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

Collecting area: Politics & governance

Massachusetts Constitution

Massachusetts Constitution Revision Collection

1948-1965
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 449

In the early 1960s the Council for Constitutional Reform, a nonpartisan citizen organization seeking to promote economical and efficient state government, called for a constitutional convention to convene in Massachusetts. The group cited the state’s national reputation for corruption and public immorality as reasons for amending the constitution, while others argued that the state’s problems, primarily governmental waste, a cumbersome state tax structure, and inefficient state agencies, could only be resolved by the legislature and governor. Opponents to the convention argued too that the cost of such a convention, in total more than $2 million, would only increase the financial burden of the state.

Correspondence and position statements arguing both sides of the debate offer insight into the politics of the 1960s as well as the public’s response to the political climate in the Commonwealth. Newspaper clippings trace the movement for constitutional reform from early proposals to the approval of four amendments during the November 1964 election.

Subjects

Massachusetts--Economic conditions--20th centuryMassachusetts--Politics and government--1951-Massachusetts. Constitution
Massachusetts Governmental Activities Exposition

Massachusetts Governmental Activities Exposition Photograph Album

1930
88 images 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: PH 043
Depiction of Library exhibit
Library exhibit

To celebrate its tercentenary in 1930, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts organized over two thousand events in 253 communities, drawing over eleven million visitors. One of the most elaborate of these events was the Exposition of Governmental Activities held at the Commonwealth Armory in Boston between September 29 and October 11. A celebration more of contemporary governmental activity than the historical precedents, the exposition featured displays representing nearly every branch of government, from the Department of Education to the state police, mental and public health, public welfare, transportation, agriculture, labor, and industry.

P.E. (Paul) Genereux (1892-1977), a commercial photographer from East Lynn, was hired to document the exhibits and displays in the Exposition of Governmental Activities, producing commemorative albums containing silver gelatin prints, carefully numbered and backed on linen. This disbound album includes 88 of the original 175 prints, including interior and exterior shots, with an additional image by Hildebrand.

Subjects

Massachusetts Governmental Activities Exposition--PhotographsMassachusetts--Centennial celebrations, etc.

Contributors

Genereux, P. E.

Types of material

Photographs
Nick Akerman Watergate Special Prosecution Force Collection

Nick Akerman Watergate Special Prosecution Force Collection

1973-1976 Bulk: 1973-1975
2 2 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1217
photo of nick akerman in from of US Court of Appeals building
Akerman in 1973

Nick Akerman, a UMass Amherst class of 1969 graduate, continued on to Harvard Law School and became a lawyer for the Department of Health Education and Welfare and the Federal Trade Commission. While at Harvard, he studied under James Vorenberg, who became a professor at Harvard Law School in 1962 and was the principal assistant to Archibald Cox in the Watergate Special Prosecutor’s Office. Vorenberg recruited Akerman to join the legal team and work under Cox, and later Leon Jaworski, who led the legal investigation into the Watergate affair. As a member of the team, Akerman led the Plumbers Task Force, which investigated the group that broke into the Watergate, burglarized Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office and attempted to “neutralize” him in 1972. He stayed in Washington until 1976, when he moved to New York. He became the Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York, where he prosecuted a wide array of white collar criminal matters, including bank frauds, bankruptcy frauds, stock frauds, complex financial frauds, environmental and tax crimes. He later founded Nick Akerman Law where he specialized in criminal and civil applications of the Racketeer and Corrupt Organizations Statute, the Economic Espionage Act, the federal Securities Laws, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and State Trade Secret and Restrictive Covenant Laws.

This small collection contains the material Akerman collected in the course of working for Cox and Jaworski on the Plumbers Task Force, as well as material collected by the larger Special Prosecution Force. It consists of legal memoranda, motions, subpoenas, and Akerman’s staff meeting notes. Also included are Akerman’s chron files from 1973-1975, reports, newspaper clippings, a reel to reel tape, and a Nixon campaign photo.

Subjects

Watergate Affair, 1972-1974

Contributors

Akerman, Nick

Types of material

Clippings (information artifacts)CorrespondenceLegal documentsMemoranda
Restrictions: none none
North Bridgewater (Mass.). Treasurer

North Bridgewater (Mass.) Treasurer Account Book

1858-1881
1 vol. 0.15 linear feet
Call no.: MS 223 bd

In the years after it separated from Bridegwater in 1821, North Bridgewater emerged as a center of manufacturing. During the industrial boom years of the mid-nineteenth century, it grew into the largest producer of shoes and boots in the nation, boasting 97 factories by the end of the century. In 1874, the town changed to its current name, Brockton, and it was incorporated as a city seven years later.

Nearly two thirds of this town treasurer’s account book from North Bridgewater (later Brockton), Massachusetts, is devoted to a monthly accounting of money paid to the families of Civil War volunteers, beginning in April 1861 and carrying through 1881, made mostly by town treasurer R.P. Kingman; accounts of school district expenses and revenues for the years 1858 to 1869, for the 14 school districts in North Bridgewater (teacher salaries, supplies, and accounts with textbook publishers such as Harper & Bros. and Heath & Co.); and listings of salaries paid town officers, including the Superintendent of Streets, Overseer of the Poor, city clerk, city treasurer, and the Police Department.

Acquired from Charles Apfelbaum, 1987

Subjects

Police--Massachusetts--North BridgewaterSchools--Massachusetts--North BridgewaterUnited States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865

Contributors

North Bridgewater (Mass.). Treasurer

Types of material

Records (Documents)
Oates, Stephen B.

Stephen B. Oates Papers

ca. 1965-2022
14 boxes 21 linear feet
Call no.: FS 212

Stephen Baery Oates was born on January 5, 1936, in Pampa Texas, and earned a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. He was a member of the UMass Amherst History Department from 1968 to 1997, when he retired. He authored consequential, award-winning biographies of major 19th and 20th century figures among his seventeen books on American history. As Paul Murray Kendall Professor of Biography, Dr. Oates held one of the first academic chairs in biography in the country. His many awards and honors include a Guggenheim Fellow, Christopher Award, Barondess/Lincoln Award, and a Distinguished Teaching Award from UMass among many others. Dr. Oates was a popular guest lecturer at colleges, universities, societies, and associations throughout the country, and made numerous appearances on radio and television, most notable in Ken Burns’ epic PBS documentary The Civil War. He consulted on projects for various commercial and university presses, as well as for the National Endowment for the Humanities. Dr. Oates was a member of the Society of American Historians, American Antiquarian Society, and Phi Beta Kappa. He died on August 20, 2021.

The papers of Stephen B. Oates document his career as a biographer and faculty member at UMass Amherst. Materials include research notes, correspondence, articles, drafts and proofs of publications, lectures and address, fellowship and grant applications, book reviews, teaching and course notes, awards and photographs.

Gift of Greg Oates, 2023.

Subjects

King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865

Types of material

CorrespondencePhotographs
Olver, John W.

John W. Olver Papers

ca.1990-2012
57 boxes 85.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 748
Depiction of John Olver, April 2012
John Olver, April 2012

John Olver served as representive from the 1st Congressional District in Massachusetts for over two decades. Born in Honesdale, Pa., on Sept. 3, 1936, Olver began an academic career at UMass Amherst shortly after earning his doctorate in chemistry at MIT in 1961. In 1969, however, he resigned his position to pursue a career in politics. Winning election to the Massachusetts House in 1969 as a Democratic representative from Hampshire County, Olver went on to the state Senate in 1973, and finally to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1991, where he followed 17-term Republican Congessman Silvio O. Conte. Olver was a progressive voice for a district stretching from the Berkshire Hills through northern Worcester and Middlesex Counties, enjoying consistently strong support from his constituents for his support for issues ranging from national health care to immigration reform, regional economic development, human rights, and opposition to the wars in Iraq. A member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, he held seats on the Appropriations Committee and subcommittees on Transportation and Housing and Urban Development, Energy and Water Development, and Homeland Security. With the redistricting process in Massachusetts in 2011, Olver announced that he would not seek reelection in 2012.
The Olver papers contain thorough documentation of the congressman’s career in Washington, including records of his policy positions, committee work, communications with the public, and the initiatives he supported in transportation, economic development, the environment, energy policy, and human rights. Material in the collection was drawn from each of Olver’s three district offices (Holyoke, Pittsfield, and Fitchburg), as well his central office in Washington.

Gift of John Olver, 2012

Subjects

Massachusetts--Politics and government--1951-United States--Politics and government--1989-United States--Politics and government--2001-2009United States. Congress. House

Contributors

Olver, John W.
Prescott (Mass.)

Prescott (Mass.) Collection

1822-1952
8 vols. (digital)
Call no.: MS 021

Rural and sparsely populated, Prescott, Massachusetts, was founded in 1822 along the ridge separating the West and Middle branches of the Swift River. Its three villages (North Prescott, Atkinson Hollow, and Prescott Hill) never amounted to more than a few houses each, and the town’s total population never exceeded 500. Prescott became the first of four towns to vacate after the Swift River Valley was ordered cleared and dammed to create the Quabbin Reservoir, ceding its administration to the state in 1928 before formally disincorporating in 1938.

The records of Prescott, Mass., document the history of the smallest of the four towns inundated to create the Quabbin Reservoir. Held by the Swift River Valley Historical Society, the materials in this collection consist of records of town meetings and of the activities of the town Selectmen, 1822-1938, as well as sparser records of the School Committee, the Treasurer, and Overseers of the Poor.

Subjects

Education--Massachusetts--Prescott--HistoryPoor--Massachusetts--Prescott--HistoryPrescott (Mass.)--Appropriations and expendituresPrescott (Mass.)--HistoryPrescott (Mass.)--Politics and governmenPrescott (Mass.)--Social conditionsQuabbin Reservoir Region (Mass.)--HistoryQuabbin Reservoir Region (Mass.)--Social life and customs

Contributors

Prescott (Mass. : Town)Prescott (Mass. : Town). Overseers of the Poor

Types of material

Account booksSchool records
Pyle, Christopher H.

Christopher Pyle Papers

ca.1970-1985
20 boxes 30 linear feet
Call no.: MS 545

As an army captain teaching constitutional law at the U.S. Army Intelligence School in Fort Holabird, Maryland during the late 1960s, Christopher Pyle learned about the army’s domestic spying operation that targeted antiwar and civil rights protesters. Disclosing his knowledge about that surveillance in 1970 in two award-winning articles, Pyle led the fight to end the military’s domestic spying program by testifying before three Congressional committees. Currently a professor of politics at Mount Holyoke College, Pyle continues to write about civil liberties and rights to privacy focusing his attention now on the Patriot Act and the detention of aliens and citizens without trial.

Documenting Pyle’s investigation into the military domestic spying operation, the collection consists of court transcripts, telephone logs, surveillance binders, correspondence, research notes, and news clippings.

Subjects

Civil rights--United StatesMilitary intelligenceMilitary surveillance--United States
Quabbin Towns

Quabbin Towns Annual Reports Collection

1864-1937
4 boxes 2 linear feet
Call no.: MS 368

During the 1920s and 1930s, the populations of four towns in the Swift River Valley, Mass., were relocated to make way for completion of the Quabbin Reservoir. Dana, Enfield, Greenwich, and Prescott were formally disincorporated in 1938, marking an end to nearly a century of small town government in the region.

The annual reports of the four towns of the Quabbin region provide important documentation of the activities of the local officials and the lives of residents in Dana, Enfield, Greenwich, and Prescott. Issued under various titles and with variable content, these reports include information on the activities of town officials, including the Selectmen, Overseers of the Poor, School Committee, and Library. In most years, the reports also include town expenditures and a list of residents with a valuation of property and taxes paid. Although substantial, this collection is not complete, particularly prior to 1880.

Subjects

Dana (Mass.)--HistoryEnfield (Mass.)--HistoryGreenwich (Mass.)--HistoryPrescott (Mass.)--HistoryQuabbin Reservoir Region (Mass.)--History
Rosenberg, Stanley C.

Stan Rosenberg Papers

ca.1991-2008
88 boxes 132 linear feet
Call no.: MS 556

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

Graduating from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1977, Stan Rosenberg began his career in politics as an aide to state Senator John Olver from 1980-1983. By 1986 he was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives where he served until 1991 when he was elected to the state Senate, a seat vacated by U.S. Congressmen John Olver. The Democratic Senator has served in the Senate ever since, assuming a number of leadership positions from chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means to President Pro Tem of the Massachusetts Senate. Representing towns in Hampshire and Franklin counties, Senator Rosenberg was a moving force behind a campaign finance reform bill that reduced the role of private money in the state’s political system.

Although the collection continues to grow, it currently consists of correspondence, publications, and subject files relating to particular initiatives led by Rosenberg.

Gift of Stanley Rosenberg, 2007-2013

Subjects

Massachusetts--Politics and government--1951-Massachusetts. Senate

Contributors

Rosenberg, Stanley C.