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

Collecting area: Environment

Science for the People

Science for the People Records

1966-2014 Bulk: 1969-1992
6 boxes 7 linear feet
Call no.: MS 859
Depiction of

At the height of the antiwar struggle in the late 1960s, a group of scientists and engineers based in Cambridge, Mass., began to turn a critical eye on the role of their fields in the larger political culture. Calling themselves Scientists and Engineers for Social and Political Action (SESPA), the group took the slogan “Science for the People,” which in turn became the name of their organization. With a collective membership that spread nation-wide, Science for the People was a voice for radical science and an active presence framing several of the scientific debates of the day. Through its vigorous publications, SftP explored issues ranging from the impact of military and corporate control of research to scientific rationalization of racism, sexism, and other forms of inequality; and they contributed to the discussions of recombinant DNA, sociobiology, IQ and biological determinism, women’s health care, nuclear power, and the rise of biotechnology. Many members were engaged in supporting anti-imperialist resistance in Central America and Asia during the 1980s. The organization gradually waned in the 1980s and published the last issue of its magazine in 1989.
Donated by several members of the organization, the Science for the People collection provides a window into the organization and operation of a collective devoted to radical science. In addition to meeting minutes and notes, and some correspondence, the collection includes a nearly complete run of the Science for the People magazine, and a substantial representation of the national and Nicaragua newsletters and topical publications. Photographs from the group’s trip to China and other areas abroad in 1978 are available online, along with videos of the talks and sessions from a 2014 conference on the history and legacy of SftP.

Subjects

Science--Social aspectsTechnology--Social aspectsVietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements
Solander, Arvo A.

Arvo A. Solander Papers

1930-1958
8 boxes 4 linear feet
Call no.: MS 587

Graduating from Harvard in the thick of the Great Depression, Arvo A. Solander worked as a civil and sanitary engineer for a variety of state and federal agencies, including the Civil Works Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps. During the 1930s, as opportunity arose, he filled positions as a road engineer, in the design and construction of water and sewage plants, in pollution control, as a safety engineer in the shellfish industry, and in mosquito control, taking jobs throughout Massachusetts and as far away as Tennessee. After using his talents as an officer in the Sanitary Corps during the Second World War, based primarily in Arkansas, Solander returned home to Massachusetts and opened a private engineering office in South Hadley. He worked as a civil engineer and surveyor until his death in January 1976.
The Arvo Solander Papers consists of twenty-four bound volumes documenting thirty years of varied work as an engineer, including his contributions to the construction of the Quabbin Reservoir. Within the bound volumes are a wide range of reports, typescripts, sketches and diagrams, graphs, contracts and design specifications, photographs, and postcards.

Subjects

Civil engineersCivilian Conservation Corps (U.S.)Depressions--1929Fisheries--MassachusettsMosquitoes--ControlQuabbin Reservoir (Mass.)Roads--Design and constructionSanitary engineersSewage disposal plants--Design and constructionUnited States. Federal Civil Works AdministrationWater--Pollution--TennesseeWater-supply--MassachusettsWestfield State SanatoriumWorld War, 1939-1945Wrentham State School

Contributors

Solander, Arvo A

Types of material

PhotographsScrapbooks
Sommer, Mark

Mark Sommer Papers

1966-2017
13 boxes 16.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 973

Mark Sommer, with Zetta, the first newborn goat at the Sommer homestead in northern CA, May 1985

Mark Sommer is an explorer, storyteller, and award-winning public radio and print journalist focused on advocacy and narratives of social, political, and environmental change and positive action. In Washington, D.C., Sommer found himself on hand for some of the 1960s pivotal moments, where he was involved with the Liberation News Service and the New Left think tank, the Institute for Policy Studies. Sommer moved to California in 1969 to explore the counterculture, spending several years journeying – spiritually, psychedelically, and physically between communes, farms, and wilderness homesteads along the western coast – before he and his wife built a self-reliant organic homestead in the deep woods of northern CA, where they lived from the 1970s to the 1990s. The resilience of nature deeply impacted Sommer’s outlook and work as a writer and journalist, driving his interest in the human capacity for overcoming adversity. Sommer founded and directed the Mainstream Media Project, a nonprofit media placement service scheduling leading edge thinkers and social innovators for extensive radio interviews, and Sommer served as host and executive producer of the internationally syndicated and award winning, one-hour weekly radio program, A World of Possibilities. Sommer is the author of three books (Beyond the Bomb, The Conquest of War, and Living in Freedom), and hundreds of op-eds in major newspapers worldwide. Current projects include short and movie length videos crafted from his photographs, films, interviews, and experiences.

Chronicling over five decades of creative and journalistic output of a life-long explorer and progressive advocate, the Mark Sommer Papers are an extensive collection, covering Sommer’s entire career and personal life from the late 1960s to the present. Writings include personal and multiple travel journals (including a unique trip to North Vietnam in 1968), correspondence, student essays, op-eds, articles, project and grant plans, memoirs, and book manuscripts. Additional journals exist in audio format, along with radio interviews where Sommer served as a guest. Slides, photographs, and movies cover Sommer’s family and home life to his wide-ranging travels and interests. Some main topics of coverage include foreign policy and international politics, progressivism, peace and conflict studies, the anti-nuclear and disarmament movements, wilderness and back-to-the-land experiences, and later in life fatherhood. Materials from Mainstream Media Project have been separated into the Mainstream Media Project Records.

Gift of Mark Sommer, May 2017

Subjects

Antinuclear movementCounterculture--United StatesInstitute for Policy StudiesJournalists--CaliforniaNuclear disarmamentPeace--researchPeaceful change (International relations)Political activistsReconciliationSelf-reliant living--CaliforniaSustainable livingTravel writingVietnam War, 1961-1975

Types of material

ArticlesCorrespondenceDiariesMemoirsPhotographsSound recordingsVideo recordings
Springfield Environmental Coalition

Springfield Environmental Coalition Collection

1964-1977 Bulk: 1970-1976
1 box 1.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 875

In the early 1970s, the Springfield Environmental Coalition emerged as one of the grassroots organizations dedicated to environmental causes in the lower Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts. Under the leadership of its president, William R. Lenville, the Coalition took part in regional planning efforts relating to urban expansion in the city of Springfield as well as issues relating to regional land use, agriculture, and water quality in the Connecticut River.

A tightly-focused assemblage of formally and informally published materials from the lower Pioneer Valley, the SEC collection addresses a range of issues in regional planning during the early 1970s, including land use, agriculture, water resources, zoning, and urban growth. Of particular note are a series of interesting typewritten studies of individual neighborhoods in Springfield, 1970-1972. The collection includes one folder of correspondence regarding the Coalition’s work.

Subjects

City planning--Massachusetts--SpringfieldConnecticut River Valley (Mass.)Land useRegional planning--Massachusetts--Springfield regionSpringfield (Mass.)--History

Contributors

Lenville, Wilfred R.
Stokes, Ann R.

Ann R. Stokes Papers

ca. 1911-2013 Bulk: ca. 1960-2010
10 boxes 15 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1124

Ann Richardson Stokes (1931-2016) was an activist, artist, and community builder across such issues as progressive politics, women’s and lesbian/gay rights, and the environmental and antinuclear movements. Stokes was born and educated in New Jersey, the daughter of Dr. Emlen Stokes and Lydia Babbott Stokes, and the great grand-daughter of Charles Pratt. A lifelong Quaker and longtime member of Putney Friends Meeting, Ann moved to Welcome Hill in West Chesterfield, NH in 1959. She helped build and run the studio retreat for women artists, Welcome Hill Studios, which has been inspiring and nurturing artists since the 1970s, and in 1985 Stokes published an account of the all-woman-built first studio in “A Studio Of One’s Own.” A fabled party thrower, she hosted Nina Simone, Odetta, the Arthur Hall African-American Dance Troupe and many others, and built up lore around “Madame Sherrie” with her events and with a gift of land in West Chesterfield known as Madame Sherrie’s, which now includes the Ann Stokes Loop hike. A talented writer and painter, Ann penned numerous thoughtful letters to editors across the country, but was happy to engage personally in social action as well, such as when she was jailed for two weeks for protesting the Seabrook Station nuclear power plant in 1977 or when she ran, unsuccessfully, for Sheriff in West Chesterfield.

The Ann R. Stokes Papers document Ann’s varied and passionate life of art, community building, Quakerism, and activism. The building and story of Welcome Hill Studios, as well as Ann’s famous parties, are well documented with scrapbooks, photographs, and posters. Her engagement with the Putney Friends Meeting is evident through numerous records and correspondence. Family photo albums and scrapbooks document the Stokes extended family history, and Ann’s own writing, photographs, and art (mostly original paintings and prints) make up a bulk of the collection. Ann’s collection of women/lesbian organization’s newsletters, mostly from the 1980s-2000s, with titles such as Lezzie Fair, Open Closet, Lesbian Connection, the Revolutionary & Radical Feminist Newsletter, show her engagement with local and national women’s issues.

Gift of Elissa Pine and Welcome Hill Studios, 2020.

Subjects

Antinuclear movement--United StatesArtists' studios--New HampshireLesbian community--New EnglandQuakers--New HampshireWomen artists

Contributors

Stokes, Ann

Types of material

CorrespondenceNewslettersPaintings (visual works)Photographs
Swaim, Nina

Nina Swaim Papers

ca. 1950-2015
4 boxes 5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1125

Eleanor “Nina” Hathaway Swaim (1938-2015) was a feminist, environmental and antinuclear activist, antiwar organizer, and proponent of women’s collective enterprises globally. She was arrested for the final time just a month before her death, chained to the gates of a pipe yard in Williston, VT, protesting a fracked gas pipeline. Born into a conservative family in Sharon, MA, Swaim was radicalized during the mid-sixties by courses at the Free University on the Lower East Side and during the 1968 occupations at Columbia University, where she was an administrator. She joined the It’s All Right to be a Woman Theater in 1970 and toured the country with them before leaving New York City to work in a GI bookstore near a military base in Massachusetts, helping soldiers protesting the Vietnam War. Learning the printing trade, she moved to Vermont and co-founded the women’s collective press, New Victoria Press, worked as a mediation coordinator for the Vermont Supreme Court, and became a strong force in the antinuclear movement, helping found the Upper Valley Energy Coalition (UVCE), and co-authoring a book with Susan Koen, “A Handbook for Women on the Nuclear Mentality.” She met her husband, Douglas Smith, through UVEC, and the pair worked on numerous antinuclear, environmental, and other grassroots campaigns and protests together, including a project in Mozambique on water access, where Swaim worked as a cooperator with the revolutionary Organization of Mozambican Women. Other international work included picking cotton in Nicaragua, visiting Cuba under siege, and touring Gandhian centers in India to learn practical nonviolence and social change techniques. A practicing Buddhist, Swaim was an avid writer, gardener, beekeeper, and hiker, and in addition to her other causes, spearheaded numerous events related to the natural world, food security, and honeybees.

The Nina Swaim Papers offer an intimate look into the life of an indomitable and inspiring grassroots activist focused on both local Vermont issues and global concerns. Unpublished writings, clippings, and correspondence, as well as photographs, tapes, and scrapbooks reflect her international travels and work, as well as her community and concerns in the antinuclear and environmental movements based out of Vermont. Detailed writings, reflections, short stories, travel notes, and a comprehensive set of journals dating from the late sixties make up a large part of the collection. They are full of the musings of an activist pondering the meaning of women’s consciousness raising and conflict settlement, of worker collectives and other community building, of struggles and misunderstandings between lesbian and straight women, of power in organizations like Clamshell Alliance and the Upper Valley Energy Coalition, of motherhood and aging, and of the relationship between action for social change and spiritual practice.

Gift of Douglas V. Smith, 2021.

Subjects

Antinuclear movement--United StatesAntinuclear movement--VermontEnvironmental justiceFeminismNuclear energy--VermontPeace movements--United States

Contributors

Nina Swaim

Types of material

CorrespondenceDiariesPersonal narrativesPhotographs
Talking Truth

Talking Truth Collection

2015-2018
2 boxes 0.75 linear feet
Call no.: RG 040/2 T35
Depiction of

Co-founded by Madeleine Charney, Lena Fletcher, and Kris Nelson, Talking Truth began as a workshop on climate activism held during the Fall of 2015. The original workshop focused on the overwhelming nature of the climate crisis and provided a three part discussion aimed at helping UMass Amherst students, faculty, and librarians find their individual voices as activists and to support collaboration among UMass community members in their efforts to combat climate change. The discussion included a letter writing activity asking writers to share their feelings about climate change. This activity originated in Fletcher’s Natural Resources Conservation course, “Environment and Society” and more letters were written at subsequent Talking Truth events. Through 2018, Talking Truth held a variety of other events including film screenings, author talks, and a booth at the Amherst, Mass. Sustainability Festival.

The Talking Truth Collection consists of letters written during Talking Truth workshops, events, and in Lena Fletcher’s classes. There is also a small group of drawings done as part of the “Teach-in, freak out: building power in a climate of urgency” on November 19th, 2015, which was sponsored by the UMass Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign.

Subjects

Climatic change--Social aspects
United States Works Progress Administration of Massachusetts

United States Works Progress Administration of Massachusetts Water Pollution Surveys Collection

1936-1938
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 068

Under the federal New Deal in the late 1930s, the Works Project Administration authorized a series of surveys of major watersheds to gauge water quality and sources of pollution. In Massachusetts, the studies were coordinated by the Massachusetts Department of Health and resulted in a series of more or less detailed reports issued between September 1936 and January 1938.

The pollution survey collection contains reports for six major watersheds in New England — the Blackstone, Hoosic, Housatonic, Merrimack, Nashua, and Ten Mile — measuring the impact of both civic and industrial waste on regional water resources.

Subjects

Blackstone River Watershed (Mass. and R.I.)Hoosic River WatershedHousatonic River Watershed (Mass. and Conn.)Merrimack River Watershed (N.H. and Mass.)Nashua River Watershed (Mass. and N.H.)Ten Mile River Watershed (Mass.)Water--Pollution--MassachusettsWater-resources--Massachusetts

Contributors

Massachusetts. Department of Public HealthMassachusetts. State Planning Board
Verity, Peter G.

Peter G. Verity Papers

ca.1984-2009
20 boxes 30 linear feet
Call no.: MS 720

After receiving his doctorate from the University of Rhode Island for a study of the physiology and ecology of tintinids in 1984, Peter G. Verity joined the faculty at the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography. As a Professor of Biological Oceanography, Verity was interested broadly in the ecology of plankton and trophic interactions in the pelagic food web, studying the process of eutrophication and dissolved oxygen in the water column among other topics, and conducting a significant long-term analysis of nutrient variation in estuarine waters. Becoming deeply concerned about the future of oceanic environments and the accelerating decline of coastal ecosystems as a result of his research, Verity took on an increasingly active role in educating teachers about environmental issues. For his efforts, he was awarded the Nick Williams Award for Coastal Sustainability from the Center for a Sustainable Coast. Verity died unexpectedly at home on Dec. 31, 2009.

An important resource for marine ecology and scientific study of the environment, the Verity Papers contain an array of correspondence, research and grant proposals, manuscripts of papers, reprints, and notes of meetings.

Gift of Melanie Mirande, Dec. 2011

Subjects

EstuariesMarine ecologyPhytoplanktonSkidaway Institute of Oceanography--Faculty

Contributors

Verity, Peter G.
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-