions about the human condition, race, and the future of the country. Paros subsequently founded and led two experimental schools in Providence, R.I., and has written prolifically on topics ranging from education to etymology.

The Paros papers are the product of an innovator in alternative education and a advocate for social justice, and are particularly rich in documenting the efforts of educators in the 1960s and 1970s to make education relevant to contemporary students. The collection includes a rich record of Paros’s brief time as director of the Yale Summer High School (YSHS), including organizational, pedagogical, and administrative documents, dozens of photographs, and an important set of DVDs and transcripts of interviews with former students, teacher, and administrators from the 1968 cohort, recorded for the film Walk Right In. Paros’s work in alternative education is also well represented, with materials from his two schools in Providence (School One and the Alternative Learning Project).

Subjects

African American high school studentsAlternative EducationAlternative educationYale Summer High School

Types of material

Oral histories (Literary works)PhotographsVideo recordings (physical artifacts)
Penney, Darby

Darby Penney Papers

1887-2008 Bulk: 1992-2004
23 boxes, 1 oversized folder 15 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1166

Darby Penney, born in 1952, was herself a psychiatric survivor and devoted her life to activism and support of the psychiatric consumer/survivor/ex-patient (C/S/X) movement. Above all, she believed the voices of survivors themselves should be used in policy and program design, and she spent the latter part of her life collecting those voices in her C/S/X Oral History Project. Penney worked for the New York State Office of Mental Health for almost fifteen years, with roles including Director of Recipient Affairs and Director of Historical Projects, until she was let go in 2003 due to her outspoken views on coercive treatment of patients. This freed her to devote her time to creating nonprofits and advocacy groups for the C/S/X movement, as well as overseeing the Oral History Project. She designed a museum exhibit to give voice to the patients of Willard State Hospital, based on the contents of more than four hundred suitcases found in the hospital’s attic, and co-authored a book called The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases from a State Hospital Attic, published in 2008. Penney died in 2021.

The Darby Penney Papers comprise Penney’s research on psychiatric treatment and patient narratives, her writings and presentations, and her oral history work, including over two hundred interviews done by the C/S/X Oral History Project. The documentation, cassette tapes, and transcripts of this project forms the bulk of the collection.

Gift of Darby Penney, June 2021

Subjects

Ex-mental patientsMental health services--United StatesPeople with disabilities--Civil rightsPsychiatric hospitals--New YorkPsychiatric survivors movement

Types of material

AudiotapesFloppy disksNewslettersOral historiesVideotapes
Potash, Robert A., 1921-

Robert A. Potash Papers

1930-1991
27.75 linear feet
Call no.: FS 020

Professor of history, University of Massachusetts (1950-1986), Haring Professor Emeritus (1986-); internationally-recognized scholar of Argentine military history and politics.

Includes correspondence, audiotapes and transcriptions of interviews, 1961-90, with Argentine military and political figures (interviews restricted until 2010); documents obtained from private Argentine sources relating to politics and the military, 1943-90; photocopies of U.S. State Department records, 1940s and 1962-73, regarding Argentina; selected materials from the papers of General Alejandro A. Lanusse, 1962-73; Argentine political ephemera, 1930-74; photocopies of Argentine official documents pertaining to various presidencies and regimes, as well as materials, including newsclippings, regarding petroleum, political parties, and trade unions; papers from externally funded projects and programs pertaining to Latin America in which the University participated.

Gift of Robert Potash, 2005-2014
Language(s): EnglishSpanish

Subjects

Argentina--HistoryUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst--FacultyUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of History

Contributors

Potash, Robert A., 1921-
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